Thursday afternoon, Sara Sanchez took a dive into the Cubs’ awful June.
That month of pain is just a bit less than the amount of time since the Cubs and Reds last faced each other at the end of May, when the Cubs took two of three from the Reds at Wrigley Field.
Since that series the Reds are 17-13 and the Cubs 12-16, a four-game difference. The Reds enter this series trailing the Cubs by 1½ games.
We already know that the Cubs had one of the league’s toughest schedules over that time span. Who did the Reds go 17-13 against? (Records as noted below are as of the dates the games were played, not as they stand now.)
The Reds played 17 games against teams with winning records over that span. They went 9-8. That includes sweeping the Brewers at Milwaukee and being swept by the Padres at San Diego (and they also lost two of three to the Padres in Cincinnati).
They played 13 games against teams with losing records over that span and went 8-5, which included a totally-expected sweep of the Rockies at home.
So the Reds pretty much performed up to what you’d expect from a decent team playing that sort of schedule for a month.
Why, then, is a team that’s second only to the Dodgers in runs scored in the National League hovering at exactly .500? It’s because they rank third-to-last in the NL in runs allowed, and for the reason for that, I present today’s fun fact.
Looking at the Reds starters ERAs below and noting that the Reds are scoring runs in buckets, you might wonder why they stand at the breakeven point entering this series, 40-40.
The answer is that they have a hilariously bad bullpen with the worst ERA in the major leagues — 5.40 — and the one guy who had thrown pretty well, Tejay Antone, is on the injured list and will miss this weekend set.
Probable pitching matchups
Friday: Alec Mills, RHP (3-1, 5.11 ERA, 1.595 WHIP, 4.62 FIP) vs. Sonny Gray, RHP (1-4, 3.42 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 3.96 FIP)
Saturday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-7, 4.55 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 4.90 FIP) vs. Tyler Mahle, RHP (7-3, 3.74 ERA, 1.138 WHIP, 3.54 FIP)
Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (10-4, 3.98 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 5.08 FIP) vs. Wade Miley, LHP (6-4, 3.09 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 3.27 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Friday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Saturday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Sunday: 12:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
My prediction for the Brewers series turned out to be laugh-out-loud wrong, so I’m going to try reverse psychology for this one.
The Cubs will get swept.
The Cubs return home to Wrigley Field for a four-game series against the Phillies beginning Monday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?
This poll is closed