2024 Cubs Road Trip Preview: Cincinnati, Tampa Bay | Chicago Cubs News (2024)

After starting off June with a 3-1 record, the Cubs embark on an intriguing, 7-game road trip to Cincinnati and Tampa Bay.

The Cubs head to the Queen City for the first time this season to take on the Reds, less than a week after dropping 2 of 3 to them at Wrigley Field. The Reds are one of the hotter teams in baseball — they’ve won 4 in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They’re the only team in the NL Central besides Milwaukee with a positive run differential but have underperformed — they have a 29-33 and are in last place in the division.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, sits at 31-31 and tied for fourth place in the AL East. This will be the Cubs’ first trip to Tropicana Field since 2017 when they split a 2-game set with the Rays. The Cubs are 1-4 lifetime in Tampa Bay —they were swept by the Rays in a 3-game set in June 2008.

Pitching probables


Thursday: RHP Javier Assad vs. RHP Hunter Greene

Friday: LHP Justin Steele vs. LHP Nick Lodolo

Saturday: RHP Ben Brown vs. LHP Andrew Abbott

Sunday: LHP Shota Imanaga vs. RHP Frankie Montas

The Cubs open the division series with one of their top starters this season — albeit one who has had some slight struggles, by his standards, of late. Assad ranks 9th in the majors in ERA but has allowed 8 runs over his last three outings and has pitched into the 6th inning in just one of those outings. But Assad has still been a pivotal piece of the Cubs’ rotation — he’s kept the Cubs in games and gives the team a chance to win almost every time he steps out there.

Steele is beginning to show signs of returning to the level that had him in Cy Young consideration last season. After returning from his Opening Day injury in May, Steele allowed 15 earned runs in his first four starts. But over his last two outings (including one against the Reds) Steele has allowed just 1 earned run over 12 innings. His continued improvement will be crucial for the Cubs this season.

Called up to the big leagues after Steele’s injury, Brown has been a revelation for the Cubs this season, pitching to a 3.33 ERA in 51.1 innings with 61 strikeouts.

Imanaga suffered his first tough outing of the year in Milwaukee last week and showed signs of rebounding against the White Sox, but a rain delay, coupled with some shoddy defense, limited him and his ability to pitch deep into the game.

Tampa Bay

Tuesday: RHP Jameson Taillon vs. RHP Zach Eflin

Wednesday: RHP Javier Assad vs. RHP Aaron Civale

Thursday: LHP Justin Steele vs. RHP Taj Bradley

The X-factor here comes in the form of Jordan Wicks. The lefty pitched 3.1 innings in a rehab outing with Iowa on June 2. The Cubs could activate him this weekend and use him out of the bullpen or they can have him make another rehab outing and then potentially start him in Tampa Bay.

“He started on Sunday. Throwing a bullpen today,” manager Craig Counsell said prior to Wednesday’s walk-off win against the White Sox. “Our kind of outlook on this is to we wanted him to just come back and kind of get eyes on him with our staff with [pitching coach] Tommy [Hottovy] and [bullpen coach] Darren [Holmes] and [assistant pitching coach] Daniel [Moskos] and work with him for this week. And then we’ll just have a decision to make – we can activate him, we can start him, he could pitch out of the bullpen, he could go make another start in Iowa.

“We’ll get a little farther along in the week to figure that out.”

With Monday’s off day, the Cubs could use that day to keep everyone on a 5-day rotation and start Taillon then. If Wicks is activated, they could start him in Tampa Bay and build in some rest for their starters.

Quote of the Week

“[Mike] Tauch’s a dog. Every time [Tauchman’s] up there, you know he’s gonna have a tough AB. You know he’s gonna be prepared. He knows what the opposing pitcher’s got. He knows how they’re going to try to attack him. There’s no one more prepared and I feel really comfortable when he’s up there. Also just a cool story. Someone everyone should feel really comfortable rooting for – good dude has bounced around, gone to Korea. Really cool to see him getting an opportunity and getting these moments for his hometown team. It’s kind of like a movie.” – Cubs starter Jameson Taillon on Tauchman after his walk-off home run helped lead a sweep of the White Sox at Wrigley Field.

Storylines to keep an eye on

— Part of the reason for the Cubs’ May struggles stemmed from offensive woes. The team struggled at the plate and in clutch situations. While it’s a very small sample size, the flip to June might have shown signs of progression in that area. The Cubs are averaging 5.75 runs per game this month and have a .409 slugging percentage as a team. More production from the offense could help them return to the form that saw them 8 games over .500 near the end of April.

— Christopher Morel has been one of the unluckiest unhitters in baseball. But his defensive woes at third base haven’t gone unnoticed. He ranks last among qualified third basem*n in fielding percentage, Outs Above Average and Defensive Runs Saved. Counsell admitted the Cubs are still evaluating Morel’s progression at the hot corner, but what the Cubs do at the position will be worth monitoring.

“Christopher, I think in areas there’s been some progress and then we’ve taken some steps back on days for sure,” Counsell said. “And as we get a bigger sample here, we’ve got to evaluate that, absolutely.”

2024 Cubs Road Trip Preview: Cincinnati, Tampa Bay | Chicago Cubs News (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated:

Views: 5744

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.