The Cincinnati Reds are in Chicago for a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. With just three weeks left in the regular season, every game is extremely critical for each team.
The Chicago Cubs currently sit atop the National League Central Division standings with a record of 24-18. The Cubs hold a 2.5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, and they are looking to win the division title.
Cincinnati enters this series with a record of 18-23, and they are in fourth place in the NL Central. The Reds trail the Cubs by 5.5 games, but they still have a shot at earning a Wild Card spot in the National League.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Chicago Cubs at -116 against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Cubs Need More Pitching
The Chicago Cubs might be leading the National League Central Division, but their starting pitching rotation is in shambles. Chicago has just two starters pitching well, and it will be Alec Mills making the start in this game.
Mills is 3-3 so far this season with a 5.50 earned run average, but he has shown flashes of greatness for the Cubs. The right-hander has struggled against the Reds so far this season, allowing six runs in just nine innings pitched.
The Cubs have struggled on offense this season, even though they have been able to find just enough power at times. Chicago is hitting just .229 as a team, which is in the bottom third of the league. The Cubs have scored 189 runs, which is right at league average.
Ian Happ has powered the Cubs on offense this season, and he has been one of the best players in baseball. Happ leads the team with a .304 batting average to go along with 12 home runs and 24 runs batted in.
Reds Need More Offense
The Cincinnati Reds have been even worse than the Cubs on offense this season, which was unexpected with their roster. Cincinnati is hitting just .211 as a team, and that is the worst batting average in the Major Leagues.
Former Cub, Nick Castellanos has had himself a big year with the Reds, and he has always hit well at Wrigley Field. Castellanos leads the Reds with 12 home runs to go along with 27 RBI.
It will be Tyler Mahle on the mound for Cincinnati on Tuesday night, and he has pitched well of late. Mahle is 1-1 with a 3.90 earned run average this season, but he has gone 13 ⅔ innings combined in his last two starts.
This has been a disappointing season for the Reds, but they still have time to turn things around and sneak into the playoffs.
Cubs Win Series Opener
There is not much separation between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds this season, except that the Cubs have been able to win more games. Both teams have glaring holes on their roster, but Chicago has been able to find a way to win more games.
The pitching matchup in this game favors the Reds a bit, but this has the potential to be a high-scoring game. Both teams can slug, and there will likely be plenty of home runs hit in this game.
Look for this to be a high-scoring game, but the Cubs will get just enough offense to come away with the win. Chicago is the best team in the NL Central for a reason, and they win the series opener.
Bet the Chicago Cubs -116 over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.