More than halfway through this shortened 2020 season, the Cincinnati Reds are still looking to win a home series.
The Reds get the chance to do it again when they conclude a four-game set with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Entering this campaign with high expectations, the sub-.500 Reds (15-18) have endured a frustrating season thus far. Especially at home, where they are 7-8 and yet to win a series there — including postponements. However, Cincinnati has won two of the first three of this series and four of its last five games overall.
After Cincinnati won Friday’s opener 6-5, the Reds and Cubs split Saturday’s doubleheader. Chicago won Game 1 3-0, but Cincinnati rebounded for a 6-5 walk-off win by scoring two in the bottom of the seventh after blowing a 4-1 lead.
Cincinnati star Joey Votto, who was briefly benched during an 0-for-18 stretch, went 3-for-6 with a home run over both games Saturday before being ejected in Game 2.
“We’re in the performance business, we’re in it to win,” Votto told the Reds’ official website. “I’ve been part of too many losses, and I need to be better for sure.”
Votto is 6-for-15 against scheduled Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 6.06 ERA), who takes the ball looking to right the ship and avoid a third straight losing decision, and second since coming off the injury list due to back tightness.
In his first two starts, Chatwood allowed one run, six hits with four walks and 19 strikeouts over 12 2/3 innings. Since then, though, the right-hander has yielded 10 runs and 14 hits over just 3 2/3 innings. He lasted only 1 1/3 during a 7-1 loss at Detroit on Tuesday, giving up two runs, three hits and walking five.
This also might be his final outing as a starter with Jose Quintana now healthy, though it’s possible Chicago could go to a six-man rotation.
“I think him coming back and trying to find his sharpness, we need Chatty to be good,” first-year Cubs manager David Ross told the club’s official website. “There’s not a whole lot of thought other than that in it. We’ll continue to assess as we move along.”
Chatwood is 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 10 career appearances (six starts) against the Reds.
The Reds counter with Luis Castillo (0-4, 3.62 ERA), who will try a seventh time for his first 2020 victory. The right-hander allowed three runs, but only one was earned, with five hits and four walks while striking out nine in six innings of a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday.
In 10 starts against Chicago, Castillo is 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA. This will be his first time facing the Cubs in 2020.
Chicago star Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-21 against Castillo, but he homered twice in Saturday’s Game 1. Rizzo is batting .308 with three home runs and six RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
Chicago star Kris Bryant is eligible to come off the injured list from a finger sprain. However, it’s uncertain if he will be ready Sunday. Bryant is batting just .177 this season.
–Field Level Media