Well, that was a fun series against the Brewers, eh? Two late wins, including a walk-off, make for an exciting series. Let’s hope those same heroics are not needed when the Cubs head to the Great American Launchpad. They go into Cincinnati to face the National League Central division leading Cincinnati Reds, who lead the Cubs by half a game.
The Reds’ pitching, which was their Achilles heel last season, has been phenomenal. At one point earlier in the season, they led the league in ERA, but their 3.25 staff mark now sits seventh. It’s a little better than the Cubs’ ERA, which sits at 3.57, good for 9th-best in the league. The Cubs will look to inflate the Reds ERA by pounding the ball like they generally do at Great American Ballpark.
In nine games in Cincinnati last year, the Cubs scored 74 runs and allowed only 40, posting a 7-2 record. The visitors’ lowest run total for any of the games in Cincy was 4, which came on the next to last game of the season. The bottom line is that the Cubs were really good at scoring runs in Cincinnati, so you should expect to see some fireworks from the boys in blue this weekend.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
Friday, April 21 at 6:10 on WGN
Saturday, April 22 at 12:10 on ABC-7
Sunday, April 23 at 12:10 on CSN
What to Watch For
An alarming trend for Cubs pitching has been giving up runs early. In five of their last six games, the Cubs have given up at least one run in the first two innings. The offense bailed them out in the last two games, but the starters really need to avoid falling behind early, because it does not bode well if the pitching continues to give up early runs. Look for the starters to improve on this problematic issue.
Along with giving up runs early, the Cubs have allowed the 8th most home runs this year, with 19 bombs given up so far. Going into a hitter’s park where the ball seems to fly out on a regular basis, it would behoove the Cubs to limit the Reds’ power. Cincy hit 20 home runs, which is good for 5th highest in the league.
We don’t normally associate strikeouts with the Cincinnati Reds. Well, not with their pitching staff, at least. So far this year, they have struck out 157 batters, good for third-highest in the league. They also walk batters with consistency, handing out 61 free passes, which ranks fourth-highest in the league. If the Cubs can remain patient, they’ll force opposing pitcher into deep counts with frequency.