While the Chicago Cubs are off to a strong start, the same can’t be said for the Cincinnati Reds.
After hanging on for a tense victory in the opener of this four-game series, the visiting Cubs will gun for a third straight victory on Tuesday night.
Chicago (3-1) took two of three from Milwaukee at home over the weekend, then looked to be in for an easy night against Cincinnati (1-3) during what turned out to be an 8-7 win on Monday. The Cubs scored four times in the first inning, led 6-0 after two and 8-1 in the seventh.
However, after Jon Lester’s stellar night ended following five hitless innings, the Reds woke up against a Chicago bullpen that allowed all seven runs, six hits and walked eight before Jeremy Jeffress got the final two outs with the bases loaded.
“All and all, it was a nice team win,” Cubs manager Dave Ross said during his postgame video session.
“They’re going to continue to get better.”
Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo had another solid night on Monday with his third home run of the season. All three of Rizzo’s hits in 11 at-bats have left the park. Willson Contreras, meanwhile, added two more hits to raise his average to .357 in four games.
Joey Votto continued his strong start with two more hits and two RBIs for the Reds, who have dropped three in a row following their season-opening 7-1 win over Detroit. Votto is 7-for-18 with five RBIs on the young campaign.
However, Cincinnati needs to find a way to get back on track in a season that was filled with high expectations. The Reds’ three losses have been decided by four total runs.
“It is what it is at this point,” Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer told the club’s official website. “So, come out tomorrow and get back in the win column. That’s all we can do.”
Tuesday’s scheduled starting pitchers for both clubs are momentarily in their team’s respective rotations as injury replacements.
As Jose Quintana continues to deal with a thumb injury, Alec Mills takes the mound for the Cubs. Last season, the right-hander posted a 2.70 ERA without a decision in four starts. That included a three-run, six-inning effort during Chicago’s 4-3, 10-inning victory over Cincinnati on July 16, 2019.
“I’m just here to compete,” Mills told the Cubs’ official website during spring training.
Meanwhile, Tyler Mahle takes the ball for the Reds while Anthony DeSclafani sits out temporarily with an arm strain. The right-hander was 3-12 with a 5.14 ERA in 25 starts last season. He allowed seven earned runs over 11 innings without a decision in two starts against the Cubs in 2019.
Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber are each 4-for-10 with a home run against Mahle.
The Reds, meanwhile, continue to play without veteran Mike Moustakas, who was placed on the injured list after waking up ill on Sunday morning. Teammate Nick Senzel was also not feeling well Sunday and has missed the last two games. It’s uncertain if either player has tested positive for COVID-19.
–Field Level Media