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Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Wednesday 4/30, 6:10 CT

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The Cubs hope to get out of Cincinnati with a series split.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are tied with the Diamondbacks for the fewest wins in the major leagues -- eight. They're nine games under .500, just like the Astros, who have one more win. The Cubs are 1-5 in one-run games, and 1-5 in two-run games.

However, overall their pitching hasn't been that bad. They have allowed 104 runs, which ranks 15th in the major leagues -- middle of the pack. (MLB average is 110.) Their Pythagorean record is 11-14, which if it were an actual record would be just half a game worse than the Reds.

The Cubs apparently aren't that "bad." But they aren't that "good," either. The problem is run scoring: 90 runs ranks 27th in MLB... but that's one more run than the Braves have scored (and the two teams have both played 25 games). Odd, because my perception of the Braves is as a much better offensive club than the Cubs.

Shows you what you can do when you have excellent pitching. Atlanta's staff has allowed 67 runs, 37 fewer than the Cubs and best in the majors... by a lot. (Next best is the Reds, 84.)

Can this turn around? I have my doubts... but that's why they play the games.

Cubs lineup:

Bonifacio CF, Lake LF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Olt 3B, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Barney 2B, Jackson P

Junior Lake and Mike Olt in the same lineup.

Reds lineup:

Hamilton CF, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Ludwick LF, Pena C, Cozart SS, Cingrani P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson


Cubs

vs. Tony Cingrani

Tony Cingrani


Reds

vs. Cin

--

vs. Cubs

This is another pitching rematch, of the game April 19 at Wrigley Field. Edwin Jackson was the "winning" pitcher despite not pitching all that well, although he issued the fewest walks of any of his starts so far this year -- two (matched on April 24). The Cubs broke a tight game open April 19 against the Reds' bullpen, so that pitching matchup thing might not be of any real worth. Apart from that start, Cingrani has been pretty good this year, although, like Jackson, he's issued a large number of walks (15 in 30 innings).

The April 19 game ran three hours and 20 minutes. Don't expect this one to be shorter.

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.