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Reds vs. Padres Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Cincinnati Finally End Its Losing Streak? (April 20)

Reds vs. Padres Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Cincinnati Finally End Its Losing Streak? (April 20) article feature image
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Via Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Gutierrez.

Reds vs. Padres Odds

Reds Odds +165
Padres Odds -195
Over/Under 8.5
Time 4:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

It’s get-away day across the league, and the Cincinnati Reds are looking to get out of San Diego without being swept. The Padres have taken the first two games of the series as they have gotten great pitching performances from Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove.

The fans will be treated to the MacKenzie Gore experience in this one. Gore, one of the most highly-touted pitching prospects in recent memory, will make his second career start and look to settle in as he certainly bent in his first start but didn’t break.

He’ll be opposed by another young arm as Vladimir Gutierrez will get the ball for Cincinnati. Gutierrez’s numbers to begin 2022 do not look pretty. However, a deeper look may reveal how good he has actually been thus far. Perhaps he is due for a quality performance against this powerful Padres lineup. Can he be the stopper that his team desperately needs him to be? Let’s dive in and find out.

Reds Must Remain Disciplined Against Gore

Saying that the Reds have stumbled out of the gates may be putting it nicely as they enter this matchup 2-10 and are looking to avoid their ninth straight loss. There are not many bright spots for the Reds, as their nine-game losing streak is built on an underperforming offense and subpar pitching.

The Reds’ injuries have also started to pile up as reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jonathan India joined Mike Moustakas, Tyler Naquin, and two-fifths of the starting rotation on the IL.

Against Gore, the key for this hampered Reds lineup will be to remain disciplined and wait for their pitch to hit. Gore was very fastball-heavy in his debut as he threw it nearly 73 percent of the time. While his line at the end of the start wasn’t bad, how he commanded that fastball is concerning.

According to Inside Edge, Gore had a First-Pitch Strike Rate of only 45 percent. That is well below the league average of 62 percent. Then, when he did get it over, he surrendered some hard contact. As a result, Gore’s average Exit Velocity and Hard-Hit Rate are both in the bottom ten percent of the league.

The issue with his fastball is that it may be firm, averaging 95.6 mph, but it doesn’t have much life to it. As a lefty, you would expect his fastball to have that natural run that many left-handers possess; however, Gore’s fastball had 30 percent less horizontal movement than the league average in his first start.

If the Reds can wait for fastballs in the zone, they have a chance to break out of their slump here. However, a change in approach is necessary for a team with the third-highest Strikeout Percentage and the fifth-lowest Walk Rate.

Look for Kyle Farmer and Brandon Drury to potentially get the party started early, as the projected one-two hitters in the lineup are drastically better against left-handers historically.

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Gutierrez Due to Contain the Padres’ Bats

A glance at Vladimir Gutierrez’s numbers won’t leave you too impressed as he’ll enter this matchup with a 5.40 ERA after losing his first two starts of the year.

However, he is pitching much better than the peripheral numbers indicate. Gutierrez will also enter this start with a 3.47 expected ERA and a 3.89 FIP. Essentially, his ERA is inflated due to more than his fair share of bad luck, and his .407 BABIP displays that perfectly.

Although part of the reason his BABIP is staggeringly high is that he lacks swing-and-miss stuff. Gutierrez is in the bottom 15 percent in the league in Whiff and Chase Rate. His dip in fastball velocity also does not help that case, but regardless, the quality of contact does not warrant his results as his expected Batting Average Against is just .229.

Lastly, he’ll get to make this start on the road in Petco Park. Now Petco Park is already a well-known pitcher park, but Gutierrez is also drastically better on the road in his career. His ERA is nearly two full runs lower on the road than at home, and his batting average against is 59 points lower.

While the Padres lineup is still dangerous without Fernando Tatis Jr., their early-season production is suspect. They have scored the fifth-most runs in the league but have done it while hitting just .231 as a team and owning the ninth-highest Strikeout Rate in the majors.

Reds-Padres Pick

While the Reds may be down in the dumps to start the season, they are far from out of this game as they still have plenty of offensive talent to jump on the rookie in his second career start.

On top of that, Gutierrez will benefit significantly from starting in Petco as he’s proven to become a victim of his home park. The Reds are more than capable of ending their losing streak, but if they’re going to do it, I see them getting out ahead early and staying ahead.

Pick: Cincinnati Red First 5 Innings +0.5 (+100)

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