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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Tuesday 5/14, 5:40 CT

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The Cubs open a series against a divisional rival.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs enter play tonight at a season-high 10 games over .500 (24-14) and with the best winning percentage (.632) in the National League. In fact, only one team in the A.L. (Astros, .643) has a better winning percentage than the Cubs as of this morning.

Things are going quite well and I thought you’d be interested in this comparison to other recent seasons after 38 games.

2019: 24-14, first place, +2½ games
2018: 21-17, fourth place, -2 games
2017: 19-19, third place -2½ games
2016: 28-10, first place, +7½ games
2015: 21-17, second place, -4½ games

2019 so far... looks pretty good to me.

Notes:

  • Kris Bryant has reached base in a career-high 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. He has scored 21 runs in this span. On Sunday, he recorded his first three-hit game since September 13, 2018 at Washington and also scored a season-high three runs. KB has five homers in his last eight games, and on the just-completed 10-game homestand was 12-for-34 (.353) with a double, triple, five homers, 13 runs scored, 12 RBI and 12 walks.
  • Javier Baez has hit safely in a career-high tying 11 straight games (.378/17-for-45). 26 of his 52 hits this season have been for extra bases.
  • David Bote reached base in eight of his 14 plate appearances in the Brewers series (five hits, three walks).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Anthony Rizzo gets another night off to rest his back.

Reds lineup:

The Cubs get their first look at top Reds rookie Nick Senzel, who is hitting .233/.313/.512 (10-for-43) with three home runs.

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Tanner Roark, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks does not have good home/road splits so far this year, nope nope nope, not at all.

Home: four starts, 29 innings, two earned runs, three walks, 23 strikeouts, 0.62 ERA, 0.724 WHIP
Road: three starts, 13⅓ innings, 13 earned runs, five walks, 11 strikeouts, 8.78 ERA, 2.475 WHIP

I mean... the home Hendricks is a Cy Young candidate, the road Hendricks is a DFA candidate. Small sample sizes for both, but still, that’s pretty extreme.

He doesn’t have good numbers at GABP either. He’s made six career starts there and has posted a 5.77 ERA and 1.427 WHIP. The Cubs have somehow managed to win three of those six games.

This is a mystery. What happens to Kyle when he puts on that road uniform? Or faces Joey Votto (8-for-18, two home runs, 11 walks, .655 OBP)?

If you know the answer, get in touch with Kyle or Joe Maddon. I’m sure they’d like to know.

At the risk of being silly about this, I note that Kyle almost always wears the blue alternate jersey for road games. Why not switch to the gray for tonight? Couldn’t hurt, just to switch things up.

Tanner Roark was an underrated part of the Nationals rotation for the last five seasons. He was traded to the Reds for another guy named Tanner and the Reds seem to have gotten the better of the deal so far: eight pretty good starts.

Roark has made eight career starts against the Cubs and most of them have been pretty good, including this one last August 11, where he threw 7⅔ innings and allowed just two runs. Current Cubs are hitting .242 (23-for-95) against Roark with four home runs, one of those by Kris Bryant. Overall KB is 5-for-11 vs. Roark and he is a hot hitter right now, as noted above and also in Sara Sanchez’ article from earlier today.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

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 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. 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.