It wasn’t easy to watch if you are a Cubs fan yesterday, but they managed to get the job done despite stupidity from manager Joe Maddon. Maddon allowed his closer to step to the plate and get an at-bat only to ground into a double play and pull a hammy. They got the win, but it’s likely to impact them over the next few weeks. Strop is expected to miss a couple of weeks, so they’re hoping he’s back for the postseason, if they do in fact hold on to play baseball in October. After holding on against the Nationals late, the Cubs direct their attention to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are coming off a nice series against the Dodgers, where they won two of three. Let that be a warning to the Cubs not to take the Reds lightly.
The Dodgers were able to preserve the series by getting a win in the series finale against the Reds. Cincinnati had the day off yesterday, as they head into the final stretch of their season. There will be no postseason in Cincinnati, that much was certain after the first month of the season. They’ve been playing better baseball in the second-half, though. It may not mean much at the end of the day, but for guys like Joey Votto who have some pride it means a bit not to go down quietly. We’ll see if the Dodgers’ struggles in Cincinnati come back to bit them. Now the Reds have an opportunity to make life frustrating on the Cubs. Matt Harvey will get the series started for the Reds on Friday night, while Cole Hamels will counter for the Cubs. Get our free Reds vs. Cubs pick below.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs Pick
Matt Harvey (7-8, 4.87 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (9-9, 3.71 ERA)
Matt Harvey was brought over to Cincinnati in an attempt to patch up the starting rotation. For the most part, it’s worked out for the Reds who have gotten some okay production out of Harvey. I don’t know what else they could have expected, but this is much better than the stuff he was bringing to the table for the Mets early this season. After a 7.00 ERA in four starts with the Mets, they gave him an ultimatum. Either go down to the minors or you’re out the door.
He clearly didn’t care about going to Las Vegas to play for the 51’s, so a trade was initiated to send him to Cincinnati. His ERA has been better, but clearly not back to where his career used to be. Harvey has posted an ERA of 4.35 with the Reds. He’s been a bit all over the place, but for the patchwork the Reds have been doing, it’s good enough for now. This is probably the best case scenario with him. Harvey enters with an ERA of 5.62 and 1.56 WHIP in his last three outings. He hasn’t cared about the road much, as he has logged a 4.94 ERA and 1.46 WHIP on the road.
The Cubs have had no problems against Harvey, hitting him for a .317 batting average and .383 OBP in 120 at-bats. Conversely, the Reds are hitting .212 with no long balls in 85 at-bats against Hamels. Hamels was traded to the Cubs earlier this season and he’s made good on the trade. Following 20 starts with the Rangers and a 4.72 ERA, Hamels has churned in an ERA of 1.42 in seven outings with the Cubs. He’s been unhittable at Wrigley Field, as he sports an ERA of 0.86 and 0.90 WHIP in 21 innings. He took home a 7-1 win on August 23rd against the Reds. It likely isn’t going to be that much of a blowout, but despite the closer questions, the Cubs should be able to route the Reds on Friday night.