Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (2-2) at Cincinnati Reds (0-3)

In Series Previews by berselius13 Comments

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.

Team Leaders

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.

Pitching Probables

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.

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  1. Tyrone

    Former UCLA coach Jim Mora (trash, tbh) getting heat for his comments about his former QB Josh Rosen:

    “Josh, I think, without a doubt, is the number one quarterback in the draft. He’s a franchise-changer. He’s got the ability to have an immediate impact. His arm talent, intelligence, and his ability to see the game and diagnose the game is rare. He’d come to the sidelines after a play and it was uncanny—he could right away say exactly why he made every decision.

    “He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored. He’s a millennial. He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.”

    Seems like a good coach would WANT his players to know why.

    Then Mora was asked what he’d tell NFL GMs who asked him about Rosen…

    “None of them have called, which is interesting.”

    It’s only interesting if you don’t know you’re trash.

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  2. Edwin

    Hopefully Chatwood is a pleasant surprise. He’s mostly a 5-6 inning pitcher, so probably not the best guy to have on the mound after a lot of bullpen innings, but maybe more use of his super spin rate curveball will allow him to throw deeper into games.

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  3. Tyrone

    Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
    I’ve had this discussion, as well. The thinking being, John Dorsey has (almost) always had QBs with rocket arms. Not Alex Smith but everyone else. And Josh Allen has the biggest arm.

    Ryan McCrystal @Ryan_McCrystal
    Almost his entire career has been Favre/Rodgers/Smith. I’d hardly call those rocket arms. Favre and Rodgers can sling it, but they weren’t head and shoulders above all their peers like Allen is


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  4. Tyrone


    The word Yes isn’t an emphatic enough answer. He can probably throw harder than half the QBs in the NFL right now. His prime arm strength is easily top 5 all time. It’s probably the best ever among quality starters.

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  5. Tyrone


    Ryan McCrystal @Ryan_McCrystal
    If you combined QBs from last 2 yrs, my rankings would be: 1.Bradford 2.Gabbert 3.Clausen 4.McCoy 5.Mallett

    That’s QBs from the 2010 and 2011 drafts. I guess Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Kap must be 6-8.

    BTW, this guy’s bio says he’s been “covering the NFL Draft since 2004” for ESPN and Bleacher Report. He must mean covering it like paper covers rock.

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  6. Edwin


    Growing up in WI I watched a lot of Packer games. The WR always had anecdotes that TV announcers would share about how different it was coming to Green Bay and catching passes, that often times they’d end up with broken fingers. I guess you could say I’ve been covering the Packers for the last 25 years.

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