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

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 27: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a RBI single. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 27: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a RBI single. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches.
CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 07: Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Cubs

Wade Miley (9-4 3.00 ERA) kicks off the festivities this evening as Chicago manager David Ross counters with Justin Steele (2-1 2.95 ERA) for the Cubs. The Cincinnati southpaw will be making his fourth start against the North Siders this season.

In his previous three starts versus Chicago, the Cubs have made Miley work. Tossing 16 innings, the Cubbies have 22 hits and have dented the plate seven times against the left-hander. If Miley can find his way to the winner’s circle this evening, it would give double-digit victories for the fifth time in his 11-year career.

Rookie left-hander Justin Steele will be making his second career start following 11 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen. The 26-year-old southpaw is a former fifth-round selection of the Cubs in the 2014 draft. He’s faced the Reds twice in relief this season, allowing three runs in as many innings. Both Tucker Barnhart and Nick Castellanos have taken the rookie deep this year.

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Tuesday night finds Vladimir Gutierrez (8-3 3.95 ERA) toeing the rubber against veteran Kyle Hendricks (13-5 4.15 ERA) of the Cubbies. The Cincinnati right-hander is trying to accomplish a feat not seen in the Queen City in this century.

The last Reds rookie pitcher to win at least 10 games in a season was Scott Williamson in 1999.However, if Gutierrez continues to pitch the way he has over his past seven starts, 21st-century history will be made sooner rather than later.

Gutierrez has allowed more than two earned runs in a start only once since July 5th. Over that timespan, the Cuban native is 5-0 with a sparkling 3.05 ERA. While Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson have rightfully earned much of the rookie accolades, let’s not sleep on the impressive season Gutierrez has compiled.

Even though Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks leads the senior circuit in victories, chances are Monday night will be a restless night of sleep for the longtime Cubs hurler. In this last five starts versus the Reds, the right-hander is winless with a 9.26 ERA and has allowed a whopping 43 hits in 23.1 frames, including eight round-trippers. Yikes!

Wednesday afternoon’s matinee series finale will feature Tyler Mahle (10-3 3.58 ERA) on the bump for the Redlegs. Chicago manager David Ross has not yet announced a starter for the North Siders.

Speaking of double-digit wins, the Cincinnati right-hander crossed the threshold for the first time in his career following a three-hit seven shutout inning performance versus the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. Look for additional positive results from Mahle on Wednesday.

In his last three starts against the Cubs, Mahle has yielded just one earned run in 16 innings while punching out 17 North Siders. The Cubs and Mahle are no strangers to one another. This will be the 26-year-old California native’s fifth start versus Chicago this season.