Friday, June 2, 2023
UFC Replica Champion Belt

MLB Preview: Cincinnati Reds (21-29) at Chicago Cubs (22-27)



  • The Reds today placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday, OF/1B Wil Myers (kidney stone)…optioned to Louisville RHP Alan Busenitz…recalled from Louisville OF Will Benson (#30)…returned from a rehabilitation assignment and reinstated from the 15-day injured list RHP Fernando Cruz (#63).
  • Reds baserunners have scored 44 runs from second base on singles, in 45 attempts…both lead the Major Leagues.
  • The Reds rank 28th in the Major Leagues with 38 HR, their fewest through 50 games in the Great American Ball Park era (est. 2003)..the 2014 team hit the second-fewest homers through 50 games (39).
  • Class AA Chattanooga IF Noelvi Marte has been named Southern League Player of the Week (5/15-5/21)…is his second weekly award (5/1-5/7)… last week he recorded 3 multi-hit games and collected 5 extra-base hits… for the season ranks fourth in the league in hitting (.292), T2nd in HR (8), T1st in hits (42) and T4th in runs scored (26).


  • Is Game 1 of a 3-game series vs Hunter Hippel’s Cubs and Game 1 of a 6-game road trip to the two oldest ballparks in the Major Leagues, Chc’s Wrigley Field (1914) and Bos’ Fenway Park (1912).
  • The Reds will visit Fenway Park for the second straight season.
  • Yesterday afternoon the Redlegs completed a 2-5 homestand vs the Yankees (0-3) and Cardinals (2-2).


  • The Reds in 2022 went 8-11 vs Cubs, including 5-4 at Great American Ball Park, 3-6 at Wrigley Field and a 4-2 “home” loss on 8/11 in the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa.
  • Since a 4-1 Reds win on 6/25/14 and beginning 9/15/14, the Cubs have won 30 of the last 42 night games vs the Reds at The Friendly Confines…the teams play tomorrow night at 7:15 ET.
  • The teams met in the final 6 games of the 2022 championship season (3g at Wrigley Field, 3g at Great American Ball Park), the longest continuous stretch of games between the Reds and Cubs since they played 7 straight games from 8/29-9/5, 1931…courtesy @EliasSports.
  • The game scheduled for 4/5 at Great American Ball Park was postponed by threatening weather…it has been rescheduled as part of a day/night doubleheader on Fri, 9/1 (1:10, 6:40).


  • The Red Sox begin a 3-game series on Tue at Fenway Park.
  • The Sox lead the all-time series, 14-3, including a split of the home-and-home 2-game series last season.
  • The Sox won 5 of the 7 series, tied the other 2 series and swept 4 series.
  • The Reds’ 2-1 win on 5/31/22 was their first victory at Fenway Park since Game 7 of the 1975 World Series.
  • In the June 2005 series at Fenway, the Reds were outscored by the Sox, 23-4, and hit .167 (15-90, 32k) while posting an 8.25era (.340ba)…game-time temperature on 6/13/05 was 91 humid degrees, dropped to a chilly 54 for Game 2 and then plummeted to a frigid 49 for the series finale.
  • Before the interleague schedule expanded this season to include games vs all 15 American League teams, from 1997-2022 the Redlegs went 188-
    247 vs the American League, at .432 the lowest interleague winning percentage of any Major League team.

Today’s Pitcher – #21 Hunter Greene, RHP

  • In just his second season, this afternoon at Wrigley Field will make his 35th Major League appearance and start.
  • Will be his fourth career appearance and start vs the Cubs, his first this season, and his second career appearance at Wrigley Field.
  • Was the Reds’ scheduled pitcher for the game vs Cubs on 4/5 at Great American Ball Park, which was postponed by inclement weather and rescheduled as part of a day/night doubleheader on 9/1 (1:10, 6:40).
  • Produced a career-high 29.0-inning homerless streak between home runs by Oneil Cruz on 3/30 vs Pit and Elvis Andrus on 5/5 vs WSox.
  • Allowed 1 HR in his first 6 starts (28ip) and 7 HR in his last 4 starts (22ip).
  • This season has allowed 8 HR in 10 starts 50.0 innings…allowed 6 HR at Great American Ball Park and 2 HR at Coors Field…through the first 10 starts of his 2022 rookie season allowed 15 home runs.
  • Has been charged with a team-high 4 pitch timer violations, most recently on 5/10 vs NYM (Pete Alonso walked).
  • Was the Reds’ 2023 Opening Day starting pitcher.
  • At age 23 years, 236 days became the first pitcher age 25 or under to start for the Reds on Opening Day since 1980, when at age 22 years, 232 days RHP Frank Pastore beat Phil Niekro and the Braves, 9-0…courtesy @EliasSports.
  • Became the first second-year pitcher to start for the Reds on Opening Day since 26-year-old RHP Raisel Iglesias started the 6-2 win vs the Phillies in the 2016 season opener…courtesy @EliasSports.
  • On 4/18 signed a $53 million contract through the 2028 season that includes for 2029 a $21 million club option and $2 million buyout


