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Cincinnati-Reds-Mr-RedThe Cubs dropped the final two games in Washington after trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, which kind of sucked, but it makes this series very interesting – we could see two Cubs making their debut.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs were playing so well, relatively speaking, heading into Washington, and through Friday’s game. Two losses – one blowout, one close – and the Cubs feel quite cold again. They’re back to 10 games under .500

The Reds just took two of three from the division-leading Brewers, and are now three games over .500. Unfortunately for them, the NL Central is starting to look good once again this year, and they’re in fourth place, six games out. Hell of a race going on right now.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, July 7 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Tuesday, July 8 at 12:10 CT on WGN.
  • Tuesday, July 8 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Wednesday, July 9 at 6:10 CT on WGN.
  • Thursday, July 10 at 11:35 CT on WGN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Edwin Jackson (4.99 ERA, 3.94 FIP; 2.05 K/BB), Travis Wood (4.62 ERA, 4.16 FIP; 1.86 K/BB), TBA (Probably Tsuyoshi Wada), TBA (Probably Kyle Hendricks or Dallas Beeler), TBA

Lineup (been shuffling a lot lately):

  1. Junior Lake/Chris Coghlan/Justin Ruggiano, LF
  2. Ruggiano and Lake go here, too – or Ryan Sweeney
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Pitcher

Reds

Starters: Mike Leake (3.47 ERA, 3.67 FIP; 3.83 K/BB), TBA, TBA, Alfredo Simon (2.78 ERA, 4.36 FIP; 2.58 K/BB), Homer Bailey (4.15 ERA, 3.87 FIP; 2.83 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton, CF
  2. Todd Frazier, 3B
  3. Joey Votto, 1B I don’t know how Reds will choose to go without Votto
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Ryan Ludwick/Chris Heisey, LF
  7. Devin Mesoraco, C
  8. Zack Cosart, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Primarily, I can’t wait to see who is called up to make the starts this week. Tsuyoshi Wada will be one of the guys, and I want to see how his stuff plays at the big league level. The other could be Dallas Beeler in his second start of the year in the bigs (he looked the part of a good 4/5 against the Nationals (SSS)), or it could be Kyle Hendricks, who was pulled after two innings last night and was seen getting hugs and backslaps and all that. Pretty good bet it’s gonna be Hendricks, and I am stoked to see that.

Justin Ruggiano is blazing hot, and has his season numbers up to “awesome”: .286/.364/.476, .369 wOBA, 133 wRC+. Sure, that .360 BABIP is going to regress some, but the power and discipline are legit.

It pains me too much to share the numbers, but, suffice it to say: Luis Valbuena has been very cold for a good long while now. Pretty much ever since he finally got noticed for how well he was playing.

You won’t be watching Joey Votto in this one in all likelihood, as he’s probably going to hit the DL today with a repeat of his quad injury. It’s a bummer for the Reds and folks who like watching great hitters, but obviously a boon to the Cubs.

Devin Mesoraco’s absurdly good season continues – .307/.372/.631 – despite his BABIP regressing to a more reasonable .336. Dude’s just flat killing it this year.

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