Reds vs Cubs: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 29: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs bats during the game against the Cincinnati Reds.
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 29: Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs bats during the game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Ian Happ is off to a sizzling start

There’s no place like home; or at least your college home. University of Cincinnati alum Ian Happ is destroying the ball this year. Slashing .287/.422./.564, Happ is tied for the club-lead with six homers and is second with 15 RBIs. The former first-round pick is just beginning to reach his potential.

However, what’s he done against the Reds at GABP is mind-boggling. In 21 games in the Queen City, he’s slashing an amazing .333/.476/.758 with a monstrous 1.234 OPS.  The 26-year-old has seven homers and 13 RBIs in just 66 at-bats.  If he played all of his games at GABP he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  Although it’s early in his career, Happ seems destined for a spot on the all-time Reds’ killers list.

It seems likely Reds right-hander Luis Castillo will take the mound at some point this weekend.  When he does he’ll have to tread lightly around Happ.  The switch-hitter is 5-for-10 versus La Piedra with a homer and two doubles.  On the other hand, Tyler Mahle maybe his kryptonite. Happ is hitless in six at-bats against the Reds Friday night starter.

If it’s versatility you like, Ian Happ is your man. In 30 games this season, he’s made appearances in all three outfield positions as well DH and first base. This is nothing new for Happ. During his four year career, he’s made more than 30 appearances at second base and every outfield position. Regardless of where David Ross has penciled in Happ, he’s providing dividends on a daily basis.