Cubs vs. Reds
The Cubs and Reds play 13 games spanning four series … the teams played a weather-shortened two-game set in Cincinnati, April 3-4, splitting the series … following this series, the clubs meet here again for a four-game set, July 31-Aug. 3 … Chicago last season went 11-8 vs. the Reds, its first season series victory over Cincinnati since going 11-8 in 2018.

CUBS WELCOME ROB BUTCHER’S RED LEGS: The Chicago Cubs today play the first of three games against the Cincinnati Reds after taking two of three from the New York Mets to begin a nine-game homestand … Chicago last night fell to the Mets 10-1, but still secured its first series win since going 2-1 vs, the Marlins May 5-7 … the Cubs had been winless in their previous four series.

Following this three-game set against the Reds, the Cubs continue the homestand with three games against the Tampa Rays, including a Memorial Day matinee this Monday.

After the game on April 21, Chicago was 12-7 and 1.5 games behind the division lead … since, the club is 10-20 and enters today 4.5 games behind the division-leading Brewers, sitting at 27-23.

WRIGLEY FIELD AGREES WITH HIM: Justin Steele enters today’s tilt having allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last 17 starts at Wrigley Field dating to April 24 of last season … he’s posted a 2.20 ERA (23 ER/94.0 IP) with a 6-3 record in those 17 home starts, walking 34 and striking out 87 with just two homers allowed in 384 batters faced.

Overall this season, Steele enters tonight having not allowed a home run in his last 42.1 innings dating to the first inning April 19 in Oakland … that’s the fifth-longest active streak among N.L. pitchers.

Steele this season is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA (13 ER/43.1 IP) in seven starts following a team loss.

RUMINATIONS REGARDING RUNS ALLOWED: Including last night’s 10-1 setback, the Cubs have allowed 10 or more runs in four of their last 11 games since May 13 after not doing so in the team’s first 38 contests to begin the season.

On the other side of the coin, Chicago this season has surrendered two or fewer runs in 21 games, tied for the third-most such games in the majors behind only Seattle (22) and Tampa Bay (22).

SUZUKI AT THE DISH: Seiya Suzuki has a .400 average (14-for-35) with a 1.004 OPS against left-handed pitching … Suzuki has hit .346 (18-for-52) with five doubles, five homers, 11 walks, a .453 OBP and a .731 slugging mark in his last 15 games since May 8.

Suzuki is hitting .300 (12-for-40) with three doubles, two homers and 15 RBI with runners in scoring position.

SOMETHING OF QUALITY: Marcus Stroman’s 8.0 innings with two runs allowed on Wednesday marked Chicago’s 24th quality start of the season, the second-most in the N.L. (Pittsburgh, 25) and tied for fifth-most in the majors.

The Cubs starting rotation has posted a 1.20 WHIP, seventh-best in the majors, while its 3.92 ERA (112 ER/257.2 IP) is fourth in the N.L. and ninth in baseball.

STINGY IN VICTORY: The Cubs have allowed two or fewer runs in 15 of their last 16 victories dating to April 14 … the lone win in that span in which Chicago allowed more than two runs came in a 10-4 win vs. the Cardinals on May 10.

PLAYING THE MARGINS: Chicago is 17-12 (.586) in games decided by three or more runs, the fourth-best record in the N.L. … however, the team is just 5-15 (.250) in games decided by two or fewer runs, the lowest winning percentage in the majors in those contests … that includes a 2-10 (.167) mark in one-run games.

