Mike Leake (0-1, 3.92 ERA) and the Cincinnati Reds (8-8) go up against Jon Lester (0-2, 6.89 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (8-7) in the first of a three-game division series at the Great American Ball Park. The game gets underway at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Apr. 24 and will air on CSN-CHI and FSN-OH.
Leake is 8-2 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.21 WHIP against the Cubs in his career. Zack Cozart (.328, 8 Rs, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, 1 SB) went 1 for 4 yesterday. In his career against the Reds, Lester is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and four strikeouts. Starlin Castro (.355, 6 Rs, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs, 1 SB) has been doing well, going 2 for 4 yesterday with one run.
Oddsmakers have deemed this game an even matchup and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at seven runs. Against teams in the NL Central, the Reds have an SU record of 8-7. The Reds rank fourth in the majors in home runs with 19. The Reds are a nightmare for opponents on the bases with an MLB-high 17 steals.
Against divisional opponents, the Cubs are 5-3 SU. They sport the fifth-ranked offense in the NL, averaging 4.4 runs per game. The Cubs have racked up 16 steals on the year, making them one of the most threatening base-running teams in the league. Chicago's pitching staff tends to perform well when they play division rivals. They've allowed an average of 3.2 runs per game against teams from the NL Central, lower than their season average of 4.1. They also allow just 1.9 walks per game, good for tops in the NL. The Chicago pitching staff has been an intimidating group on the road this year, averaging 8.7 strikeouts per game.
In their previous three games this season, the Cubs have a 2-1 record. The right-handed Leake will take the mound against the Cubs, who have a 7-5 record against righty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC, O/U - Over
The Reds are an even 8-8 against the division, while the Cubs sit at 5-4.
Chicago recorded at least two errors for the third time this season.
When the Cubs play into extra innings, they have a 3-0 record. The Reds are 1-2 when their games exceed nine innings.
The Cubs are coming into this game after allowing two walks during their last outing. The Reds have a 2-5 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Reds are 4-3. The Cubs have a 4-1 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 16th, Cincinnati is in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 63 this season. Chicago ranks in the top half at 13th with 66.
Ranking 11th, Cincinnati is in the top half of the league in walks, notching 48 this season. Chicago ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 56.
When the Reds hit at least one home run, they are 6-5. When the Cubs hit at least one homer, they have a 6-1 record.