**Before I get into all the details of the game tonight, I want to acknowledge that I know I made a mistake in yesterday’s game preview when I referred to Cubs pitcher Justin Steele as a right-handed pitcher. He is, in fact, a lefty pitcher, and I somehow did not catch that before posting the article. I’m usually so good with details, but apparently yesterday, I missed a big one. Ok, now on with the rest of today’s article**


The Cincinnati Reds (26-48) and the Chicago Cubs (29-46) will play a third straight night game at Wrigley Field in the rubber match of this three game series. Graham Ashcraft will be on the mound for the Reds and will be opposed by right-hander (yes, I triple-checked that this was true) Kyle Hendricks.


  • Time: 8:05 pm ET
  • Place: Wrigley Field
  • Weather: 87 degrees; partly cloudy
  • TV: Bally Sports Ohio
  • Radio: 700 WLW


Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

2B Jonathan India RF Rafael Ortega
3B Brandon Drury DH Willson Contreras
LF Tommy Pham LF Ian Happ
1B Joey Votto 3B Patrick Wisdom
SS Kyle Farmer SS Nico Hoerner
DH Mike Moustakas C Yan Gomes
CF Nick Senzel 1B P.J. Higgins
RF Max Schrock 2B David Bote
C Michael Papierski CF Christopher Morel

-Several Reds players in the lineup tonight have home runs off Hendricks in their career, including Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas, and Nick Senzel. Joey Votto has hit two off him with four RBI in 25 at-bats.

Starting Pitchers

Graham Ashcraft 41.1 3.27 3.23 3.74 3.58 1.09 15.8% 4.1%
Kyle Hendricks 75.1 4.90 5.22 4.87 4.62 1.30 17.2% 6.6%


I’d say Ashcraft is the biggest surprise of this 2022 Reds season, but if you have been following his minor league career the last few years, you aren’t surprised at all. In 2021, he had 2.33 ERA and a 2.25 FIP at High-A, and then a 3.36 ERA and a 3.19 FIP in 72.1 innings at Double-A. Earlier this season, he pitched to a sparking 1.65 ERA at Triple-A. He’s just carrying that over to the major leagues.

A large part of Ashcraft’s success has come behind his cutter. He’s not just locating his cutter; he’s throwing it at 99-100 mph. I mean, just look at this pitch from his most recent start in San Francisco.

Between the cutter and the slider, Ashcraft really hasn’t had to use his sinker or his change up. He will occasionally mix in the sinker (19.0% according to Fangraphs), and even that can be a nasty pitch. His BB% is only at 4.1% and his K% is only 15.8%, but you have to look at the complete picture when looking at his stats. He’s never been a strikeout pitcher. His walk and strikeout totals are lower in part because he pitches to contact a lot. He forces more ground balls than anything else. His GB% is at 57.5% (almost 60% of the pitches hit against him are ground balls).


While the Reds are putting a rookie on the mound, the Cubs are going with the veteran Kyle Hendricks. He’s been in the league since 2014 and in 2022, he’s having one of the worst seasons of his career. His ERA is just shy of 5.00, and his xERA currently sits at 5.22.

Hendricks has never been a high strikeout pitcher, but he’s also never been one to walk batters either. He has a career 20.0% strikeout rate and a career 5.5% walk rate. That hasn’t changed this season, with a 17.2% strikeout rate and a 6.6% walk rate. However, what has caused a lot of his struggles this season is that, unlike previous seasons, he’s giving up a lot more fly balls. In 2021, his FB% was at 33.8%. Currently in 2022, it’s at 43.0%. That’s a ten percent decrease in one season. To correlate that, his GB% is down to 36.3% from 43.1% in 2021.

News, Notes, and Pregame Reading

Tyler Naquin begins a rehab assignment today with Triple-A Lousiville, and there’s good news about Tyler Stephenson as well. You can find that all here.


Redleg Nation writer Richard Fitch wrote about Nick Senzel this morning.


Old friend alert: former Reds prospect Narciso Crook was called up to the big leagues by the Cubs today. It will be his MLB debut when he plays.

Reds Memory of the Day

This game was one of the all-time great Reds games, at least in my lifetime. The comeback leading up to the 9th, the grand slam–it had everything. I’m pretty sure I scared everyone in the house at the time when I screamed at the TV as Dunn hit that ball.


84 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Perhaps it skips a game and we pound the Stupid Cubs tonight.

    Jury’s still out on 3M and his contributions … we shall see.

  2. Roger garrett

    Remember exactly where I was at.Visiting family near Athens and heard the call on WLW

  3. LDS

    The Reds have split the first 6 with the Cubs. They need to make a statement tonight. Humiliate the Cubs. Beat them like a drum. Otherwise, the Reds lose a game in the standings vs. when they arrived in Chicago, pretty much eliminating the myth that they are the better team. Splitting with teams like Pittsburgh and Chicago is truly unforgiveable.

  4. Mark Moore

    Not a good start. Nick wasn’t paying strict attention to what was going on there. Cost an extra base (Happ).

  5. DataDumpster

    Terrible play by Senzel. Not paying attention, throwing the ball with no chance to get runner. Yes, he has speed but he is not a center fielder. Ashcraft in a jam now.

