RECORDS: Cubs 66-57 Reds 53-72
GAMETIMES: Tuesday-Thursday at 6:10pm
TV: WGN Tuesday, CSN Wednesday and Thursday
COUNTING THE DAY: Blog Red Machine
I didn’t even realize, mostly because the past weekend against the Jays was such a bum-squeaker and still kind of seething after splitting a series with these very Reds, but the Cubs grew their lead to three-and-a-half games over the weekend. And as has been said repeatedly, this is the stretch where the Cubs can end this NL Central debate for good. The next 17 games are against either last-place teams or teams seriously backing up. Even at the end of this week, with six against the Reds and Phillies, you’d like to think the Cubs are somewhere five-six games up. Five games up with five weeks to do is actually a pretty large lead. By the time the Brewers show up on the weekend we find out just how much Mike Glennon sucks, the Cubs should be setting rotation stuff and resting guys.
It starts with three in Cincy, the last time the Cubs have to go there but not the last time we’ll have to watch this bunch. They close out the season on Clark St. the first weekend of October, when hopefully everyone is taking a breather. The Cubs have put up a pretty disappointing .500 record in six games on the river this year, though they’ve put up 31 runs as you should there in those six games.
The Cubs will duck Luis Castillo this time, who shut them down pretty well last week. They will get Homer Bailey, who Anthony Rizzo torched pretty well. They also get to see that dude name Asher who they bashed around well too. And they’ll see Sal Romano, who again sounds like he should be standing near the door in an OTB in Queens offering to book your bets at Aqueduct. So the potential for an avalanche of runs is most certainly there.
Still, with the Reds purposely backing up the truck this year, the offense remains potent. You saw it last week. Joey Votto is going to get on base. There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing I can do. It just happens. Eugenio Suarez is hot. Zack Cosart is slugging over .600 the past two weeks. Now there’s this Phillip Ervin dude who the Cubs couldn’t get out. The Cubs still remain the only team Billy Hamilton looks like a major league hitter against. Duvall can get you if you’re not paying attention.
As always with the Reds, you wonder what they’re going to cash in either in the winter or next year to get the pitchers they obviously need. Finnegan could be healthy again one day. I could also become a professional dancer. Castillo certainly has the stuff. Maybe a couple starters are in the minors. But we know Votto isn’t going anywhere. They missed out on trading Cosart because he’s a free agent. There isn’t much else. The Reds just might have to wait until they develop pitchers they’ve drafted.
You know the score by now. Drill the starters, because once you get to Raisel it becomes very difficult and Bryan Price will use him before the 9th if he has to. Pitch carefully because the lineup can get you. I’m not saying a sweep is mandatory, but they should at least get a look at one. The Cubs started the train on the weekend, with some help from the Canadians. They’ve played with their food long enough. Let’s end this.