On Saturday night, the Cincinnati Reds continue their Interleague series with the Texas Rangers. After dropping the first game of the series 7-1 on Friday, the Reds are -120 favorites to win on Saturday.
Cincinnati is currently fighting to get out of the NL Central basement and perhaps sneak into the Wild Card race this season. Unfortunately, the month of June has not been kind to them. The Reds are just 3-7 since the calendar flipped, dropping them seven games under .500 and eight games off the pace in the NL Central.
The Rangers, meanwhile, continue to be one of the surprise teams in baseball this year. After Friday’s win, Texas is five games over .500, even if they’re also a distant second place in the AL West, 9.5 games back of the Astros. They have a 9-5 record thus far in June and would love to keep it going with a favorable schedule the rest of the month.
A Minor Threat
Lefty Mike Minor will get the ball for Texas on Saturday. After winning 12 games and posting a 4.18 ERA last year, Minor has been even better this season. In 14 starts, he’s 5-4 with a 2.52 ERA. Minor has allowed more than three runs in just two of those 14 starts, and one of those was his first start of the year back in March. He lasted eight innings and allowed just two runs against Boston in his last time out, so he’s in fine form at the moment.
On Saturday, Minor will be facing a Reds lineup that’s been a little underwhelming this season. At the moment, Joey Votto, Yasiel Puig, and rookie Nick Senzel are all swinging hot bats. However, Votto and Puig are a combined 2 for 15 with five strikeouts in their career against Minor. If those two are contained, Cincinnati’s options offensively are a little limited.
Working on His Tan
The Reds will send Tanner Roark to the mound to face Texas on Saturday. As expected, the veteran has been solid and consistent this season, going 4-5 with a 3.74 ERA over 13 starts. That being said, Roark has lost four of his last five starts and rarely goes much further than five innings. That means the Reds will have to rely on their bullpen for multiple innings if they expect to win.
The good news for Roark and the Reds is that power hitter Joey Gallo is still on the IL. Of course, that didn’t stop the Rangers from scoring seven runs on Friday night. Rougned Odor is finally showing signs of life after a sluggish start to the season. He and Elvis Andrus are helping to carry the Texas lineup at the moment. Hunter Pence has also produced lately, while Asdrubal Cabrera has good career numbers against Roark, going 6 for 17 (.353) with four extra-base hits against him.
Two in a Row
Other than being the home team, there’s not much working in favor of the Reds in this game. Texas is the hotter team and has the better starting pitcher. Bet on the Rangers to beat the Reds on Saturday.