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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds Series Preview

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Perhaps this series will go better than the last one.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds are 8-9 in September. The Cubs are 9-8 in September.

Do not make the mistake of thinking this means the two teams are close to equal in ability, or read anything else into the possibilities in this series. The Cubs have had a tough time with the Brewers this month (2-5), and are 7-3 against other teams. The Reds got swept by the Mets earlier this month and had to win Sunday to avoid being swept by the Pirates.

Which is not to say this series will be easy. Nothing is, against any team, at any time. Nevertheless, the Cubs have a chance to get back on the right track against a team they have dominated this year.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 10-3 against the Reds so far this year and have outscored them 105-50 in the 13 games -- and that includes a game the Cubs lost 13-5, so in the other 12 games, the Cubs have outscored the Reds 100-37.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jason Hammel, RHP (14-9, 3.60 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 4.44 FIP) vs. Tim Adleman, RHP (2-4, 4.21 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, 5.89 FIP)

Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (17-4, 2.40 ERA, 1.016 WHIP, 3.45 FIP) vs. TBD

Wednesday: John Lackey, RHP (9-8, 3.42 ERA, 1.049 WHIP, 3.86 FIP) vs. Robert Stephenson, RHP (2-1, 4.97 ERA, 1.382 WHIP, 6.22 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The "TBD" Tuesday is because the Reds' usual "spot starter," Keyvius Sampson, threw 54 pitches on Saturday. They might have to go with a bullpen day. There shouldn't be any reason the Cubs won't take two of three, especially since the Reds are starting at least two rookie pitchers (and might add a third for Tuesday). I will note that since the two teams last played (July 6 at Wrigley Field), the Reds have played close to .500 (30-32). The Cubs are 42-22 in the same time span.

Up next

After an off day Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals come to town for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon, the last home series of the 2016 regular season.