Almost everything went right for the Cubs in their three-game sweep of the Pirates. The one thing that didn’t go right could be potentially huge, however, as Anthony Rizzo suffered an ankle injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s win.
The injury dampened the mood after what had been a record-setting weekend. Chicago outscored Pittsburgh 47-15, which just so happens to be the most runs the North Siders have scored in a three-game set since at least 1900. A slightly more challenging foe, the Cincinnati Reds, comes to Wrigley for their own three-game series beginning Monday.
The Reds have basically hovered about 10 games below .500 all year long on the strength of their starting pitching. The rotation has been very good, especially Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. Their bullpen has begun to struggle last month or so, most notably closer Raisel Iglesias.
Joey Votto has had an uncharacteristically pedestrian season, but Eugenio Suárez is on pace to hit 50 home runs. At one time unstoppable, Aristides Aquino has cooled off significantly since a tremendous start that saw him hit something like 39 consecutive home runs against the Cubs.
Though the degree of difficulty increases in this series, the Cubs are still the better team. They enter Monday’s game just two games behind the Cardinals for first and only one game up on the Brewers for the second Wild Card, so every day on the calendar is huge from this point on. It’ll be all hands on deck through September, especially if Rizzo is forced to miss significant time.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, September 16 at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Tuesday, September 17 at 7:05pm CT on WCIU and ESPN
- Wednesday, September 18 at 7:05pm CT on WGN
What to Watch For
- Jason Heyward has nine hits in his last seven games. Not hitting leadoff seems to have been a big help for J-Hey.
- Darvish racked up an impressive 14 strikeouts against the Padres in his most recent dominant outing.
- Kris Bryant has relocated his power stroke after receiving a cortisone shot in his right knee. The former MVP has five homers in his last five games played.
- Nicholas Castellanos just doesn’t slow down and is up to a very impressive 54 doubles in 2019.