Since that series the two teams have gone in very different directions. The Cubs are 23-12; the Reds 11-25. And Cincinnati traded away three key players not long after that July set: Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Marlon Byrd are no longer Reds, and with two key parts of their rotation gone, Cincinnati's pitching staff looks very different than the last time we saw these guys.
In addition to that, the Cubs are 12-2 at home in August and the weather this week is supposed to be warm and humid, conditions that are conducive to hitting home runs. The Cubs have hit 42 home runs this month, second-most in the National League (Mets have 43; Blue Jays lead the majors with 49).
Monday: Kyle Hendricks (6-6, 4.11 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, 3.50 FIP) vs. Michael Lorenzen (3-8, 5.46 ERA, 1.654 WHIP, 5.76 FIP)
Tuesday: Dan Haren (8-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 4.90 FIP) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (7-10, 3.84 ERA, 1.360 WHIP, 3.98 FIP)
Wednesday: Jason Hammel (7-6, 3.42 ERA, 1.106 WHIP, 3.62 FIP) vs. Raisel Iglesias (3-6, 3.92 ERA, 1.120 WHIP, 3.37 FIP)
The Reds are in free-fall. They are 7-21 this month and have lost 19 of their last 24 games. As always, I will keep to my promise not to predict sweeps, and this time it's a bit easier as the Reds do have a favorable pitching matchup on Tuesday. I'd like to think Dan Haren can give the Cubs at least a couple of decent outings, but even so, Anthony DeSclafani is a pretty good pitcher and he's pitched well against the Cubs this year. Still, there's no reason the Cubs shouldn't win two of three here.
The Cubs will enjoy an off day Thursday, their first since August 17, then welcome the Diamondbacks to Wrigley for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon.