The Cubs had about as brutal a 2-2 road series split as you can get, and now head to Cincy for a quick two game set with the Reds. Possibly a one game set, given the forecast for Tuesday. The Reds kicked off the 2018 season by getting swept at home by the Nats.
Now that the Cubs are facing a team that did not trade 95% of its roster in the offseason, I'll use the teams' 2017 numbers here instead.
- OBP: Kris Bryant (.409)
- ISO: Ian Happ (.261)
- HR: Anthony Rizzo (32)
- R+RBI: Rizzo (208)
- wRC+: Bryant (146)
- BSR: Bryant (4.8)
- Defense: Willson Contereras (12.8)
- SP K/9: Jose Quintana (10.46)
- SP BB/9: Quintana (2.24)
- SP FIP: Quintana (3.25)
- RP FIP: Carl Edwards Jr (12.75)
- RP BB/9: Brandon Morrow (1.85)
- RP FIP: Morrow (1.55)
- WAR: Bryant (6.7)
- OBP: Joey Votto (.454)
- ISO: Votto (.258)
- HR: Votto (36)
- R+RBI: Votto (206)
- wRC+: Votto (165)
- BSR: Billy Hamilton (9.5)
- Defense: Tucker Barnhart (14.5)
- SP K/9: Luis Castillo (9.87)
- SP BB/9: Castillo (3.32)
- SP FIP: Castillo (3.74)
- RP FIP: Raisel Iglesias (10.89)
- RP BB/9: Austin Brice (1.93)
- RP FIP: Iglesias (2.70)
- WAR: Votto (6.6)
Injuries, transactions, vengenace pacts, etc.
See the Reds NL Central whiparound for more details, or don't. I can't tell you what to do. The Reds have a slew of injuries to their pitching staff, most notably to Andrew DeSclafani who is on the 60-day DL with an oblique strain.
There's nothing new injury-wise on the Cubs side, though I wouldn't be surprised if some reliever came down with an injury of convenience that allowed the team to bring up a fresh arm after that last ghastly series.
Projected K/9, BB/9, ERA listed for each pitcher.
Monday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (7.27, 4.17, 4.24) vs Tyler Mahle, RHP (7.93, 2.68, 4.47), 3:10 PM CT
Chatwood was this FO's big bet this offseason, mostly based on his home/road splits and statcast-y data. He had a 6.01 ERA at Coors and a 3.49 ERA away from the unfriendly confines, Digging deeper into his peripherals though, that seems a little unusual. His K-BB% was about 6.8% in both situations, and his strikeout and walk rates weren't all that different. I guess batters were just hitting him harder at Coors, judging from the .350 BABIP at home and .217 on the road. If Chatwood works out for the Cubs, it will be a true triumph of statcast data over the older DIPS metrics.
Mahle is a 93-95 mph fastball guy with a decent slider, that occasionally finds the strike zone. This is his fifth appearance in the bigs of his career. He might be good down the road but the bar is pretty low right now.
Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (8.50, 2.85, 3.95) vs Cody Reed, LHP (8.63, 4.78, 4.43), 5:40 PM CT
Lester was shaky in his first start, and didn't seem to have great feel for his finishing pitches. He faces Cody Reed, whose lone start last year was a two inning, seven run shellacking by the Cubs offense in late April. He was due to start the year in the minors before a slew of rainouts required a callup.