MLB picks: Cubs vs. Reds, Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks
The Cubs and Reds wrap up a four-game set tonight, while the Dodgers — fresh off a two-game series sweep of the arch-nemesis Astros — head to Arizona for a four-game series with the Diamondbacks.
Here are our best bets for Thursday evening.
Chicago Cubs (4-2) at Cincinnati Reds (2-4)
Thu, July 30 2020, 10:10 PM
CIN Reds[L. Castillo]
CHI Cubs[Y. Darvish]
The Cubs should find it difficult to solve Luis Castillo on the mound in their series finale with the Reds.
Castillo went 15-8 last year, with a 3.40 ERA, and was in the National League Cy Young race until he suffered a late-season slide. He began 2020 on the right foot, as he held the Tigers to one run over six innings Saturday.
Castillo went 2-1, with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.080 WHIP, in four starts against Chicago last year. He has done well to hold Cubs infielders Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo to a combined .197 batting average (12-for-61), with no home runs.
Countering for the Cubs is Yu Darvish, who struggled in his season opener against the Brewers, when he allowed three runs on six hits in only four innings.
Darvish was 1-2, with a 4.60 ERA, in five starts against the Reds in 2019. Look for the recently reinstated Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel to once again make an impact, as they’re a combined 8-for-26 (.308) against Darvish. Just don’t count on Cincinnati’s 28th-ranked bullpen (7.71 ERA) to close the door late.
MLB free play: Reds moneyline first five innings
Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2) at Arizona Diamondbacks (2-4)
Fri, July 31 2020, 1:40 AM
ARI Diamondbacks[R. Ray]
LA Dodgers[R. Stripling]
The Dodgers’ Ross Stripling and the Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray should ensure a relatively low-scoring game at Chase Field.
Stripling pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Giants on Friday night to kick off his 2020 campaign. He was a strikeout machine on the road last year, where he fanned 60 batters over 47 1/3 innings, compared to just 33 strikeouts over 43 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.
Arizona’s batters should oblige him. They’ve struck out the fifth-most in the NL this year. Stripling can also lean on an L.A. bullpen that is second in the majors in opponent batting average this season (.144).
Ray is likely to keep the Dodgers batters guessing all night. He owns a 3.15 strikeout-walk ratio against the Dodgers roster. He fanned 102 batters over 72 1/3 innings at home last season. Arizona’s bullpen has been decent in 2020, based on their .222 opponent batting average (13th in the majors).