Probable starting pitchers
The rallying Reds were at it again on Saturday night in the Windy City. The Cincinnati Reds rode the white-hot bat of team-leader Jonathan India and captured the series versus the division rival.
The Reds will look to sweep the Baby Bears this afternoon with Graham Ashcraft taking the ball. This season has not treated Ashcraft very well, and the right-hander will be looking to get back on track in today's series finale.
The Reds will face southpaw Drew Smyly this afternoon. The lefty has looked very good in his 10 starts this season with a sub-3.00 ERA. This will not be an easy matchup for the Cincinnati hitters.
Cincinnati Reds starting lineup
After mashing two home runs last night, Jonathan India will be atop the Cincinnati Reds batting order with a left-hander on the bump for the Chicago Cubs. Matt McLain and Spencer Steer will bat second and third respectively and be followed by catcher Tyler Stephenson.
Stuart Fairchild draws the start in left field and will be followed by third baseman Nick Senzel. Kevin Newman will be at the keystone with India occupying the DH role today. Batting eighth with a lefty on the mound will be Jake Fraley and Jose Barrero will bat ninth and play center field.
Which Cincinnati Reds player needs to bounce back in today's game?
Well this shouldn't be too hard to figure out. After watching the Cincinnati Reds hitters handle their business agains the Chicago pitchers over the past two days, there's surely not going to be anyone in the Reds lineup in need of a bounce-back performance.
But after two straight outings of 10-hit performances, Graham Ashcraft will be looking to silence the critics and give his skipper six-plus innings of low-scoring baseball today in Chicago. In his last two starts, Ashcraft has allowed 20 hits, 14 earned runs, and only struck out eight batters in 10 innings of work.
Which Cincinnati Reds player will be the X-factor in today's game?
Look for Tyler Stephenson to play a big role in whether or not the Cincinnati Reds are able to sweep the Chicago Cubs this afternoon at Wrigley Field. Stephenson is 3-for-10 against Drew Smyly in his career and is sitting in the catbird's seat at No. 4 in the batting order.
But more than that might be how Stephenson handles catching duties behind the dish. The past two starts have seen the veteran Curt Casali masterfully guide the young pitchers through the Cubs batting order. Stephenson's game-calling has been called into question of late, and with Graham Ashcraft looking to bounce back, his skills behind the plate could be crucial to snagging a W.