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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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The Cubs swept the Reds in August. Can they do it again?

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs’ last 14 games have all been against teams with winning records, with three of them being postseason contenders. They went 7-7 through that stretch and though they lost three games of their division lead, they remain in first place in the N.L. Central.

I won’t say this is an “easy” series for the Cubs because no baseball team should go into a series thinking that way. Clearly, though, the last-place Reds aren’t as good a ballclub as the four (Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Brewers) the Cubs have just finished playing. On the other hand, the Reds have Joey Votto available for this series, and he didn’t play in the four-game sweep the Cubs handed the Reds last month. Votto is hitting .261/.397/.435 (12-for-46) since returning from the disabled list with two doubles, two home runs and 11 walks.

Fun fact

The Cubs are 6-1 against the Reds at Wrigley Field this year and have outscored them in those seven games 45-24.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Cole Hamels, LHP (4-0, 1.42 ERA, 1.046 WHIP, 2.70 FIP) vs. Matt Harvey, RHP (7-6, 4.35 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 4.37 FIP)

Saturday: Jon Lester, LHP (15-6, 3.57 ERA, 1.338 WHIP, 4.53 FIP) vs. Cody Reed, LHP (0-2, 5.08 ERA, 1.418 WHIP, 4.92 FIP)

Sunday: Jose Quintana, LHP (13-9, 3.97 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, 4.41 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo, RHP (9-12, 4.66 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 4.40 FIP)

NOTE: Hamels’ numbers above are with the Cubs only. Overall 2018 season: 28 starts, 9-9, 3.71 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 4.43 FIP

Times & TV channels

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

Saturday: 3:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

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

Prediction

The Reds are an odd team. They started 3-18, then had a three-month stretch where they went 45-40, but since then are just 15-26, the second-worst record in the National League in that span. However, they just took two of three from the Dodgers, who they dominated all year (winning six of seven). On the other hand, they have lost 11 of their last 14 road games, which includes the Cubs’ sweep of them at Wrigley last month.

But the Reds have done better vs. LH starters (21-20) than RH starters (42-64) this year. So I’ll say the Cubs will take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs head to Phoenix for a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Monday evening.


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Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    3
    (135 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (150 votes)
  • 6%
    1
    (20 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (10 votes)
315 votes total Vote Now