Baseball

Series Preview – Cubs vs. Reds: Time To Pivot

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 44-37   Reds 36-42

GAMETIMES: Friday 6:10, Saturday 3:10, Sunday 12:10

TV: WGN Friday, ABC Saturday, NBCSN Sunday

SONS OF LARKIN: Blog Red Machine

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Cole Hamels vs. Sonny Gray

Jose Quintana vs. Luis Castillo

Jon Lester vs. Anthony DeSclafani

PROBABLE CUBS LINEUP

Kyle Schwarber – LF

Kris Bryant – 3B

Anthony Rizzo – 1B

Javier Baez – SS

Willson Contreras – C

Jason Heyward – RF

David Bote – 2B

Albert Almora Jr. – CF

PROBABLE REDS LINEUP

Nick Senzel – CF

Joey Votto – 1B

Eugenio Suarez – 3B

Yasiel Puig – RF

Jose Iglesias – SS

Scooter Gennett – 2B

Phillip Irvin – LF

Curt Casali – C

 

The Cubs begin the second-half of the season in the bouncy-castle that is The Great American Ballpark. Get ready for Darth Eugenio for the weekend. There’s no avoiding it.

The Reds have been bipolar of late. They swept the Astros on the road (an admittedly short-staffed ‘Stros but still), and then took the first two from the Brewers in Milwaukee. But then they lost the last two, and then were clocked by the Angels at home for two games, scoring one run in each. All in all it’s been a pretty disappointing June for the Redlegs, as they’ve gone 9-12 after a 15-13 May. Their metrics still suggest they should be far above where they are, but it’s getting a bit late to keep claiming that. Still, a good showing against the Northside Nine this weekend would give June something of a hint of gloss.

In the month, the offense for the Reds has dried up. Those of you waiting on the Derek Dietrich bubble to burst can rejoice, as he managed a 66 wRC+ in June with a glittering .277 wOBA. Only Votto and Puig have pulled their weight the last three weeks, with part-time dash from Jesse Winker. The Reds are in fact last in runs in June, but that’s never stopped them from clubbing the Cubs over the head at that spaceport of a park.

The rotation is moving the wrong direction as well. Anthony DeSclafani has been great in the month, with a 2.40 FIP. Tanner Roark has been on the upside of his usual performance, but Sonny Gray can’t find the plate again and Luis Castillo has been so wayward he’s being picked up by air traffic control. The only thing keeping Castillo’s ERA from blowing up is he still strikes out a ton of batters and some Righteous BABIP Kung Fu Treachery of .208. Gray has not been so lucky, which is why his ERA is over 5.00. The Cubs will see them both, and patience is the order of the day when they do.

Like it’s been with the Reds all season, you should probably do the work against the starters because they do have a very good pen. David Hernandez, Michael Lorenzen and his jersey that’s holding on for dear life, Amir Garrett, and Jared Hughes have all been lights-out over the past couple weeks, so the Cubs recent habit of falling behind by multiple runs is not the way to go about this weekend at all. Given the state of the Reds offense right now, that isn’t a huge ask from the Cubs rotation. But again, dumb things tend to happen at this park, and we don’t mean the food.

It’s now the second half, and while the Cubs usually wait until after the break to really get going, there’s no reason to not to start now. Both the Reds and Pirates are moving backwards, and by the time they get to the Southside to close it out the Sox might not even be able to field a team. They sort of muddled through the first half. And maybe that’s what they are. Still, July’s schedule is S-A-W-F-T, and if they’re ever going to kick to another gear and open up some ground, it’s right now.

Enough of this shit. Time to make the chimi-fucking-changas.

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