In a very rare occurrence at Wrigely Field, there were no afternoon games played in this series. Not even on today’s getaway day. Cincinnati looks to finish up this 3-game series with a victory and series win tonight before taking flight for the West Coast.

PROBABLE STARTERS
Mat Latos takes the ball for his third start of the season. He allowed no runs, no walks and just two hits in his 2014 debut 11 days ago, but was hit hard for 5 runs in 5.2 innings last weekend against the Blue Jays. In four starts against the Cubs last year, he had a 2.42 ERA including an 8-inning, 9 strikeout gem last August.

The Chicago Cubs are 5-10 this season when opposing starter Edwin Jackson takes the mound: 2-0 against Cincinnati and 3-10 against the rest of the league. Not that Jackson has been particularly impressive against Cincinnati. He has a 4.76 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his two starts against the Reds. Jackson has been lucky with 8 runs of support in the first game and 9 runs in the second.

LINEUP
While Brandon Phillips returns to today’s lineup, and more importantly to the field to man second base, [EDITOR’S NOTE: Phillips was a late scratch.] Devin Mesoraco and his 5-game homerun streak remains in the cleanup spot. On last night’s broadcast, they stated that Mesoraco’s first four homeruns were the first “consecutive day homerun cycle” in major league history. That unique achievement is: he hit a solo homerun on day 1, a two run blast the second day, followed by a 3-run shot the 3rd day, and the grand slam Monday night.

Jay Bruce inexplicably (sorry, 3-for-17 career against a specific pitcher is not sufficient justification) is dropped to 6th behind #5 hitting Phillips. Bruce is hitting .273/.333/.532 for the month of June. He’s also had an extra base hit in each of the past five games, three doubles and two homeruns, in route to a .368 average and .842 slugging percentage during that span.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
4. Devin Mesoraco (R) C
5. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B Jay Bruce (L) RF
6. Chris Heisey (R) LF
7. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
8. Zack Cozart (R) SS
9. Mat Latos (R) P

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
The Reds attempt to win their 4th consecutive series and get back over the .500 mark tonight. Will Devin Mesoraco tie the major league record of 6 consecutive games with a homerun? Will a start against the Cubs get Mat Latos back to pitching like his old self?

Discuss the game here.

GO REDS!