Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ketel Marte celebrates after the 13th inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Denver. The Diamondbacks won 10-8 in 13 innings. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
- The Cincinnati Reds are -130 road favorites over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Snakes’ home opener on Friday night (April 9th,9:40 pm ET)
- Reds starter Tyler Mahle struck out nine in five-plus innings in his last start, while Taylor Widener gets the honors for the D-Backs after Caleb Smith was removed from the rotation
- Read below for a preview and betting prediction for the game
The Cincinnati Reds look to keep the hot start to their 2021 season going in the desert on Friday when they face the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Snakes enter their home opener with a 2-5 mark.
First pitch is slated for 9:40 pm ET at Chase Field.
Reds vs Diamondbacks Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline at DraftKings||Total|
|Cincinnati Reds||-130||-1.5 (+125)||Over 9.5 (+100)|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||+112||+1.5 (-148)||Under 9.5 (-121)|
Odds as of April 8th.
Cincy, coming off the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2013 last season, is off to a 5-1 start. David Bell’s ballclub is a slight -130 favorite in the Reds vs Diamondbacks odds, in a game that features a total of 9.5.
Arizona starter Taylor Widener is coming off an impressive outing against San Diego on Sunday, holding the Padres to only three hits and three walks while striking out five over six scoreless innings to earn the victory in his first big-league start.
Meantime, at 5-1, the Reds are off to the team’s best start since 2016. Bell’s group just swept the Pirates in a three-game set and have scored a franchise-record 56 runs through the first six games of the 2021 campaign. The 1976 Big Red Machine team, featuring future Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez — along with a certain all-time hit king in Pete Rose — scored 51 runs through their first six outings en route to a second straight World Series championship.
Widener will have his hands full Friday.
Reds’ Career Stats vs Widener
Widener’s last outing against the Padres — who feature a solid lineup of their own — should give the 26-year-old and Arizona skipper Torey Lovullo some confidence. Plus, pitchers facing a lineup for the first time typically have the advantage.
But there’s no doubt the Reds are one of baseball’s early surprises. A big part of that has been the play of leadoff hitter Tyler Naquin.
Oh ya know, just a casual 7 RBI night for Tyler Naquin. pic.twitter.com/82tFsV4GNG
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 7, 2021
Naquin, filling in for left fielder Jesse Winker (who has been battling a stomach bug since the second game of the season), leads the National League with 13 RBI in only 19 at-bats. He hit his second lead-off homer in two days in Wednesday’s 11-4 win over the Buccos and boasts a .316 batting average and a 1.382 OPS.
Whether it’s Naquin or Winker (who has three hits, one walk, and a double in eight 2021 ABs) leading things off Friday, the Reds figure to be in good shape at the top of the order. They’re solid after as well.
Nick Castellanos is now tied with Tyler Naquin for the MLB lead in home runs.
The Reds have the NL leader in homers, RBI and runs.
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) April 7, 2021
Like Naquin, right fielder Nick Castellanos has four home runs — to go along with a .435 batting average and three more extra-base hits. Jonathan India leads the NL with a .476 batting average and has driven in ten runs. This team may not be the Big Red Machine 2.0 by the time October rolls around. But it is now, and Widener figures to need a hefty dose of run support to hang in this one.
Diamondbacks’ Career Stats vs Mahle
Like his Arizona counterpart, the element of surprise could be advantageous for Cincy starter Mahle. The only player with more than one at-bat against the 26-year-old is Eduardo Escobar. The Arizona third baseman has struggled out of the gate this season, going 2-for-23 with a home run and a pair of RBIs in six games. But the 32-year-old veteran has a pair of hits in five career ABs against Mahle.
Ketel Marte limping off the field… pic.twitter.com/Hdv7jJBG8l
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BallySportSAZ) April 8, 2021
The biggest name missing from Arizona’s probable lineup is the team’s best player. Ketel Marte was placed on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain Thursday, forcing him to miss Arizona’s entire first homestand. This does not bode well for the Snakes.
Arizona put up a couple ninth inning runs thanks to Escobar’s two-run shot in a 7-3 loss Thursday to Colorado in Denver for a little momentum boost. But this is an Arizona team that is struggling mightily out of the game, scoring only 25 runs in seven games. The D-Backs have also already been shut out twice.
Widener may have his moments Friday. But until the Reds cool off, I’m riding Cincy hard.
The pick: Reds -1.5 (+125)
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Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.