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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Sunday 8/26, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth straight win.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

I posted this in the comments to Saturday’s recap but I think it bears repeating, and remembering:

This is for everyone who talks about Joe Maddon’s lineup choices. He’s got very specific reasons for choosing the lineup each and every day. Under Maddon, the Cubs have never really been a team with a set lineup at every position, every game. This has resulted in three straight 90+ win seasons, with a fourth likely coming this year. It has resulted in players being well-rested for the postseason, and players becoming versatile and being able to play multiple positions.

Really, the complaint department ought to be closed regarding Joe’s lineup choices. It’s working, and his quote is spot-on, in my opinion.

ICYMI late Saturday, the Brewers and Cardinals were both involved in close games when their opponents, the Pirates and Rockies respectively, blew the games open in the late innings. Both teams lost 9-1, and the Cardinals in particular had a bullpen meltdown, going through four relievers in an eight-run Rockies eighth in which they sent 14 men to the plate. I’d like much more of that, please.

The Cubs’ win Saturday and the losses for the Cardinals and Brewers mean the Cubs begin Sunday’s action four games ahead of St. Louis and 4½ in front of Milwaukee. Good times.

Meanwhile, as you might recall, the Cubs were swept by the Reds in a four-game series in Cincinnati in June. They can return the favor with a win this afternoon.

Notes:

  • The Cubs have now homered in 10 consecutive games and scored 28 runs over their last four games, outscoring their opponents 28-11 over that span.
  • The Cubs’ .641 home winning percentage (41-23) ranks second in the N.L., just slightly behind the Phillies (41-22, .651) and fourth-best in the majors. The Red Sox (46-18, .719) and the Yankees (45-20, .692) are the top two teams for wins at home.
  • Javier Baez hit his 28th home run Saturday. He’s just the fourth Cubs middle infielder to reach that mark, joining Rogers Hornsby (1929), Ernie Banks (seven times from 1955-61) and Ryne Sandberg (twice, 1989-90). (H/T: Ed Hartig)

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Reds lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Homer Bailey, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Since July 1, Kyle Hendricks has a 1.257 WHIP and only eight walks and four home runs allowed in 59⅔ innings. That’s pretty good!

The results, a 3.77 ERA, don’t back up those peripherals, but the Cubs have won seven of the 10 starts included in that span, and really, that’s the bottom line: winning.

Kyle has made two starts against the Reds this year and has a 5.91 ERA and 1.406 WHIP against them, but both of those starts were in his poor first half, and both in GABP. Hendricks has been justthisclose to getting back to his previous level of performance and I look for him to have a strong finish to his season.

Talk about bad contracts: The Reds are on the hook to Homer Bailey for $23 million next year and then there’s a mutual option for $25 million for 2020 (which will be declined) or a $5 million buyout.

Bailey has been just awful since his shoulder surgery. Since 2015 he has a 6.31 ERA and 1.680 WHIP in 43 starts, with 36 home runs allowed in 216⅔ total innings. It’s likely he’ll never get back to his previous level, but the Reds keep sending him out there. One of those starts this year was against the Cubs, May 18 in Cincinnati, and the Cubs pounded him for 10 hits and five walks and six runs in less than five innings... need I go on?

Bailey has had a couple of okay starts since he returned from a two-month stint on the DL with a knee injury, but his ERA since his return is still 5.22 and ... well, I’ll stop now.

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

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. If you do go there to interact with Reds fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.

Discuss amongst yourselves.