Reds look to extend Wrigley dominance over Cubs

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Jul 26, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Ben Lively (59) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at American Family Field.
Jul 26, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Ben Lively (59) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at American Family Field.
Image: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have had their way with the Chicago Cubs this season, even roughing up All-Star Justin Steele in one of his worst outings of 2023

Leaders of the National League Central, the Reds will once again face Steele, this time aiming for a fifth straight road victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night


With Monday's 6-5 win, Cincinnati is 5-1 against the Cubs this season, and has scored 31 runs during a four-game winning streak at Wrigley Field

"To compete well (in the first of a four-game set), I think everyone would agree (we're pretty happy)," longtime Reds star Joey Votto told Bally Sports Cincinnati. "Let's keep going.


That road streak might be highlighted by a 9-0 win at Chicago on May 26, when Steele (11-3, 2.87 ERA) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits in just 3 2/3 innings

It was the shortest, non-injury-related outing this season for Steele, who is one off the major league lead for wins and is fourth in the majors in ERA. More recently, however, the left-hander has yielded three runs and 11 hits over 12 1/3 innings in his last two starts (both wins). On Thursday at St. Louis, Steele allowed a solo homer, four other hits and overcame three walks through six innings of a 10-3 win

Amid a personal breakout season, Steele remains focused on helping the Cubs pursue a postseason berth. Chicago, though, dropped back to .500 following Monday's second straight defeat after winning eight in a row

"We're all pulling on the same rope, we're trying to win ballgames," Steele said

The third-place Cubs are chasing second-place Milwaukee and sit five games back of the Reds. Cincinnati, which has won two straight and nine of 12, owns a 1 1/2-game lead in the Central. Votto posted his second straight two-hit game Monday and has four RBIs in the last two contests


Votto is a career .322 hitter with 72 RBIs in 116 career games at Wrigley Field. He's 2-for-6 with a double versus Steele

Scheduled Reds starter Ben Lively (4-6, 3.76) is 0-2 during a five-start stretch, and the club has lost three of his last four outings. However, the right-hander has a 3.23 ERA during his last six starts. Lively allowed eight hits -- but only a two-run homer in the seventh inning -- and lasted 6 2/3 during Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Milwaukee


Pitching in the majors for the first time since 2019, Lively last faced the Cubs as a rookie with Philadelphia in 2017

He might be tasked with trying to cool off Chicago's Yan Gomes, who had three hits Monday and is batting .412 with eight RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. Meanwhile, teammate Cody Bellinger hit .400 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 26 July games


It's possible new Jeimer Candelario will be in the Cubs lineup after being acquired from Washington for a pair of top-20 minor league prospects on Monday. The switch-hitting third baseman, who broke in with Chicago in 2016, before being traded to Detroit in 2017, batted .258 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 99 games for the Nationals this season

--Field Level Medi