Chicago Cubs (38-48) vs. Cincinnati Reds (45-42)
Monday, July 7, 2014: 7:10 at Great American Ball Park
To say the signing of Edwin Jackson to a 4-year/$52 million deal has been catastrophic thus far would be accurate to state. After leading the league in losses last year (18), Jackson’s ERA again barely hinges just south of five.
For what will be the fourth time this season, the Reds will get to take a peek at Edwin Jackson. Jackson picked up his first two wins of the season at the expense of Cincinnati in the month of April, while dropping his most recent start against them on June 25. Even as he sits at 2-1 against the Redlegs, he is yet to make a quality start against them in 2014.
Last time out for Edwin was in fact a quality start as he pitched six impressive innings against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox. He reached the 100-pitch threshold for the first time in a month as he threw six innings and only allowed a single run to cross the plate.
The key will be to jump on Jackson early. In 2014, his opponent batting average against for his first 25 pitches is astronomically high as it sits as .367. That is more than 100 points higher than any other 25-pitch window.
Much in the same way that the schedule created a statistical oddity with Jackson facing the Reds thrice, it has found a way for Mike Leake to not face the Cubs at all. That all changes on Monday.
Each of Leake’s last eight starts have seen the decision side with him. Winning four and losing four, Leake has not had a no decision in a start since May 19.
For his career, Leake boasts impressive numbers against the Cubbies. Sitting at 7-2 with a 3.04 ERA in 14 starts, that is his lowest ERA against a team with at least eight starts made.
Even with storms on the horizon, this five-game series is going to have to get underway on Monday night. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Tuesday to make up for an earlier rain out.
Mike Leake will get the ball at 7:10 p.m. as he looks to return to .500 and continue the Reds’ push to the top of the National League Central.