Reds vs Cubs: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

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Jose Garcia #42 of the Cincinnati Reds attempts to beat the throw to David Bote #42 of the Chicago Cubs.

CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 29: Jose Garcia #42 of the Cincinnati Reds attempts to beat the throw to David Bote #42 of the Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Reds take their bumbling act to the Windy City.

Somehow, despite splitting a four-game set with the National League’s worst team, the Cincinnati Reds (18-23) only find themselves two games back for the NL’s final playoff spot. It seems no matter how much the Redlegs stumble, they can’t play themselves out of contention. FAfter 41 games, that’s the best news we have to share.

It’s been a monumental task in 2020 for the Reds to have all three facets of the game: pitching, hitting and defense in sync for nine innings. In spite of an above-average pitching staff, the Reds offense continues to languish in the NL’s cellar with a .211 average. For the Cincinnati offense, it’s been all or nothing.

Entering play on Labor Day, the Reds were one of two teams in the National League, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, to have three players with 10-plus home runs on the season. Regardless of how many trots around the base paths Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suárez and Jesse Winker take, it hasn’t been enough to save the Reds feeble offense.

Cincinnati is fourth in the senior circuit with 64 round-trippers. However, that’s the only positive news for an offensive standpoint. The Reds score nearly 40% of their runs via the long ball which is well above the 28% league average.

It appears the idea of playing small ball and stringing hits together is completely foreign to the Cincinnati Reds offense. However, an argument can be made that the Reds are the unluckiest offensive team in the NL.

The National League average for BAbip (batting average for balls in play) is .292, yet the Reds mark of .237 is far and away the worst in the league. Milwaukee is second from the bottom and their average of .274 is nearly 30 points higher than the Redlegs. But wait, the numbers get more depressing for Reds Country.

When it comes to soft contact, Cincinnati rarely smack weak grounders and lazy fly balls at opponents. Their minuscule 14% soft contact rate is only bested by the hard-hitting Dodgers and Cubs at 13.3% and 13.9% respectively.

Meanwhile, their 39.8% hard contact-rate is just below the league average 40.8% mark. Unfortunately, it seems like one of those years for the Reds offense where every line drive is finding an opponent’s glove. If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Reds would have no luck at all.

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