Cubs vs. Reds: Mills vs. DeSclafani (Game 95)
CHC (50-44): RHP Alec Mills (0-0, -.-- ERA)
CIN (43-48): RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 4.26 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT
Bad news first: The Cubs dropped the first game of the series in frustrating fashion (no hitting with RISP, fielding errors, bullpen inadequacy) and Willson is going to the IL with a foot injury. In the meantime, the Cubs are sending Mike Montgomery to KC in exchange for Martin Maldonado. Caratini seems likely to get plenty of at bats and the Cubs will have the option to use him more in the pinch if they keep Maldonado around after Contreras's IL stint ends.
More bad news, for me specifically: I forgot that Cole Hamels injured his oblique! Alec Mills's spot start comes as a surprise to me only. The 27-year-old righty has spent all of 2019 at AAA so far. I no longer know to evaluate minor league pitching stats now that the pitcher-friendly PCL combines with the juiced MLB ball, but he's gone 6-2 with a 4.73 ERA for the I-Cubs. He wasn't too bad in 18 innings with Chicago last year, making two starts and appearing twice out of the bullpen. The first of those starts was was a no-decision against Cincinnati, in which Mills allowed one earned run over 5.2 innings while striking out eight. He allowed one run to score on a Philip Ervin double in the second. The Cubs won that August 24th game on a walk-off HR from Bote.
Following his victory over the Cubs on June 30, DeSclafani's last start was a no-decision against Cleveland. He allowed two earned runs in six innings pitched on a pair of solo homeruns. Bryant is 7-20 off of him with a homerun (1-3 with a double against him on 6/30) and Schwarber is 5-14 with a homer and three walks (2-3 with two singles off him and a homer off Lorenzen on 6/30).
The Cubs are 3-7 against the Reds prior to today's game.