Following a disastrous three-game sweep in Milwaukee at the hands of the first-place Brewers, the Cubs enter Friday’s series in Cincinnati reeling. At six games back, the time for this group to prove that Jed Hoyer should consider not selling off large portions of the team is undeniably here.
Baseball is a sport where it helps to zoom out and not focus too much on one game or one series, but with the trade deadline less than a month away, the Cubs really can’t afford any more clunkers.
The Reds, too, have fancied themselves as contenders over the past couple years but find themselves in third place behind the Cubs and Brewers, with just one game separating them from Cardinals. For both teams competing in Cincy this weekend, the clock is certainly ticking.
Nick Castellanos continues to lead the charge for the Reds with a .346/.401/.604 slash and 16 homers, equating to a 168 wRC+ and .423 wOBA. Jesse Winker is at .322/.400/.587 with 19 homers, a 165 wRC+, and a .420 wOBA. In short, it would be best for the Cubs to make other players in the lineup beat them.
The rotation is all over the map in terms of results, so all three scheduled opponents are capable of dominating or imploding. Hey, that sounds like the Cubs.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, July 2 at 6:10pm CT on Marquee
- Saturday, July 3 at 3:10pm CT on Marquee
- Sunday, July 4 at 12:10pm CT on Marquee
What to Watch For
- With Jake Arrieta struggling significantly of late, Mills may have a chance to earn himself a permanent role in the starting rotation. There’s not really a choice right now with Trevor Williams also out, but Mills could certainly force the team’s hand with some competent pitching.
- Kris Bryant’s numbers have taken a dive over the last month, but Great American Ballpark might be just what the doctor ordered. In 220 PAs throughout his career, KB has hit .298/.391/.532 with nine home runs in Cincinnati. He hasn’t hit more home runs in any single ballpark other than Wrigley Field.
- Alzolay is coming off his worst start of 2021 and will be looking to rebound. He entered June with an ERA below 3.00, but like many Cubs, the month has not been kind to him. In his last start against Cincinnati, he put up 5.2 scoreless innings.