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

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 19: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs confronts pitcher Amir Garrett #50 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 19: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs confronts pitcher Amir Garrett #50 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning
CINCINNATI, OHIO – MAY 05: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Cubs

Sonny Gray (1-4 3.42 ERA) makes his return to the active roster taking the mound tonight facing Alec Mills (3-1 5.11 ERA) of the Cubs. The Cincinnati right-hander will be making his first start since leaving a June 8th contest against the Brewers after three innings with a groin injury.

It’s been a frustrating 2021 campaign to this point for Gray. He’s landed on the IL twice, and when he’s on the mound, he’s received less run support than any starting pitcher in the senior circuit. The 2.6 runs the Reds are scoring a game for Gray has left little margin for error on his part.

Let’s hope this start is similar to  Gray’s last appearance versus the Cubs at GABP. The Vanderbilt alum fanned 11 North Siders and allowed one hit in 6.2 innings of work, earning the victory in a July 29, 2020 start.

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Two Redlegs not looking forward to seeing Chicago’s Alec Mills on the bump are Joey Votto and Jesse Winker.  The Cincinnati left-handed sluggers are a combined 2-for-21 versus the right-hander. Lifetime Mills is unbeaten in three decisions against the Reds in eight appearances.

Saturday’s late afternoon start finds Tyler Mahle (7-3 3.74 ERA) opposing Chicago’s Adbert Alzolay (4-7 4.55 ERA). The Reds right-hander is looking to bounce back from a less than stellar performance against the Atlanta Braves in which he surrendered four runs, including two homers, in six innings in a 4-0 defeat.

Mahle was sensation his last time versus the Cubs. Tossing five shutout innings, he allowed just one hit while fanning eight North Siders in a Wrigley Field start. Don’t be surprised to see Chicago manager David Ross leave Ian Happ’s name off the lineup card Saturday. The former Cincinnati Bearcat is 1-fo- 16 in his career against Mahle with nine punch outs.

Like many Cubs, it was a tough June for Adbert Alozlay. Making four starts, he went 1-3 with a 6.89 ERA. The 26-year-old right-hander was clobbered for 16 hits in 15.2 frames, including five long balls. He’s still seeking his first victory since June 2nd.

Sunday, July 4th, will feature Wade Miley (6-4 3.09 ERA) battling Kyle Hendricks (10-4 3.98 ERA) of the Cubbies. It may not have been a vintage Miley performance his last time on the hill, but as is usually the case, he kept the game close, and his offense did the work in the late innings to down the Phillies Monday night.

Yielding four runs in six innings, it was the first time the Cincinnati southpaw had surrendered more than two earned runs in a start in over a month. Over his last seven starts, Miley has dropped just one decision and compiled an impressive 2.53 ERA.

One Cubs immune to the June blues was Kyle Hendricks. The right-hander was 5-0 with an excellent 2.97 ERA in six outings. Additionally, Hendricks has been the victor in his last eight decisions.

However, GABP has been a house of horrors for the longtime Cubbie. In his last three starts in the Queen City, Hendricks has allowed a whopping 29 hits and 18 runs in 14 innings of work. Let’s hope that trend continues.