The Cubs have gotten off to a 4-4 start on this 11-game road trip, their longest of the season. Thursday saw a dramatic 9th inning comeback to earn a series split with the Washington Nationals. This weekend they play the division-rival Cincinnati Reds to end the trip.
Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, and Jason Heyward have all missed time due to injury the last two weeks, which has led to some hodgepodge lineups in recent games. We’ll probably get more of that as Victor Caratini is likely to get his first career start behind the plate replacing the recently released Miguel Montero.
After a surprising start, the Reds have fallen firmly into last place in the NL Central. The biggest culprit in the slide has been the starting pitching. In 77 starts so far, Cincinnati starting pitchers have a ghastly 6.20 ERA.
Great American Ball Park has been a hitting paradise for the home side. Joey Votto, perhaps the most underrated superstar in baseball, is having an MVP caliber season. The Toronto native is on pace to hit 48 homers and drive in 114, and, oh, and he’s only got an OPS of 1.040 so far in 2017.
The Cubs need to take advantage of a shredded Reds pitching staff and put up some wins. Taking two of three in this series will result in an overall winning record on this trip. With a home-heavy schedule in July, a successful road swing could be (I stress could with this season definitive statements are tricky) a launchpad for a hot streak.
Game Time And Broadcast Info
- Friday, June 30 at 6:10 CT on WGN
- Saturday, July 1 at 3:10 CT on CSN-C
- Sunday, July 2 at 12:10 CT on WGN
*Stephens is making his major league debut
What To Watch For
- Kris Bryant didn’t play Thursday after rolling his ankle Wednesday night. The Cubs called it a mild to moderate sprain and it’s unclear if he will play this weekend.
- Javy Baez has hit .296 on the trip so far, including a hit during the 9th inning rally against the Nats. He also continues to play his usual stellar defense.
- Mike Montgomery has pitched well as a starter so far. The hard-hitting Reds lineup will be a challenge for Monty, s0 hopefully he’s up to the task.