This season the last-place Cincinnati Reds have been a real problem for the Chicago Cubs. On the year the Cubs have a record of 3-7 and have lost five straight games against the Reds. This is a concerning trend for the Cubs as they still have nine games left to play against the Reds.
Now, before the panic sets in, take a moment and consider a few things. First off, other than when they have played the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs have perhaps been playing their best baseball of the season.
Without counting the last five games against the Reds, all of which were losses, the Cubs have won nine of their last 12 games. In those nine victories, the Cubs offense averaged 7.8 runs per game while scoring 10 runs or more four times. Also, before their most recent loss to the Reds on Friday, the Cubs had put together a six-game winning streak.
Cincinnati cools down the Cubs bats
Despite how hot the Cubs have been of late, it hasn’t translated over against the Reds. The Reds have simply had the Cubs’ number, winning five straight games while outscoring them 34-15.
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The key for the Reds has been the strong performances they’ve gotten from their starting pitchers. In four out of the five straight games they’ve won, Reds starters went at least 5 2/3 innings and gave up no more than three runs. Their best performance came in Friday’s 3-2 victory from Tyler Mahle who gave up one run over 6 2/3 innings.
What’s also been impressive has been the Reds ability to shut down some of the Cubs best hitters in these last five games. Kyle Schwarber who normally feasts on Reds pitching is 2-for-16 with one home run and four walks. Slugger Anthony Rizzo has also struggled, recording just three hits in 18 at-bats, one being a home run.
The Reds bats have also been alive against the Cubs this season, scoring an average of 6.8 runs over their five straight victories. As a team they’ve cranked out seven home runs, two of which were grand slams.
With all that said, the Cubs are a much more talented team than the Reds. The Reds have been the cellar dwellers of the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Cubs are looking to win their third straight division title. There should be no comparing the two teams. The Cubs must take care of business and beat the teams they are expected to beat.