The Cubs were supposed to finish the 2022 season at Wrigley Field against the Reds, but the lockout rescheduled quite a few games, including what was to have been the season-opening set in Cincinnati. Those three games will immediately follow the three at Wrigley, so I’m treating this like a six-game series, played in two ballparks.
For more on the Reds, here’s Wick Terrell, manager of our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter.
The Cincinnati Reds spent the entirety of their post-lockout offseason giving away proven big league players to shed payroll. They promptly burst out of the game with a 3-22 start to the season that wiped away all remaining hope for a miracle season, rendering the final five months of the schedule no more than a proving ground to see what could be produced by the threadbare roster that remained.
Jonathan India got hurt and missed months. Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene hit the shelf for long periods, too. Tyler Stephenson was lost for the year far too early, while Joey Votto’s arduous season was ended for an ugly-sounding surgery, too. Kyle Farmer, the team leader in almost every single offensive stat at the moment, needed a late homer on Tuesday to keep his season OPS from beginning with a 6.
The poor play and crap luck combined to make it a pretty rough summer for Reds Country, though I’m still not sure it’s been as rock-bottomy as the last few weeks. The Reds are truly just playing out the string, losers of 16 of their last 20 games including back to back sweeps at the hands of the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. A 100 loss season is still in the cards, as is what would be a team-record 102 losses for the season, should things not turn around against the Chicago Cubs over the last two series.
Rest assured, this might well be the ”best” the Reds roster could possibly be at the moment given its other parameters, as the starting rotation has seen the returns of Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and even Connor Overton in the last two weeks, with Mike Minor’s departure to the injured list another added bonus. So while they should, in theory, be a cakewalk for Cubs pitching, there’s at least a good chance the Reds put up a lot of zeros of their own with their arms.
Maybe that’ll keep them from losing their 100th game of the season, or even from posting the worst record in over a century of baseballing. Given everything else that’s gone wrong for this franchise of late, though, maybe not.
The last time the Cubs played six consecutive games against one team was July 14-17, 1988, against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. That was originally a four-game series that had a game added due to an April rainout, then another game was added because a game ended in a tie due to darkness — the last such game before the lights went on in Wrigley. The Cubs went 0-5-1 in that series.
The last time the Cubs played six straight games against the Reds was August 28-31, 1918, also a scheduled four-game series that had two games added (via doubleheaders) due to two previous rainouts. The Cubs split those six games with the Reds, games that didn’t matter as they had clinched the 1918 NL pennant a couple of days before the series began.
(Thanks to BCB's own JohnW53 for the above fun fact info!)
Probable pitching matchups
NOTE: Past Sunday, the starting pitchers listed are an assumption by me based on the pitchers who have started for the Cubs over the last few days. Also, David Ross said earlier this week that Drew Smyly would start one more game this year and Saturday would be the logical slot. Officially on the Cubs website, only Friday’s and Sunday’s Cubs starters are listed, though the Reds listed these six pitchers in order in their game notes Wednesday.
It could change. “As always, we await developments.”
Friday (at Wrigley Field): Adrian Sampson, RHP (3-5, 3.23 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 3.79 FIP) vs. Graham Ashcraft, RHP (5-4, 4.18 ERA, 1.361 WHIP, 4.02 FIP)
Saturday (at Wrigley Field): Drew Smyly, LHP (7-8, 3.48 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 4.31 FIP) vs. Nick Lodolo, LHP (4-7, 3.75 ERA, 1.241 WHIP, 3.86 FIP)
Sunday (at Wrigley Field): Marcus Stroman, RHP (5-7, 3.66 ERA, 1.146 WHIP, 3.85 FIP) vs. Chase Anderson, RHP (2-3, 4.70 ERA, 1.087 WHIP, 4.51 FIP)
Monday (at Cincinnati): Hayden Wesneski, RHP (3-1, 2.33 ERA, 0.963 WHIP, 3.34 FIP) vs. Hunter Greene, RHP (4-13, 4.66 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 4.52 FIP)
Tuesday (at Cincinnati): Javier Assad, RHP (2-2, 3.62 ERA, 1.546 WHIP, 4.88 FIP) vs. Luis Cessa, RHP (4-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.348 WHIP, 5.04 FIP)
Wednesday (at Cincinnati): Adrian Sampson, RHP vs. Graham Ashcraft, RHP
Times & TV channels
Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Reds market territories)
Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Monday: 5:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Tuesday: 5:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Wednesday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
The Cubs will finish the year on a high note and take four of these six games.
The Cubs will open the 2023 Spring Training season Saturday, February 25 against the Giants at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, and the 2023 regular season Thursday, March 30 against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Reds?
This poll is closed