(Updated: UPDATING Standings in Para 2)
Slugfests have become the norm when the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds go head-to-head. After overpowering the Reds in a high-scoring contest to open their three-game road series, the Cubs aim for their fifth straight victory when the National League Central rivals clash on Wednesday.
The Cubs lead the NL Central by 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee after outslugging the Reds 13-9 in Tuesday’s series opener. The teams have played five times over the last 10 days, scoring an average of 16.2 runs per contest. Mike Montgomery will make a spot start for the Cubs on Wednesday in place of injured ace Jon Lester, and Chicago would settle for seeing him duplicate his performance from Thursday’s relief stint against the Reds. Montgomery allowed three hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Cincinnati’s 13-10 win in Chicago.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Mike Montgomery (3-6, 3.64 ERA) vs. Reds RH Asher Wojciechowski (3-2, 5.36)
Montgomery has posted a 2.76 ERA in eight relief outings since making his last start on July 19 at Atlanta. The 28-year-old is 2-3 with a 5.13 ERA in eight turns this season and has pitched to a 2.57 ERA in 27 relief appearances. Montgomery is 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA in nine career games (one start) against Cincinnati.
Wojciechowski was roughed up for seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 frames by the Cubs on Aug. 14 and gave up two runs over two innings of relief on Saturday at Atlanta. The 28-year-old has pitched well at home, going 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA in eight appearances (four starts). Wojciechowski has surrendered five home runs in 11 1/3 innings over his last three outings.
1. Cubs 3B Kris Bryant left Tuesday’s game after being hit by a pitch on the left hand and will sit out Wednesday, even though X-rays were negative.
2. Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez (10-for-25) and OF Adam Duvall (8-for-27) both are riding seven-game hitting streaks.
3. Chicago C Alex Avila is 7-for-16 during his five-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Cubs 8, Reds 6