Series Preview: Cubs vs. Reds
I for one am glad to see the Brewers leave town, they were pesky and offensively were hitting on all cylinders. Now the Cubs are off to Cincinnati for a 3 games weekend series with the NL Central Division Leading Reds.
Coming in HOT
Ok, so maybe not that hot, but the Cubs stole 2 out of 3 from the Brewers in come from behind fashion to win another series on the year. So far the Cubs have won 4 series and been swept by the Pirates, the sweep was ugly, but other than that, not a terrible start.
8-7 isn’t a great early record, especially when they didn’t have their 7th loss last year until May 11th, but all things considering (Cardinals really slow start and Starling Marte suspended for 80 games), there is still no question that this is the Cubs’ division to lose.
Lester is coming off his best start of the early season going 7 strong innings in a no decision against the Pirates. For the season he has a 1.00 ERA with 17 Ks in 18 innings. Last season he was 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA against the Reds and held them to a WHIP of 0.98.
Adleman on the other has had just one start so far this year with only 4 innings of work and a 2.25 ERA. Last year he was decent against the Cubs to the tune of a 1-0 record with a 3.97 ERA in 11.1 innings which saw him strikeout 9 while only walking 2.
When Arrieta takes the mound on Saturday, it will be exactly one year and one day since he thew his 2nd no-hitter against this very team in this very stadium. Jake has looked very solid so far this season with a 2-0 record and a 2.89 ERA with a WHIP of 0.91. Last season, Arrieta held the Reds to a .087 AVG and an OPS of .410.
Cody Reed is getting the start in game two and it is his first start of the year, though he has appeared in 4 games a reliever so far. He has been very impressive so far though with 8 shutout innings and a WHIP of 0.50. Last year, the Cubs hit him very well, with a combined .350 AVG and an OPS of 1.197 with 5 HRs.
John Lackey hasn’t been overly impressive thus far with him struggling early in the games then battling the rest of the way to make it through 6 innings in each of his 3 starts. He has given up 4 HRs so far and hopefully he can get a good start going against the Reds from beginning to end.
Bronson Arroyo is back to pitching after missing the past 2 seasons due to injury. He isn’t really setting the world on fire though with a 1-2 record and an 8.40 ERA, giving up 5 HRs while walking 5 in 15 innings. He is primed to get rocked (hopefully) by the Cubs.
Keys to the Series
On paper, the Cubs should win all 3 games handily, with huge advantages in starting pitching for all 3 games, but as they say, that is why you play the games. They will need to have their normal patience and get ahead in counts and see what kind of good pitches they can get.
Pick to Click
I know Jeff Ragauskis picked him last series, but he still makes sense for this series; Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber seems to love hitting in Cincinnati, near his home town and I think he goes off this weekend after getting a breather yesterday.