Sunday MLB Odds & Picks for Reds vs. Diamondbacks: Expect Cincinnati to Heat Back Up (April 11)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images. Pictured: Tucker Barnhart of the Reds.
- The Reds have surprisingly started the season with MLB's best offense.
- However, Cincinnati's bats took the day off in Saturday's 8-3 setback against Arizona.
- Kenny Ducey expects the Reds to get right back to their offensive form in Sunday's series finale.
Reds vs. Diamondbacks Odds
|Over/Under||9.5 (-102 / -120)|
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday morning and via FanDuel.|
After handing the Reds just their second loss of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks will take the field on Sunday looking to finish the job in the rubber match and win their first series of the season on the arm of Luke Weaver. Cincinnati, meanwhile, will counter with José De León as it looks to keep all that early-season momentum it’s build up.
The Reds lineup was finally brought to a halt by…Riley Smith? Whether it was Smith beginning to prove himself at the big-league level, or simply an overdue cold game, Cincinnati mustered just 10 hard-hit balls, though they managed nine baserunners against Smith in the first six innings. The Reds went on to go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
On top of that, it’s hard to expect an easy win when you start Jeff Hoffman, which is exactly what Cincinnati did. Things might not get better with José De León on the hill, who was great in his first outing of the year against the Pirates, but it’s hard to get excited about any level of success against the worst lineup in baseball.
De León has been around since 2016 now, bouncing around and landing on his third team. He’s the owner of a career 7.79 ERA and 6.75 FIP, and doesn’t offer anything too special, operating mainly with a two-pitch mix. He threw his sinker roughly 70% of the time last year, and came back with his changeup 22.6% of the time. Like any sinker-baller, his main goal on the mound is to induce ground balls, which has made a 5.2% home run rate a little alarming.
I don’t need to spend much time here on the Reds offense, because you know they rule. They sit atop the league with 8.25 runs scored per game and are hitting .312 as a team. They’ve already hit 13 homers off of right-handed pitching in eight games. Cincinnati has owned one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball and will be hoping Saturday was just a blip on the radar.
All things considered, Luke Weaver’s first start of the season went pretty well. It’s not too easy to go to Coors Field and allow just three earned runs through 5 2/3, but that’s exactly what the once-highly touted prospect did against the Rockies last week. Now, the historically disappointing Weaver will be hoping that he can build on that moderate success and round into the form he flashed early in his career.
The problem is, he was probably a little worse at Coors than his stat line would show. Weaver gave up a whopping three barrels, producing a concerning .703 xSLG in that outing. Those expected stats are in line with a pattern we’ve seen in recent years, which is hard contact ultimately leading to Weaver’s demise. His hard-hit rate ballooned to 42% last season, so it’s hard to expect him to shut down one of the best offenses in baseball. That said, he has had two good seasons in the league, and clearly is still around because he has some talent. There is always a chance when he takes the ball that it will shine, though those performances have been scattered.
The offense is what’s really worth talking about here for Arizona, because it’s been bad. Just three players have an xwOBA above .320, and as a result the team’s scratched across 4.22 runs per game, which ranks 15th. While that number doesn’t seem that bad, consider that the number is slightly inflated by three amazing outbursts. When this offense has been bad, it’s been bad. The Diamondbacks somehow got shut out at Coors, which is hard to do.
It’s hard to trust the Diamondbacks’ offense in any way, shape or form. Even against José De León, I don’t find it all that likely that a team that’s hit .205 against righties will have much success. These numbers aren’t a fluke, Arizona has struggled to get runners on and get them across the plate, getting some assistance from some free passes on Saturday.
I’m fixated on the Reds’ matchup with Luke Weaver, which I think will bring runs. That in conjunction with a lopsided battle between the bullpens leads me to believe Cincinnati is too good to pass up at this price. The Reds have beaten up on righties this year and should continue to do so.
In the other hand, a lack of quality contact — and consistency in the hit column — has been the story of Arizona’s season. I’m taking a wait and see approach with the Diamondbacks, there’s a better chance than not that last night was simply an outlier, and things will go back to being a constant struggle on offense.
Pick: Reds (-118)