By Andrew Fisher @AndrewFisherRS on April 17, 2014
The Cincinnati Reds (6-9) will head to Wrigley Field this weekend to take on the Chicago Cubs (4-10). The Reds have won two straight, while the Cubs are losers of four in a row.
In this slideshow preview we'll take a look at key hitters, projected starters, the TV schedule and the eventual series winner:
Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto are hitting like their normal selves through the first couple weeks of 2014. Both guys are over .300 on the year, but Phillips has only manged to drive in three runs thus far.
Also keep an eye on catcher Devin Mesoraco who's been on a tear as of late. Since returning from the DL, Mesoraco is hitting .500 with three home runs and nine RBI.
The bad news? The Cubs rank 25th in team average (.230). The good news? Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are both doing well at the dish. The two lead Chicago with eight RBI a piece and both could be in the .300 range following this weekend's series.
The question for the Cubs, is who else will step up? Emilio Bonifacio is holding his own in the average department (.339), but the team needs another power bat to emerge.
Game 1: Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20 ERA)
Game 2: Tony Cingrani (1-1, 2.60 ERA)
Game 3: Homer Bailey (0-1, 8.16 ERA)
Game 1: Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29 ERA)
Game 2: Edwin Jackson (0-1, 6.19 ERA)
Game 3: Carlos Villanueva (1-3, 11.57 ERA)
Game 1: Reds (FS-O), Cubs (WGN) 1:20 PM CT
Game 2: Reds (FS-O), Cubs (CSN) 1:20 PM CT
Game 3: Reds (FS-O), Cubs (WCIU) 1:20 PM CT
Looking at the Central Division standings, this is actually a fairly crucial early-season series. It's more so for the Reds, a team with real postseason hopes, but the Cubs would surely like to avoid a giant early hole to dig out of as well.
I'm predicting the Cubs will finally put up some runs over the weekend and take two out of three from the Reds.
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