Aug. 29 MLB Preview — Cincinnati Reds (63-69) at Miami Marlins (47-85)

(Alex Wood photo courtesy David Kohl/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: Thursday, Aug. 29, Marlins Park, Miami, Fla., 7:10 p.m. EDT.

Alex Wood looks to avoid a fourth consecutive losing start Thursday night when the Cincinnati Reds wrap up a four-game series against the Miami Marlins.

Wood looking for improvements and more run support

Wood (1-3, 6.07 ERA) had back-to-back solid outings in his first two starts after missing the first four months of the season with a back injury, but it has been tough sledding since for the left-hander.

He has gone 0-3 with a 7.85 ERA in his last four starts, giving up 16 runs and 24 hits over 18 1-3 innings while opponents are hitting at a .316 clip. Wood was done in by shoddy defense and poor control Saturday in Pittsburgh, yielding five runs but only two hits with three walks and a hit batsman over 5 1-3 innings in a 14-0 loss.

The Reds bullpen did him no favors either as the final two runs credited to him scored on a grand slam by Lucas Sims.

“I thought I commanded it really well tonight,” Wood told the Reds’ official website. “They are a very aggressive team. We got some quick early outs, which was great. It kept my pitch count down, and I was attacking the zone and throwing it where I wanted to.”

“That was his best start, really, since he’s been with us,” manager David Bell added.

After some early struggles versus the Marlins in his career, Wood has had the upper hand in the series of late, going 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in his last seven matchups. The loss, though, came in the most recent outing while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year as he permitted two runs — one earned — in six innings of a 4-2 defeat.

Wood has allowed two or fewer runs in his last five starts in Miami, going 3-1 with a 1.74 ERA. Starlin Castro is 5 for 10 with a double in their meetings.

Dugger gets spot start with Yamamoto on IL

Rookie Jordan Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87 ERA) was originally scheduled to pitch this game, but the Marlins put him on the injured list Wednesday with a strained forearm and have recalled Robert Dugger (0-1, 10.80) for his second big league start.

The 24-year-old Dugger made an inauspicious major league debut Aug. 5 against the New York Mets at Citi Field, getting reached for six runs and five hits with four walks in five innings of a 6-2 loss.

The right-hander returned to Triple-A New Orleans and made three starts for the Baby Cakes but held opponents to four runs while striking out 17 over 13 innings in the last two.

Notable Trends

The Marlins are:

  • 9-20 in their last 29 during game 4 of a series.
  • 13-40 in their last 53 Thursday games.
  • 8-17 in their last 25 home games vs. left-handed starters.

The Reds are:

  • 5-0 in their last five games vs. sub-.400 teams.
  • 5-0 in their last five games vs. the Marlins.

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

OVER 4.5 runs first 5 innings (-115)

Another anti-Dugger pick, though Wood’s form could offer help in clearing a relatively low number given the Marlins turning to the rookie for a spot start. The five-inning over has gone 4-1-1 on Miami’s current homestand and is 5-3-1 in Cincinnati’s last nine on the road.

The over has split in Wood’s six starts (3-3), but this is more about the Reds getting to Dugger.

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

Reds -1.5 runs (-105)

The expectation is Wood will be able to stake the Reds to an early lead coming off their shutout victory and cruise against the Marlins rookie. Dugger was nothing special in his start against the Mets and also struggled with the long ball while with the Baby Cakes after being sent down, serving up five gopher balls in 17 2-3 innings.

Reds OVER 4.5 runs (-121)

This is a no-confidence pick in Dugger, whose control was erratic in his lone big league start in addition to being wild in the strike zone and serving up two home runs. The Reds have also scored five or more runs in their last four games, and that streak should continue in this series finale while sweeping the season series.

***3-Star Picks***

OVER 8.5 runs (-105)

Despite Miami’s sputtering offense at times, the feeling is the Reds will do most of the heavy lifting in this contest to clear this number. The other half is that Wood has not been getting great results despite what he describes as good pitching. The over had a four-game run in this series snapped Wednesday night and dropped to 6-2 in Cincinnati’s last eight against NL teams.

The over was is 14-6 in Miami’s last 20 Thursday games and 8-1 at home in its last nine against southpaw starters.

Reds -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)

While not enamored of Wood given the Reds are 1-4-1 at the midway point in his six starts, the feeling is he is still a better option than Dugger in this case. Cincinnati is 5-1 after five innings against Miami this year and 6-2 in its last eight overall.

The Marlins, in contrast, have gone 1-7-1 in their last nine overall and 2-9-1 in its last 12 at home.

Reds OVER 1 run first 3 innings (-145)

A “take what the defense gives you” pick, the Reds have plated at least one run in 10 of their last 11 games and should clear that mark for a fifth time in eight games here against a spot starter in Dugger. The Marlins have yielded at least one run in nine of their last 12 games, including five in the last two games of this series.


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