The 11-4 Cubs roll into Cincinnati today to take on the Reds in a four game set. The Cubs have to feel good about their chances this weekend after winning a series in St. Louis.
First, Jake Arrieta goes to the bump tonight against Brandon Finnegan. The young Cinci lefty looked great against the Cubs last time out – no hitting them for six innings before the Cubs worked his pitch count and ran him from the game, even with only one hit.
On Friday, Jon Lester, the same one who had ten Ks last time out, goes up against little known Jon Moscot of the Reds, who has only made one start this season.
Saturday finds John Lackey, who had 11 Ks Monday, back at it against former Cub Dan Straily. The CUbs could put a lot of crooked numbers against Straily.
The series wraps up Sunday as Jason Hammel takes on the despicable Alfredo Simon.
How I See Things
The Cubs have not been hitting well. The Great American Ballpark (aptly named by the way) should be the remedy as the ballpark has two wind tunnels taking balls out left center and right center. Expect the Cubs to put up some runs against Moscot, Straily, and Simon.
It would not surprise me to see the Cubs reach double digits either. The Cubs could then carry that momentum back home with them.
These wins will not be easy either. The Reds still have Cub killers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce who are a danger to yank one on the Ohio River at every at bat. Billy Hamilton is a danger once he gets to first, if he can.
I would like to think that the Cubs could sweep. On paper it will be close. I think a 3-1 trip to river city would be a good outing. However, with Arrieta, Lester, and Lackey looking outstanding right now, I think the Cubs could be in a position to sweep if Jason Hammel can keep it together Sunday afternoon.
The thing I would most like to see, regardless of wins, would be for Bryant, Rizzo, Soler, Heyward, Russell, and Baez, to just drive the ball. They don’t have to be homeruns, but they should be hitting the ball in the gaps all weekend. However, I’ll take homers.
Looking at this series, I feel comfortable with the Cubs and they way they are playing. Notice I said comfortable and not confident.
Anything can happen on any day. On the other hand, when you trot out Arrieta, Lester and Lackey, you have to feel good about those top three and I think that is the biggest difference between this year and last.
While the hitting has not been there this year, the approach has and that approach will pay off. Getting 10 walks in a game greatly improves your ability to score runs. I feel good about that approach. It should pay off big this weekend so that hopefully the bats.