Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (8-15) at Cincinnati Reds (11-11)

I'm swamped with work deadlines so this is going to be relatively short.

After a slow start to the season Cincy finished April strong, winnign series against NL central foes St. Louis, the Cubs, and the Astros. Jay Bruce is the hottest hitter in the NL right now, and has hit HRs in his last 4 games.

The Cubs splitting a series against the Phillies feels like a series win for this squad, though the fact that the Phillies roster is 5000 years old takes a bit of luster off the accomplishment.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday: Jeff Samardzija, RHP vs Bronson Arroyo, RHP, 6:05 PM CT

Hopefully this is also 80s hair band night at GAB.

Samardzija looked good in his last outing after two rough ones. A big part of it could have been his velocity, which moved closer to his excellent first start after being down for starts two and three. He's had some bad luck with batted balls (.352 BABIP) but most of his problems seem to have been posthoc rationalized to be that he loses whatever program he's on and ends up having a big inning.

Arroyo has pitched shockingly well in his first four starts, and a big part of it is due to the fact that he's not walking anyone. He has just two walks in four starts. He's also giving up half as many homers as his career numbers would suggest. Fun fact – he posted a 5.71 FIP last year, and despite that was thrown out there for nearly 200 innings.

Wednesday: Paul Maholm, LHP vs Homer Bailey, RHP, 6:05 PM CT

Maholm finally had start where he did Paul Maholm things last time out. He still gave up a HR, which has been his main problem this year, but most importantly he induced 15 ground balls. He only had one strikeout, but blowing away hitters is not his gameplan.

Bailey's seen a small dip in his strikeout rate this year but has otherwise been right about what you would expect. He beat the Cubs on 4/20, giving up 4 runs (1 earned) in seven innings. Shockingly, he only managed to strikeout two members of this lineup.

Thursday: Ryan Dempster, RHP vs Mike Leake, RHP, 11:35 AM CT

Dempster looked great before his DL trip, and hopefully he can get back on track quickly. His injury never sounded *that* serious anyway.

Leake has not looked good at all this year. his strikeout rate has dipped below 4 K/9 and batters have hit 38% of balls in play for line drives. According to fangraphs pfx numbers, batters are just destroying his changeup.


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