Preview: Cubs at Reds
Cincinnati has dominated the season series against Chicago, but the last-place Cubs can hurt the host Reds' playoff chances by playing spoiler for a second straight night Tuesday. The Cubs won the opener of the three-game set 2-0 - their first shutout of the Reds since 2008 - to drop Cincinnati two games behind St. Louis in the three-team National League Central race. The Reds also fell a game behind Pittsburgh in the wild-card race, though the two spots are likely to go to the two NL Central teams who fall short of the crown, barring a collapse.
Chicago is 1 1/2 games behind fourth-place Milwaukee and has dropped 18 of its last 27 games. The Cubs might need another shutout from their pitching staff, considering their active roster is a collective 3-for-38 with one extra-base hit and 13 strikeouts against Tony Cingrani, who aims for his second straight win. The Reds have won 13 of 17 meetings to claim the season series for the fourth straight year.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Edwin Jackson (7-15, 4.91 ERA) vs. Reds LH Tony Cingrani (7-3, 2.80)
The Cubs have lost the last six games Jackson has started, and he has been hung with the loss in four of them. The 30-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings last time out against Miami, matching a dubious career high with his 15th defeat. Jackson is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in four career starts against the Reds, with the loss coming May 5 in Chicago.
After missing two turns in the rotation with a lower back strain, Cingrani returned with a solid outing Thursday, holding St. Louis to two runs over 5 1/3 innings to win a key NL Central matchup. The rookie is trying to win consecutive starts for the first time. The 24-year-old faced the Cubs three times early in the season, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA over 20 innings.
1. Reds SS Zack Cozart is batting .382 during a career-high 14-game hitting streak but is 0-for-6 versus Jackson.
2. Cubs SS Starlin Castro is 0-for-9 versus Cingrani while both C Welington Castillo and 2B Darwin Barney are 0-for-7.
3. Cincinnati CF Shin-Soo Choo has been hit by a pitch a franchise-record 25 times, the most in the majors since Chase Utley was hit 27 times in 2008.
PREDICTION: Reds 7, Cubs 3