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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Reds series preview

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Another matchup with a divisional rival.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are just 3-6 against the Reds so far this year, though that breaks down to 2-1 at Wrigley Field and 1-5 in Cincinnati.

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

These Cincinnati Reds continue to confound.

They’ve got no support from ownership, who gave away the bulk of their bullpen over the winter and has continued to stick their collective head in the sand during trade season despite it still being a persistent woe. They’ve been smashed with injuries lately, too, with Nick Castellanos joining Mike Moustakas as ‘team record free agent signings’ on the IL, with the best trio of bullpen arms still around there injured, too, alongside Nick Senzel once again.

Yet here they are, 51-48, and the closest team to an NL Wild Card spot that’s not currently in one. They’re also the next-best team to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, and given all of that, you’d think they’d be a buyer right now. Factor in that they’ve not won a playoff series since before Jonathan India was born and that Castellanos is likely to opt-in to free agency this winter, and you’d think doubly that this would be the kind of team worth backing with investment.

I dunno. They sure as heck should have some backing, but are at least treading water for the time being without it. A brutal 3-6 homestand out of the All-Star break did them no favors, making this upcoming trip to Wrigley that much more vital in the final week before the trade deadline. I just wonder what the mindset of these players is right now knowing that they’ve done absolutely everything they could with an injured and sabotaged roster to show they’re relevant and dangerous with zero response from the front office.

At least Joey Votto seems willing to put the club on his almost 38-year-old shoulders. He’s been simply brilliant since returning from his broken finger, and once again anchors a Reds lineup that’s both evolving and dangerous. The hope here at Red Reporter is that we’ll get some more vintage performance from him this week in a Reds/Cubs series that’s as vital in these parts as we’ve seen between them on our side for years.

Fun fact

The Reds’ bullpen has allowed 63 home runs this year, tied with the Diamondbacks for the most in MLB. Only three of those home runs have been hit by Cubs (one each by Javier Baez, Ian Happ and Rafael Ortega). On the other hand, overall the Cubs have homered nine times off Reds pitching this year, so perhaps they can get the bats going against Cincinnati’s starters.

Probable pitching matchups

Monday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (12-4, 3.61 ERA, 1.261 WHP, 4.60 FIP) vs. Wade Miley, LHP (8-4, 2.72 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 3.25 FIP)

Tuesday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-10, 4.58 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 5.09 FIP) vs. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP (4-3, 4.97 ERA, 1.454 WHIP, 5.91 FIP)

Wednesday: Zach Davies, RHP (6-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.490 WHIP, 4.65 FIP) vs. Tyler Mahle, RHP (7-3, 3.92 ERA, 1.240 WHIP, 4.03 FIP)

Thursday: Alec Mills (4-3, 4.55 ERA, 1.395 WHIP, 4.18 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo, RHP (4-10, 4.20 ERA, 1.392 WHIP, 3.78 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Thursday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

The Reds swept the Cubs during the Cubs’ 11-game losing streak in three agonizing one-run games. Since then the Reds are 8-8 and the Cubs 7-9 and both teams are hanging around .500.

I’d like to say that the Cubs will win three of four here, since they’ve played well at home. On the other hand, the Reds are over .500 on the road (25-22). On the other other hand, the Reds’ bullpen ERA is still the worst in the league (5.34), so if the Cubs can get into it, they might have a better chance of winning. On the other other other hand, as noted above, the Cubs have played much better against the Reds at home than on the road.

So I’ll call for a series split and hope that maybe the Cubs can pull out three wins somehow.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Washington for a three-game series against the Nationals beginning Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    4
    (15 votes)
  • 18%
    3
    (29 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (75 votes)
  • 17%
    1
    (27 votes)
  • 7%
    0
    (12 votes)
158 votes total Vote Now