    • Mark Moore

      Cowboy and Thrall saying he should know how aggressive Contreras is and should have thrown in to 2nd. He just wasn’t paying attention as you said.

  6. Joe P.

    If there is a drawback with playing Drury at 3B, it’s his defense. He looks stiff and his arm isn’t the best. I’d rather see Solano at 3B.

  7. Mark Moore

    If we somehow get out of this only giving up one run, I’ll be moderately pleased (or at least not as PO’d).

    • JB

      Tootblan. Bologna Welsh. Run everything out. Cowboy probably let him have it

  8. Roger Garrett

    WOW Reds not ready to play again.Saw this before last in Frisco.Reds on the bus already to the plane.Losing culture,don’t expect to win and won’t.

  9. JB

    Cub players have been fired up the last two games. . Playing like it’s a playoff game. . Reds playing like they have no care.

  10. Indy Red Man

    Reds come out sleep walking, but they only get 1. Senzel’s arm is kind of weak so thats another hurdle to playing CF regularly. I think Contreras is one of the better baserunners I’ve seen in the NL.

  11. Joe P.

    There’s a lesson there…if you’re jogging to first base, you shouldn’t try to take second.

  12. Indy Red Man

    Votto? Omg? Not running and then gets thrown out easily. HOF? Ok, but what have you done for me lately? Zero leadership skills and a garbage baserunner and fielder so if you can’t hit then how exactly do you help this team?

    • JB

      Reds haven’t had a leader since Scott Rolen.

  13. Roger Garrett

    Cubs will run at will tonight,they are paying attention and are focused.Look at Ross and then Bell who would you want to lead your team.Right

    • LDS

      To paraphrase William F Buckley, I’d rather the Reds were managed by one of RLN readers than David Bell. I guarantee a better outcome.

      • wkuchad

        You’ve outdone yourself LDS. That may be the most ridiculous post I’ve seen on RLN in quite some time, and that’s saying something. 🙂

  14. Roger Garrett

    What else are you going to do?

  15. Roger Garrett

    Just a joke of an inning by 3 old players.Votto doesn’t run,Moose strikes out on 80 mph and Farmer is running.What on earth are we doing?Its laughable.Goodness please isn’t there anybody that can or will put a stop to this little league mess.

    • JB

      Basically a hit and run with Moose of all people at the plate. Lol

  16. Erik the Red

    This may get ugly tonight. The manager needs to embarrass the whole team in the dugout after this half inning. A football coach would call timeout and pull the team together and rip them to shreds.

  17. Mark Moore

    Got up from my game of dominoes with wife and DD#1 after that shot. I just called Clete. I really don’t like Wisdom.

  18. Indy Red Man

    This team. I’m going Awol for a long while. They suck. Young guys struggling is to be expected, but they don’t even come out like they’re ready to play half the time. If they don’t care then why should we?

    Have a nice holiday!

    • Dennis Westrick

      I’m with you Indy Red Man! I’ll check back in after Independence Day!

  19. Joe P.

    Well, to paraphrase Mark Moore: “I’m gonna have to clete on this one. Gotta go eat a good dinner and take a long walk…Goodnight everybody!”

  20. JB

    My 31-61 at all star break is looking better. When you are 30 games under 500 at ASB , there needs to be changes. Somehow I doubt it.

  21. 2020ball

    Oh man, I forgot how ugly those vests style unis were.

  22. LDS

    Now we know unequivocally who the better team is. Time for a change that will never come.

  23. Erik the Red

    Graham’s ERA just went from 3.27 to 4.36 in 2 innings against a team almost as bad as the Reds.

  24. LDS

    It’s not that the Cubs have a better roster. It’s that they are better managed. Lackluster performance falls to a manager that won’t KA&TN. No excuse for performing like this.

  25. 2020ball

    Haha, sure is quiet in here. Am I in this thread by myself? If so, it’s quite cozy.

    • LDS

      No. Soon but not yet. My opening comment was dead on. I just had the teams reversed.

      • 2020ball

        eh, I’m happy just to have baseball on since I’m at home rn. I keep laughing when I look at the score and then the inning.

      • LDS

        It wouldn’t be so bad if just anyone in the organization or on the roster would stand up and say “we’re playing like little leaguers” and there’s going to be some changes immediately. Won’t happen. Just more Bell’isms in the post game and more of the same tomorrow.

      • 2020ball

        You actually watch the postgames?

      • LDS

        Excerpts the next day sometimes. They are excruciating.

      • 2020ball

        hm, maybe look for other videos then.

  26. William

    I wonder why Elly De La Cruz is still in Dayton. I just watched him hit a home run. His stats are off the chart. Why not move him up? They must have a reason.

    • 2020ball

      Since he didnt get promoted I kind of figured they’re just going to leave him there this season. He’s actually very young for that level as it is. Maybe late season?

    • Noodle

      They’d like to see some plate discipline because it’s only going to get worse as he moves up.
      He’s the only chance this franchise has at an all star, not even superstar, just all star.
      Him and possibly Stephenson if he stays healthy and at catcher.

