Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Series Preview, Prediction
The Cincinnati Reds are set to host the Chicago Cubs in a weekend series at the Great American Ballpark. This has become a great rivalry in the National League, and this should be a fun series to watch.
Cincinnati is still trailing the Cubs in the division standings, but they have closed the gap of late. The Reds are still just 40-40 on the season, but they have played much better baseball than that at times.
The Cubs were in first place in the Central just a week ago, but this team has now lost six straight games. Chicago is in need of a great month of July, or this roster will be getting blown up at the Trade Deadline.
Both the Reds and Cubs are trying to track down the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers in the division race.
All-Star Duo Leading Reds Offense
The Cincinnati Reds will be well represented at the All-Star Game later this month as a pair of outfielders have been selected as starters. Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker have both put up monster numbers this season, and they lead the charge on offense.
Castellanos leads the team with a .346 batting average and has also driven in a team-high 53 runs. Winker leads the Reds with 19 home runs, and he has hit plenty of important long balls already this season.
Sonny Gray starts the opener for the Reds on Friday night, and he simply has to be better. Gray is just 1-4 with a 3.42 ERA, but he has proven that he can be a great pitcher in MLB.
Beware of Cubs Bullpen
After pitching a combined no-hitter last weekend in Los Angeles, the Cubs followed that up with six-straight losses. Both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are out of the lineup with an injury, and that leaves a massive hole in the Cubs lineup.
Alec Mills starts for Chicago on Friday night, as the starting rotation has been hit hard by injury as well. Mills is 3-1 with a 5.11 ERA, but he is a pitcher that threw a no-hitter just a season ago.
The biggest strength for the Cubs is their bullpen, and they have the ability to completely slam the door on opponents. That unit has struggled this week, but the Reds still need to find a way to get an early lead.
Reds Should Have Momentum
It was a rough start to the week for the Reds as they were facing a great San Diego Padres team. Cincinnati was just three outs away from being swept before a ninth-inning rally gave them a win in the series finale.
The Reds should now enter this series with some momentum, and they typically play the Cubs well. Chicago is a team that is reeling at the moment, and the Reds should cater to the Cubs without some of their biggest stars.
This is a series that Cincinnati needs to win, and the pitching matchup on Friday night gives them an edge to get things off on the right track.
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