Scooter’s back, and he’s in the starting lineup!

The Reds second baseman spoke with the media before the game.

This also means we can expect Curt Casali to get a shot at starting several days in a row. Kyle Farmer now serves as the backup catcher, but he hasn’t seen time at that position since spring training.

At 36-42, the Reds are probably right about where they should be. There was some worry that the home team would never be able to put together a streak that could counteract the 1-8 start. The recent six-game winning streak almost did that, so if you subtract their hottest and coldest streaks of the season, the Reds record would be 29-34.

Tonight’s opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park against the Chicago Cubs also represents the first of nine straight home games. The fact that the Reds are at home bodes well, because they have played over .500 at home this year (19-17). But the fact that the nine games are all against teams that are above .500 does not bode well, because the Reds’ record against such opponents is 24-30.

Anything less than a 6-3 record over these nine games probably means the Reds will emerge from the All-Star break as sellers instead of buyers. It is always nice for fans to dream about a sudden surge that propels their team into the thick of the playoff chase. But let’s face it, coming out of the All-Star break five or more games under .500 does not bode well for an eventual playoff berth.

Game time tonight is 7:10 p.m. Eastern time.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Cole Hamels 98.2 2.92 4.00 23.7% 8.4%
Sonny Gray 76.0 4.03 3.62 26.7% 9.7%

Hamels is 11-1 lifetime against the Reds with a 1.91 ERA. In other words, dominating. He is the first of three straight lefties the Cubs will throw at Cincinnati this weekend. Gray has had a difficult June, allowing 20 hits and nine walks in 20 innings, for a 1.45 WHIP and a 5.40 ERA.

Bullpen

All members of the Reds bullpen should be available today after Thursday’s off day. The Cubs have a new guy named Kimbrel available, and he already picked up a save in his first appearance of the year Thursday.

Starting Lineups

Cubs Reds
LF Kyle Schwarber CF Nick Senzel
3B Kris Bryant 1B Joey Votto
1B Anthony Rizzo 3B Eugenio Suarez
SS Javier Baez RF Yasiel Puig
C Willson Contreras SS Jose Iglesias
RF Jason Heyward 2B Scooter Gennett
2B Addison Russell LF Phillip Ervin
CF Albert Almora Jr. P Sonny Gray
P Cole Hamels C Curt Casali

Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.

News and Notes

Taylor Trammell will play in the Futures Game for the second straight year …

The Reds today released a former top pitching prospect, 2012 1st round pick Nick Travieso.