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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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It’s the Cubs’ first matchup with this division foe in 2019.

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

The Reds got off to a bizarre 1-8 start in which they were shut out four times but allowed just 34 runs in those nine games. Since then they’ve been decent at 17-15, and overall have allowed the fewest runs in the N.L., 141.

For more on the Reds, here’s Wick Terrell, manager of our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter:

The good news about these Cincinnati Reds is that they aren’t the same boring, lackluster Reds of the last four seasons. Gone is the dependence on fringe big leaguers, lottery-ticket young pitchers, and obvious replacement-level retreads as the team so often turned to during the first leg of their long, long rebuild.

The influx of the likes of Sonny Gray, Yasiel Puig, Tanner Roark, Derek Dietrich, and Jose Iglesias has largely powered the team through the first quarter of their 2019 season, even though the Matt Kemp experiment failed miserably and Alex Wood has yet to make his debut as a Red. These Reds, though streaky, do appear to have a legitimate amount of big league talent to go toe to toe with most every team in the league, which might be why their +30 run differential to date - the fourth best in the entire National League - has fans yearning for much, much more.

Of course, that run differential hasn’t exactly off-set the team’s poor 18-23 record, one that is reeling from their awful 1-8 start to the season and their so-far disastrous 6-13 record in 1-run games.

Speaking of these not being the same ho-hum Reds, how they’ve managed their winning so far this year is much different than previous years, too. They’re leaning on their pitching, for once, with emerging ace Luis Castillo, Gray, and Roark backed by a healthy Anthony DeSclafani and young Tyler Mahle forming the backbone of the second most valuable pitching staff in all MLB to date, per FanGraphs’ fWAR. It’s been the hitting that has cost them wins, largely, though that has fortunately begun to turn around lately, too.

Obviously, some decently warm weather and three games between the Cubs and Reds in GABP figures to have some fireworks, but for the first time in a handful of years, it would appear the Reds might be capable of producing their own fair share again. For Reds fans, the ideal trio of Roark, Gray, and Castillo on the mound for the series means they’ve got pleasantly few excuses for not playing their best ball of the season this week. Not to mention, they’ve played just 17 home games — tied for the fewest in the entire NL — and only 15 in GABP since they were the ‘home’ team for their games against St. Louis in Mexico earlier in the season, and GABP has been the one park in which they’ve truly been decent for the last few seasons.

Fun fact

The Reds are 10-7 this year against teams currently under .500, and 8-16 against teams currently over .500. I sense a pattern here.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (2-4, 3.19 ERA, 1.276 WHIP, 3.06 FIP vs. Tanner Roark, RHP (3-1, 3.27 ERA, 1.427 WHIP, 3.55 FIP)

Wednesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (2-3, 5.40 ERA, 1.718 WHIP, 6.49 FIP) vs. Sonny Gray, RHP (0-4, 4.15 ERA, 1.205 WHIP, 2.98 FIP)

Thursday: Jose Quintana, LHP (4-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.252 WHIP, 3.72 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo, RHP (4-1, 1.76 ERA, 0.994 WHIP, 2.76 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 5:40 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Wednesday: 5:40 p.m. CT, WGN

Thursday: 5:40 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Reds market territories)

Prediction

This looks like another series the Cubs can win, as they are 23-14 at GABP since returning to contention in 2015 and the Reds have struggled this year against good teams. They’ll win two of three.

Up next

The Cubs head to Washington for a three-game series against the Nationals beginning Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    3
    (129 votes)
  • 62%
    2
    (331 votes)
  • 10%
    1
    (57 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (14 votes)
531 votes total Vote Now