Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds – Series Preview (May 31-June 2): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (28-29) are in their biggest funk of 2024 after going 1-5 on road swing through St. Louis and Milwaukee to drop a game below .500 for the first time since the season opening series in Texas. They have posted a 10-17 record in May with one more day left to go in the month and now hobble back to Wrigley Field to start a three-game set with Cincinnati.

The Reds (24-32) have had a very disappointing start to the season after being hopeful about competing for the NL Central title in 2024. Several key injuries have hurt the offense, especially a shoulder surgery that has kept 2023 breakout infielder Matt McLain out all season. Their team OPS of .667 sits 27th out of the 30 MLB teams.

Uber prospect Elly De La Cruz has been bucking that trend with a .789 OPS, nine homers, and a mind-boggling 31 stolen bases. It’s a pretty safe bet that De La Cruz will test the Cubs’ defensively-challenged catchers in this series. Old friend Jeimer Candelario has struggled a bit but his .728 OPS is the second-best on the team.

Cincinatti’s pitching staff has been more respectable with a 3.91 team ERA that is the 14th-best in baseball and one spot ahead of Chicago. Andrew Abbott, Hunter Greene, and Frankie Montas have been very effective at the top of the rotation.

Reds closer Alexis Díaz has been having as many issues as his big brother in New York with a 5.75 ERA in 20.1 innings. Buck Farmer has probably been the most consistent arm in the bullpen so far, plus it’s fun to spoonerize his name.

While Cincinnati has struggled they certainly are capable of playing well as evidenced by their sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers just last week. Also, there is no such thing as an easy opponent with the way the Cubs have played recently. They have a chance to get things moving in a positive direction now that they’re back home, which sure would be nice because the status quo isn’t very fun.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Friday, May 31 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
  • Saturday, June 1 at 6:15pm CT on FOX.
  • Sunday, June 2 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
5/31 Javier Assad 26 R 2.17 4-1 3.85 2.35
Graham Ashcraft 26 R 4.67 4-3 4.68 2.26
6/1 Justin Steele 28 L 4.45 0-2 4.46 4.43
Hunter Greene 24 R 3.06 3–2 3.17 2.84
6/2  Ben Brown 24 R 2.72 1-1 2.42 3.24
Nick Lodolo 26 R 3.12 4-2 3.10 5.11

What to Watch For

  • The Cubs have lost the last 10 games Steele has started going back to 2023.
  • Cody Bellinger had eight hits against the Brewers, including a home run.
  • Dansby Swanson is in a major funk, going just 2-for-19 on the road trip.
  • Assad has given up a pair of home runs in each of his last two outings after only allowing two in his previous nine starts combined.
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