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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Thursday 8/8, 6:10 CT

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Let’s hope this road trip goes better than the last one.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As noted here yesterday, Jonathan Lucroy has been added to the 40-man and 25-man rosters, and Taylor Davis has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The 40-man is now full. And (see below) Lucroy heads right to tonight’s lineup. For those interested:

Happy 30th birthday, Anthony Rizzo!

Notes:

  • THE BIRTHDAY BOY: Rizzo’s 1,122 games with the Cubs prior to his 30th birthday ranks fifth in franchise history since 1905. His 249 doubles are second-most among any Cub prior to their 30th birthday, surpassed only by Billy Herman (303). Rizzo’s 211 homers are fourth-most by any Cub prior to his 30th birthday, surpassed only by Ernie Banks (269), Ron Santo (253) and Sammy Sosa (244). (H/T: Ed Hartig)
  • THE NEW GUY: Nicholas Castellanos has hit safely in all seven games he’s played for the Cubs. He’s the first player to hit safely in each of his first seven games as a Cub since Willson Contreras in 2016. The last player to hit safely in each of his first eight games as a Cub was Bryan LaHair, who in 2011 recorded a hit in each of his first nine contests that year.
  • THE LOCAL GUY: Ian Happ, who played college ball at the University of Cincinnati, has batted .405 (17-for-42) with five homers and eight RBI in 14 career games at Great American Ball Park. Happ this year is hitting .320 (8-for-25) with two homers, six RBI and a .452 OBP in 12 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 26.
  • HEY HEY J-HEY! Jason Heyward has hit leadoff in each of the team’s last eight games, posting a .815 OPS with two leadoff homers … he is hitting .321/.359/.569 (44-for-137) in his last 37 games starting June 22. Heyward’s current .814 season OPS is 83 points higher than his .731 OPS in 2018 and would be his highest mark since his 2012 season with Atlanta (.814 OPS).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Reds lineup:

Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Alex Wood, LHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We won’t talk about Cole Hamels’ last start in Cincinnati, except to note it was his last inning before he departed with an oblique injury.

Fortunately, he came back from that injury and picked up where he left off with five shutout innings against the Brewers last weekend. In seven starts since June 1: 1.07 ERA, 0.929 WHIP, .208 opponents batting average.

Current Reds are hitting .244 (20-for-82) against Cole with two home runs (Joey Votto, Jose Peraza).

Alex Wood has spent almost all of this season on the injured list with back problems. Finally activated a couple of weeks ago, he’s made two starts and thrown 11⅓ innings, allowing four runs with nine strikeouts.

Wood’s last start against the Cubs was June 27, 2018 at Dodger Stadium. He allowed seven hits and three runs (two earned) in seven innings.

Current Cubs are a small sample size 14-for-52 (.269) against Wood with one home run (Kris Bryant). New Cub Nicholas Castellanos, who mashes lefthanders, has never faced him, so maybe that’s a point in the Cubs’ favor tonight.

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.