ALL GOOD THINGS…: Christopher Morel was 0-for-4 last night to snap his career-high 14-game hitting streak dating to the final day of the 2022 season … Morel batted .345 (20-for-58) with three doubles, nine homers, 16 RBI and 17 runs scored during the run.

Morel recorded a hit and scored a run in each of his first 12 games this season, just the second time since 1901 a Cub has done that anytime in a single-season (Hank Sauer, 12 games in 1954).

Morel’s stretch of 12-straight games with a run scored was the second-longest in franchise history since 1900, joining Hank Sauer (13 games in 1954).

Morel recorded nine homers in first 12 games of the season, becoming one of just four players to accomplish that feat … he joined: Luis Gonzalez (9 HR in 2001), Larry Walker (9 HR in 1997) and Mike Schmidt (11 HR in 1976).

CROSSING THE PLATE: The Cubs have scored at least one run in each of their first 49 games in 2023, and in 59-straight games dating to Sept. 25 of last season … this 59- game run is the club’s longest since scoring in 70-consecutive contests from Aug. 12, 2021-May 4 of last year.

The team has scored in each of its first 49 games to start a season for the first time since way back in 1898, a season in which that team plated a run in each of its first 91 contests.

IN THE FIELD: Dansby Swanson has gone 32-straight games since April 20 without committing an error (108 TC) and his six defensive runs saved are tied for second-most among the major league shortstops, trailing only Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco (8), according to Fangraphs.

AT THE PLATE: The Cubs rank third in the majors in OBP (.338) and walks drawn (189), and are eighth in OPS (.764) and slugging (.426) … the team is ninth in average .260 (438-for-1,685).

Ian Happ’s .408 OBP is fifth in the N.L. and seventh in the majors … his 35 walks are tied for fourth-most in baseball.

Nico Hoerner’s .295 batting average is 10th in the N.L. while his 12 stolen bases are seventh in the Senior Circuit.

Starting Pitcher – #35 LHP Justin Steele (6-1, 2.20)
Last Time Out

Justin received a no-decision May 21 at Philadelphia, tossing 6.0 innings and allowing zero runs while striking out six batters … was his second start of 2023 throwing 6.0 innings or more while allowing zero runs (also April 1 vs. Milwaukee) … recorded his eighth quality start of 2023, tied for second-most in the majors … has completed at least 6.0 innings in nine of his 10 starts in 2023.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
5/121 @PHI L, 1-2 6.0 4 0 0 1 6 94-64 0-0
2023 Splits and Season Notes
Home 4-0 1.48 5 5 30.1 23 5 5 10 23
Road 2-1 2.90 5 5 31.0 23 12 10 6 30
AVG vs. LHB: .226 (12-for-53) / AVG vs. RHB: .207 (34-for-164)

Justin is making his 11th start of the 2023 season today and his sixth at Wrigley Field … has posted a 1.74 ERA (19 ER/98.0 IP) since July 22, 2022, the lowest ERA in the majors during the run by 32 points (min. 17 GS) … his 2.20 ERA in 2023 is the third-lowest in N.L. and sixth-lowest the majors among qualified pitchers, while his .212 opponent average (46-for-217) is the sixth-lowest in the N.L. … has a 2.39 ERA (27 ER/101.2 IP) in 19 starts at Wrigley Field since the beginning of the 2022 season … is one of three N.L. pitchers with at least six wins … opposing batters are hitting .181 (13-for-72) with 25 strikeouts off his slider.

Went eight starts before suffering his first loss of the season May 16 in Houston … allowed a season-high five runs in the outing … at the time of his first loss, was the only pitcher in the N.L. with at least six wins and zero losses.

Allowed two or fewer earned runs in 14-straight starts from July 22, 2022-May 5, 2023, tied for the second-longest stretch in Cubs franchise history (since 1901), behind Jack Taylor’s streak of 15 games June 13-Aug. 14, 1902 (tied with Jake Arrieta, 14 G, 7/30/15-4/4/16).

Went 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA (4 ER/13.2 IP) with 13 strikeouts in four Cactus League starts in 2023 … started and tossed the first 2.0 innings of the Cubs combined no-hitter, March 3 at San Diego.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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