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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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The Cubs have not done well against this division rival this year.

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Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Facing the Reds in Cincinnati this year was not kind to the Cubs, as they went 3-6 at Great American Ballpark, including an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the host team in late June.

Or maybe that wasn’t so embarrassing. As noted below, the Reds have played pretty well since Jim Riggleman took over as their manager. On the other hand, since July 29 they are 8-13 and just lost two of three in Milwaukee.

The Cubs took two of three from the Reds at Wrigley just before the All-Star break.

For more on the Reds, I asked Wick Terrell, manager of our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter, to update us on his team.

So, the saga of the 2018 Cincinnati Reds has sure taken a bit of a turn over the last month. Specifically, a U-turn, thanks in large part to a series of bummer-esque injuries that have been a bit more than a rebuilding team could truly power through.

Jesse Winker is done for the year after a shoulder injury and surgery. Scott Schebler, similarly, has been on the shelf for a month with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. Top prospect Nick Senzel’s season ended prematurely thanks to do a busted finger that needed surgery, too, Joey Votto hit the shelf with a knee injury thanks to being plunked by a Ryan Madson pitch, and even Adam Duvall’s gone thanks to a trade to the Atlanta Braves. In other words, a lot of the thump and promise has been sapped from the everyday Reds lineup, and that’s certainly tempered the expectations that peaked when the team was playing great, great baseball prior to the All Star break — while healthy.

Fortunately, there has at least been a bit of ebb to that flow, as the starting pitching has begun to round into form. Anthony DeSclafani has been electric over his previous three starts, Luis Castillo has regained some of the form that had us all so excited about him last year, and even Matt Harvey — who was just claimed on waivers — has turned in some solid work of late, too.

This is certainly still a team that’s searching for an identity thanks to the turmoil, but it’s still anchored by the bats of Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett and a bullpen that’s settled in nicely over the last few months.

Fun fact

On May 7, the Reds were 8-27. Since then they are 48-44, in the middle of the pack in the National League.

Pitching matchups

Thursday: Cole Hamels, LHP (3-0. 0.72 ERA, 0.880 WHIP, 2.40 FIP) vs. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP (6-3, 4.12 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, 4.87 FIP)

Friday: TBD vs. Matt Harvey, RHP (6-7, 4.91 ERA, 1.287 WHIP, 4.78 FIP)

Saturday: Jose Quintana, LHP (10-9, 4.36 ERA, 1.369 WHIP, 4.77 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo, RHP (7-12, 4.86 ERA, 1.298 ERA, 4.34 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (9-10, 4.04 ERA, 1.240 WHIP, 4.08 FIP) vs. Homer Bailey, RHP (1-11, 6.21 ERA, 1.620 WHIP, 5.66 FIP)

NOTE 1: Hamels’ numbers above are with the Cubs only. Overall including 20 starts with the Rangers: 8-9, 4.00 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 4.69 FIP.

NOTE 2: At publication time the Cubs had not announced a starter for Friday’s game. It could be Duane Underwood Jr., who started a game for the Cubs earlier this year in Los Angeles. Underwood last pitched on August 17 and was scheduled to start earlier this week for Triple-A Iowa, but was scratched from that start.

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Cincinnati markets)

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Cincinnati markets)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

Despite the Reds’ better play lately, those pitching numbers look pretty scary, especially Bailey’s. Cincinnati is without Joey Votto this weekend. We still don’t know who will start Friday’s game for the Cubs, but I still think the Cubs will take three of four.

Up next

The Cubs host the New York Mets in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday evening.


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Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    4
    (73 votes)
  • 41%
    3
    (111 votes)
  • 24%
    2
    (65 votes)
  • 6%
    1
    (17 votes)
266 votes total Vote Now