Series Preview: Reds at Cubs, July 7 – July 9, 2018

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Series Preview: Reds at Cubs, July 7 – July 9, 2018

Series Previews

Once upon a time, the sight of “[email protected]” on the schedule was like seeing an oasis in the middle of the desert. As long as the Cubs can get through the next series/week/month, etc., we’d say, they’ll eventually get the Reds at home.

But after watching the NL-Central favorite Cubs get swept by the Reds in four games just a week and a half ago, I think the idea of a scheduling oasis is just a mirage. These are all tough teams – even the seemingly bad ones – filled with quality big league players. And as the Reds have shown over the past few weeks – couple months, really – any team can get hot at any time.

The good news is that the Cubs also seem to be a little hot, too. The bad news is that they’re still a little banged up. At least they’re getting back Carl Edwards Jr. today. Here’s hoping he gets a chance to preserve a nice 10-run lead today at some point.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (49-35) have won six games in a row and are a season-high 14 games over .500. However, the Brewers keep on winning, and, because of the off-day yesterday coinciding with the Brewers win over the Braves, the Cubs lost another half-game in the standings.

The Cincinnati Reds (38-49) just won a series against the White Sox, before splitting a four-gamer with the Brewers. Before that, they took two of three from the Braves, four straight from the Cubs, and two of two from the Tigers. Short version: they’re 12-4 over their past 16 games and that’s very, very good.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Friday, July 6 at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN (out-of-market), 670 The Score
  • Saturday, July 7 at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN (out-of-market), 670 The Score
  • Sunday, July 8 at 1:20  CT on WGN, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Mike Montgomery (3.55 ERA, 4.01 FIP; 2.05 K/BB)
  • Tyler Chatwood (4.54 ERA, 4.95 FIP; 1.06 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (2.25 ERA, 4.16 FIP; 2.26 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – David Bote
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Albert Almora/Ian Happ
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

Unavailable: Brian Duensing, Eddie Butler, Justin Hancock, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish

Cincinnati Reds

Probable Pitchers:

  • Tyler Mahle (3.83 ERA, 4.69 FIP; 2.38 K/BB)
  • Matt Harvey (4.91 ERA, 4.68 FIP; 2.86 K/BB)
  • Luis Castillo (5.53 ERA, 4.77 FIP; 2.76  K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Tucker Barnhart
  • 1B – Joey Votto
  • 2B – Scooter Gennett
  • 3B –  Eugenio Suarez
  • SS – Jose Peraza
  • LF – Adam Duvall
  • CF – Billy Hamilton
  • RF – Scott Schebler

Unavailable: Homer Bailey, Rookie Davis

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Justin Wilson had hit a bit of a rough stretch from June 19th through the 29th, wherein he allowed 5 earned runs in 4.1 IP. Now, the reason he struggled during that stretch seems to be pretty obvious (almost no soft contact and way too many line drives), but he actually limited the hard contact extremely well during those games and wasn’t his usual wild self either: 3 walks in 4.1 IP isn’t good, but it’s far from the sort of self-implosion we’re used to seeing from Wilson. The better news is that he’s made two scoreless appearances since that stretch, and he was mostly perfect. He faced one over the minimum in his two innings of work, and struck out three while getting the other four to ground out.

Cubs Player: Willson Contreras is heating right up along with the summer and is currently riding a four-game hitting-streak as well as a three-game multi-hit-streak. His season slash line, then, is up to a 126 wRC+, but since June 6th, he’s batting an even more impressive .316/.382/.506 (139 wRC+).

Reds Pitcher: Matt Harvey limited the Cubs to two earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched the last time he faced them, and that wasn’t his only good start with the Reds. He’s gone at least 5.0 innings allowing three or fewer earned runs in four straight now, including games against the Brewers, Braves, and Cubs. That’s just impressive. Hopefully, the magical comeback ends here.

Reds Player: Joey Votto will forever be a difficult at-bat, but he has been in a tiny slump lately … although that slump does include a 20.9% walk rate and .372 OBP. It’s just that his .206 batting average and .235 slugging percentage are weighing him down. Hopefully, the Cubs can limit him to this level of production over the weekend, because if the contact/power come back while he’s still also walking this much, they’ll be in trouble.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.