Hitting (Cubs): The Cubs have commanded in the hitting game against the Reds, scoring 8 runs in both games one and two of the series. Every player on the Cubs quickly proved their ability to hit off the Reds' pitchers. Last night the Cubs were able to go into their bench with Nico Hoerner and Jason Kipnis, who both recorded hits.
Pitching (Cubs): Kyle Hendricks started the season off great, pitching for all 9 innings and recording a shoutout against the Brewers. Hendricks recorded 9 strikeouts verse Miluakee which ranks top 10 in the league among pitchers who have only played one game. Against the Reds, Hendricks' ERA is sitting at an above-average 3.84. Coming off a hot start, expect Hendricks to dominate against the 1-4 Reds and sweep the series for the Cubs.
Pitching (Reds): Pitching for the Reds is probably their best pitcher Sonny Gray. In the season opener, Gray pitched against a mediocre Tigers team, only giving up one run and recording 9 strikeouts. In the past, Gray has been dominant against the Cubs. He has started six games verse the Cubs and has only allowed 16 hits in total. The last matchup of the series could be a great pitching duel.
Hitting (Reds): In the first game of the season the Reds hitting was on point. Mike Moustakas, the Reds big offseason signing, hit two home runs, but unfortunately later got injured and was placed on 10 days injured list. Nick Castellanos and Joey Votto have played good, but the Reds hitting could never get it done against the Cubs in the early innings and only mounted last-minute comebacks which have failed.
X-Factor: Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo is off to a hot start and leads the league in home runs. Rizzo had an off game in game two, only going one for five. However, because of Rizzo's hot start, expect Rizzo to bounce back and go deep at least once. It is very unlikely for Sonny Gray to pitch all 9 innings, which gives a massive advantage to Rizzo. Because of Rizzo's unique batting stance, he crowds the plate and if a pitchers precision is only a little bit off, Rizzo will get hit by a pitch and that could change the flow of the game. Last year the Reds gave up the 4th most walks per game. Rizzo has been the best player on the Cubs this season and that's why he is my x-factor for todays game.
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