Chicago Cubs versus Cincinnati Reds (June 30)
Two NL Central rivals meet as the first place Cubs take on the last place Reds to finish a weekend series.
Jon Lester is scheduled to start on the mound for the Cubs and Anthony DeSclafani is set to pitch for the Reds.
The Cubs have been solid offensively this season, hitting .252 with 127 home runs and averaging five runs per game.
Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez are tied for the team lead in home runs with 19 and have a combined 108 RBI.
Kyle Schwarber and Wilson Contreras each have 17 home runs and Kris Bryant has 16 home runs.
All five of those players are projected to hit over 30 home runs this season.
Cincinnati has hit only .235 as a team with 109 home runs and near the league averaging in scoring at 4.3 per game.
Derek Dietrich heads the power attack with 18 home runs, followed by Yasiel Puig with 17 and Eugenio Suarez with 16.
Jesse Winker has added 12 home runs, but Joey Votto has yet to get on track.
He’s batting a relatively pedestrian .268 with only eight home runs.
Jon Lester is having a solid season with a record of 7-5 and a 3.83 ERA.
His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 82-to-18 is excellent, but has been hurt by the long ball.
He’s allowed a relatively high 14 home runs in 82 1/3 innings of work.
Out of the bullpen, Brandon Kintzler has been the most dependable, posting an ERA just above two over 35 innings.
Kyle Ryan and Steve Cishek have combined to an ERA of 3.17 over 65 1/3 innings.
Brad Brach has been frequently used but is struggling to an ERA of 5.35 over 35 2/3 innings.
As a team the Cubs are allowing 4.3 runs per game.
For the Reds, Anthony DeSclafani has posted an ERA of 4.70 due mostly to giving up the home run ball at the rate of one every five innings.
His strikeout to walk ratio is a solid 77-to-23 in 74 2/3 innings. The bullpen has been inconsistent.
Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett have been very good, allowing only 21 earned runs in 77 1/3 innings.
However, the combination of Rasiel Iglesias and David Hernandez have posted a relatively mediocre ERA of 4.10 in 68 innings.
As a team, the Reds have allowed only 3.8 runs per game, among the best in the league.
If you combine the scoring output, the teams will put up around nine runs in this contest.
However, the pitching staffs have allowed only around eight runs per game.
Both pitchers have had trouble keeping the ball in the park, so this game could come down to who can deposit more balls into the seats.
The Cubs have the better offense and the game must lean in that direction.
Going with a gut feeling on this one, but Im taking the “under”.
Most runs will be via the long ball with the Cubs coming out on top, 4-3.