Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Cincinnati-Reds-Mr-RedThe Cubs and Reds square off again in a repeat of the pitching match-ups from last time around, though this series will be in Cincinnati. Is it too early in the year to say things like, “Boy, the Cubs could use a couple wins in this one.”

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs took the first two in Pittsburgh before dropping the last two. The bullpen struggles were really amplified in the series, which unnerving. At 8-7, the Cubs remain in second place in the NL Central.

The Reds, who are 8-8, just behind the Cubs and tied with the Pirates, got to beat up on the rudderless Brewers over the past four games, winning three of them.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, April 24 at 6:10 CT on CSN.
  • Saturday, April 25 at 12:10 CT on ABC-7.
  • Sunday, April 26 at 12:10 CT on WGN-9.

Or you can watch on

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.


Starters: Jon Lester (6.89 ERA, 2.86 FIP; 3.50 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (1.74 ERA, 1.79 FIP; 4.75 K/BB), Travis Wood (3.24 ERA, 3.65 FIP; 2.83 K/BB)


  1. Dexter Fowler, CF (If he’s back.)
  2. Jorge Soler, RF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Kris Bryant, 3B
  5. Starlin Castro, SS
  6. Chris Coghlan, LF
  7. Miguel Montero/David Ross/Welington Castillo, C
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, 2B


Starters: Mike Leake (3.92 ERA, 4.70 FIP; 1.86 K/BB), Anthony DeSclafani (0.86 ERA, 2.86 FIP; 4.00 K/BB), Jason Marquis (7.20 ERA, 4.05 FIP; 4.20 K/BB)


  1. Billy Hamilton, CF
  2. Joey Votto, 1B
  3. Todd Frazier, 3B
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Marlon Byrd, LF
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Zack Cosart, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

We didn’t get Jon Lester versus Billy Hamilton last time around, but we’ll see it tonight, I reckon.

As for Lester, we’re waiting for his first dominant start. The bullpen could use a long one, too.

It seems like Jorge Soler is struggling a bit, and he does have the ugly 33.3% strikeout rate, but the line is still a very nice .295/.362/.475. Unfortunately, that .432 BABIP is not going to last.

Kris Bryant’s .529 BABIP is also likely to come down. Maybe the 21.2% BB rate can stay, though? That’d be neat.

Don’t mistake me. I absolutely love Anthony Rizzo’s approach and results so far. But here’s a funny thing – the following Cubs players have higher ISOs than Rizzo: all of them. Literally every single regular on the Cubs (unless you’re counting Addison Russell and Jonathan Herrera) has a higher ISO than Rizzo’s .098.

If you thought Kris Bryant’s numbers were crazy thus far, consider that Joey Votto has been doing this all season: .361/.466/.721. I’d say his power is back.

No-bat Zack Cozart is hitting .328/.361/.603. Outside of him, Votto, and Todd Frazier, the Reds don’t have an above average offensive performer so far.

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