Jon Lester (10-12, 3.43 ERA), attemping to pick up his 200th strikeout of the season, takes the hill for the Chicago Cubs (92-65) as they square off against Anthony DeSclafani (9-12, 3.91 ERA) and the Cincinnati Reds (63-94) in the second of a three-game series at the Great American Ball Park. The Reds lost the last game 4-1, continuing a 10-game losing streak. Action begins at 7:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sep. 30 and can be seen on WGN and FSOH.
DeSclafani pitched 6.1 innings in his most recent start, surrendering five runs (two unearned) and striking out three in a 12-5 defeat to the Mets. Lester went 7.0 innings, surrendering two runs and striking out six in a 3-2 defeat to the Pirates in his last outing. Kris Bryant (.281, 86 Rs, 26 HRs, 99 RBIs, 13 SBs) went 1 for 5 yesterday.
Chicago takes on Cincinnati as a -149 favorite. The Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is sitting at seven runs. The Reds have recorded an overall money line of -2,825 and have shown a weak performance as an underdog this season with a record of 34-68. Cincinnati has had a tough time SU and as the underdog, going winless over the last 10 games. The Reds have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 2.2 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.0 runs per game. Cincinnati leads the MLB in steals, swiping 131 bases. Cincinnati's pitching staff has been doing poorly against opposing offenses during the last 10 games, allowing an average of 6.8 runs per game, well above its season average of 4.6. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Reds, who rank fifth in the NL in strikeouts per home game with 8.5.
In the other locker room, Chicago is coming in with an overall money line of +1,257 and an impressive record of 67-38 as the favorite. They have been playing solid baseball as favorite with a 28-15 record against NL Central foes, and a 41-30 record SU. Offensively, they average four runs per game on the road, which is third in the NL. Chicago is excellent at drawing walks with an NL-best 3.5 per game. Chicago's pitching staff is one of the top in the NL, with a 3.44 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Cubs are the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.17 for the season. The Cubs have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.5 strikeouts per road game.
The Cubs lead the season series, 11-6. The Reds have a 14-23 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Lester takes the mound. DeSclafani (RHP) will be on the hill against the Cubs, who have a 74-51 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - ChC, O/U - Over
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chi Cubs's last 5 games.
Chi Cubs are 10-4 SU in their last 14 games.
Chi Cubs are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chi Cubs's last 7 games when playing Cincinnati.
Chi Cubs are 14-6 SU in their last 20 games when playing Cincinnati.
Chi Cubs are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Chi Cubs's last 9 games when playing on the road against Cincinnati.
Cincinnati is 2-5 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against Chi Cubs.
For the 24th time this season, the Reds registered at least two errors in a game.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Reds are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Cubs have a 37-1 record in games where opponents scored that many runs or fewer.
The Cubs are coming into the game with three consecutive wins, while the Reds currently have a losing streak of 10.
When they outhit their opponents, the Reds are 48-18. The Cubs have a 63-9 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 25th in runs, Cincinnati has earned 627 this season. Chicago ranks 17th with 664 runs.
Chicago tops the league in walks with 547 this season. Cincinnati ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 486.
The Reds are 54-45 in games where they hit one or more home runs. The Cubs are 65-28 when they hit at least one homer.