After a long mid-series off day, the Cincinnati Reds (5-2) and the Chicago Cubs (6-1) take to the field tonight for the 2nd game of their three-game set. Alfredo Simon makes his second start of the season for the Reds while former Cardinal John Lackey goes for Chicago.

WHERE TO WATCH
If you are in the Cincinnati market, the Reds are on Fox Sports Ohio. If you live in the Chicago area, the game is on CSN.

STARTING PITCHERS
The following stats are from 2015:

PITCHER ERA FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Alfredo Simon 5.05 4.77 1.2 8.3% 14.3%
John Lackey 2.77 3.57 0.9 5.9% 19.5%

Alfredo Simon’s return to Cincinnati was a solid, albeit short outing. Simon allowed two runs, one earned, in his five inning start last week. He walked two batters but struck out seven. While most of these Cubs hitters don’t have a lot of at-bats against anyone in the league, Anthony Rizzo has five hits, including two homeruns in 15 at-bats against Simon.

John Lackey signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs this past offseason after a career low ERA (2.77) in St. Louis. However, that figure is a full run below his 2015 FIP (3.57), xFIP (3.77), and SIERA (3.90), which indicate that he’s very likely to regress back to his career ERA of 3.93 this season with the Cubs.

STARTING LINEUPS
Ivan De Jesus is in at shortstop for the injured Zack Cozart. Tucker Barnhart gets the start behind the plate. Of the Reds hitters in tonight’s lineup, Billy Hamilton has had the most success against Lackey (.333/.368/.389) and is in the leadoff spot in Cozart’s absence.

The Cubs have their regular eight tonight with Miguel Montero back in the lineup tonight at the catcher’s position.

REDS CUBS
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Scott Schebler (LF)
7. Ivan De Jesus (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Alfredo Simon (P)
1. Dexter Fowler (CF)
2. Jason Heyward (RF)
3. Ben Zobrist (2B)
4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
5. Kris Bryant (3B)
6. Miguel Montero (C)
7. Jorge Soler (LF)
8. Addison Russell (SS)
9. John Lackey (P)

SUAREZ LEADS THE FIELD IN HOMERUNS
Each team has hit eight homeruns so far this young season. Eugenio Suarez has four homeruns while the rest of his team have four. Seven different Cubs players have homered this season with none of those coming via Kyle Schwarber’s bat before his season ending injury.

BRANDON FINNEGAN’S SIZZLING START
Redleg Nation’s Matt Wilkes profiled Brandon Finnegan and his early success in a Reds uniform earlier today in Kill The Win. In addition to his starts this season, the full article goes back to his starts last year and outlines his pitching repertoire. In conclusion:

It’s still early, but Finnegan has mitigated a lot of the worries that he wouldn’t be able to be a starter in the long run. The lefty has a nasty, four-pitch repertoire that can get hitters out from both sides of the plate, while inducing a high number of strikeouts and ground outs. Although he’s still prone to shaky command from time to time and could stand to get better in that area of his game, he has largely displayed good control in his six starts as a Red (13 walks in 33 2/3 innings).

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
The Reds are going to bounce back against the Cubs tonight to even up the series and push themselves into a 1st place tie in the division!

Not everyone shares our confidence in the Reds chances today.

It was just one game, and the bullpen is going to pitch better today.

GO REDS!

73 Responses

  1. lwblogger2

    I could see why that betting line wouldn’t be too high on the Reds’ chances. The only clear place the Reds have an advantage in the lineup is the 3 hole and Votto isn’t hitting. The 2-hole may be a slight edge to the Reds as well but it’s close. The pitching matchup favors the Cubs.

    Still it’s baseball, and in a single game, anything can happen. Go Reds!!

    • Patrick Jeter

      I wonder if you were to just bet on the team with the longest odds every year, every game, if you’d come out ahead or behind on average. Hmmmmmm….

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Greg, your lead-in was spot on:

    “After a long mid-series off day…”

    I’m feeling a tinge of Reds baseball withdrawal after the off day, but maybe the extra day off will get Votto and Mesoraco (when he returns to the lineup) going great guns.

    Lackey managed a win in has earlier start, but certainly wasn’t sharp, yielding 2 HR in 6 innings. The weather is evolving into more spring-like conditions. A few HR off the Reds bats tonight would feel just about right.

    Time to break out the old recliner and settle in once dance lessons are over.

  3. Patrick Jeter

    Billy loves hitting against the Cubbies.

  4. Patrick Jeter

    Any time Billy is on 3rd with a runner on 1st, that runner can take 2nd at their leisure. Love it.

  5. Patrick Jeter

    Welp, that’s underwhelming.

  6. BigRedMike

    Phillips is just an RBI guy, gets it done

  7. BigRedMike

    Interesting to see if the Cubs will lay off the pitches Simon throws off the plate. Lot of movement

    • Patrick Jeter

      They might! Article at FG today showing the Cubs may be the most patient lineup in history.

