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Cubs vs. Reds, Game 1: Preview and Predictions

Cincinnati heads North to face their NL Central rivals.

"Remember that $4M the Reds guaranteed me?  Ha!  One & only dinger I mashed for them was off Samardzija!"
"Remember that $4M the Reds guaranteed me? Ha! One & only dinger I mashed for them was off Samardzija!"
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds 

@ Chicago Cubs

Monday, June 23, 2014
Wrigley Field

Alfredo Simon v. Jeff Samardzija


Rather wild weekend series, eh?

Fresh off taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays in a series that saw big hitting, bad defense, and a pair of stellar pitching performances backing up a failure you won't forget for years, the Cincinnati Reds set out for Chicago, where the Cubs await.  It'll be the first stop on a 3 city, 10 game road trip for the Reds, and they'll look to continue the momentum they've developed since the healthy returns of Mat Latos and Joey Votto to the dugout.

Standing in their way tonight will be Jeff Samardzija, who has cooled off significantly after a torrid start to his season.  While his overall season numbers are still quite good, Samardzija has gone just 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and .880 OPS allowed over 22 IP in his last 4 starts the last 28 days, though that is weighed upon heavily by a start against the Milwaukee Brewers that saw him allow 8 ER in just 3 IP.  Against the Reds so far in 2014, Samardzija has allowed just 4 ER in 12.2 IP, and that'll be the kind of performance he'll be looking for this evening (though his 1.58 WHIP against the Reds in those innings suggests there's been some tap-dancing around runners on base.)

Taking the mound for the Reds will be Alfredo Simon and his league leading 10 arbitrary designations in a category that means nothing.  Seriously, Samardzija has a better ERA, more IP, better K/9, better K/BB, more bWAR, more fWAR, better FIP, better xFIP, better ERA+, better ERA-, higher GB %, and better HR/9 than Simon; Simon has 10 wins, Samardzija has 2.  Anyhoo, Simon will face the Cubs for the 2nd time in 2014, and he'll look to replicate something akin to the 6 IP, 2 ER, winning performance he had against them in GABP on April 29th.

Gone are the early season pitching-friendly conditions in Wrigley, though, and tonight's game will see mid 70's temperatures with upwards of 70% humidity and a chance for storms.  If the wind is blowing out, look out, as Jay Bruce has been June Brucing (and is still looking for his first career dinger off Samardzija).

Go Reds!  They're peteyhendrix's favorite team!

Bullpen Log

Reliever 6/18 6/19 6/20 6/21 6/22 5 day totals
Carlos Contreras
1.0, 8p
1.0, 9p
2.0 IP, 17 pitches
Logan Ondrusek
1.1, 11p 0.1, 10p

1.2 IP, 21 pitches
Sam LeCure
0.1, 4p 0.1, 9p

0.2 IP, 13 pitches
J.J. Hoover 2.2, 39p

2.2 IP, 39 pitches
Jonathan Broxton
0.2, 21p 1.0, 23p

1.2 IP, 44 pitches
Manny Parra
0.2, 12p 0.0, 4p

0.2 IP, 16 pitches
Aroldis Chapman
1.1, 20p 0.2, 33p
1.0, 18p 3.0 IP, 73 pitches
Jumbo Diaz 0.2, 7p
1.0, 31p

1.2 IP, 38 pitches