Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds series preview
The Chicago Cubs will try to make it five straight series wins this weekend when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds. It is a four-game series with a Friday doubleheader to make up a game that was rained out earlier in the season. The two teams are separated by just four games in the loss column. The Cubs currently hold the second National League Wild Card spot while the Reds are a game and a half out of the third and final wild card spot. Chicago won three of four when these teams squared off in early August.
This series starts a crucial 10-day stretch for the Cubs. They host the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley next week. The Giants currently hold the last wild card spot while the Diamondbacks are a game behind them. Chicago can really give themselves some breathing room if they win these three series.
Jordan Wicks, who gets the ball in game one of the series, was fantastic in his Major League debut on Saturday in Pittsburgh. After giving up a home run to the first batter he faced, he rallied to give the Cubs 5 innings while striking out nine. Chicago will need another strong outing from Wicks, and all of the pitchers going this weekend, to help save the high leverage guys in the bullpen who have seen a lot of use over the last six weeks.
Shane Greene will make his 2023 debut in game two of Friday’s doubleheader. Greene was a reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in 2022. The Cubns have been stretching him out to start for them during his time at AAA Iowa. He has stuck out 24 batters in the 20.1 innings pitched at Iowa this season.
Javier Assad, who gets the ball in game 3, has been great for the Cubs since entering the rotation. He does not miss a lot of bats, which could be problematic in Great American Ballpark, but he has done a great job of limiting the damage this season.
The Cubs will need a bounce-back from Jameson Taillon on Sunday. He had a disastrous first inning on Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Game 1: Friday, September 1: 12:10 PM at Great American Ballpark
Jordan Wicks (1-0 1.80 ERA) vs. Graham Ashcraft (7-8 4.73 ERA)
Game 2: September 1: 5:40 PM at Great American Ballpark
Shane Greene (0-0) vs. Ben Lively (4-7 5.17)
Game 3: September 2: 5:40 PM at Great American Ballpark
Javier Assad (3-2 2.96 ERA) vs. Andrew Abbott (8-4 3.35 ERA)
Game 4: September 3: 11:10 AM at Great American Ballpark
Jameson Taillon (7-9 5.62 ERA) vs. Brandon Williamson (4-4 4.20 ERA)
NL Central Standings:
Milwaukee Brewers 74-59
Chicago Cubs 71-62 3.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 69-66 6.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 61-73 13.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 58-76 16.5 GB