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

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 04: Jonathan India #6 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts during a game. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 04: Jonathan India #6 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts during a game. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JULY 17: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Cubs

Tonight’s opener includes an excellent matchup as Wade Miley of the Reds (8-4 2.72 ERA) battles Kyle Hendricks (12-4 3.61 ERA) of the Cubs. Miley, who has been far and away Cincinnati’s most consistent starter this season, is on quite a roll.

Over his past seven starts, Miley has allowed more than two earned runs just once while compiling a fantastic 2.44 ERA. So if Chicago manager David Ross is considering giving Anthony Rizzo a day off, tonight may be the perfect opportunity. The Cubs’ first baseman is 5-for-28 lifetime against the Reds’ southpaw.

Will this be Kyle Hendricks last start as a Cub in the Windy City? Who knows, but if so, Hendricks is leaving on a high note. The right-hander has won 10 consecutive decisions and leads the NL with 12 victories.

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Vladimir Gutierrez (4-3 4.97 ERA) gets the call Tuesday night as the Cubs counter with Adbert Alzolay (4-10 4.58 ERA). The Cincinnati rookie is looking to rebound from an awful start versus the New York Mets.

The right-hander was torched for nine hits and three long balls in just four innings of work. It’s been a tough stretch for the 25-year-old Cuban. In two of his last four starts, he’s allowed at least six runs while surrendering three round-trippers.

Adbert Alzolay will be making his third start against the Redlegs this season. If his first two starts are any indication, it could be a long night for the Redlegs. The 26-year-old right-hander has yielded just three runs in 12.2 frames versus Cincinnati while splitting his two decisions.

Wednesday night finds Tyler Mahle (7-3 3.92 ERA) squaring off against Zach Davies (6-6 4.30 ERA) of the North Siders. Unfortunately, inefficiency continues to plague the Reds’ right-hander.  Despite an impressive record, Mahle has just five quality starts due largely to his inability to last six innings.

The 26-year-old California native has completed six frames in just seven of his 20 starts this season. In addition, his 4.22 pitches per plate appearance are the most in the NL, forcing manager David Bell to go to his volatile bullpen early and often when Mahle toes the rubber.

Speaking of pitchers not working deep into ball games, the Cubs Zach Davies certainly qualifies to be a member of that group. The Chicago right-hander has completed six frames in just six of 21 starts this year. You may want to go into work a little late Thursday morning because Wednesday night could turn into a parade of relievers to the pitching mound.

Thursday’s matinee series finale features Luis Castillo (4-10 4.20 ERA) facing Alec Mils (4-3 4.55 ERA) of the Cubbies. It’s almost impossible to believe that on May 23rd La Piedra was sporting an ERA of 7.61 following a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, but Castillo’s turnaround the past two months is simply incredible.

Since June 1st, Castillo’s ERA of 1.71 is the second-best mark in the game. Additionally, his 65 strikeouts rank 7th, and the two homers he surrendered places third among all hurlers. Simply put, Luis Castillo is on a magical ride this summer.

For whatever reason, Alec Mills seems to baffle the Reds. In his last two starts against the Redlegs, he’s allowed just two runs on six hits while fanning 15 Reds in only 11.2 innings. So Thursday is the perfect day to give Jesse Winker some rest. Da Wink is 1-for-13 lifetime versus the Cubs’ right-hander.