With a cool, rainy forecast in store for much of the Chicagoland area Monday night, the Chicago Cubs will look to snap a cold streak of their own as the team welcomes the Cincinnati Reds to Wrigley Field to open a three-game set.
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Chicago (65-84) has lost eight of its last 10 contests, but sports a 35-36 mark at home this season – much improved over a disappointing 30-48 clip away from the Friendly Confines – which hopefully will mean success for the team in this home stand. One bright spot for Chicago tonight will be the awaited return of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has missed several weeks with a lower back injury. He will bat third for the Cubs in tonight’s series opener, joining Jorge Soler and Javier Baez in the Chicago lineup for the first time this season.
Left-hander Travis Wood (8-12, 5.03 ERA) will take the ball for the Cubs, coming off a rough start against Pittsburgh in which he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. After that poor start, in which he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits – three of which left the ballpark, the Cubs pushed his start back from Sunday to Monday in order to avoid having the southpaw face Pittsburgh again.
Cincinnati (71-79) will turn to right-hander Alfredo Simon (14-10, 3.48 ERA) in Monday’s opener. Simon has been a pitcher of two halves for the Reds this season. Prior to the Midsummer Classic, the righty was 12-3 with an impressive 2.70 ERA. Since that point, however, he has gone just 2-7 – his second win of the half coming in his last start against St. Louis. He does, however, bring success against Chicago into the opener. In four starts against the Cubs this season, the All-Star Simon is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT. CSN Chicago has the television broadcast and WGN AM 720 will carry tonight’s game over the radio airwaves.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups: