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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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The Cubs can solidify their first-place position this week.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cubs have won four of the seven games played between these two teams so far this year, and with a little better bullpen work that could have been five of seven. All the games thus far have been in Cincinnati; this will be the only visit by the Reds to Wrigley Field this year.

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

The 2020 Cincinnati Reds continue to be a classic case of ‘team performance being far less than the sum of its parts,’ unfortunately.

Despite the large winter investments and persistence to keep adding at the August 31st trade deadline, the Reds simply haven’t cobbled together any momentum in this odd, odd year. Bullpen meltdowns, long-absent offense, and the frustrating reality that no more than two hitters can get hot at the same time have rendered them a disappointing 18-23, and they’re now facing the toughest test of their schedule this week.

That latter part is perhaps the most pertinent, as the Reds have simply fallen short of taking care of business against the teams they should handle this year, and now they’re stuck trying to make up ground against the teams directly ahead of them in the standings. This past weekend’s lackluster split with the Pittsburgh Pirates, owners of the worst record in the National League, serves to highlight that.

Still, this is a team that has the potential to be quite good, at least on-paper. Mike Moustakas has finally begun to turn the corner after absences and a bum thigh, while Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos have both been solid all year. Eugenio Suarez has heated up big-time, and the Reds will likely welcome back Nick Senzel this week after an ‘undisclosed’ absence of nearly three weeks. If the starting pitching holds up, that lineup finally gets on the field together, and Archie Bradley can bolster the bullpen, it’s not unfathomable that this club could still get on a run — and at just 2½ games out of a playoff spot with 19 games to play, that’s still enough to tune in.

Of course, getting trounced (again) by Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber (again) the next two days could well spell the end of even those thin hopes. It’s been ‘now or never’ in theory for the Reds for long enough, but that reality sets in for good this next series. Frankly, I’m as anxious as anyone to see if they finally rise to the challenge, or if this entire experiment gets cemented as one large, large disappointment.

Fun fact

Reds vs. teams currently over .500: 4-7
Reds vs. teams currently under .500: 14-16

Reds at home: 8-11
Reds on road: 10-12

Reds in one-run games: 6-7
Reds vs. American League: 6-8

I’ll stop now.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Alec Mills, RHP (3-3, 5.50 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 5.57 FIP) vs. Tyler Mahle, RHP (1-1, 3.90 ERA, 1.067 WHIP, 4.82 FIP)

Wednesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (7-1, 1.44 ERA, 0.880 WHIP, 2.01 FIP) vs. Trevor Bauer, RHP (3-3, 2.05 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, 3.17 FIP)

Thursday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (0-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 2.80 FIP) vs. Sonny Gray, RHP (5-2, 3.19 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 2.84 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 7:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 7:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Thursday: 7:15 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

The pitching matchups seem to very slightly favor the Cubs, and so they’ll win two of three.

Up next

The Cubs take the quick bus trip up I-94 to face the Brewers in Milwaukee in a three-game series beginning Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    3
    (27 votes)
  • 50%
    2
    (84 votes)
  • 29%
    1
    (48 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (6 votes)
165 votes total Vote Now