Did you know that one of Cincinnati’s nicknames is “The Paris of America”? That’s pretty cool, right?
I mean, sure, San Francisco (Paris of the West), New Orleans (Paris of the South), Worcester (Paris of the 80’s), Detroit (Paris of the Midwest), Kansas City (Paris of the Plains), Carrboro (Paris of the Piedmont), and Lexington (Paris of Southwest Virginia) all claim to be the Paris of Something. But Cincinnati is the Paris of the whole United States!
“We put chili on our spaghetti … on purpose … and we like it.” (^Actual quote from that video^)
The Cubs will be visiting the Paris of the United States this weekend, for three games against the Reds, a.k.a. the Yankees of the NL Central. And while the Cubs still haven’t quite taken off here lately, their crazy win over the Braves yesterday certainly feels like it’s generated some momentum.
Let’s hope that carries over into this series, because despite a below-.500 record, the Reds are actually a pretty tough team (+40 run differential, 5th best in the NL).
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (44-37) just split three straight series (a four-gamer against the Braves, a four-gamer against the Mets, and a two-gamer against the Sox) after dropping back-to-back series against the Dodgers and Rockies. That puts them at 7-10 in their last 17 games … and in first place in the NL Central.
The Cincinnati Reds (36-42) have lost four straight games on the road, including two against the Angels and two against the Brewers. If they don’t make up some serious ground against the Cubs this weekend, well, let’s just say tough decisions will soon have to be made with the trade deadline coming up.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Friday, June 27th at 6:10 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Saturday, June 28th at 3:10 CT on ABC-7, 670 The Score
- Sunday, June 29th at at 12:10 CT on NBCSC, MLBN, 670 The Score
Game 1: Cole Hamels (L) v. Sonny Gray (R)
Game 2: Jose Quintana (L) v. Luis Castillo (R)
Game 3: Jon Lester (L) v. Anthony DeSclafani (R)
- C – Willson Contreras
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – David Bote/Addison Russell
- 3B – Kris Bryant
- SS – Javy Baez
- LF – Kyle Schwarber
- CF – Jason Heyward/Albert Almora
- RF – Carlos Gonzalez/Jason Heyward
Unavailable: Xavier Cedeno, Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Hendricks, Brandon Morrow, Allen Webster, Ben Zobrist
- C – Tucker Barnhart
- 1B – Joey Votto
- 2B – Jose Peraza
- 3B – Eugenio Suarez
- SS – Jose Iglesias
- LF – Jesse Winker
- CF – Nick Senzel
- RF – Yasiel Puig
Unavailable: Scooter Gennett, Wandy Peralta
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Jon Lester bounced back in a big way his last time out, going six innings without an earned run against the Braves, with seven strikeouts and no walks. He had been a bit of a prolonged slump before that (30 earned runs over 37.2 IP), so that was good to see. Let’s hope he keeps it up against the Reds, who’ve been slightly better, overall, against southpaws this season.
Cubs Player: Willson Contreras has a 10-game hitting streak brewing at the moment, featuring 15 hits (3 doubles, 1 triple, and 4 home runs), and four walks. His .300/.395/.586 slash line yields the 8th best wRC+ in MLB.
Reds Pitcher: Luis Castillo presents a significant challenge for Jose Quintana and the Cubs on Saturday, because he’s been pretty darn good this season (2.56 ERA, 3.71 FIP). The 13.0% walk rate is obviously an issue for him – and a strength of the Cubs – but the 28.9% strikeout rate, 55.3% ground ball rate, and better-than-average hard contact helps support his results. He kept the Cubs to two earned runs over 5.1 IP back in the middle of May.
Reds Player: Joey Votto still has only a 100 wRC+ this season, which is just killing me inside. He’s been one of the league’s best hitters and most pop-polarizing players for so long, it’s a little sad to watch the beginning of his end. He has been a lot better in June, though: .267/.368/.507 (126 wRC+). So watch out, I guess. [Brett: I like Votto, too, but why did you say all of this, Michael? You realize what you’ve done, right?]