PRESENTED BY 423864719_fanduel_stb_black

Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Monday 7/8, 6:10 CT

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you have been wanting to get really familiar with the Cincinnati Reds, this is your week, as the Cubs have five games against them in the next four days.

If you have not already checked out Russ La Croix' excellent series preview, please look now!

As noted in that series preview, pitching matchups past Tuesday are still up in the air, though the Reds have named their starters. I'm guessing it'll be Dallas Beeler and Kyle Hendricks, probably in that order. The Cubs are 3-5 against the Reds so far this year, which isn't bad, actually. The Cubs have won more than four games in a season against the Reds only once since 2010 (in 2011), so if they can win two games in this series they'll already have a heads-up for 2014 over a team that has defeated them consistently over the last few years.

The Cubs are 4-2 on this trip even after losing the last two games in Washington, so two wins in this set would also clinch a winning road trip. That would also be an accomplishment.

Now, here's the bad news. There's a pretty good chance of thunderstorms in Cincinnati tonight -- and again tomorrow. The teams have one common off day remaining -- August 25. They're going to try to get as many games in this week as they can, obviously, but if they had to play on that day, they likely would, even though it would break the 20-consecutive-day rule for both teams.

Don't forget to Vote Rizzo!

Finally, if you haven't already, please enter the BCB FanDuel fantasy baseball contest. Remember, real money is involved!

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Ruggiano CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Barney 2B, Jackson P

Reds lineup:

Hamilton CF, Frazier 3B, Phillips 2B, Bruce 1B, Mesoraco C, Ludwick LF, Schumaker RF, Santiago SS, Leake P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Mike Leake

Mike Leake


Reds

vs. Cin

--

vs. Cubs

The Cubs used a couple of "take one for the team" guys Saturday and allowed 13 runs. Then their best recent starter allowed just one (with one more by the pen) Sunday. Hello, Edwin Jackson. His performance will likely be somewhere in between, hopefully not more toward the "13" part. Although... he has faced the Reds three times this year and allowed 10 earned runs in 16⅔ innings (5.40 ERA). That's not good. Only one of those runs was a home run, hit by Reds backup catcher Brayan Pena.

The Cubs have yet to face Mike Leake this year. He's had a decent and fairly consistent year so far, although his ERA has edged up from 2.92 at the end of May to 3.47 now -- that's a 4.62 ERA over his last six starts covering 37 innings. Current Cubs are hitting .343 (49-for-143) against Leake with one home run (Nate Schierholtz, who is 9-for-19 against Leake). Starlin Castro is 13-for-40 off Leake with three doubles, so maybe he'll keep up his current doubles-hitting prowess.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. The usual caution is advised.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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