The Cincinnati Reds are playing their best baseball of the season and can win their seventh straight game on Friday for the first time in almost two years. Combine that with the fact that the Reds (25-19) will send ace Johnny Cueto (5-1, 1.97 ERA) to the mound against the disappointing Colorado Rockies (16-27), and it’s very hard to bet against them in this spot at home.
Cincinnati has vaulted to the top of the National League Central division by winning six games in a row while the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals have gone 5-9 in their past 14. The Reds took two of three from the New York Yankees on the road in interleague play last weekend and followed that up with a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.
Meanwhile, the Rockies ended a six-game losing streak with an 8-4 road win against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. They surrendered an average of 7.2 runs per game during the skid and will now be facing a Cincinnati team that has given up three runs or less in each of the team’s last five. Colorado will also be sending a struggling rookie to the mound in lefty Christian Friedrich (1-1, 5.00).
Friedrich is coming off the worst start of his young career, allowing eight runs and nine hits to an offensively-challenged Seattle Mariners squad in just five innings of a 10-3 loss last Saturday. The southpaw had struck out a career-high 10 batters and allowed only one run in his previous outing but still saw the Rockies drop a 3-2 decision on the road against the San Francisco Giants on May 14.
Cueto, on the other hand, has been pitching lights out lately. The hard-throwing righty has gone 4-1 in his last six starts with Cincinnati winning five of them. He has not pitched at home since blanking the Houston Astros in a 6-0 victory on April 28, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing just five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Cueto has made his last four starts away from home along with six of his past seven, walking away with a loss only once during that stretch. In fact, he is also 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his previous seven starts at Cincy’s Great American Ball Park, failing to give up a run in five of them.
With the Reds hot right now and their hottest pitcher returning home for the first time in nearly a month, I’ll lay the price and bet them against Colorado.
Free MLB Pick: Cincinnati Reds -158