Cubs vs Reds Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, September 1
Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/Getty Images. Pictured: Graham Ashcraft.
Cubs vs. Reds Game 1 Odds
The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds meet in a day/night doubleheader on Friday. Jordan Wicks will go up against Graham Ashcraft in Game 1. The second game doesn't have starting pitching probables as of this writing, so this handicap will focus on the afternoon affair.
Wicks, a 2021 first-round pick for the Cubs, shined in his first appearance in a big-league uniform, twirling 5 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts. Meanwhile, Ashcraft has been exceptional for the Reds in the second half as they continue their quest for one of the final wild-card spots in the National League.
Wicks posted a 3.55 ERA over 91 1/3 innings in the minors this year. His 91 strikeouts to 32 walks helped lead him to a 1.17 WHIP. He also held a DRA- of 87 for the Iowa Cubs over 33 inning.
Jordan Wicks, 6th and 7th Ks.
Thru 3. pic.twitter.com/B97u8hU3sw
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 27, 2023
The Cubs had a 110 wRC+ and .777 OPS with a 9.3% walk rate and sub-20% strikeout rate off right-handed pitching in August. However, in the last two weeks-plus they have an 80 wRC+ with an 8.4% walk rate, 20.4% strikeout rate and .665 OPS.
In the latter timeframe, only three Cubs had a .320+ xwOBA. Given how Ashcraft has pitched lately, we may continue to see those subpar numbers.
In relief, the Cubs held a 4.33 xFIP in August, which ranked around the middle of the league. They only have three active relievers under the 4.00 mark. Wicks was able to make it into the fifth inning in his first start. Because the Reds cannot hit lefties, he should be able to do the same.
Ashcraft has really turned around his season. He owns a 4.73 ERA against a 4.99 xERA because his first half was atrocious. His Barrel Rate on the season is 6.9% with an Average Exit Velocity at 88.4 mph and a Hard Hit Rate at 39.2%. His walk rate is 8.5%, while his strikeout rate is 8.5%, so that's not exactly promising.
That said, in the second half he has a 2.59 ERA over 59 innings with 44 strikeouts and 16 walks.
Graham Ashcraft, K'ing the Side.
8Ks thru 5. pic.twitter.com/esW9VIcC6T
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 23, 2023
The Reds have been awful against left-handed pitching lately, and much of that has to do with injuries. Joey Votto, Jake Fraley, Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Kevin Newman and Curt Casali are all on the injured list. They claimed Harrison Bader and Hunter Renfroe from waivers, so this is a boost.
Off of lefties since August 15, Cincy has a 10.5% walk rate, 28.1% strikeout rate, and .647 OPS. This has led to a 76 wRC+. This will not get the job done against Wicks.
The Reds had two relievers below a 4.00 xFIP with a combined 4.83 xFIP for the month of August. They have a 10.7% walk rate against a 23% strikeout rate.
Cubs vs. Reds
Betting Pick & Prediction
Neither offense is excelling now. The Reds have a litany of injuries, while the Cubs have cooled off. Both of these starting pitchers look to have the edges over the opposing hitters, and the bullpens should have just enough to get the job done with the wind blowing in.
Take this under down to 9 and -120.