Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs – Might 29, 2021

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It’s another afternoon game at Wrigley Field, with a rematch of the pitching match-up from the first Saturday in May at Great American Ball Park. The Cincinnati Reds (22-27) will meet the Chicago Cubs (28-22) for the second game of this three-game weekend series. The Cubs have won five straight wins and the Reds will try to resume their offensive after being knocked out 1-0 yesterday.

The first pitch is at 2:20 EDT. The game can be found on Bally Sports Ohio. If you’re outside of the Cincinnati market, this is also MLB.tv.tv’s free game of the day. You can also listen to 700 WLW (and you never know what you’ll get on radio shows like Joey Votto playing piece by piece).

Start pitchers

Surname IP EPOCH xERA FIP xFIP WHIP K% BB%
Luis Castillo 47.1 7.61 4.43 4.75 4.04 1.80 19.9% 8.4%
Zach Davies 45.1 4.96 7.15 5.04 5.72 1.70 12.3% 11.8%

RED

Right-handed Luis Castillo seemed to turn a corner after his home start against the Giants. Despite giving up three runs with six hits, he hit eleven in five innings. It seemed like everything had turned around for him. And then he went up against the Brewers last Sunday, allowing five runs with five hits while walking four.

Castillo played the Cubs once at GABP this year. It was one of his better starts, giving up three runs with eight hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 5.1 innings.

You’d think walking up the hill hurts Castillo, as he’s already run 19 batters in ten starts this season. Last season, in 12 starts, he went 24 batters. But his overall bevel rate is 8.4%, about as high as 2020 and lower than the 10.1% bevel rate in 2019. What really hurts him is that his strike rate is the lowest of his at 19.9% Career and the lowest since then is 2018 it was 23.3%. The whiff rate on his move is down to 28.9% from 40.1% in 2020, and the whiff rate on his four-seater is 20.9% compared to 37.2% a year ago. If Castillo’s Whiff Rates have decreased, it means his contact rates have increased. More batters get in touch, and he and Derek Johnson must find out.

CUBS

Right-handed Zach Davies isn’t having the season he’d like, and especially not the season he had in San Diego last year when he posted a 2.73 ERA in 69.1 innings. He also had a 22.8% strike rate last year, which was a career high by a lot. Usually his strike rate was in the 15 to 18 percent range. Most of his problems this year are due to allowing walks. He’s run almost as many batters as he beat, and his 11.8% gait rate is the highest of his career.

When Davies faced the Reds at GABP on May 1, he threw only four innings and gave up four hits in two runs, one deserved, while walking three batters and hitting three.

Davies throws four pitches but mostly relies on his sinker and change. He’s averaging 88 mph with his sinker and 78-79 mph with his change. That change is his out-pitch as his whiff rate this year is 30.1% and he has 17 strikeouts with it. Last year, his whiff rate was 35.9% with 41 strikers.

Constellations

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

SS Eugenio Suarez LF Pederson game
LF Jesse Winker 1B Kris Bryant
RF Nick Castellanos SS Javier Báez
CF Tyler Naquin CF Ian Happ
C Tyler Stephenson C Willson Contreras
3B Max Schrock RF Rafael Ortega
2B Jonathan India 3B David messenger
P Luis Castillo 2B Eric Sogard
1B Alex Blandino P Zach Davies

After a day off, Eugenio Suárez is back in the line-up, back to the starting position and back at the shortstop. It’s also noteworthy that manager David Bell hits Castillo in eighth place, hoping to generate some lineup sales with his best hits at the top.

Messages and Notes

If you missed it, Vladimir Gutierrez made a stellar MLB debut yesterday.

If you’ve subscribed to The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans posted a great story this morning about how Joey Votto ended up in the radio booth yesterday afternoon.

Why did Joey Votto come by?@RedsRadioBooth?? “I like to talk to ball and listen to other people’s attitudes and communicate with our fan base. So I was intrigued. “

I’ve spoken to everyone about how and why Votto joined this #Reds Radio broadcast https://t.co/NuweEGcNZc

– C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) May 29, 2021

Final thoughts

This really is a huge streak for the Reds. They came in the series four games under .500. Winning the series would be ideal to keep within striking distance of the Cubs and Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Cubs are in a five-game winning streak and appear to be moving in the opposite direction as the Reds. Losing 1-0 yesterday wasn’t the right start, but if they can win today, Tyler Mahle will raise tomorrow. The opportunity is still there to end with a successful road trip.