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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Monday 9/16, 7:05 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth straight win.

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Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Rizzo news: Here

Notes for Monday:

  • THE LONG MARCH: Today is the 12th game of an 18-game stretch without an off day for the Cubs. They are 6-5 over the first 11 of that stretch, but have won the last four.
  • THE SWEEP, PART 1: The Cubs batted .419 (49-for-117) with nine doubles, a triple, 14 homers, 15 walks, a .496 OBP and an .872 slugging percentage in the three-game series against Pittsburgh, outscoring the Pirates 47-15.
  • THE SWEEP, PART 2: The series sweep over the Pirates was the Cubs’ 10th this season and their fifth against N.L. Central teams (also May 3-5 and June 7-9 vs. St. Louis. July 12-14 vs. Pittsburgh and August 2-4 vs. Milwaukee).
  • THE FRIENDLY CONFINES: Cubs pitching has posted a 3.46 ERA (261 earned runs in 678 innings) at Wrigley Field this season, the third-best home ERA in the N.L. and fourth in the majors behind only the Dodgers (2.68), Cardinals (3.24) and Rays (3.40).
  • BIG STICK NICK: Nicholas Castellanos has hit safely in 33 of his first 42 games as a Cub, batting .343/.373/.697 (60-for-175) with 17 doubles, 15 homers and 33 RBI. He has five doubles in his last three games, including two Sunday, to extend his major league leading total to 54. This is just the 31st time since 1871 that a player has hit at least 54 doubles in a season. 55 or more doubles have been recorded just 23 times.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Reds lineup:

Cole Hamels, LHP vs. Kevin Gausman, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Now is the time for Cole Hamels to step up. He has been pretty bad since his return from an oblique injury: 6.49 ERA, 1.933 WHIP, eight home runs in 34⅔ innings. Yikes.

Here is one thing that gives me hope for tonight re: Hamels.

Home games: 12 starts, 2.66 ERA, 1.143 WHIP, 75 strikeouts in 74⅓ innings
Road games: 13 starts, 5.40 ERA, 1.700 WHIP, 56 strikeouts in 60 innings

Keep up the good Wrigley work, Cole.

One of his recent starts was against the Reds, August 8 at Cincinnati. Hamels finished just three innings in that game, allowing five runs (four earned). The Cubs won that game 12-5, but you can’t expect them to keep pounding the ball like that.

Or maybe you can. The Reds have slotted in Kevin Gausman for this start, pushing Sonny Gray back to tomorrow, Tyler Mahle to Wednesday and Luis Castillo out of this series. That creates some better pitching matchups for the Cubs, in my view.

Gausman has not started a game since he came to the Reds on waivers August 5. He has made 11 relief appearances, including one against the Cubs in that August 8 game. He allowed two runs in two innings, including a home run by Nicholas Castellanos.

Gausman has not thrown more than 32 pitches in any outing since that one (he threw 44 that night). This could turn into a bullpen game for the Reds.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.