Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#957 Cincinnati Reds 8 vs.
#958 Chicago Cubs -155
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 8:05pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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When and where: September 17, 2019, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL, 8:00 PM ET

A series-opening shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Cubs has the Cincinnati Reds desperate for a turnaround performance, when the two NL Central teams collide on Tuesday. The Reds were riding a tidal wave of momentum after a couple of surprise upset wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Cubs extended their winning streak to five games. The Cubs are coming off wins over the Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres. Cincinnati’s Sony Gray is slated to start at pitcher opposite of Chicago’s veteran righty Yu Darvish.

Votto sits out the series opener for the Reds

Reds manager David Bell better not see Joey Votto anywhere near the rest of the team until he shakes whatever sickness bug he’s carrying. The first baseman didn’t play in Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks, and he was also a scratch from Monday’s series opener against the Cubs. According to Bell, the sickness has infiltrated the clubhouse as it often does around this time of the year.

“We’ve had quite a few guys that have been run down,” Bell said, via Cincinnati.com. “It’s stuff that happens during every season and every team is probably dealing with the same stuff, but it got us pretty good.”

There’s a possibility Votto misses Tuesday’s game as well.

The Reds will need all the help they can get on the road against the Cubs. Their defense was impressive in putting the Diamondbacks’ batting lineup under lock and key over the weekend. It was so impressive that the Reds actually managed to come away with the upset win and improved their record to 70-80 on the season.

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Gray will lend his arm in an attempt to pull off another upset when taking the mound against the Cubs. The 29-year-old Nashville native is throwing a 2.80 ERA with 190 strikeouts and a 10-7 record. He is coming off his first loss in nearly two months to the Seattle Mariners in a game where he gave up two hits and three runs in six-plus innings.

Rizzo could be done for the year

The Reds aren’t the only team that started this series without their first baseman in the lineup.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo could potentially miss the rest of the season after going down with an ankle injury in Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to ESPN.com, he was diagnosed with a lateral right ankle sprain after undergoing an MRI scan on Monday. He is expected to wear a walking boot for up to a week before being evaluated again.

“I have every intention of doing everything I can with the training staff to be back on the field with the boys,” said Rizzo. “I think in a few days, really, will tell us a lot more.”

A combination of Ian Happ and Victor Caratini will be used to attempt to replace Rizzo.

The Cubs have won their last five consecutive games, including their recent three-game sweep over the Pirates. It was a slaughter series as they heaped 14-plus runs on their division rivals in all three games. The Cubs are right behind the leading Washington Nationals in the wild card race with an 81-68 record on the season, and they are also a couple games out from challenging the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central divisional title.

Darvish will get the nod to start at pitcher for the Cubs on Tuesday. The 33-year-old righty hasn’t given up a single run in his last two games against the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers. He appears to be heating up at the right time as the Cubs make their final playoff push. His ERA currently sits at a 3.97 with a 1.11 WHIP and a 6-6 record.

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The poor Reds got hammered in Monday’s series opening game against the Cubs. I would be hard-pressed to even consider a scenario where things are different on Tuesday. The Reds have spent the entire season establishing the fact they’re incapable of playing consistently well on offense, and they’ll be facing Darvish, who appears to be in playoff form.

In Darvish’s last three games combined with 19 innings of work, he has held opposing offenses to only one earned run. That’s scary dominant for such an experienced player this late in the season. For all of the criticisms Darvish has taken throughout the year, he’s a player that knows when to turn it on, and he should have no problem doing so against a Reds offense that is seemingly always turned off.

Gray has been tremendous on the mound, and he could cause the Cubs some problems early. However, it will only be a matter of time before they bust open the Reds’ bullpen and leave their moribund offense in the dust. Give me the Cubs on Tuesday.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs (-156)

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The under is 7-3 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings between the Reds and Cubs in Chicago. Not only has Gray been tremendous on the road, but he has been even better when facing the Cubs. He is averaging a 2.70 ERA and a 2-1 record this year in these meetings. The least he can do is make it tough on the Cubs, but he still won’t stop the inevitable. I’m taking the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.