Aug. 19 MLB Preview — San Diego Padres (58-65) at Cincinnati Reds (58-65)

(Trevor Bauer photo courtesy Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Monday, Aug. 19, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, 7:10 p.m. EDT.

In a season of upheaval for Trevor Bauer, there have been more than a few starts he would like to forget.

The recently acquired right-hander looks to move on from the worst one of his career Monday night when the Cincinnati Reds begin a three-gam series with the San Diego Padres.

Lauer makes third bid at career-high seventh win

Eric Lauer (6-8, 4.55 ERA) has gone back-to-back starts without a decision, which is part of a longer stretch dating to early June in which he has gone 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA in his last 10 starts. The second-year left-hander also won six games in 23 starts last year as he heads into his 23rd start of 2019.

Lauer was in line for a victory Tuesday night after allowing three runs in five innings to Tampa Bay, but the bullpen squandered a one-run lead in San Diego’s 7-5 loss to the Rays. It has been a trying time of late for the 24-year-old, who lost his father to cancer last month. He has gone 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts since his father’s passing.

“I just wanted to get back to being as normal as possible,” Lauer told the San Diego Union-Tribune before Tuesday’s start. “Yeah, I’ll have my grieving and do what I need to do. But just (trying) to be as normal possible. I still have my moments. But getting back to baseball, I know for a fact it’s what he would have wanted. I know it’s what I wanted.

“He would always tell me when he was in the hospital to give him some good medicine, because that’s what kept him going. So getting back to baseball was good.”

The Reds nickel-and-dimed Lauer for three runs and six hits in five innings in the first matchup between the teams, scoring single runs in the first, fourth, and fifth to deal the Padres a 4-2 loss April 20. He did not factor in the decision in his lone start at Cincinnati last year, throwing four shutout innings as San Diego won 6-2 on Sept. 6.

The Padres (58-65) are looking to win three straight on the road for the first time since July 5-7 after taking the final two games of a three-game set at Philadelphia. Austin Hedges, who entered Sunday’s game hitting .183, went 4 for 4 and hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh to lift San Diego to a 3-2 victory.

Bauer tries to shake off pasting by Nats

It was an uneven season for Bauer (1-1, 7.31) even before he was dealt within state lines from Cleveland to Cincinnati before the trade deadline. The right-hander has had some gems — including a four-hit shutout and leaving his second start of the season with a no-hitter after seven innings — but there also have been some clunkers like the one Wednesday in the nation’s capital.

Bauer was drilled for nine runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings of Cincinnati’s 17-7 loss to Washington, giving up eight of the 10 runs the Nationals scored in the fifth inning. It was the ninth time in his career Bauer has been reached for seven or more runs, but it was also the second time in four starts and fourth time this season.

“It’s tough. I tried to go to different weapons. I have a deep repertoire, and I had good feel. I felt like I was commanding it.,” Bauer told the Reds’ official website. “I gave up hits on all six of my pitch types that inning.”

Bauer did not have any success pitching against San Diego while with the Indians, losing all three starts while posting a 6.28 ERA. He last faced the Padres in 2017, yielding four runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss.

One Padre who may be excited to see Bauer in the National League is Manny Machado. The slugger feasted on Bauer’s pitching during his time with the Baltimore Orioles, going 9 for 21 with four homers and two doubles.

While Bauer tries to right himself, Aristides Aquino continues to be the talk of Cincinnati (58-65). The rookie right fielder has hit 11 homers in his first 17 games since being called up and failed to go deep for just the fourth time in his last 12 after going 0 for 2 with two walks in Sunday’s 5-4 loss.

Aquino was in the on-deck circle when a ninth-inning rally fell short as Brian O’Grady and Eugenio Suarez struck out after the Reds scored two runs off Cards closer Carlos Martinez.

Notable Trends

The Reds are:

  • 6-1 in their last seven home games vs. sub-.500 teams.
  • 6-1 in their last seven games vs. sub-.500 teams.
  • 7-3 in their last 10 games following a loss.

The Padres are:

  • 3-10 in their last 13 during game 1 of a series.
  • 5-11 in their last 16 road games vs. sub-.500 teams.
  • 2-5 in their last seven games vs. the Reds.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Reds UNDER 5 runs (-121)

The Reds failed to score more than four runs in any of their games in San Diego in the previous series between the teams and have scored more than five runs in just six of their 23 matchups with NL West teams. That includes clearing that mark three times in 10 home games.

Given Lauer’s effectiveness in series openers — the under is 9-4-2 in his last 15 such starts — it is a reasonable expectation to think he and the Padres can keep the Reds to five or fewer runs.

****4-Star Pick****

UNDER 9 runs (Even)

The under has hit in Lauer’s last five road starts, which is a stunning turnaround after going 0-5-1 in his first six. He also has helped deliver the under in his last six outings against NL Central opponents.

The under is 6-2-1 in San Diego’s last nine on the road against NL Central teams and delivered in the last four matchups between the teams. The under has been a solid play when the Padres are on the road, going 16-6 in their last 22 games and 13-4 when the opponent has a winning record at home.

The over is 2-1 in Bauer’s three starts since joining Cincinnati, but the under delivered in his lone home start. That gave the under a 4-2 mark in the righty’s last six home starts dating back to being with Cleveland.

***3-Star Picks***

Reds ML (-165)

This is more of an anti-Padres pick than it is a pro-Reds one because it is difficult to get a gauge on Lauer, especially on the road where he has lost four of his last five starts. While Bauer is coming off a horrid outing, he has shown resiliency in usually bouncing back with a serviceable performance in the next outing.

Then there is Aquino, who has already homered eight times in just 35 at-bats in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. Neither team has been overly consistent throughout the season, but the belief is Bauer bounces back and helps Cincinnati open this series with a victory.

Reds 3-way ML first 5 innings (-121)

The money line is offering a slightly better return than laying the half-run at -125. The Padres are 1-4-1 at the midway point in Lauer’s last six road starts.

Bauer looked comfortable in his lone start in Cincinnati, and the Reds are 6-3-1 after five innings in their 10 home games versus NL West teams. They are also 6-3-1 in their last 10 series openers at home.

UNDER 5 runs first 5 innings (-105)

This is a two-part hunch based on Bauer bouncing back and Lauer’s trends of pitching well in series openers and against NL Central teams. While the five-inning under is 3-2 in his five matchups against the NL Central, one of those losses was a narrow defeat when the over/under was 3.5 runs.

It is a contrarian pick to a degree given the over is 4-1-1 in San Diego’s last six games and 4-1 in Cincinnati’s last five, but the under is also 6-2-2 in the last 10 on the road for the Padres.

Padres UNDER 1 run first 3 innings (-121)

A confidence pick in Bauer bouncing back but also recognizing the Padres have struggled out of the box of late. They failed to plate a run over the first three innings in all three games of their series at Philadelphia and have failed to do so in eight of their last 12 on the road.

Bauer has held four of its last five opponents to one or no runs in the first three innings, including all three outings since joining the Reds, and this may be the start where he puts up three goose eggs.


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