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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds Series Preview

Last year, Great American Ball Park was one of Cubs hitters’ favorite places to play.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Who knew? This is a battle for first place in the N.L. Central, as the Reds are off to a decent start at 9-7, while the Cubs begin this set half a game behind at 8-7.

I asked Brandon Kraeling, manager of our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter, to tell us a few things about his team.

The Reds’ rebuild is finally starting its upswing, so Cubs fans will see a much different team than they’ve seen over the past few seasons. The stalwarts like Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are gone, and players like Jose Peraza and Billy Hamilton represent the new core of Reds talent as they start to bring their prospects along. Cubs fans obviously will remember Joey Votto, as he’s not gone anywhere, but should also look out for Eugenio Suarez and Zack Cozart, who have been hot to start the season.

On the pitching side, the Reds are as inexperienced as any team in baseball, and the starting pitching in this series should show that. A replacement for the injured Brandon Finnegan hasn’t been named yet, and one of the starters in this series will be Bronson Arroyo, someone Cubs fans are quite familiar with. Sunday, Arroyo will make his 373rd career start. It only seems like all of those were against the Cubs (it’ll be his 31st lifetime start vs. the Cubs). Arroyo has been shaky to start the year, but is coming off of two years off following Tommy John surgery.

The most interesting part about the Reds is their bullpen, and so far this season, looks like the biggest strength as well. The Reds are taking a new-school approach to their bullpen management, with no set closer and almost everyone in their bullpen capable of pitching multiple innings. Unfortunately, it’s mostly the product of having too many starting prospects and nowhere to put all of them, but they’ve been confident coming out of the bullpen and manager Bryan Price’s strategy has paid off so far. Having a bullpen capable of covering six to seven innings a game has meant a much shorter leash with the starting pitchers, which is great when you look at the experience they bring to the table.

Fun fact

The Cubs annihilated the Reds last year, going 15-4 and outscoring them 143-69. They also set a franchise record for most home runs against a single opponent, hitting 42 homers in the 19 games.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jon Lester (0-0, 1.00 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, 2.02 FIP) vs. Tim Adleman (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.500 WHIP, 3.66 FIP)

Saturday: Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.89 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, 3.71 FIP) vs. Cody Reed (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.500 WHIP, 2.41 FIP)

Sunday: John Lackey (1-2, 4.00 ERA, 1.278 WHIP, 4.69 FIP) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-2, 8.40 ERA, 1.533 WHIP, 7.04 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 6:10 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Cincinnati markets)

Saturday: 12:10 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Cincinnati markets)

Sunday: 12:10 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago


Based on this weather forecast, there’s a pretty good chance Saturday’s game could be affected by rain.

Two of the three Reds starters in this series are making their first starts of the year (Adleman and Reed). The Cubs dominated the Reds last year, and I don’t see any reason that shouldn’t continue. But to predict a sweep? Bad karma. Two of three.

Up next

The Cubs will try for revenge for the Wrigley sweep by the Pirates as they open a three-game series against the Bucs at PNC Park Monday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

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  • 37%
    (94 votes)
  • 56%
    (143 votes)
  • 3%
    (8 votes)
  • 2%
    (7 votes)
252 votes total Vote Now