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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Wednesday 8/16, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs and Reds play game three of a four-game set.

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As the Cubs try to go ahead in this four-game series, I’m going to give a tip o’ the cap to Cubs opponent Joey Votto.

Votto has reached base at least twice in 20 consecutive games, which is one short of the major-league record set by Ted Williams, 69 years ago in 1948. That’s a long time for a record to stand.

In those 20 games, Votto is hitting .435/.611/.742 (27-for-62) with four doubles, five home runs, 26 walks and only nine strikeouts. That’s... really, really good.

Against the Cubs this year Votto is hitting .375/.490/.650 (15-for-40) with five doubles, two home runs and nine walks. And that OPS of 1.140 is only sixth-best among all teams he’s faced this year!

Having said all that... I hope John Lackey stops him tonight, one game short of Teddy Ballgame’s record.

A Cub who’s having an amazing streak is Kris Bryant. KB has reached base in 17 of 24 plate appearances in his last five games, going 11-for-18 with three doubles, two homers, six RBI, five walks and one hit-by-pitch (.708 OBP). He has improved his slash line over the five games from .279/.390/.509 to .293/.405/.535 over that span.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Avila C, Happ CF, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Lackey P

Reds lineup:

Hamilton CF, Cozart SS, Votto 1B, Suarez 3B, Gennett 2B, Winker RF, Peraza 2B, Barnhart C, Bailey P

John Lackey vs. Homer Bailey

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Complain all you want about John Lackey, he has put his team in a position to win in every start he’s made since July 1, and the Cubs have come through, going 6-0 in those starts. Since his return from the DL Lackey has a 3.42 ERA and 1.329 WHIP, perfectly acceptable numbers.

Against the Reds this year, though, Lackey hasn’t been all that great: 6.35 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, three home runs in two starts covering 11⅓ innings. Hopefully, we’ll see better results tonight.

Homer Bailey missed most of the last two years, and part of this year, with various injuries. And since his return this year, he has been pretty bad. He’s had a couple of good outings sprinkled in between really awful ones, including one in which he allowed 10 runs to the Cardinals in 3⅓ innings. Yikes.

As a result of the injuries, Bailey has not faced the Cubs since July 10, 2014, and I include that boxscore for amusement value to show you how much the Cubs have changed since then. Incidentally, that was also the game where Anthony Rizzo and Aroldis Chapman got into it.

As a result of not facing the Cubs for so long, only Jason Heyward (4-for-15, one HR), Jon Jay (9-for-30, one HR) and Rizzo (6-for-18, one HR) among current Cubs have faced him. As you can see, all three have hit him well in the past. Let that continue tonight.

Today's game is on WGN.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

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