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National League Central is starting to warm up with one of its many years of rivalry as the Cincinnati Reds enter Wrigley Field to take the Chicago Cubs up for a three-game series starting Monday. Cincy won their weekend series against St. Louis, while the Cubs took their weekend series against Arizona. For Monday night competition, the Reds will start left-handed Wade Miley while the Cubs start with the right hand Kyle Hendricks.
Red pushes to playoffs
While Cincy could not get the sweep over St. Louis, took the two out of three from them and got a game in the winning column. They are currently 51-48 and in second place in their division, where they are six and a half games behind Milwaukee for first place. On the bright side, they are half a game up on St. Louis and third place and two and a half games up on Chicago in fourth place. They are also five and a half games behind San Diego for the second NL wild card.
There are no arguments that Miley has been Cincy’s ace this season, as he has gone 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 17 starts. In two starts against Chicago this season, both of which were Cincinnati victories, Miley has amassed a 3.21 ERA over 11.2 innings of work. As well as he has set this season, Miley has been fantastic so far in July, where he is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 29 strikes over three starts. He has also been good on the roads, having a 2.52 ERA across eight starts and 50 shots.
Buyers or sellers?
When Chicago landed in Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers in late July, they played winning baseball and did not even beat the Dodgers in the series opener. But after that, they lost 11 games in a row before finally snapping their row against Philadelphia. Since winning that game, the Cubs have played a little better, but still not up to their potential as they have gone 6-7 over their last 13 games. It makes one wonder if the front office will start a rebuilding process by swapping away some of their stars.
Hendricks has been a workhorse this season and is number two in the Majors with 15 quality starts. On the season, he is 12-4 with a 3.61 ERA over 20 starts and 117.1 innings. This ERA also cheats when you consider it was 7.54 at the end of April. He has posted a sub-3.00 ERA every month since July including where he is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA over four starts. Hendricks does not hit as well on Wrigley, where he marks a 3.90 over 10 starts, but has a 6-3 record during this span.
The kids are 0-8 in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record. The kids are 0-6 in their last 6 Monday games.
The Reds are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road underdog. The Reds are 11-4 in their last 15 Monday games.