Sept. 15 MLB Picks and Preview — Cincinnati Reds (69-80) at Arizona Diamondbacks (76-73)

(Ketel Marte photo courtesy Jennifer Stewart/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: Sunday, Sept. 15, Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz., 4:05 p.m. EDT.

In a season of upheaval, Trevor Bauer will take any positive he can get as 2019 comes near a close. He looks for his first back-to-back quality outings since joining Cincinnati on Sunday when the Reds conclude their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bauer tries to close out season strong

It has not been a smooth season overall for Bauer (1-4, 7.40 ERA), who likely needs to win out to avoid his first sub-.500 season since going 11-12 for Cleveland in 2015. The right-hander has recorded just two quality starts in eight since the Indians dealt him to the Reds, but the most recent one came Tuesday in Seattle.

Bauer yielded a pair of solo homers but only one other hit over 6 1-3 innings, striking out eight and getting taken off the hook for a loss as the Reds rallied to take a lead before losing 4-3.

“At one point, I had given up two hits and both were homers. That’s just the nature of the game today,” Bauer told the Reds’ official website after his 116-pitch effort. “I didn’t think either of them were bad pitches, honestly. It’s just on a night where I have probably my best fastball all year and really good command of it, two of them leave the yard.”

It was also easily Bauer’s best outing on the road since joining Cincinnati as he enters this contest 0-3 with a 10.88 ERA in five road starts since the trade. Opponents are hitting at a .351 clip in those games, taking him deep six times in 22 1-3 innings while piling up 17 extra-base hits.

Bauer has not faced the Diamondbacks since an 11-2 loss at Chase Field in 2017 when he was reached for four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. The righty is 0-1 with a 3.95 ERA in two career matchups with Arizona, but Alex Avila saw plenty of him while in the American League and is 7 for 19 with two homers and against Bauer.

Gallen trying to keep Diamondbacks on fringes of wild-card chase

While it has been a tough season for Bauer, it has been one of tough luck in terms of performances for Zac Gallen (3-5, 2.66), who at least had a stroke of good fortune of being dealt from cellar-dwelling Miami to a playoff contender in Arizona.

The 24-year-old has been given an average of 3.51 runs of support over his 14 combined starts for the Marlins and Diamondbacks, a figure that would rank second-lowest in the National League if he had enough innings to qualify.

That lack of offense behind him again cropped up Tuesday in New York, where limiting the Mets to three runs in six innings consigned him to a 3-2 defeat despite recording nine strikeouts.

The rookie will be making his first appearance against the Reds and will look to extend a strong run at home since being acquired by the Diamondbacks. Gallen is 2-0 with 1.57 ERA in four starts at Chase Field, limiting opponents to a .158 batting average while striking out 28 in 23 innings.

Notable Trends

The Diamondbacks are:

  • 10-3 in their last 13 home games.
  • 5-2 in Galllen’s last seven starts.
  • 7-2 in their last nine games vs. sub-.500 teams.

The Reds are:

  • 1-5 in Bauer’s last six starts.
  • 8-19 in their last 27 Sunday games.
  • 0-5 in Bauer’s last five road starts.

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

UNDER 4.5 runs first 5 innings (-121)

Gallen’s form and the hook make this a solid play, along with confidence in Bauer to at least carry over some of his form from his last outing after Saturday night’s 1-0 tilt in which the Diamondbacks won despite being one-hit.

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

UNDER 8.5 runs (-115)

Gallen’s home form offers enough confidence to overcome Bauer’s road form, with the hook providing that likely needed cushion for the under to hit. The under is 9-1 in Cincinnati’s last 10 games versus NL West opponents and 5-1-1 in the last seven overall.

The under has trended strongly with Gallen since his arrival in Arizona, going 6-0-1 in his last seven starts, including 3-0-1 at Chase Field. The under also is 7-1 in the Diamondbacks’ last eight matchups versus NL Central teams and 9-2-2 in their last 13 at home against sub-.500 teams.

***3-Star Picks***

Diamondbacks ML (-165)

Though Bauer is coming off a solid outing, his road form since joining the Reds leaves much to be desired and is enough to take the Diamondbacks despite their offensive struggles of late. Gallen’s home form is also at play in thinking he can help Arizona out of this rut and maintain its playoff hopes for the final two weeks.

Gallen OVER 7.5 strikeouts (+117)

Gallen has fanned eight or more in four of his last five starts and is averaging 11.02 strikeouts per nine innings on the season. That form has been consistent in his four starts at Chase Field since joining the Diamondbacks with the rookie posting a ratio of 10.96 strikeouts per nine innings.

Diamondbacks -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)

Though the Diamondbacks are 2-4-1 at the midway point in Gallen’s seven starts since being acquired, his form makes Arizona the pick considering the Reds are 0-4-1 after five innings in Bauer’s road starts since arriving in Cincinnati. The Diamondbacks rookie has also conceded only four runs in the first five innings of those four home starts.

Reds UNDER 1 run first 3 innings (-136)

An aggressive play behind Gallen, who has a cumulative 2.41 ERA in the first three innings over his 14 starts on the season. The Diamondbacks rookie has held opponents without a run in the first three frames in three of his four starts at Chase Field since coming to the desert.

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