Series Preview: Reds at Cubs, August 23 - August 26, 2018

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Series Preview: Reds at Cubs, August 23 – August 26, 2018

Chicago Cubs

Later today, the Chicago Cubs will kickoff a four-game, weekend contest against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field, the second-to-last time these two clubs will meet this year.

Of course, by the time they next meet, the Reds may already be officially eliminated from contention in the NL Central. Their elimination number already sits at just 20, so a sweep this weekend would drop them all the way down to 12. But I’d settle for the Cubs taking three of four, how about you?

I’m going to the game tonight (first time I’ll see Cole Hamels with the Cubs in person), so I’ll see ya there.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (72-53) are still just two games over .500 in the second half of the season (17-5), and that’s just not going to cut it. They need to pull ahead soon, and there’s no better time than a four-game home series against the last place team.

The Cincinnati Reds (56-71) have dropped six of their last ten games and are five games below .500 in the second half of the year. Their elimination number sits at 20 for the NL Central.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Thursday, August 23rd at 7:05 CT on CSN-C, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Friday, August 24th at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, August 25th at 1:20 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, August 26th at 1:20 CT on WGN, 670 The SCore

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Cole Hamels (0.72 ERA, 2.40 FIP; 3.83 K/BB)
  • TBA
  • Jose Quintana (4.36 ERA, 4.76 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)
  • Kyle Hendricks (4.04 ERA, 4.08 FIP; 3.41 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

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

Unavailable: Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly, Brandon Morrow, Brian Duensing, Addison Russell

Cincinnati Reds

Probable Pitchers:

  • Anthony DeSclafani (4.12 ERA, 4.86 FIP; 4.02 K/BB)
  • Matt Harvey (4.91 ERA, 4.78 FIP; 2.97 K/BB) (unless he’s gone)
  • Luis Castillo (4.86 ERA, 4.33 FIP; 3.23 K/BB)
  • Homer Bailey (6.21 ERA, 5.65 FIP; 2.13 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Curt Casali/Tucker Barnhart
  • 1B – Tucker Barnart*
  • 2B – Scooter Gennett
  • 3B – Eugenio Suarez
  • SS – Jose Peraza
  • LF – Preston Tucker
  • CF – Billy Hamilton (unless he’s gone)
  • RF – Phillip Ervin

Unavailable: Scott Schebler, Joey Votto, Jackson Stephens, Alex Blandino, Rookie Davis, Jesse Winker

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Cole Hamels is getting his fifth start as a Chicago Cub tonight, and I’ll be there to see it. I’m pretty excited to see him in person for the first time, but I’m really hoping he can just keep up this ridiculously awesome streak of four straight excellent starts. He’s pretty much succeeding in every aspect of the game right now (quality of contact, type of contact, strikeouts, walks, velocity, etc.), and he’s helping hold this rotation together. Keep it up … please.

Cubs Player: Javy Baez has begun heating up again, with three straight multi-hit games, including a double, a homer and a stolen base. He’s officially in the 20-20 club, but he’s got a very real chance to make it to the 25-25 club and an outside shot at 30-30. He’ll have to play both out of his mind … and a little recklessly, but who would’ve love to watch that?

Reds Pitcher: Homer Bailey feels like he’s been with the Reds for 20 years, doesn’t it? Well, it has technically been over a decade, so I guess it really has been quite a long tenure. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t managed to up to that 2013 4.1 WAR campaign and is a negative WAR player this year. So naturally, you can expect him to dominate the Cubs offense this weekend.

Reds Player: and backup catcher Curt Casali is effectively the replacement for Joey Votto this week, as the nominal starting catcher, *Tucker Barnhart, has moved to first in Votto’s absence. Casali has had a couple of nice games against the Giants lately, and actually has a 147 wRC+ in his 94 plate appearances this season. With that said, his .377 BABIP is probably not going to last with a 21.5% soft-hit rate. But his numbers are generally pretty good otherwise.

Even still … he better not be the one to beat the Cubs this weekend.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami