Series Preview: Cubs (18-28) at Reds (29-18)

In Series Previews by berselius33 Comments


The Cubs are back in the basement of the NL Central following their winless series against the Pirates. If the season ended today, they would have the fourth pick in the 2014 draft. The Reds, meanwhile, are coming off a sweep of the Mets and get their ace back this week. 

Team Overviews

  Cubs Reds
wRC+ 90 (11th) 99 (6th)
BSR -0.5 (7th) 2.5 (5th)
UZR -0.6 (6th) 5.6 (4th)
DRS -2 (12th) 11 (3rd)
SP FIP- 95 (5th) 91 (3rd)
RP FIP- 110 (11th) 101 (9th)

Despite Cueto going down in mid-April the Reds starting pitching has been phenominal. Every starter has an ERA below 4, and the 'worst' performing of their pitchers was Tony Cingrani, who posted a credible 4.32 FIP. 

Offensively, Joey Votto has cooled off a little bit and now "only" has 41 walks on the year and an OBP of .484. Shin-Soo Choo has also had an amazing year at the top of their lineup. I was not a big fan of the trade when the Reds made it (and he is indeed awful in CF), but it's hard to complain about a CF putting up a .426 wOBA. 

Injury news

Not much to note on the Cubs, other than that Camp has been bothered with a sprained toe injury, that apparently has been bothering him for weeks but didn't tell anyone about. I'm sure Michael Bowden wishes he told the FO a day sooner, since it cost him his job when Garza came up.

Sadly, we won't see Sean Marshall's yakker of a curveball in this series. He just hit the DL with shoulder inflammation. OF Chris Heisey strained a hammy at the end of April, and reinjured it while rehabbing it earlier this month. Johnny Cueto came off the DL earlier this week after recovering from a lat/oblique strain.

Minor league highlight

Albert Almora went 3-4 with a double in his first game at Kane County. Now that he's healthy, Let's see what we got.

Pitching Matchups

Freya's day: Scott Feldman, RHP (2.19, 101, 4.11, 3.90) vs Bronson Arroyo, RHP (3.28, 94, 4.07, 4.59), 6:10 pm CT

Arroyo is the epitome of the junkball pitcher. Every time I write one of these I have to stop and ask myself if he's left handed. He's been a below average innings eater for years at this point with the Reds, but suddenly turned in a solid season last year. The main difference seems to be that he seems to be pitching even more to contact, given his plummeting walk rate in 2012-2013. His durability is amazing – he's pitched 32, 32, 33, 33, 34, 34, 35 starts over the past seven seasons with the Reds.

Feldmania continues after Feldman shut out the Mets for six innings and change in his last start. Even his FIP is starting to come down. He's still had a lot of batted ball and sequencing luck, but I'm feeling dumb for complaining about him earlier this year.

Saturn's day: Travis Wood, LHP (2.24, 97, 4.58, 4.32) vs Homer Bailey, RHP (3.09, 73, 3.19, 3.66), 3:10 PM CT (Guessing this is on FOX).

Bailey is another member of the W-Rod Hall of Fame. In his prospect/early days with the Reds that he had big control problems, and many had written him off as a fifth starter ceiling. He's brought that under control and then some, walking less than 6.5% of batters in the last two seasons. His strikeout numbers aren't quite as impressive as people were hoping when he was comign up, but he's still a solid pitcher that any team would love to have in their rotation. The only concern with Bailey is that 2012 is the only year where he's pitched an entire season. 

It's been fun watching Travis Wood dominate other teams' lineups over the past few weeks. He's had some luck with HRs and a lot of luck with batted balls. To be fair, he posted a .244 BABIP in 156 innings last year (career .262), so maybe that's not quite so surprising. Also, fly ball pitchers like Wood tend to have lower BABIPs. Flyballs generally get caught, except when they land in the bleachers.

Sunday: Matt Garza, RHP (0, 71, 3.42, 3.67) vs Johnny Cueto, RHP (3.22, 97, 2.96, 3.66), 12:10 PM CT

This should be a fun matchup. Both guys are making their second start coming back from lat injuries, so we'll probably see a lot of the bullpen again. Probably to Garza's chagrin, as they wasted no time in blowing the lead to welcome him back. Garza looked more than ready, hitting 95 on his fastball with good secondary pitches. He hit his pitch count pretty quickly though. Cueto tends to be a little more efficient so we might see him work deeper in this game.

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  1. GW

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  2. GW

    or maybe not

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  3. Rizzo the Rat

    I’d like to see a race between Tony Campana and Bronson Arroyo’s curveball. Both are capable of going ~60 mph for short distances, so it should be close.

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  4. Rice Cube

    @ SVB:
    My guess…they used most of the relievers yesterday, and the Cubs have no off-day until after the D’Backs series, so…not much choice. Unless you want to see Dolis.

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  5. J

    Hairston with a hit. Wow. He was nearly -1 WAR, facing almost only lefties. I think, no exaggeration, we’d have 2-3 more actual wins with a Reed Johnson/Jeff Baker quality lefty-masher. Hairston has been brutal.

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  6. GBTS

    (dying laughing) I just threw out the first pitch at the I-Cubs game because there’s like 11 people here.

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