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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Monday 7/27, 5:40 CT

The Cubs open a four-game series in Cincinnati.

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Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

While two games were postponed Monday due to a COVID-19 outbreak among members of the Miami Marlins, the Reds have their own issue with the pandemic, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic:

The day after it was announced the Reds’ Matt Davidson had tested positive for COVID-19 and been placed on the injured list, Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel were scratched from the Reds’ lineup. Neither was feeling well, manager David Bell said, and things being as they are, no risks were taken.

“It is really important, as you can imagine, just to be really cautious,” Bell said before Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Tigers. “Hopefully, we’re just being overly cautious. That’s what we have to do and that’s part of being a great teammate at this point is if there is any doubt, we have to stay home.”

The Cubs appear to have taken the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously and have been very good about holding to the protocols and have had no positive tests among players, though I note that there were still high-fives in the dugout at times and it didn’t appear the players were social-distancing properly.

I keep getting the sinking feeling that this isn’t going to work. Nevertheless, Cubs games continue and as long as they do, we’ll cover them here. Beyond everything else, there’s a chance of rain and storms in Cincinnati tonight, so you’ll want to keep this handy:

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Reds lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Wade Miley, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Jon Lester’s place in the Cubs rotation is now “fourth starter,” about right for a guy who’s 36 and coming off a bad year.

And yet... Lester had a very nice outing against the Twins in a practice game last week. He looked more or less like the Lester who dominated 2015 and 2016. I’m not expecting that all season (presuming we have one), but a Lester even close to that would make the Cubs rotation formidable.

He did have some success against the Reds last year: two starts, 10⅔ innings, four earned runs, 13 strikeouts. His former teammate Nick Castellanos is 7-for-12 against Lester with three home runs and Eugenio Suarez has taken Lester deep six times in 42 career at-bats. Of course, Suarez just kills the Cubs anyway, so keep him quiet tonight and there’s a good shot at winning this one.

On July 15, 2017 Wade Miley faced the Cubs while a member of the Orioles and they hit him hard: nine hits, four walks, seven runs. But since then Miley has thrown very well againsg the Cubs: three starts, 2.50 ERA, 15 strikeouts in 18 innings, including a solid outing last May 29 in Houston.

Overall, Miley, who turns 33 in November, seems about a league-average pitcher, a guy the Cubs should be able to hit. But overall current Cubs are hitting just .224 (38-for-144) against him and only Kris Bryant (6-for-14, a double, a home run) seems to have solved him.

Also, that’s way too goofy a smile in Miley’s photo, while Lester was dead serious on photo day.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here is a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

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The 2020 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.