Friday is the first game of a three-game weekend series between the Rangers and Reds as Texas travels to Cincinnati. Texas has been red hot in June so far, winning three out of four series and tying in the fourth. At 36-32, they look like a lock to beat their over/under on wins for the season that was set at 71. The Reds, on the other hand, have been mediocre in June, going 3-6 and currently sit at 30-36 and are in fourth place in the NL Central.
For the Reds, Tyler Mahle will get the ball to make his 13th start. So far in 2019, Mahle is 2-6 with a 4.21 ERA. The record is not great, and the ERA is unexceptional. However, his xFIP shows he’s been pitching better than those peripherals may suggest at 3.58. Of those six losses, three of them came in a game where he pitched at least five innings and gave up two earned runs or less.
A big bugaboo for Mahle so far this year has been the long ball. In nine of his 12 starts, Mahle has given up a home run. And untimely ones at that, including his last start where he gave up a two-run bomb to Jay Bruce and lost the game 3-2.
The good news for Reds fans is that Mahle is much much better at home. He has given up only four runs in 16 innings inside Great American Ballpark, good for a 2.25 ERA. And the long ball isn’t as much a problem, as of his 12 given up this season, only two have come at home.
For the Rangers, all reports are showing that it is going to be a bullpen day for Texas. There have been different rumors on what is going on with Drew Smyly, as this is his spot. However, ESPN is reporting that it’ll be a bullpen game, so that’s what we’ll base this prediction on.
Texas has a bottom-tier bullpen thus far in 2019, capped with some serious issues at closer. Their bullpen ERA is 4.74, good for 22nd in the league. Opposing hitters are batting .267 off Texas relievers, which is the second highest in the league.
Batters To Watch
Joey Votto has gotten off to an uncharacteristically slow start this year, batting only .257 with lower walk numbers and higher strikeout numbers than normal. However, he’s started to pick it up as of late, getting a base hit in 14 of his last 16 games.
Elvis Andrus is a big reason the Rangers have been so good this season. After a bad 2018, he has bounced back in 2019 with a batting average over .300 and as many home runs this year as he had all of last season. On the road against right-handed pitching, Andrus is crushing the ball for a .413 batting average.
With how unpredictable the pitching situation is in this game for the Rangers, this is definitely a game that favors the Reds. Tyler Mahle’s numbers at home are sparkling, which makes this pick easier as well. Take the Reds.
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