Reds vs. Cubs: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

The benches clear after Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) struck out Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
The benches clear after Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) struck out Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. /
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Starting pitcher Vladimir Gutiérrez #76 of the Cincinnati Reds throws.
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 23: Starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez #76 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Cubs

Cincinnati Reds right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez will make his major league debut in Friday afternoon’s series opener battling Adbert Alzolay (2-4 4.30 ERA) of the Chicago Cubs. Cincinnati’s No.12 rated prospect, according to MLB.com, has been strong in his three starts at Triple-A Louisville.

Tossing 17 innings, he’s allowed just nine hits and recorded 21 punchouts pitching for the Bats. The 25-year-old Cuban exile signed with the Reds in September of 2016 and features a three-pitch arsenal. His fastball and curveball are his two most effective pitches, but he’ll also use a changeup as well.

Despite dropping two of his last three starts, Adbert Alzolay has whiffed 15 hitters without allowing a free pass in 18 frames in the trio of appearances for the North Siders. His 0.86 WHIP and .195 opponents batting average rank best among Cubs’ starters.

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Luis Castillo ( 1-7 7.61 ERA) gets yet another opportunity at changing his fortunes as he squares off against Zach Davies (2-2 4.96 ERA) on Saturday. La Piedra’s numbers are terrible, and despite the fact, there’s been nary a glimmer of hope in his starts, manager David Bell seems committed to sticking with Castillo.

If you’re looking for a positive sign for the Reds right-hander, I have one for you. In his last start at Wrigley Field, he fanned 10 Cubbies in six innings while earning the victory in July 2019. No matter which direction La Piedra’s season goes, he can’t blame David Bell, who’s given him more than enough opportunities to succeed.

Beginning with his May 1st start in Cincinnati, right-hander Zach Davies has put together an outstanding month. In five May starts, he’s allowed just five earned runs in 26.1 innings while surrendering just one gopher ball. However, Davies has yet to pitch more than four innings in his last three starts against the Redlegs.

Reds manager David Bell has yet to announce his starter for Sunday’s series finale. If healthy, don’t be surprised to see southpaw Wade Miley get the start. The left-hander is eligible to come off the IL on Sunday, following a 10-day stint on the shelf with a left foot sprain. It will be a huge boost for the Redlegs if Miley can take the mound.

Jake Arrieta (5-4 4.37 ERA) may not like visiting Cincinnati, but the Reds fireworks operator certainly enjoyed the right-hander’s last trip through the Queen City. Lasting just 3.1 innings, Arrieta was lit up for seven hits, seven runs, and three long balls, including Joey Votto’s 300th career blast. Let’s hope for a similar fireworks display for the Cincinnati bats when Arrieta toes the rubber to close out the series for the Cubs.