With the Fourth of July holiday today, the Series Preview will be a little abbreviated, especially in comparison to the beauties that Michael has been putting together.
That’s not to make light of this series, though, as every win counts in the finally tally, whether they came against great teams or crummy teams. And when you’ve got available wins for the taking, they need to be taken.
That is to say: taking two of three from the Reds this week (or more) would go a long way to salving some of the wounds that have opened up recently.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (51-30) dropped four straight in New York after sweeping these Reds in Cincinnati. On the whole, the Cubs have won just 4 times in their last 14 games.
The Cincinnati Reds (30-53) managed to win one of their four games against the Nationals after being swept by the Cubs, so I guess that means they come into this one hotter than the Cubs?
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, July 4 at 1:20 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
- Tuesday, July 5 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Wednesday, July 6 at 1:20 CT on CSN, 670 The Score
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.
- Kyle Hendricks (2.76 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.68 xFIP; 3.32 K/BB)
- John Lackey (3.27 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 3.73 xFIP; 3.69 K/BB)
- Adam Warren (4.56 ERA, 5.42 FIP, 5.35 xFIP; 1.29 K/BB)
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, LF
- Addison Russell/Javy Baez, SS
- Miguel Montero, C (or David Ross, Willson Contreras)
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Cody Reed (9.00 ERA, 6.48 FIP, 3.27 xFIP; 4.00 K/BB)
- Brandon Finnegan (4.48 ERA, 5.27 FIP, 5.20 xFIP; 1.41 K/BB)
- Anthony DeSclafani (1.78 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 4.65 xFIP; 2.56 K/BB)
- Zack Cozart, SS
- Joey Votto, 1B
- Brandon Phillips, 2B
- Jay Bruce, RF
- Adam Duvall, LF
- Eugenio Suarez, 3B
- Jose Peraza, CF
- Tucker Barnhart, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
With the holiday and other things to get to this morning, I’m going to have to keep this brief.
Since May 27 – that’s 114 plate appearances – Javy Baez is hitting .306/.342/.537, which is good for a 132 wRC+. He’s becoming a force at the plate before our very eyes, and he’s going to keep drawing regular starts, even if it means he continues to move all over. That said, if he keeps playing like this, and if the infield gets more crowded, a slightly higher percentage of those starts will probably come at shortstop. That’s not so much a knock on Addison Russell or his performance as it is an acknowledgment of the new Baez reality.
Through his first 59 career plate appearances, Willson Contreras is hitting .294/.390/.588, and the only peripheral that looks unsustainable for him right now is the .294 ISO. But even if that one comes down 50+ points to be more in line with what we might expect, he’s still raking.
Adam Warren will make his first start for the Chicago Cubs in this series, though not in the circumstances we would have guessed back in March if we knew he was making a start. That is to say, it’s not like he showed himself to be so dominant for multi-inning stretches in the bullpen that the Cubs had no choice but to give him a start. Instead, the long stretch of games precipitated the need for rest, and Warren went to Iowa to stretch out, and now he’ll give the Cubs that one extra day of rest before the break. Where he goes from there remains to be seen.
The best hitter on the Reds this year is, of course, Joey Votto, but his wRC+ is just one point higher than Adam Duvall.
I was not thrilled to see that the Cubs drew Anthony DeSclafani in this series, after he returned from an oblique injury a little while ago. That’s because DeSclafani, for whatever reason, really pitched well against the Cubs last year, and it was frustrating every time.