In: MLB Free Picks20 Jun 2011
Chris Hodge, Free Picks Newsletter Editor
213-114-2 of last 329
MLB: New York Yankees (+117) vs. Cincinnati Reds (-127) *Over/Under (9u-110)
A night against Ivan Nova might be what the Reds need to get their stroke back, after scoring only four runs in three games against the Toronto Blue Jays. However, the big question tonight will be whether Johnny Cueto can continue his reign of brilliance against the Yankees’ high-priced hit squad.
Cueto has allowed just one unearned run to cross the plate over his past 14 innings pitched. During the two starts those 14 innings covered, opponents collected just nine hits and recorded nine strikeouts.
Cueto, who started the season late, has started just eight games so far this season so you won’t see his name at the top of the pitching statistics leaders categories yet, but considering he hasn’t given up an earned run in four of his eight starts tells me he’ll be there as soon as he qualifies.
His 1.68 ERA could be on the verge of inflation, if he’s not on his best game against the Yankees.
We don’t need to go down the lineup and tout the value of each batter in the order, but they’ve scored 42 runs over their past six games. Only a handful of pitchers have had good success against New York this season.
Carlos Carrasco of Cleveland, the Angels’ Jared Weaver, and Josh Beckett of Boston all managed to shut down the Yankees this season, and it just so happens that each of those guys are similar to Cueto in their delivery.
Cueto isn’t as efficient as Beckett in terms of pitch count, but like Carrasco opponents hit far more ground balls against him than fly balls and much like Weaver, the ball typically stays in the ballpark.
The Reds are hitting just .255 over the past week, and their power production has been in steady decline since they raced out of the gate as the grand marshal of the home run parade, but Nova can help cure the slump.
Over his past nine starts, he’s allowed 28 runs to score and he’s tossed up six long balls. Nova’s biggest fault has been the number of walks he allows. He’s walked 32 batters in just over 70 innings and the Reds are fifth in the Major Leagues at taking pitches at the plate for free passes.
Considering this one is at The Great American Ballpark, and the Yankees lineup scores 25 percent fewer runs on the road and their hit totals drop by 25 percent in road games, Cueto is the x-factor that gives the Reds the edge.
Pick: Take the Cincinnati Reds (-127)