The fifth-place Chicago Cubs (38-48) had a wild weekend which featured a huge trade with the Oakland Athletics – a move that would result in dealing two of the team’s best pitchers for several talented prospects. The Cubs picked up the win in the series opener against the Nats on Friday but fell flat on their face during the final two contests.
Tonight, Edwin Jackson (5-8, 4.99 ERA) will look to get his team back on track after a solid outing against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox just last week. Jackson worked through six solid innings, allowing the Red Sox to plate one earned run on six hits before he was lifted.
He received some great defensive help but was unable to pick up a decision. All in all, it was a great performance from someone who has had a lot of up-and-down moments since joining the Cubs last season.
His outing preceding the start against the Red Sox came against the Reds on June 25. He was handed loss number eight on the year after being tagged for four earned off six hits, with four walks and two strikeouts through 5 1/3 innings.
Starting opposite of Jackson is 27-year-old righty Mike Leake. Leake (6-7, 3.47 ERA) recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts against the San Francisco Giants on June 26 but hit a brick wall in his next outing against the Padres. San Diego put on a hitting clinic against Leake, recording 11 base knocks on the night resulting in three runs through 5 2/3 innings. Leake only managed to record four strikeouts in that game.
Cincinnati has the advantage going into this series after taking two out of three against the Cubs in late June and they couldn’t be any happier now that Chicago is without Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. As far as the All-Star game is concerned, these two teams will send a combined five players (Anthony Rizzo pending) to the Midsummer Classic – those players being Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, Johnny Cueto, Devin Mesoraco and Starlin Castro. (Jeff Samardzija was also selected to the National League All-Star Team, but due to his trade, will not partake in the game).
Tonight’s game will be shown live on CSN and aired on WGN 720 with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups for both teams:
— #VoteRizzo (@Cubs) July 7, 2014
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 7, 2014