Reds vs Cubs: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

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Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds bats in the fifth inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs.

CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 29: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds bats in the fifth inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images).

The Reds welcome the first-place Cubs for a crucial four-game series.

By the time Reds Country goes to bed Sunday night, they should have a clear indication if the Reds (13-17) are going to be contenders in the National League Central. Cincinnati currently trails the Chicago Cubs by five games in the division and can ill afford to fall any further behind. In other words, this weekend is do or die time for the Redlegs.

If yesterday in Milwaukee is any indication, it appears as though the Reds have some fight they left in them. After sweeping a doubleheader from the Brewers in convincing fashion, the Reds were able to earn a split of the four-game set at Miller Park. However, a split this weekend will not suffice.

Entering play yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds were the worst hitting team in the NL with a .203 average, but the offense sprung to life in both ends of the twin set. Jesse Winker smacked two homers and Nick Castellanos hit a rocket that I’m still not sure has landed.

The Reds also received run-scoring contributions from the likes of Kyle Farmer and Tucker Barnhart to dispose of the Brew Crew. It’s that type of production from the entire lineup that this team has been so desperately seeking through the 2020 season.

As usual, Sonny Gray turned in a typical sparkling performance and Wade Miley had, by far, his best start as a member of the Reds in the nightcap. The lefty tossed four shutout innings. It’s days like yesterday, when the Reds put it all together, that give you hope as the calendar turns to September.

This will be the Cubs final trip to the Queen City this season. In late July, the North Siders took two of three in their initial visit to GABP. Recent history tells us that’s the exception to the rule. The Reds have captured 13 of the 22 contests between the two clubs dating back to the start of the 2018 campaign.

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