The Cincinnati Reds roll into Wrigley, hoping that a 4-games series in Chicago is good for what ails them. It’s already the 4th meeting between the two teams this season with Cincinnati owning the 7-2 series advantage.

Since the teams’ last entanglement near the end of May, Chicago has actually won more games than they’ve lost, going 6-5 against the White Sox, Diamondbacks, Angels, and Pirates. The Cubs currently find themselves in 4th place in the division, having jumped over Milwaukee in the standings. Their run differential suggests that the Cubs record should be a lot better than it is and a lot closer to the Pirates, who are outplaying their expected win-loss record.

Central W L PCT GB exW-L RS/G RA/G
STL 41 22 0.651 42-21 5.0 3.5
CIN 37 26 0.587 4.0 37-26 4.6 3.8
PIT 37 26 0.587 4.0 33-30 3.6 3.4
CHC 25 35 0.417 14.5 30-30 4.1 4.2
MIL 25 37 0.403 15.5 26-36 4.0 4.9


Most of these matchups seem to be about even on paper, though Feldman and Wood seem to be playing with unsustainably low BABIP’s.

Date/Time Name ERA xFIP WHIP BABIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9
Mon 8:05pm Scott Feldman 2.84 3.82 1.17 .256 1.0 2.7 7.0
Homer Bailey 3.84 3.10 1.17 .311 0.5 2.4 9.0
Tue 8:05pm Matt Garza 4.03 3.79 1.16 .262 0.8 3.2 8.5
Tony Cingrani (L) 3.27 3.09 1.03 .247 1.9 2.5 11.2
Wed 2:20pm Travis Wood (L) 2.65 4.43 1.01 .220 0.6 3.0 6.5
Mike Leake 2.93 3.75 1.32 .323 0.7 2.1 6.5
Thu 2:20pm Jeff Samardzija 3.18 3.02 1.13 .282 0.9 3.1 10.4
Mat Latos 2.87 3.53 1.17 .288 0.7 2.3 7.9

— Scott Feldman is coming off back-to-back quality starts. His outing prior to that was a 5 run, 5 inning outing against the Reds.

— Matt Garza is making just his 5th start of the season. He’s yet to have a dominant outing, and his last against Cincinnati was his shortest – 4 runs allowed on 4 hits and 4 walks in 4 innings.

— Travis Wood has had quality starts in 11 of his 12 games. His only non-quality start came in his last start against Cincinnati: 7 hits, 3 walks and 5 runs in 5.2 innings.

— Jeff Samardzija allowed 4 runs in 6 innings against Pittsburgh last week, breaking a string of four straight quality starts. Samardzija has allowed just 1 earned run in each of his 6 inning starts against Cincinnati this year, though the Cubs have lost both of those starts.


All four games are scheduled to be on Fox Sports Ohio. Nationally, Tuesday’s game is on WGN and Wednesday’s day game is on MLB Network. If you live in the Chicago market, the games on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be on CSN.


The Cubs have been tinkering with this weakest link on their team all season. Zack Putman and Blake Parker are the most recent callups from AAA Iowa. Kyuji Fujikawa, signed in the offseason to setup and eventually replace Carlos Marmol as team’s closer, was moved to the 60-day DL last week. He’s scheduled to have season-ending Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.


David DeJesus (L) CF 33 200 .273 .335 .448 112 .306 3/0
Luis Valbuena (L) 3B 27 165 .241 .360 .423 113 .273 1/1
Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B 23 258 .254 .329 .478 117 .282 5/3
Alfonso Soriano (R) LF 37 230 .272 .309 .438 101 .319 8/3
Nate Schierholtz (L) RF 29 169 .288 .315 .519 123 .300 4/2
Welington Castillo (R) C 26 182 .254 .304 .337 75 .339 1/0
Starlin Castro (R) SS 23 265 .243 .283 .339 69 .286 3/1
Darwin Barney (R) 2B 27 182 .211 .293 .329 70 .234 2/0

It’s the same lineup as they’ve been using all season with one recent tweak. Manager Dave Sveum has bumped Luis Valbuena up to the 2nd spot in the batting order, while dropping Castro down to the 7th spot. Also, DeJesus and Valbuena have been in a strict platoon at their respective positions, recently. So, expect to see Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom get the starts against lefty Tony Cingrani on Tuesday night.


Since last facing Chicago, the Reds have won just 6 of 13 games. With 7 straight games against the Cubs and then the Brewers, the Reds need to take advantage of the schedule and rebound from their recent play. However, the Cubs starting pitching has not been weak. The Reds will need to work their way into the Chicago bullpen, and hope that their own bullpen can reverse its recent unstellar performances.

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12 Responses

  1. bohdi

    1. Shin-Soo Choo (L) CF
    2. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    6. Xavier Paul (L) LF
    7. Jack Hannahan (L) 3B
    8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
    9. Homer Bailey (R) P

    Cozart back to the deuce. Is Dusty planning on moving him back and forth depending on who plays LF? Is that better than just having three lefties in a row at the top when XP plays? Also, relievers can’t pitch to 4 outs but Joey Votto can play EVERY SINGLE GAME. I’m not saying he should sit today, but somethings just don’t add up.

    • Hank Aarons Teammate

      @bohdi: The experiment was maybe only good until whoever hit #2 had a bad game.

    • OhioJim

      @bohdi: Cozart is a black hole wherever they put him on offense. At defense I’d rate him as very good but not quite outstanding, certainly not on a par with say Larkin or Concepcion in their primes.

      The Reds are stuck at making the best they can of things this year with Cozart but hopefully finding a legitimate MLB caliber two way SS will be on the wish list for the coming off season.

  2. LWBlogger

    He does have 3 lefties in a row at 5, 6, and 7. Not sure how that is different than having LH batters 1, 2, 3.

  3. RedForever

    Hannahan? Ouch! I realize the guy has to play sometimes…makes 7 and 8 a real black hole.

  4. prjeter

    What are the odds that Votto gets put in the #2 hole at some point this year? Analysis says batting your best hitter 2nd gets you a few extra runs a year! Choo, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Paul, Frazier, Cozart/Meso, Hanigan/Cozart. Hooray!

  5. OhioJim

    I see this as a trap series for the Reds. I’d really like to see them get at least 3 wins but something tells me they’ll have to scramble just to get a split.

  6. pinson343

    Greg, Why is Travis Wood’s xFIP so high ?

    • Greg Dafler

      @pinson343: For comparison, Wood’s FIP is 3.50. FIP uses a player’s own BB/, K/, and HR/ rates. So, his low BABIP explains the difference between his actual ERA and his current FIP.

      xFIP uses a league average homerun rate instead of a pitcher’s own HR rate. Wood’s HR rate (0.58 HR/9) is below league average and also better than it has been in his career so far: 1.00 HR/9 in his career, after 1.44 HR/9 last year. Wood’s career ERA is much closer to his FIP than his xFIP, so perhaps in his case, FIP is a better predictor than xFIP.

      In either case, Wood is currently posting career best HR/9 and his career lowest line drive rate. Those will likely rise, at least a little, and I imagine his ERA from here on out would be closer to 4.00 than 2.65.