Series Preview: Reds (5-1) @ Cubs (5-1)

In Series Previews by myles11 Comments

The Cubs went 5-1 on their season-opening road trip, and now come home to face the surprisingly potent Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds' offseason was basically notable for who they weren't able to unload (Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Joey Votto). They did unload Todd Frazier, but they would have loved for all three to get out of town. Instead, Phillips has been on fire this season, and combined with good pitching, they've done very well to start the season.

Their 5-1 record is kind of flukey, of course. They already have 2 walk-off victories, and they've played half their games versus the Phillies (and all of their games at home). I'm willing to concede that they might not be the worst team in baseball, but it's telling that they have to argue their way out of it.

To whit, the team's success has been due to players like Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips, and stellar pitching from "Chicken" Alfredo Simon and Tim Melville (who is 100% a computer-generated player). I'm not exactly shaking in my boots here. The Cubs should handle this team.

Team Leaders


AVG: Eugenio Suarez (.435)
OBP: Suarez (.500)
SLG: Suarez (.957)
fWAR: Suarez (0.7)
wOBA: Suarez (.598)
R + RBI: Suarez (18)

IP: Raisel Iglesias (11.2)
SO: Iglesias (12)
BB: Tim Melville (4)
WHIP: JJ Hoover (0.43)
Soft%: Keyvius Sampson (50.0%)

GRIT: Brandon Phillips (0.5 ECKS)


AVG: Dexter Fowler (.500)
OBP: Fowler (.640)
SLG: Matt Szczur (1.000)
fWAR: Fowler (0.7)
wOBA: Jake Arrieta (.680)
R + RBI: Anthony Rizzo (16)

IP: Jake Arrieta (14.0)
SO: Arrieta (12)
BB: Hammel (3)
WHIP: Rondon (0.00)
Soft%: Pedro Strop (42.9%)

GRIT: Jason Heyward (0.33 ECKS)

Note: ECKS is (HBP + SF + SH + SB) / GP. It is designed to measure the pseudo-useless and macho things that players might do in a game.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: Brandon Finnegan v. Jon Lester

I kind of like Finnegan. He's probably a reliever, but he could be a very good one. He's getting his turn at the rotation because the Reds don't have anything else, and the Cubs will probably chase him in the 5th, but I like him nonetheless. Finnegan throws a hard sinker at 94 MPH, and everything else works off of it. If he's getting swings and misses (or called strikes) with the sinker, he's going to dominate. He'll mix in an occasional change and slidepiece, but 70% of his pitches are the low hard stuff. 

Jon Lester is going to surrender a stolen base or two to Billy Hamilton literally every time he reaches base. Luckily, that number is usually zero.

Wednesday: Alfredo Simon v John Lackey

The Prodigal Bison returns! Simon had a really good half-season in 2014 that saw him named to an all-star game; he promptly shat the bed in the second half of the season, was traded for Eugenio Suarez (which looks good for the Reds now), shat the bed again for the Tigers, and came back to Cincinnati on a 1/$2M deal. Listed at 6'6", 265 lbs, he's really more like 6'6", 295 lbs. All I'm saying is I attended a Reds / Mets game in 2014 where Bartolo Colon was the more in-shape starter.

He used to be similar to Finnegan in the 2-seam sinker being the go-to pitch, but he's abandoned that for more a mix between his 4 and 2-seams. He also puts in a heavy dose of splitters. Simon will give you a pitch to crush if you wait on it. 

John Lackey had a pretty bad start to his Cub career. I'm not that worried, but I'm a little worried.

Thursday: Cy Iglesias v Jason Hammel

Raisel Iglesias is the real deal. As far as Cuban exports go, he's a good one. As is the Reds' custom, he is a sinker/slider guy, and they are both pretty darn good. He struck out 104 in 95.1 innings last season as a mostly starter, and from the second half of the season on, he was actually outstanding (9 starts, 54.2 IP, 62 SO, 3.13 ERA, .178/.245/.340 slash against). He's still changeup command away from being a true ace, but he could get there some day and he should be a #3 if he just maintains his current skillset and avoids injury.

Jason Hammel had a very clean game in his first start, avoiding any real damaging plate appearances. He was slightly above league-average last year and he'll likely fare similarly this season if a bit worse.

Share this Post


Leave a Comment