Cincinnati won the series rubber match with the Pirates on Wednesday, 9-4, at PNC Park to give the team a 10-1-1 record in its last 12 series. The Reds have won six of their last eight games overall and currently lead the division by a half game. “Yeah, we’ve got to keep winning series and hopefully you’ll throw a sweep or two in there somewhere,” manager Dusty Baker said. The last time the club led the division this late in the season was the final week of the 1999 campaign. In 37 daytime games this season, the club has managed to produce a 19-18 record (-150), with the total going 11-21 O/U in those contests. The National League’s leading offense is managing to average 4.1 runs per game and hitting a combined .259 during the day, which is nearly a full run lower than its season average (4.9). The Reds have played 12 straight games against divisional opponents (7-4) and have produced a dominating 31-18 record against the Central (+1,340).
Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo is 11-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this season and is coming off a 5-2 home victory against the Braves. In that start, he allowed two runs (zero earned) and four hits over seven innings. He is 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 road starts this season, as opposing hitters are hitting just .222. The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA in nine daytime starts, while he issued 30 walks and picked up 32 strikeouts. In 20 career appearances (18 starts) versus the Cubs, Arroyo has compiled a 8-6 record and 2.91 ERA. He made six starts in July, going 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA, allowing opponents to hit a .185 average.
Chicago picked up a 15-3 blowout victory at home over the Brewers in the series finale at Wrigley Field, but the team was outscored 67-20 in its previous seven games. “We allowed a lot of runs in Colorado and the first game in Milwaukee and it wasn’t fun,” third baseman Aramis Ramirez said. “Today we turned the page around and scored 15 runs.” The Cubs began the second half of the season with a 3-1 mark, but has gone 5-10 in their last 15 contests. The team’s .278 average in the second half ranks third in the NL and sixth in the Majors. Chicago is 2-3 in August thus far in 2010 and 33-28 during the month the last three seasons (-730). The team has failed to produce many winning streaks this year, going 16-30 after a win (-2,060). Playing divisional opponents hasn’t been any easier, currently standing at 21-32 against the NL Central (-2,300).
Cubs starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 21 appearances (15 starts) this season and his team has won four of his last five outings. Over that span, the offense has provided him 38 runs of support. The left-hander is an even 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 home outings (eight starts), but has surrendered just a single home run in 46.2 innings. He has made 13 daytime appearances (eight starts) this year, going 41 with a 3.10 ERA, managing to strike out 49 batters in 49.1 innings. In eight career starts versus the Reds, Gorzelanny has posted an even 3-3 record and 4.89 ERA.
Bettors can’t ignore the fact that the Reds are 11-3 in Arroyo’s last 14 starts against divisional opponents and the under is 8-3-1 in his last 12 starts in that situation. Chicago is 4-9 after an off day this year and the over is 4-0-1 in its last five games against a right-handed starter.