Cubs’ Darvish, Reds’ Bauer to duel once again

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Just over a week ago, the Chicago Cubs’ Yu Darvish bested Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer in a matchup featuring two of the majors’ top starting pitchers.

The two will again square off on Wednesday night, when Darvish tries for an eighth straight win and Bauer looks to avoid his fourth consecutive losing decision for the visiting Reds.

Darvish (7-1, 1.44 ERA) has become a serious Cy Young contender in the National League during this condensed 2020 campaign. Since allowing three runs in four innings in a loss to Milwaukee during his season debut, the right-hander has yielded five runs and struck out 58 over 46 innings to win seven straight starts for the first time during a solid career.

“I’m just focusing on the next pitch,” Darvish told the Cubs’ official website after he allowed just a solo homer and fanned 11 without a walk over seven innings of Friday’s 4-1 win against St. Louis.

He’s also not focused on any Cy Young talk. At least not at the moment for the NL Central-leading Cubs (25-18), who won 3-0 in Tuesday’s opener of this three-game set.

“I don’t want to think about that,” Darvish said. “If I start thinking that, I will fail. That’s why I want to focus on (the) next pitch.”

That comes against the struggling Reds (18-24), who Darvish contained despite yielding seven hits and walking two with eight strikeouts over six innings of a 3-0 victory in the doubleheader opener at Cincinnati on Aug. 29.

In that contest, Darvish opposed Bauer (3-3, 2.05), who allowed a pair of Anthony Rizzo solo homers and one other run over 5 1/3 innings. Bauer went 3-0 with an 0.68 ERA in his first four starts, but has a 4.08 ERA while losing his last three.

The right-hander gave up four runs, but only one was earned, and six hits through six innings of a 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Friday.

“I thought I did all right,” Bauer told the Reds’ official website after his last outing. “Stuff was good, body felt good.

“Winning at the big-league level, (there) are really thin margins, man. We haven’t stacked together enough complete efforts consistently enough to win. I take pride in my day to pitch that we’re gonna win.”

Though Bauer lost Game 5 of the 2016 World Series at Chicago while with Cleveland, he’s pitched 13 scoreless innings in winning both previous regular-season starts at Wrigley Field. Those two also came with the Indians.

For his career, Bauer is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts against the Cubs.

Rizzo, though, is 6-for-13 with two homers overall against Bauer. Chicago’s Ian Happ, meanwhile, ranks among the major league leaders in OPS (1.050), but he is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts over his last four games.

Cincinnati’s Mike Moustakas is batting .375 versus Darvish, while Joey Votto is hitting .320 against him. Ex-Cub Nick Castellano, meanwhile, is 1-for-9 when facing Darvish.

The Reds, who have dropped two in a row, were shut out for the sixth time this season on Monday. Their .210 team batting average ranks last in the majors.

–Field Level Media

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