The Cincinnati Reds have been red hot of late. After starting the season slowly, the Reds have been playing about as well as anyone in baseball over the last month. Cincinnati has now taken over the top spot in the National League Central. Houston has been much more competitive than most expected. The Astros are 16-11 at home this year. Let’s take a look at this FOX Saturday Baseball game.
Brandon Phillips has stayed healthy over the last few weeks, and his hot hitting has really helped the Reds offense get going. Cincinnati was at the bottom of all the offensive categories just a few short weeks ago, but they are slowly climbing the board as Phillips provides them with a consistent force batting around Joey Votto. Votto is having another stellar season. He leads the team with a .329 batting average. Jay Bruce leads the team with 12 homers and 34 RBI’s.
Cincinnati needs some more production out of the top of the order. Drew Stubbs continues to strike out too much, and Zack Cozart is too inexperienced to consistently hit leadoff. The Reds pitching staff has been tremendous this year. Aroldis Chapman has been put at the back of the bullpen, and the Reds have one of the best pens in baseball. Chapman struck out the side in dominating fashion last night to pick up the save. He has yet to give up an earned run all season. Overall, the Reds have a team ERA of 3.35, which is fourth best in the majors.
The Astros have struggled on the road, but they have been solid at home. Wandy Rodriguez has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the game over the last couple years. Despite pitching on a bad a team, he has managed to be extremely good. Rodriguez has a tremendous curve ball, and he has great command of all his pitches. Rodriguez leads the team with a 2.49 ERA so far in 2012. Houston’s defense has made 35 errors already this year, so the defense isn’t helping the pitchers out much at all.
Jose Altuve may only be 5’5, but he is proving to be a very tough guy to get out. Altuve is hitting a team-best .315, and he has nine stolen bases this year. The Astros have to play a little small ball, because there really aren’t many power hitters on this team. Houston has just 40 home runs so far this year, despite the fact that they play in a pretty favorable park for home run hitters.
Free MLB Pick: Reds ML
The Astros come into this game as losers of seven straight games. The Astros play hard, but they don’t have the talent that the Reds have. At this price, I like the Reds here.