The Chicago Cubs have just 10 more games against division rivals, with their final three against the Reds starting tonight.
As far as implications go, this series sure seemed like it was going to be slightly higher stakes than it likely is (at least, for the Cubs), given how far the Reds have fallen. But it’s certainly not meaningless. If the Reds find a way to sweep Chicago, they could be right back in this race. But short of that, while painful for the Cubs, a mere Cincinnati series win won’t revive the Reds without a serious winning streak after that.
The highlight matchup in this series is going to be Darvish v. Bauer in game 2 – the second series in a row during which the Cubs best pitcher faces their opponent’s best. And after this, the Cubs head to Milwaukee for their final three against the Brewers.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (24-18) just dropped 3 of 5 to the Cardinals, decreasing their lead on the NL Central to just 2.5 games over St. Louis and 4.5 over the Brewers. They’re 5-5 over their past ten games and trending down.
The Cincinnati Reds (18-23) have struggled, winning just 4 of their last 10 games against the Pirates, Cardinals, and Cubs. Their run differential is down to -24 and they’re 5.5 games out of first place. Even in an expanded format, the Reds are behind four teams for a playoff spot in the NL.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
• Tuesday, September 8th at 7:15 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Wednesday, September 9th at 7:15 CT on MARQ, MLBN 670 The Score
• Thursday, September 10th at 7:16 on MARQ, 670 The Score
Game 1: Tyler Mahle (R) v. Alec Mills (R)
Game 2: Trevor Bauer (R) v. Yu Darvish (R)
Game 3: Sonny Gray (R) v. Adbert Alzolay (R)
• C – Willson Contreras
• 1B – Anthony Rizzo
• 2B – Jason Kipnis
• 3B – Kris Bryant
• SS – Javy Baez
• LF – Kyle Schwarber
• CF – Ian Happ
• RF – Jason Heyward(?)
• DH – Jose Martinez
Unavailable: Tyler Chatwood, Jose Quintana, Daniel Descalso, Andrew Chafin, James Norwood, Brad Wieck
• C – Curt Casali
• 1B – Joey Votto
• 2B – Mike Moustakas
• 3B – Eugenio Suarez
• SS – Jose Garcia
• LF – Brian Goodwin
• CF – Shogo Akiyama
• RF – Nick Castellanos
• DH – Jesse Winker
Unavailable: Nick Senzel, Matt Bowman, Wade Miley, Jesse Biddle
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Adbert Alzolay may be in the rotation for the foreseeable future, so let’s hope he can build on a weak start against the Cardinals, during which he uncorked 5 walks in just 2.2 IP. Maybe this time, the defense can help him out and he’ll have settled into his new role with greater comfort. The Reds have just a 93 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season (21st in MLB) and it’s even worse on the road:
The Cincinnati #Reds have a 74 wRC+ (5th worst in MLB) against right-handed pitching on the road this season … as they head to Wrigley Field to face three righties: Mills, Darvish, Alzolay.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) September 8, 2020
Cubs Player: Willson Contreras is finally hot, slashing .292/.358/.500 (130 wRC+) over the last two weeks with three homers and 10 RBI. His .374 expected wOBA for the season remains far higher than his actual .324 wOBA and higher even than any other season in his career (expected or actual).
Reds Pitcher: Trevor Bauer has been pretty excellent this season, allowing just 10 earned runs total over 44.0 IP. He’s struck out a ridiculous 61 batters over that stretch (35.9%), which is more even than Yu Darvish, with a modest 13 walks (7.6%) against. He does give up a ton of fly balls though, so if the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field, the Cubs may just have a chance, even if they strike out a lot along the way.
Reds Player: Eugenio Suarez is having his “worst” season against the Cubs since 2016, and yet he’s still got a 121 wRC+ against our guys. I have no idea why he’s so dominant against Chicago, but he hit .378/.435/.797 (204 wRC+) against them last season with 9 homers, 4 of which came at Wrigley Field. He really is a pain.