Cubs @ Reds Series Preview (August 28-30): TV and Game Info, Starting Pitchers, Insights

While it seems like baseball is the last thing on many players’ and fans’ minds, the Cubs and Reds will play a four-game series in Cincinnati this weekend. The Reds have had a disappointing start to the 2020 season at 13-17, but they’ve won their last two thanks to a doubleheader sweep of the Brewers on Thursday night in which they outscored the Crew 12-1.

The Cubs come into the weekend series fresh off an ugly trip to Detroit where they lost two of three and faced questions about their decision to play Wednesday while Jason Heyward decided to sit out. However, they’re still 18-12 and holding on to a commanding lead in the NL Central that only appears to be smaller thanks to the fact that the Cardinals have played eight fewer games.

Usually dependable bats Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez, and Mike Moustakas have been basically non-existent this season, hitting just .189 (45-238) combined. Old friend Nicholas Castellanos, on the other hand, is slashing .266/.347/.633 with 10 home runs and 23 RBI in 30 games. Breakout performer Jesse Winker is slashing an absurd .333/.451/.679 in 30 games as well. While it’s still a small sample size for a guy who hasn’t ever had more than 338 AB in a season, Winker looks to be putting things together in a big way during his age-27 season.

With an offense in dire straits, the Reds have leaned heavily on a very good rotation, led by the three-headed monster of Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, and Luis Castillo. The three have a combined 8-6 record and have only given up 77 hits and 28 earned runs in 106.2 innings. Oh, and they’ve struck out 149 as well. The Cubs won’t see Gray in this series, but will still have to deal with Bauer and Castillo over the weekend.

That won’t be easy given their own inconsistent offense in which Ian Happ seems to be the only dependable performer. Happ has slashed .263/.417/.579 since being shifted to the leadoff slot, but he has scored just four runs despite being on base 20 times. Nico Hoerner and Javier Báez both had nice series in Detroit, so maybe some other pieces of the offense are kicking into gear.

The Cubs will have their best two on the hill in Hendricks and Darvish, with the latter having a Cy Young-caliber season to date. Two of Tyler Chatwood, José Quintana, Alec Mills, or even possibly Adbert Alzolay figure to start the other games for the Cubs.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

Friday, August 28 at 6:10 CT on Marquee

Saturday, August 29 at 3:10 CT on Marquee and MLB Network

Saturday, August 29 following first game on Marquee and MLB Network

Sunday, August 30 at 12:10 CT on Marquee

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T W/L ERA FIP K/BB
8/28 Kyle Hendricks 30 R 3-3 3.55 3.36 7.00
Tyler Mahle 25 R 0-1 4.41 4.01 2.63
8/29 Yu Darvish 34 R 5-1 1.70 2.13 7.33
Trevor Bauer 29 R 3-1 1.65 2.76 5.44
8/29 TBD
8/30 Alec Mills 28 R 3-2 4.55 4.54 2.44
Luis Castillo (prob) 27 R 0-4 3.62 2.07 3.21

What to Watch For

  • Friday is Jackie Robinson Day, so the league and probably some players as well will have things to say, wear, and do to honor the late great Robinson.
  • Báez is slashing .308/.321/.577 over his past seven games and looks to be back to the Javy we know and love. Hitting balls to right-center is a really good sign he’s locked in.
  • Kyle Schwarber has been noticeably trying to hit balls hard the other way recently, which bodes well for his production.
  • Darvish and Bauer could end up squaring off against each other on Saturday in a fantastic pitching matchup. It’ll probably end as a 13-9 game.
  • Hoerner has been hitting balls hard and up the middle most of the year. He’s finally getting some results as he’s gone 6-for-14 in his last seven games.
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