Friday evening bases and a pair of teams from the National League Central will square off as the Chicago Cubs invade Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio to grapple with the Cincinnati Reds in game one of a three-game set. The Reds lead the season series 4-2.
Pitching Matchup: The Cubs will trot out Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.92 ERA) in this one and the Reds will counter with Sonny Gray (3-5, 4.03 ERA).
Kimbrel Gets First Save
A few years ago, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and during the regular season, they made a trade with the Yankees to get Aroldis Chapman. He was a big addition for them down the stretch and in the postseason. Could we be seeing a repeat of that this year? Craig Kimbrel did not sign with the Red Sox this year and was a free agent until the Cubs made him an offer a few weeks ago that he took. The Cubs now have that dominant closer as they did in 2016 when they won it all. On Thursday afternoon, the Cubs beat the Braves by a score of 9-7 and Kimbrel got the save in the game, which was his first appearance of the year. He came into the game with 333 saves in his nine-year career. It is interesting to note that his first save for the Cubs was against the team that he spent the first five years of his career with.
Tyler Chatwood grabbed the win after allowing six hits and four walks while striking out five in 5.0 innings of work. He is now 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA on the year. The Cubs trailed the game 6-1 in the 4th, but they scored three in the bottom of that inning, four in the 5th and one in the 6th for good measure and they held on from there. Jayson Heyward had a big game with two hits and three RBI’s, while Kyle Schwarber (17) and Victor Caratini (2) both went deep. The Cubs ended up with a split of the four-game series and while they are just 7-10 over their last 17 games, Chicago still maintains a 1.0 game lead over the Brewers for first place in the National League Central. Chicago has gone 15-212 on the road and they are 6th in run differential at +61.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 27, 2019
Getting the nod for the Cubs in this one will be Cole Hamels and he has gone 6-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 16 starts on the year, including 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in his last five starts and 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA in eight starts on the road. Righties are hitting .234 off of Hamels this year, while lefties are hitting .219. In his career, he has gone 86-59 with a 3.29 ERA in 210 games (209 starts) on the road and 21-24 with a 3.14 ERA in 71 starts during the month of June. Hamels has gone 11-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 17 career starts against the Reds, including 4-1 with a 2.12 ERA in seven starts against them here at GAB.
The Cubs have been an above average offensive team so far as they come in ranked 110th in the league in scoring, putting up 5.07 rpg, while also ranking 16th in hitting at .253 and 8th in homers with 126. On the mound, they have been solid as they come in ranked 6th in the league in ERA at 3.92, while also ranking 13th in WHIP at 1.30 and 13th in K’s with 705. The bullpen ranks 6th in the league with a 3.87 ERA.
If Only They Had Some Offense
The Cincinnati Reds are in a familiar place, the basement of the National League Central Division. Last year, they had one of the worst records in the league and they struggled on both the mound and at the plate. This year, they have been dominant on the mound, but their offense is what will probably keep them out of the postseason this year. Despite all their struggles at the late, the Reds are still just 6.5 games out of first in the Central and just 5.5 games out of the 2nd NL wildcard slot. Just think where they might be if they only they had a bit more offense. The Reds come in having lost their last four games in a row and they scored a total of two runs in their two-game trip to Anaheim.
The Pitching has been struggling a bit of late as the Reds have allowed 30 runs in their last five games, after allowing a total of 11 runs in their previous five games. On Wednesday, the Reds fell to the Angeles by a score of 5-1 and getting the start in the game was Tanner Roark, who allowed just one ER on four hits and two walks while striking out six in 5.1 innings of work. He got a no-decision for his efforts. Raisel Iglesias took the loss after allowing four ERs on three hits and a walk in the bottom of the 8th. He is now 1-7 with a 3.86 ERA on the year. The offense was provided by Yasiel Puig’s 17th dinger of the year. The Reds have gone 19-17 at home for the year and despite being six games under .500 overall, they are 11th in the league in run differential at +40.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 27, 2019
Taking the hill for the Reds will be Sonny Gray and he has gone 3-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 15 starts on the year, including 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts and 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in eight starts here at home. Righties are batting .265 against Gray, while Lefties are hitting just .200 off him. In his career, he has gone 2-3 with a 3.94 ERA in nine starts here at Great American Ballpark and 9-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 31 starts during the month of June. Grey is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs.
The Reds have been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 24th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.31 rpg, while also ranking 27th in hitting at .234 and 17th in homers with 108. On the mound, they have been very good as they rank 3rd in the league in ERA at 3.65, while also ranking 5th in WHIP at 1.25 and 7th in K’s with 746. Their pen ranks 2nd in ERA at 3.47.
- 8-1 in Hamels’ last 9 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance
- 6-1 in Hamels’ last 7 starts with 4 days of rest
- 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- 0-4 in their last 4 games following an off day