The Cubs go on the road for three are at home for three games against the Reds (I don’t know why I thought this was the start of the road trip). This is the one place we might really miss Mark DeRosa, since if memory serves, he just destroyed the Reds every time the two teams played in the last two seasons. But the current Cubs hitters have done alright against the pitching they’re going to face. First up for the Reds is Micah Owings, who no Cub has had 10 PA against. He could certainly put together a good game, but I fear his 129 OPS+ at the plate more than I fear him as a pitcher. The other two scheduled to go in this series are Johnny Cueto and Aaron Harang, who do have several Cubs who’ve accumulated 10 PAs against them:
This might be a good chance for Soto to break out – he’s done really well against the Reds’ starters in the past, and he’s got to start hitting some time. Lee has been hitting well over his last few games, too, and he’s a good candidate to continue that trend. Note that Z has pretty good numbers of Harang, too. I’m sure there will be comparisons between him and Owings, so I bet he’ll be looking to get that first home run on Thursday.
Harden, yet again, hasn’t faced many of the Reds very often. The whole team only has a handful of appearances against him, with Laynce Nix as the sole Red who qualifies for listing here. The smattering of appearances Reds batters do have against Harden, though, favor Harden. There’s more data for Lilly and Zambrano, who’ve been in the NL Central slightly longer than Harden.
The Reds who are not Brandon Phillips have hit Lilly rather hard, and you have to figure that’s the game the Cubs are most likely to lose. Zambrano has handled the Reds pretty well, holding their current players well below where their team OPS has been over his career.
The Reds are 7-5 right now, so they’re right there with the Cubs and the Cardinals so far. They’re not hitting very well as a team. Hopefully the Cubs starters can keep their bats cold for another three games and get a few wins to before they start the road trip.