In another season – another life, maybe – I’d say a trip to Cincinnati to face the fourth-place Reds in August after a successful homestand was just what the first-place Chicago Cubs need.
But this year, given the way they’ve played on the road and specifically against the Reds? I’m absolutely dreading it. And that’s without mentioning that the Reds starting rotation – Alex Wood, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo – is downright formidable for such a “bad” team.
At least there’s only one lefty to face? I guess? Hopefully, Nicholas Castellanos is up to the task tonight, so that Kyle Schwarber and company can carry them the rest of the weekend. Here we go.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (62-52) had a nice home stand and are 10 games over .500 at the moment – good for first place in the NL Central. Now let’s see if they can hold it.
The Cincinnati Reds (54-58) have won three games in a row and 7 of their last 10. Although they’re obviously a long-shot at this point, they are still just 4.0 games out of a Wild Card spot.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Thursday, August 8th at 6:10 CT on NBCSCH, 670 The Score
- Friday, August 9th at 6:10 CT on NBCSCH, 670 The Score
- Saturday, August 10th at 6:10 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
- Sunday, August 11th at 12:10 CT on NBCSCH, 670 The Score
Game 1: Cole Hamels (L) v. Alex Wood (L)
Game 2: Yu Darvish (R) v. Trevor Bauer (R)
Game 3: Kyle Hendricks (R) v. Sonny Gray (R)
Game 4: Jon Lester (L) v. Luis Castillo (R)
- C – Victor Caratini/Jonathan Lucroy
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Ian Happ (Maybe? Probably? Please?)
- 3B – Kris Bryant
- SS – Javy Baez
- LF – Kyle Schwarber
- CF – Jason Heyward
- RF – Nicholas Castellanos
Unavailable: Willson Contreras, Daniel Desclaso, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Kintzler, Xavier Cedeno, Brandon Morrow, Allen Webster, Ben Zobrist.
- C – Tucker Barnhard
- 1B – Joey Votto
- 2B – Jose Peraza
- 3B – Eugenio Suarez
- SS – Jose Iglesisas
- LF – Jesse Winker
- CF – Nick Senzel
- RF – Phillip Ervin
Unavailable: Curt Casali, Derek Dietrich, Juan Graterol, Tyler Mahle
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Yu Darvish has looked fantastic lately – and did just hold the Reds to 2 hits over 6.0 scoreless innings on July 17th. But this will be the fourth time they’ve seen him this season, which, even for a pitcher with a sizable pitch mix like Darvish, isn’t an easy task.
Cubs Player: Kyle Schwarber has six hits (including two homers and a double) in his last four games and has been on fire since the All-Star break:
I love Ian Happ's resurgence, but we can't ignore Kyle Schwarber.
Since the All-Star break, the Cubs left fielder has slashed .265/.375/.662 (161 wRC+) in 80 plate appearances. pic.twitter.com/DpcE0S1iN4
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 8, 2019
Reds Pitcher: Trevor Bauer. He’s on the Reds now, lest you forget their crazy deadline dealing. He’s also pretty good at pitching, usually. Well, he’s not as good this year (3.85 ERA, 4.15 FIP) as he was last year (2.21 ERA, 2.44 FIP), and I do seem to remember him taking two Ls in the 2016 postseason against the Cubs though. Maybe they’ll be just fine.
Reds Player: Joey Votto has had a crazy hard offensive crash this season, with his overall numbers still below average for the year (96 wRC+). And since July 1st, things have only gotten worse: .240/.321/.372 (81 wRC+). As a pitcher, I still wouldn’t be thrilled to face him, but I do not think he has any of whatever it is he had for the last decade-plus left.