Cincinnati Reds (67-94 SU, 83-78 RL, 83-72-6 O/U) vs. Chicago Cubs (92-69 SU, 72-89 RL, 76-78-7 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, October 1, 2017, Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois, 3:20 pm ET
Lines: Chicago -175, Cincinnati +165; Over/Under: N/A
It’s the final game of the regular season as a pair of NL Central foes close out a series in the Windy City. The Cincinnati Reds close out a three game series on the road as they take on the Chicago Cubs Sunday afternoon. Chicago won the first two games of the series, rallying for a 5-4 win in the opener Friday and following that up with a 9-0 whitewash in the middle game of the set Saturday afternoon. Will the Reds pick up the win in the finale or can the Cubs sweep the set?
Cincinnati Reds Finish Season in Basement
Cincinnati lost their third straight and 10th in the last 11 games as they were whipped in the middle game of this series. The Reds are stuck in the basement of the NL Central once again. Adam Duvall had three hits for Cincinnati while Jose Peraza added two in the loss. Reds hitters struggled to make contact throughout the contest as they fanned 15 times, including each of their final six outs. Jackson Stephens (2-1) suffered the loss on the mound as he allowed four runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts over four innings of work.
Deck McGuire makes his sixth appearance and second start of his rookie season for the Reds here. He is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP, two walks and nine strikeouts over 8.2 innings of work. McGuire took the loss in his last outing, which was his first major league start, against the Brewers on the road Tuesday. He threw three innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in a game the Reds lost 7-6. This marks his first career appearance against the Cubs and at Wrigley Field in his career. McGuire was called up from Double-A Pensacola in the Southern League. He made 28 appearances, 27 starts, for Pensacola, going 9-9 with a 2.79 ERA, a 1.083 WHIP, 57 walks and 170 strikeouts over 168 innings of work before his recall.
Chicago Cubs Prepped for Postseason
Chicago won for the 15th time in 18 games as their strong closing run helped them lock up their third straight postseason berth and second consecutive NL Central title. The Cubs are in the playoffs for the third straight year for the first time since 1906-1908. Kyle Schwarber (run, four RBI) and Rene Rivera (two runs, three RBI) each had two hits in the win for Chicago. Jon Lester (13-8) picked up the win as he threw five shutout frames, allowing four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Four relievers covered the final four innings, striking out eight to preserve the shutout.
Mike Montgomery gets another start as the Cubs made the decision not to send Jake Arrieta back to the mound in the finale. He makes his 44th appearance and 14th start of the season in this contest. Montgomery is 7-8 with three saves, a 3.45 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, 55 walks and 98 strikeouts over 127 innings of work. He didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which was a relief appearance on the road against the Cardinals Tuesday night. Montgomery threw two innings, allowing one run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts in an 8-7 Chicago loss. He is 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, five walks and nine strikeouts over 13 innings in his last three starts. Montgomery makes his 11th appearance and third start against the Reds in this contest: he is 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP over 26.1 innings. He is 4-4 with three saves, a 3.48 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP in 32 appearances, eight starts, covering 88 innings at Wrigley Field in his career.
- Reds are 1-6 in their last 7 vs. National League Central
- Reds are 1-9 in their last 10 overall
- Reds are 1-9 in their last 10 games on grass
- Cubs are 11-2 in their last 13 vs. National League Central
- Cubs are 15-3 in their last 18 overall
The Cubs got hot over the final three weeks of the season to pull away in the NL Central and clinch their third straight postseason appearance. Chicago overcame everything that was thrown at them this season and managed to come up with the division crown. Cincinnati is stuck looking to next year after another disappointing campaign. Sooner or later some of these young arms have to step up for the Reds. It might be next year but it doesn’t happen here: the Cubs sweep the series and head into the playoffs as a hot team.