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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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The Reds have been tough on the Cubs this year. Hopefully this series will be different.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Reds have had a pretty good year overall, and currently lead the Cubs nine games to seven in the season series. They’re 10 games under .500 — but by Pythagorean numbers their record should be two games over, as they have a +10 run differential. Their pitching staff has allowed 656 runs, just six more than the Cubs.

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

To say the 2019 Cincinnati Reds season has ground to a screeching halt would be both true and the most polite way possible to describe it. Not only do they enter the series with the Chicago Cubs still 10 games under the .500 mark, but they do so missing some of the most promising pieces they’ve cobbled together in this massive, multi-year rebuild.

Jesse Winker has been sidelined for weeks, and is likely out for the rest of the season. Nick Senzel, on the other hand, is absolutely lost for the year, having been shut down just days ago with a shoulder issue that turned out to be a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Heck, even Aristides Aquino — the breakout star of August who took home N.L. Player of the Month — has cooled off mightily, as he enters play in this series having hit just .170/.196/.264 in 56 PA in September.

What the Reds do still having going for them is their budding juggernaut of a starting rotation, and with Sonny Gray scheduled to start in this three-game series, that at least gives the Reds a fighting chance. The rotation has been pretty solid all season long, but Gray, in particular, has been on an absolute tear of late. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his most recent start against Seattle, and is the owner of a stellar 2.26 ERA over his last 20 starts dating back to mid-May.

The Reds may not have much on the line this series, but the chance to get the best out of their two best starters and help potentially spoil a Cubs postseason appearance should at least make for an interesting trio of games.

Fun fact

This one’s fun for the Reds, not so much for the Cubs. Eugenio Suarez has absolutely demolished Cubs pitching this year: .381/.423/.825 (24-for-63) with four doubles and eight home runs. Thus one of the keys to winning this series is stopping Suarez.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Cole Hamels, LHP (7-7, 3.89 ERA, 1.392 WHIP, 4.16 FIP) vs. Kevin Gausman, RHP (0-1, 4.02 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 2.83 FIP in 11 appearances with Reds; overall 3-8, 5.83 ERA, 1.432 WHIP, 3.98 FIP)

Tuesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (6-6, 3.97 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 4.40 FIP) vs. Sonny Gray, RHP (10-7, 2.80 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, 3.43 FIP)

Wednesday: Jon Lester, LHP (13-10, 4.59 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 4.32 FIP) vs. Tyler Mahle, RHP (2-11, 5.11 ERA, 1.324 WHIP, 4.49 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WCIU-TV, CW-26. Note: This is a change from original schedules. This was supposed to be an ABC7 Chicago game, but it got bumped for the season finale of ABC’s “Bachelor In Paradise.” This should not affect you if you are watching outside the Chicago metro area. This game will also be on ESPN, a full national broadcast available in the Cubs and Reds market territories. ESPN announcers: Karl Ravech, David Ross and Tim Kurkjian.

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

Prediction

The Reds appear to have done the Cubs a favor by pushing back their rotation and starting Kevin Gausman Monday. Doing that matches Sonny Gray against Yu Darvish, which seems better for the Cubs, and the Cubs don’t have to face Luis Castillo. Lastly, having Jon Lester face Tyler Mahle instead of Castillo is definitely better for the Cubs.

The teams have split six games at Wrigley Field this year. The Cubs won two of three the last time the Reds were in town and are 21-8 at Wrigley since the All-Star break, including the last five in a row.

I’ll say the Cubs will take two of three, and be hopeful they can pull off another sweep.

Up next

Well, here it comes, the first of two series against the Cardinals. This one will be four games and begin at Wrigley Field Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    3
    (77 votes)
  • 56%
    2
    (131 votes)
  • 5%
    1
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    0
    (10 votes)
231 votes total Vote Now