      • BigRedMike

        Looking pretty patient. Lot of pitches already

  8. BigRedMike

    Not great defense by Bruce. Well hit

  9. Patrick Jeter

    Bruce should have caught that ball easily. He was barely moving back.

  10. Patrick Jeter

    Looks like its just me and you, BigRedMike! #DeadGameThread

    • BigRedMike

      At least we get to watch Simon throw a lot of pitches. Not going to last long at this rate. Bullpen night

    • VaRedsFan

      PJ…I’m in your neck of the woods…Boulder, CO for work..
      Can only keep up on gameday. Looks bad so far

      • Patrick Jeter

        I’m going to be at the Reds/Rockies game either the Tues, Weds, or Thurs in May/June. Let me know if you wanna meet up at one of those games!

      • Patrick Jeter

        Oh, wait… you said for work. Dangit! Gonna be out here May 31-June3?

      • VaRedsFan

        Out here in early May is my next trip….unknown after that. Got lucky and caught one last year.

  11. Steve Mancuso

    Jimmy Adams of Virginia wisely used ordering a jersey patch as a distraction from what was unfolding in Chicago.

    Thanks!

    • VaRedsFan

      Welcome…if the Reds come back to win this, I’ll buy another!

  12. Steve Mancuso

    I’d release Simon tonight. Might not wait until the end of the game.

    • mwvohio

      You kidding? Simon alone is going to advance us a few draft spots. Can’t let him go this early!

      • Gaffer

        Simon only going 2/3 innings means he can pitch again earlier! At least we don’t have to call up another pitcher.

  13. Indy RedMan

    Simon? The guy has a track record that makes OJ look like a pretty good guy. Do we really need him anyway? He did his job by bringing in Suarez…..mission accomplished. I’d feel the exact same way if he pitched a shutout tonite but his 5.60 era or whatever it was last year led me to believe he wouldn’t.

      • Brian Dunn (@surrfinTexas)

        Simon looked like (body language, confidence, etc.) he lacked the mental edge to overcome that first inning. Everything else aside, when things are down, a team needs to overcome failure. He didn’t finish the inning because of that.

    • Vicferrari

      Chance to get a rally going, and he does that on first pitch so irritating

      • Patrick Jeter

        Yep. Him hitting 4th is one of the greatest travesties in tactics in modern baseball.

  14. citizen54

    Small sample size so far but Straily might be decent pick up.

    • Vicferrari

      Almost found, but Heywood almost makes him pay

    • Vicferrari

      They really gotta think about stretching Straily out, try to get 2-3 more innings and then let him start if Mellville game stats matches his predictives

    • BigRedMike

      Price is the manager is why. Agree it does not make much sense

  15. Patrick Jeter

    DeJesus is 0-14 with no walks, no hits.

  16. vegastypo

    Did this come up yet? I only caught part of the conversation on radio, but apparently Homer got hit in the foot by a line drive, will delay his return a bit

    • Gaffer

      On the season, pretty sure I saw it in December,

      • TR

        I’m not surprised since that’s been the prediction all winter from those who know a lot more about the Red’s situation than I do.

  17. Steve Mancuso

    This might be the worst-pitched game by the Reds that I’ve ever seen. Only four innings so far.

    • Patrick Jeter

      There’s a fairly good chance we’ll see at least 10 walks.

  18. Patrick Jeter

    Sampson is a train wreck. I actually thought he was going to be a bright spot this year… although I guess it is still early.

  19. hoosierdad1

    Amazing that Simon, Straily, and Sampson have each thrown over 40 pitches (139 total as I type this) and still are only 2 outs into the 5th inning. Just….wow…..

    • hoosierdad1

      Might want to start throwing pitchers out there with a last name that doesn’t start with an S…..

  20. Patrick Jeter

    Not sure what Votto was expecting from Lackey there…

    He’s not going to nibble around you. He’s going to throw fastballs down the middle. That’s usually the kind of thing Votto picks up on.

    • Patrick Jeter

      He takes an average amount of strikes down the middle. Don’t let one AB cloud your brain. This has been written about many times on many sites over Votto’s career.

  21. Patrick Jeter

    Thom just said “on a rare off night for Simon…”

    Not sure which Simon he’s referring to. Simon Pegg? Carly Simon?

  22. DenL42

    Chris Welsh thinks the phrase “getting the shaft” has to do with coal mining. Oh boy.

  23. Patrick Jeter

    Schebler, by batted ball speed, has hit the ball harder than any other Red by an order of magnitude this season. Will post some more numbers once I can pull them.

  24. Matt WI

    Welsh was trying to explain WAR and wRC+ to Thom. Bless his heart.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I wish I would have stuck around to hear it. I turned it off after Votto’s GIDP.

      • Matt WI

        He was doing ok, but he goofed a bit when Thom asked what league average for wRC+ is… instead of saying that it is scaled to 100 and each point above being a percentage better than average,, he guessed it was “around 130” or below… at least that’s what I remember today.

      • Matt WI

        It’s too bad too, because it was in the context of comparing Joey to Rizzo last year, and Joey rated higher. He missed a chance to really talk about how much Joey contributed.