National League Central Battle: Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will meet for game two of their four game weekend series on Friday night. The Reds were able to defeat the Chicago Cubs in the series opener, 6-2. The Cubs have dominated the Reds in the last four years, but the Reds and Cubs have now split the six games between them this season.

The Chicago Cubs are in a tight battle with the Milwaukee Brewers atop the National League Central division standings. The Cubs have won the NL Central each of the last two seasons. The Reds find themselves in last place in the division, and appear to have no shot at making the playoffs this season. The Chicago Cubs are -130 over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

Reds’ Issues Start with Pitching

The Cincinnati Reds continue to struggle to find consistent pitching. The Reds rank 27th in Major League Baseball in team ERA with staff ERA of 4.86. The lack of pitching has been a major issue for the Reds in the past few seasons, but they hope that the recent acquisition of Matt Harvey will help solve this problem. Luis Castillo will start for the Reds in game two of the series, and he will be looking to improve on his 4-8 record and 5.77 ERA. Castillo faces a tough challenge against the Cubs.

Joey Votto is usually the most feared hitter in the Reds lineup, but this year it has not been the case. Veteran Scooter Gennett is having a career year and leads the National League with a .336 batting average. Eugenio Suarez leads Cincinnati in the power department and has hit 15 home runs to go along with 54 RBI’s in 2018. The Reds need these two players to produce if they are going to beat the Cubs.

Rizzo Getting Hot for Cubs

Anthony Rizzo got off to a slow start in 2018, but is heating up at the right time for the Cubs. Rizzo has his batting average up to .248, and is starting to hit for more power as well. The All-Star first baseman has taken over the RBI lead, and has driven in 48 runs to lead the Cubs. Rizzo loves hitting against the Reds, and should have a monster series this weekend.

Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs on Friday night. Quintana is in his first full season with the Cubs, and is starting to look like the pitcher the Cubs traded for. The left hander is 6-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 2018, but has won 3 of his last 4 starts. The Cubs hope that Quintana can limit the Reds offense and lead them to another victory.

Quintana, Cubs Win Game 2

The Cincinnati Reds have competed well against the Chicago Cubs this season and will try to continue that trend in game two of the series. The Reds feature a very talented offensive lineup, but still need a better performance from their pitching staff. Cincinnati still appears to be a few years away from competing in the National League Central.

The Chicago Cubs are starting to hit their stride, and they love hitting at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. If Quintana can give the Cubs another quality start on Friday night, the Cubs offense should be able to do the rest. Take the Chicago Cubs -130 over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

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