The Reds (43-49) did not #SweepTheCubs like we all wanted, but the Reds can still #WinTheSeries. It would be the Reds’ fourth straight series win against the Cubs (51-44).

After those two night games, it’s back to normal at Wrigley Field today. First pitch is at 2:20 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA FIP xFIP K% BB%
Sonny Gray 97.1 3.42 3.25 3.44 28.1% 9.0%
Yu Darvish 103.0 4.72 5.05 4.15 27.1% 11.4%

REDS

NL All-Star Sonny Gray didn’t get to pitch last Tuesday night in Cleveland, but he did get to pitch a gem at hitter-friendly Coors Field on Friday night, going seven innings and giving up one run on five hits with nine strikeouts. He’ll look to continue that success against the Cubs this afternoon.

Why has Gray had such a big turnaround? He’s not giving up as many home runs this season and he’s striking out more batters. His K% has jumped from 21.1% to 28.1%. He’s also inducing more ground balls. Gray has always been a ground ball pitcher, but this season it’s gone from 50.0% to 55.1%, even with his home park being Great American Ball Park. Gray still has somewhat of a high BB%, but it’s not drastically high at 9.0% and he’s still around his career average of 8.3%.

Albert Almora is 3-for-4 with a home run off Gray, and Addison Russell is 2-for-6, also with a home run, against him.

CUBS

The scouting report on Darvish should be somewhat easy for Reds hitters–be patient and you’ll probably draw a walk. It’s been an interesting season for Darvish. His ERA is 4.72 and his FIP is a bit above 5.00 in 103 innings. His struggle has been the very thing his counterpart Gray is excelling at–allowing home runs.

Darvish has given up a lot of home runs this season, 20 to be exact. His HR/9 jumped from 1.3 in 2017 (his last full season) to 1.75 in 2019. This is happening as his FB% has dropped from 36.8% in 2017 to 32.4% this season and his GB% has increased. His HR/FB% has gone from 15.1% in 2017 to 23.5% in 2019. He’s giving up less fly balls, but the ones that he is giving up are going out of the ballpark.

He’s always walked a lot of batters, but in 2018 and 2019, his BB% jumped from around 7% to 11%. In 2018, he was injured and only pitched 40 innings, so it’s understandable that it would have been higher. However, he’s already walked 50 batters in 2019. However, he may be seeing improvements in this area, as his BB% was 13.2% in May and only 6.8% in June.

One thing that hasn’t changed for Darvish is his K%. It’s remained consistently around 27% over the past three seasons. In three of his seven MLB seasons, he’s struck out more than 200 batters. He already has 119 strikeouts in 2019.

Lineups

REDS CUBS
1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Derek Dietrich (LF)
6. Scooter Gennett (2B)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Kyle Farmer (C)
9. Sonny Gray (P)
1. Albert Almora Jr. (CF)
2. Javier Baez (SS)
3. Kris Bryant (LF)
4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
5. Victor Caratini (C)
6. Jason Heyward (RF)
7. Addison Russell (2B)
8. David Bote (3B)
9. Yu Darvish (P)

-Kyle Farmer did not look good last night, but he is back in the lineup this afternoon. The catching situation is interesting, to say the least, right now.

-Free Phillip Ervin.

News and Notes

Last night, I thought it was the first time this season Michael Lorenzen had stolen a base, but apparently it was the third time.

-If you’re going to the game tomorrow night, please don’t get there early. I am unable to get there until 6:15 and I need this bobblehead.

Final Thoughts

After watching Kyle Schwarber’s home run last night, I don’t want to hear any complaints about Great American Ball Park being small anymore. And yes, I’m aware Yasiel Puig hit a home run into the basket on Monday night. That still doesn’t mean I like it.