Cincinnati (5-1) at Chicago Cubs (5-1)
When: Monday, April 11th 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: FSN Ohio, WGN
The Chicago Cubs open their home schedule on Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds with very high expectations. After losing the National League Championship last season, the Cubs feel they have the roster to capture their first title since 1908. Chicago got off to a nice start in their first road trip of the season going 5-1, but losing outfielder Kyle Schwarber in the process for the season. The Cubs odds to win the World Series didn’t really fall as the have a very deep and talented roster. The Reds, who lost 98 games last season, are off to a nice 5-1 start that included a three-game sweep of the Phillies and a series win against the Pirates. Cincinnati has lost 9 of their last 13 at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs have lost their last five home openers. The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez went hitless in the season opener but is 10-for-20 with four homers and nine RBIs in five games since. Billy Hamilton, who is hitting .143 this season, is 4-for-5 against tonight’s Cubs starter Jon Lester.
Pitchers: Reds – Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 3.00 ERA) | Cubs – Jon Lester (1-0, 1.29)
Brandon Finnegan makes his second start of the season after a successful season debut against the Phillies. He struck out nine and held the Phillies to two runs and three hits over six innings in a no-decision. Finnegan was one of the prospects who came over from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto deal last season and worked exclusively out of the bullpen with the Royals but made four starts for the Reds following the trade and earned a spot in the rotation this spring.
Lester is coming off an up and down season with the Cubs last year and was just 7-9 with a 3.60 ERA in 20 home starts. Lester held the Angels to one run and four hits over seven innings with four strikeouts to win his season debut. He made four starts against the Reds last season, going 1-0 with a 3.67 ERA. In a September 30th start last season at Cincinnati, Lester held the Reds to one run over eight innings while striking out nine.
The Reds 5-1 start is a bit of a fluke and I believe the Cubs will get to Finnegan early and often tonight. I’m not laying the 220 on a straight bet, so take the run line and sit back and collect.
Pick: Cubs -1.5 -110