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!

Join the conversation! 73 Comments

  1. 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!!

  2. 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. Billy loves hitting against the Cubbies.

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

  5. Welp, that’s underwhelming.

  6. Phillips is just an RBI guy, gets it done

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

  8. Not great defense by Bruce. Well hit

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

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

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

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

      • 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!

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

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

  11. Anyone who buys a t-shirt or jersey patch during the game gets a shout out in the game thread.

    https://redlegnation.com/2016/04/12/the-redleg-nation-store-is-open/

  12. The whole world knew there would be days like this …

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

    Thanks!

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

  15. Repeat it to yourself: Focus on the good.

  16. 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.

  17. So far, looks like Straily should’ve started this game.. I say give him the next start instead of Alfredo.

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

  19. A promising start to an inning gone with two swings.

  20. Oh no, now Straily has lost it.

  21. Why replace Straily now? why not wait until you can hit for him in the 9 spot?

    • 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

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

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

  23. 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

  24. Well – we now know who is NOT the reincarnation of Nostradamus.

  25. Reds are waving the white flag.

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

      • 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.

  26. Joey Votto: endangering the lives of middle infielders with crappy throws to 2nd base since 2008.

  27. Hey Riggins, stay out there and pitch a few innings …

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

  29. Yep they put Sampson in for his bat.

  30. I better cancel the auto-renew for my month-to-month MLB.tv subscription…

  31. 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.

  32. 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…..

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

  33. 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.

  34. Joey Votto takes way too many strikes right down the middle.

    • 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.

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

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

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

  37. 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.

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

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

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