The MLB is set for another day of action on Friday night with a total of fourteen games set. The Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds are set to meet up for the first game of a three game series on June 28. These two division rivals should look to get started on the right foot with a big win on Friday. This game is expected to start at around 7:10 PM Eastern time.
Chicago has earned a record of 44-27 to this point in the season, which has them in first place of the NL Central. This will be the first of a nine game road trip for the Cubs, as they just finished out a ten game home stand. Chicago was able to put up a record of 5-5 on that home stand, which was not quite what they were looking for. The Cubs will look to start out this road trip right with a win against Cincinnati.
The Reds are sitting at the bottom of the NL Central to this point in the season with a record of 36-42. Cincinnati is still very much in a position to try and come back in the division, but it will take a big turnaround. The Reds have struggled quite a bit as of late, losing four in a row after putting up a six game win streak. Cincinnati is starting a nine game home stand of their own, which they will look to get started right.
Both of these teams have seen their share of struggles in their last few outings. The Reds are coming in on a losing streak though and will need to start early if they want to end it. Chicago is coming off a tiring four game series with the Atlanta Braves, which finished with a high scoring win. The Cubs will look to build some momentum off that win and bring in into Friday night’s game.
The Cubs and the Reds have played two previous series this season. The first series was hosted by Cincinnati on May 14-16. The first game was won by Chicago off a strong outing from Kyle Hendricks, who allowed three hits and one run in eight innings in route to a 3-1 win. The Reds walked off the second game of the series in the bottom of the tenth with a single from Yasiel Puig to win 6-5. A three run inning in the bottom of the fifth led to a 4-2 Reds win in the series finale.
The second series was hosted by Chicago on May 24-26. Eugenio Suarez hit a two run home run in the top of the ninth to complete Cincinnati’s come from behind win as they took the first game 6-5. The Cubs rode a four run fourth inning to an 8-6 win in the second game of the series. It was all Cincinnati in the finale though as Eugenio Suarez had three RBI’s in the game as the Reds won 10-2.
So far this season, Cincinnati holds a 4-2 lead over the Cubs in the series. Five of the six games were well within striking distance for either team to take it. I expect another close matchup between these two teams again on Friday night. Chicago has been the better team overall this season and they will look to prove it with a win in the opener of this series.
The Cubs have had some big hitters on their roster throughout this season. Chicago has Javier Baez, who has 90 hits, 19 home runs and 52 RBI’s. Kris Bryant has been able to rack in 81 hits, 16 home runs and 41 RBI’s. Anthony Rizzo has earned 75 hits, 19 home runs and 55 RBI’s. Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber have all earned over 60 hits on the season with double digit home run numbers.
Cincinnati’s batting has not been quite as good as Chicago’s to this point in the season. Jose Ingles in hits and batting average with 73 hits and a .297 this season. Eugenio Suarez has put up 70 hits, 16 home runs and 45 RBI’s. Yasiel Puig has earned 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s this season. Derek Dietrich leads the team in home runs with 18.
Chicago has a clear advantage in this matchup when it comes to hitting. The Cubs have a lot of players down their lineup that can do some serious damage. The Reds have some threats, but not as many strong threats as Chicago. Cincinnati will need their fielding and pitching to step up if they want to keep their success against the Cubs up.
Cole Hamels will start on the mound for Chicago on Friday night. Hamels has a record of 6-2 this season through 16 starts. He has put up an impressive 2.92 ERA with a WHIP of 1.186. Hamels also averages around 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. In his last outing against the New York Mets, Hamels allowed seven hits and three runs through seven innings.
The Reds will have Sonny Gray start against the Cubs on Friday. Gray has posted a 3-5 record through fifteen starts. Gray has put up an ERA of 4.03 and a WHIP of 1.276. He also averages 10.1 strikeouts per game. In Gray’s last performance, he played the Milwaukee Brewers and allowed six hits and four runs through 4 1/3 innings pitched.
Hamels has been the better of the two starting pitchers this season, but Gray has already been a part of a win against the Cubs once this year. Gray will look to bounce back from a tough performance in his last outing, while Chicago will look to chase him again early. Gray’s performance early in the game will play a key role in Friday night’s outcome.
The Cubs have struggled a bit against Cincinnati throughout this season, but I believe that they turn that around a bit with a win on Friday night. Chicago’s hitting gives them a good advantage, while Hamels has done really well for them. If the Cubs can find a way to beat Gray earlier this time around, it will be difficult for the Reds to bounce back.
BetOnline has Chicago listed as a -111 against the money line on Friday night. This implies that the Cubs will win this game around 52.6 percent of the time. I believe that if anything, this line should be more in favor of Chicago. The Cubs may be a little tired from their series with Atlanta, but I believe they will find a groove and ride it to a much needed win.