Everything is on the line for Cincinnati

The Reds are fading in the central division and after conceding the first place to St. Louis, they also fell to the fast rising Pirates who are now the leaders of the division. Cincinnati needs to end the slide quickly, not because they risk falling even deeper, but because the playoffs are not going to wait for slackers. The distance separating them from Chicago and Milwaukee is so wide that there is no concern of being leapfrogged by either of these players, but these are inconsequential details.


A more pressing matter is to break out of the funk and improve their record, as Cincinnati lost six of the last seven games and their starting pitchers were absolutely terrible. Add to this the fact that their otherwise hot bats have cooled off, and you’ve got the perfect storm brewing for a club with high expectations. In order to reverse their fortunes, the Reds will send in Mike Leake who despite being their fifth pitcher is the best one in their rotation, by far.

These numbers are outstanding and with a 2.61 ERA he finds himself in select company among names such as Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainright, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. These figures are impressive but they won’t be sufficient to bring him his sixth victory this season, especially with his offensive teammates struggling. To make things even worse, Cincinnati is traveling to Texas for a series that started in the worst possible way, as the Reds lost the opening game by four runs to zero.

Starting pitchers did a relatively good job in the last two games, but this made no difference because the Reds didn’t score a single run. Not even the mighty Mike Leake can offset such numbers and if the visitors are to end the losing streak of the three games, they need to come out firing. Arlington Park has never been a friendly arena for Cincinnati and if we take a look at their track record, the numbers are downright intimidating.

Both the teams, fans and management acknowledged the fact that the Reds are struggling against teams from the American League in general and the Western division in particular. On the other hand, all of them are optimistic about their chances to break the ice and they indicate the starting pitcher as their best weapon. Granted Mike is one of the most effective pitchers in the league, he will need some support but he might get lucky as his counterpart is one streaky pitcher.

Tepesch is highly unpredictable and has alternated extraordinary games with terrible ones, conceding a handful of runs in just a few innings. He is highly dependent on his teammates and usually the Rangers provide their pitchers with plenty of runs of support. On those rare occasions when the offensive malfunctions and Tepesch was not too sharp, Texas suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of mediocre opponents. This is what Cincinnati counts on, because if they take an early lead and cause an untimely retirement for Tepesch, Leake should be capable of carrying them to a rare victory in Texas.

Risk-averse punters would be wise to stay away from this game, because there are many things that can go wrong regardless of what they chose to bet on. By contrast, those who are seeking high profits and don’t mind taking chances to obtain them, should gamble a bit by backing the visitors all the way. To be more precise, they could be betting on Cincinnati to cover the -1.5 runs spread and increase their profits three times if this happens.