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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds preview, Friday 7/2, 6:10 CT

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Maybe this series will be better.

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Today’s roster move: Here

Friday notes:

  • COMPARISON POINTS: Cubs’ record after 81 games since 2015 (obviously excluding 2020):

2021: 42-39
2019: 44-37
2018: 46-35
2017: 40-41
2016: 51-30
2015: 44-37

  • WALKATHON: The Cubs drew 22 walks in the three-game series against the Brewers this week, the team’s most free passes in a three-game set since drawing 22 against the Reds, April 11-14, 2016, at Wrigley Field. In so doing they drew seven walks in three straight games for the first time since a three-game run, July 20-21, 2018 against the Cardinals. Something to watch for tonight: The Cubs have not drawn at least seven walks in four consecutive games since at least 1901.
  • HOME RUN NOTES: The Cubs have homered in 23 of their last 29 games since May 31 and have totaled 45 homers in that span, tied for second-most in the majors with the Yankees, two behind the Astros (47).
  • HELLO, NEWCOMER: Of the 48 players who have appeared in at least one game for the Cubs in 2021, 24 of them did not play a single game for the MLB Cubs in 2020.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Nice to see Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant back in the lineup. Also nice to see Patrick Wisdom starting after that scary collision in Milwaukee Wednesday. I think you can see what a vast improvement this lineup is compared to the three David Ross had to use during the Brewers series.

The Reds lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Reds lineup.

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Sonny Gray, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Alec Mills is the kind of pitcher who you look at and, especially after his no-hitter last year, you just think, “Wow, this guy is THISCLOSE to figuring it all out” and then he never does.

His last two starts have at least been decent, if a bit short. He’s got one relief appearance against the Reds this year, May 2 in Cincinnati, an inning in which he hit two batters and allowed three runs.

Maybe this time will be better.

Sonny Gray has had a pretty good 2021 — that is, when he’s been pitching. He missed the first two weeks of the season with a back strain, and he’s been on the injured list since June 9 with a groin strain. He’s being activated from the IL for this start, after one three-inning rehab outing at Triple-A Louisville.

Gray has not faced the Cubs this year. The last time he did face them, September 10, 2020 at Wrigley Field, they hit him pretty hard: a five-run fourth that included a two-run double by Nico Hoerner.

Gray might be on a short leash tonight so hopefully the Cubs can get to him early.

Statcast
Statcast

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. Chris Myers will join Jim Deshaies for today’s broadcast.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. If you do go there to interact with Reds fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.