    • TR

      Perhaps Cruz is too good for this Red’s team?

  27. 2020ball

    lol, hilarious play, go shift. Youd think guys have played enough shifts to know you need to know where guys are.

    • Erik the Red

      I guess they need to bad the shift because of player safety.

  28. JB

    July 1st tomorrow. Only have to watch Moustakas for another Year and half.

    • JohnnyTV

      Don’t be so sure.

      Cubs, Brewers and Cards could work a deal wherein they jointly pick up Moose’s salary and extend him with the condition that the Reds have to play him every day.

      • 2020ball

        lol +1

        If I’m the Reds I might actually do it, since thats what they are doing anyway. I bet a lot of teams would for their bad contracts.

  29. Mark A Verticchio

    Moose looks good, ha ha. Just pay him his money and get rid of him. He made fools of the Reds, huge contract, came in out of shape and never tried to get in shape. What a poor excuse for a professional athlete. I am sorry, but watching him play and knowing what he makes is very upsetting.

    • 2020ball

      As bad as Moose has been, all the hitters below him in the lineup have actually been worse.

    • Votto4life

      He is definitely the poster boy for bad contracts.

  30. William

    Look at the ERA’s of the Reds’ pitchers. Compare it to any competitive team. I do not see how they will be competitive before 2025. This is one of the worse Reds teams since I started watching them in the 1970’s.

    • Votto4life

      Winning doesn’t just happen. You need a plan. When I see people talking about 2023 or 2024 I just laugh. The Reds have no plan to get better. They will continue to watch there payroll and sign a couple cheap free agents available at the end of Spring training and hope for the best.

      There is no reason to believe this team will be better in 2023,2024,2025,2026, 20027 etc.

  31. Votto4life

    The Reds will be 23 games under .500 at the end of the night. They will likely be 35 games under .500 by the end of July. Yet, no one gets fired.

    The only thing I am interested in right now is seeing what kind of return the Reds will get for Luis Castillo. Nothing else really interest me about the rest of the season.

    After the trade deadline, I will focus on football. The Reds are making it really difficult for me to care about baseball these days.

  32. Old-school

    Rather than analyze the game- analyze the roster.

    Look at the box score

    Which of these players other than India are on this roster in 2024? Whats the career trajectory of Pham Votto Farmer Moose? Why watch these 4? No hope
    No future
    Just old men on their last stand

    I love Drury career year but hes a FA in 3 months and a one hit wonder

    Not coming back

    This is a bad baseball team and deserving of 100 losses

    What a mess

  33. Bet on Red

    BUT BUT BUT I AM BACK…. was at a dinner litterally the first thing I saw

    • Bet on Red

      and as I look, his second RBI of the night

    • Mark Moore

      Checked the comments here and yours made me go to Gameday and watch it. MAN! He gave that a ride!

  34. CFD3000

    Votto’s first hit was a bit of a fluke. That one was NOT. I’d love to see him on a tear. India, Drury, Senzel, Votto, and the two soon to return – Stephenson and Naquin – could be the basis of a pretty good offense. Scrounging for reasons for optimism here, but Go Reds!

    • Moon

      It seems Votto gets most of his hits when the Reds are down by 6-7 runs. When they need a hit in a close game he sputters. Maybe that is not the case but it sure seems that way.

    • LDS

      Yep, but like Suarez last year, once a week he gives a ball a long ride and fans start thinking “he’s back”. Wish he was but that’s not to be again.

  35. Votto4life

    McGarry went deep again tonight. He is hitting .328 with an ops of 1.017 at Chattanooga. What would it hurt to call him up for the second half? He can’t be any worse. At least give your fans a reason to watch.

  36. Jpser05

    New pet peeve…hearing Sadek refer to the batter as the “batter runner”. So annoying to me!

  37. William

    It is hard to believe that I am still watching this game. The Reds will get even worse after the trade deadline.

  38. William

    The owners are so gracious in giving us such a competitive team.

  39. Bet on Red

    three hit night for the walking corpse

  40. Old-school

    Moose 0-3 with 3 K’s

    What are the Reds doing?

    Votto is 30 th worst first baseman yet Reds best lefty bat?

    I dont understand those who say Reds can win in 2023

  41. Bet on Red

    Great Job by moose, walking corpse now actually seen running and scored

  42. Bet on Red

    Schrock might not be our go-to position player pitcher

  43. LDS

    Bell’ism #4938, his supply is bottomless.

  44. dhmorgan

    There have been plenty of jokes about pitchers throwing “batting practice” in a game.
    This is the real deal.

  45. DataDumpster

    So, we don’t have any one pitcher that can clean up one inning in an 6 run deficit game? So, let’s rub Schrock’s nose in the dirt so that the Cubbies get 5 more runs. What a disgrace. Maybe Reynolds refused to do it. Says a lot about David Bell and the example he is setting for this team…and well reflected in the play tonight.

  46. Bet on Red

    Pham bam… what if we had actually had a pitcher in

  47. Jeff Morris

    Schrock says, “Hey the relief pitchers for the Reds always give up runs, let me pitch I could do no worse than them”