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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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Hey, look! A team the Cubs haven’t faced yet in 2021.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have seen just two NL Central teams thus far, the Brewers and Pirates, and are 6-9 against them.

Tonight, it’ll be the Cubs’ first look at another NL Central rival. For more on the Reds, here’s Wick Terrell, manager of our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter.

What a difference a week makes. At least, that’s the hope around Reds country at the moment.

Last Thursday the Reds were busy wrapping their third straight blown loss in what ended up a series sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with bullpen blowups littering what was otherwise another incredible offensive performance. A slump followed in their weekend set against St. Louis, and that sent them to Los Angeles on a seven-game losing streak with the reigning World Series champs next up on the schedule.

Things changed there, however. A series win over the Dodgers hopefully righted the ship, with Jesse Winker’s continued offensive emergence a defining aspect of the series. Sonny Gray finally looked like the Sonny Gray we’ve come to know, while Tyler Mahle continued to be almost unhittable yet again.

That’s what they’re riding back to Cincinnati for the weekend set against the Cubs, with what should be (on paper) a pretty solid trio of starters scheduled in Wade Miley, Luis Castillo, and Mahle again. Miley’s been the rock early on in what is hopefully a bounce-back season after his disappointing 2020 campaign, though Castillo’s had the inverse happen to him so far. Fortunately for the Reds, though, they’re fresh after an off-day Thursday, and with two more slated for the coming week (on Monday and Thursday), they should have all their arms available this weekend.

While GABP is certainly a launching pad for all parties involved, the Reds have enjoyed the hell out of hitting there in particular so far in 2021. They’ve been the single best home team in baseball offensively, with more home dingers than anyone else (25) and league-best home splits in wRC+ (140), ISO (.245), OBP (.373), and wOBA (.388). That offense paired with their scheduled starters should make for a formidable force for the series, though we all know Reds/Cubs series of late end up slugfests from both sides.

Fun fact

The Reds began this season 6-1. Since then they have lost 12 of 17, including the aforementioned seven-game losing streak in which they were outscored 61-40.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (3-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 3.45 FIP) vs. Wade Miley, LHP (2-2, 2.45 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, 3.50 FIP)

Saturday: Zach Davies, RHP (1-2, 9.47 ERA, 2.211 WHIP, 6.20 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo, RHP (1-2, 6.29 ERA, 1.603 WHIP, 5.31 FIP)

Sunday: Trevor Williams, RHP (2-2, 4.44 ERA, 1.521 WHIP, 3.42 FIP) vs. Tyler Mahle, RHP (1-1, 1.75 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 2.82 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Reds market territories)

Saturday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 12:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

I don’t know why, I just have a feeling the Cubs will end this road trip on a high note and take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs return home to host the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    3
    (9 votes)
  • 24%
    2
    (27 votes)
  • 53%
    1
    (59 votes)
  • 13%
    0
    (15 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now