For the rest of the regular season, the Cubs’ fate rests entirely within their own hands and that’s good news, in my opinion. If they simply play well enough, they can finish the season with blinders on and still prance into the postseason for the fourth consecutive year (third as divisional champs).
But they’ll have to figure out a way to drop that magic number to zero potentially without two of their top relievers, Brandon Morrow (who could return next week) and Pedro Strop (who got hurt last night), the rest of the way. And that comes at a time when their next two best relievers, Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek, seem to be battling issues of their own. It’s going to be a challenge and the Cubs starting staff really needs to carry some weight.
Let’s see if the Cubs can squeeze out at least two wins against the Reds this weekend and transform that magic number into something more comfortable. Reminder: Today’s original 1:20 CT start time as been moved back to 7:05 CT.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (85-61) Just won their makeup game against the Nationals, but lost a series against the Brewers before that. They’re 4-6 in their past ten contests and have a 1.5 game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Cincinnati Reds (63-84) are 63-84.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Friday, September 14th at 7:05 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Saturday, September 15th at 3:05 CT on CSNC, 670 The Score
- Sunday, September 16th at 1:20 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
- Cole Hamels (3.71 ERA, 4.43 FIP; 2.75 K/BB)
- Jon Lester (3.57 ERA, 4.53 FIP; 2.29 K/BB)
- Jose Quintana (3.97 ERA, 4.41 FIP; 2.08 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Willson Contreras
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Daniel Murphy/Javy Baez
- 3B – Kris Bryant/David Bote
- SS – Javy Baez/Addison Russell
- LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
- CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora
- RF – Ben Zobrist/Kris Bryant
Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish, Justin Hancock, Drew Smyly, Mark Zagunis, Pedro Strop (sigh).
- Matt Harvey (4.87 ERA, 4.63 FIP; 3.35 K/BB)
- Cody Reed (5.08 ERA, 4.92 FIP; 2.18 K/BB)
- Luis Castillo (4.66 ERA, 4.40 FIP; 3.59 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Tucker Barnhard
- 1B – Joey Votto
- 2B – Scooter Gennett
- 3B – Eugenio Suarez
- SS – Jose Peraza
- LF – Phillip Ervin
- CF – Billy Hamilton
- RF – Scott Schebler
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Justin Wilson may be the guy the Cubs turn to (most often) in the ninth, now that Strop and Morrow are both on the shelf. He’s been pitching well lately and has experience there before (not to mention the other main candidates, Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek, have been working through some stuff). However, I don’t love that after an 8.0 inning stretch without a walk, he’s allowed 3 free passes in his last 1.2 IP. Please stay sharp for these last two weeks at least.
Cubs Player: Kris Bryant has been heating up lately, and I get a feeling he’s going to play a huge role for the Cubs down the stretch.
Kris Bryant has back-to-back multi-hit games (w/ extra-base hits) and has 7 hits including 4 doubles, 2 walks, 4 runs, and 3 RBI in his last five games.
My bet? He goes off the rest of the season.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) September 14, 2018
Reds Pitcher: The Cubs are drawing Matt Harvey (again) tonight, and frankly, that sucks. He’s faced the Cubs three times since joining the Reds, and every time he’s handled them quite well. Indeed, through those 17.0 IP, Harvey has recorded 16Ks to just 3 walks. Time to stop the madness, Cubs offense. Come on.
Reds Player: Billy Hamilton has a .241/.300/.333 (70 wRC+) slash line this season, but a .286/.364/.347 (97 wRC+) slash line against the Cubs. And although that slugging percentage may be small, you have to remember that, with his speed, a .364 OBP can go a VERY long way.