RECORDS: Reds 42-48   Cubs 50-43

GAMETIMES: Monday and Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 1:20

TV: NBCSN Monday and Wednesday, WGN Tuesday



Luis Castillo vs. Kyle Hendricks

Anthony DeSclafani vs. Alec Mills

Sonny Gray vs. Yu Darvish


Nick Senzel – CF

Joey Votto – 1B

Eugenio Suarez – 3B

Yasiel Puig – RF

Jesse Winker – LF

Jose Iglesias – SS

Jose Peraza – 2B

Curt Casali – C


Kyle Schwarber – LF

Javier Baez – SS

Kris Bryant -3B

Anthony Rizzo – 1B

Willson Contreras – C

Jason Heyward – RF

Robel Garcia – 2B

Albert Almora – CF


After taking care of one of the teams that made the last road trip hell with a three-game sweep of the Pirates, the Cubs will try and right previous wrongs against this year’s definite bogey team, the Reds. The Cubs have lost all three series to these assholes, who are something of an analytic darling with their subpar record but glittering run-differential. They seem intent on proving why that’s the case against the Cubs this year, which has been infuriating.

The Reds come in after getting knocked all around Coors Field for three days, giving up 19 runs in the last two games (though they won one of those as they scored 17 one night). That won’t help the Cubs much, as they’ll get the Reds three best starters in Gray, DeSclafani, and Castillo tonight. Gray and DeSclafani have been on particular rolls the past month, calming down the walks which had been a problem earlier. It’s been the reverse for Castillo, who has walked nearly six hitters per nine innings over the past 30 days. That said, his last two starts against the Cubs and Brewers have seen him throw 14.2 innings while giving up a run, so he’s probably found it again. Goodie. Just what we need.

The Cubs simply couldn’t get Joey Votto out last time, and then it was a rotating cast of miscreants that came up with big hits, notably Phillip Ervin. He went 5-for-10 with a homer in the last set, and seemingly all of them came at the biggest moments. It’s been that way in every game against the Reds this year seemingly, with the Cubs nominating a new doofus in red the hero of the day when they can least afford to.

The Cubs scored more than enough runs to sweep the Reds last time, but were unlucky to lose Cole Hamels before the second inning ever started, which forced whatever is parading around in Mike Montgomery‘s skin these days to come in and offer up sacrifices to the gods. Their bullpen weaved some magic in the finale of that one, and we can only hope that won’t happen this time around. Carl Edwards is likely to return at some point during the series, which would be a boost of some kind, assuming his head his screwed on tight.

If there’s been a soft spot on the Reds of late it’s in the pen, with only Michael Lorenzen and his Farnsworth-tight pants being consistent the past month. The Cubs got to Raisel Iglesias the last time they saw him, but he’s put up four scoreless outings since. David Hernandez and Amir Garrett have walked the park lately, so if the Cubs need to catch-up or add-on in the late innings for the next three days, they’ll have to display the same patience they discovered against the Pirates this weekend.

The Cubs have opened up just slightly with the sweep, having a 2.5-game lead now on Milwaukee and three on the Scum. With the Brewers having to deal with the Braves this week, this feels like an opportunity to open that up even more, especially as it’s the Pirates and Giants after this and neither are exactly inspiring (though the Giants have played better of late). We’ve been asking for months now but it’s time to turn it on, all the way up.