Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Chi. Cubs at Cincinnati
When: 7:10 PM ET, Thursday, June 21, 2018
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

Kyle Schwarber has answered a dismal 0-for-15 stretch with a flourish, homering three times to highlight a run in which he's hit safely in six of his last seven games. Schwarber aims to continue his good fortune on Thursday as the Cubs (42-29) begin an eight-game road trip with the opener of a four-game series versus the Cincinnati Reds (28-45).

Schwarber homered for the second time in as many games and Javier Baez collected three extra-base hits (two doubles, triple) and scored twice in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to four games with a pair of singles for the Cubs, who have won 17 of their last 25 to jockey with Milwaukee atop the National League Central. Cellar-dwelling Cincinnati has emerged victorious in three straight, with Scooter Gennett pushing his hitting streak to four games after belting a tying two-run homer in Wednesday's 5-3 win over Detroit. "The way we're playing right now is how we expected to play all year. It's a lot of fun," said Gennett, who is 8-for-31 in his career versus Thursday starter Kyle Hendricks.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NBCS Chicago, FS Ohio (Cincinnati)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.55 ERA) vs. Reds RH Matt Harvey (1-5, 5.92)

Hendricks snapped a three-start losing skid on Saturday after allowing three runs and four walks over six innings in a 6-3 victory at St. Louis. The 28-year-old was taken deep for the fifth straight contest, with seven of the 14 homers he's permitted coming in the first inning. Hendricks kept the ball in the park against Cincinnati on May 19 but walked away with a no-decision after yielding four runs on six hits in five inning

Harvey fell to 0-3 in his last four trips to the mound on Friday despite allowing three runs on four hits in five innings of a 3-2 setback at Pittsburgh. "I'm just frustrated about the whole outing," the 29-year-old said. "It was kind of a struggle the whole time. To have the lead going into the sixth inning and letting two guys get home is unacceptable and something I'm (upset) about." Harvey kept the ball in the park after being taken deep on three occasions versus St. Louis on June 8.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cincinnati is a dismal 8-23 against NL Central representatives.

2. Cubs RF Jason Heyward is just 2-for-12 this season versus the Reds.

3. Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto is 3-for-18 with five strikeouts against Chicago in 2018.

PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Reds 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Chi. Cubs 42-29 W2 21-14 21-15 13-6 19-14 7-5 3-4
Cincinnati 28-45 W3 13-23 15-22 5-11 8-23 9-10 6-1
Last Meeting
Chi. Cubs Cincinnati
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
5/20/18 CHC 6 CIN 1 .286 3 .952 .103 0 .339
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs I. Happ .429 6 1.810
Cincinnati T. Barnhart .250 4 .562
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs I. Happ 2 5 2
Cincinnati A. Duvall 1 1 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 1.40 .282 57
Cincinnati 4.98 .141 42
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs A. Almora Jr. .324 68 .807
Cincinnati S. Gennett .336 90 .913
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 14 41 46
Cincinnati E. Suarez 15 32 54
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 3.13 .259 612
Cincinnati 4.86 .253 556