The Cubs and Reds will get to know each other pretty well this week as the two teams will settle in for a five-game set at Great American Ball Park, starting with Monday's matchup between Edwin Jackson and Mike Leake.
The two teams have not played a five-game series since Sept. 6-9, 1999 at Wrigley Field. This week was scheduled as a four-game set until a rainout on April 28 forced a doubleheader on Tuesday.
After gaining a game on the first-place Brewers in a weekend series win over Milwaukee, Cincinnati will be looking to continue its push toward the top of the division by taking advantage of the last-place Cubs. The Reds currently sit in fourth place, six games behind Milwaukee, but fewer than three games separate the middle three teams in the division.
The Reds will start the series with Leake, who is 7-2 with a 3.04 ERA in 14 career starts against Chicago, including 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts against the Cubs in 2013. Leake is trying to rebound from his last start, in which he allowed three runs on a season-high 11 hits in a loss to the Padres.
"They found a lot of holes. They hit me and they made me work at trying to keep the ball down," Leake said after that loss. "Really, all in all, I'm not that disappointed. They hit some good pitches that were decent pitches. I made a couple of mistakes, obviously the first at-bat. The rest weren't actually bad mistakes like that one. Good job by them battling and hitting me early in counts."
The Cubs have lost both their games since trading hurlers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and they'll send Jackson to the bump on Monday to try to right the ship. Jackson is 5-8 with a 4.99 ERA this season, and he posted his second quality start since May 17 in his last try against the Red Sox.
Though Jackson wasn't spectacular in the effort, he was helped out by several great plays from his defense, and he held Boston to one run on six hits and four walks over six innings.
"[Welington Castillo] and I were able to get into a nice groove and mix up the pitches and keep them off-balance," Jackson said after that win. "This is a tough team to face and a tough lineup. We want to keep them off-balance as much as we can."
Jackson has struggled away from Wrigley Field this year: He carries a 3.86 ERA in eight home starts and a 6.06 ERA in nine on the road.
Cubs: Minor Leaguers to fill in rotation
The Cubs' starting rotation remains in flux following the trade of Samardzija and Hammel to the Athletics on Saturday.
Manager Rick Renteria has the pitching schedule set through the first three games of a five-game set at the Reds. Jackson will start the series opener on Monday, Travis Wood will pitch the first game of the doubleheader on Tuesday and Triple-A Iowa left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada will start the nightcap.
Renteria said the starting pitchers for Wednesday and Thursday will likely be determined on Monday or Tuesday.
Along with Wada, Iowa right-hander Dallas Beeler could also see action in the Majors in the near future. Beeler surrendered one unearned run and four hits over six innings in his lone start for the Cubs on June 28 against the Nationals.
Reds: Votto gets day off Sunday
Though Joey Votto was not in the lineup for in Sunday's series finale against Milwaukee, manager Bryan Price said it was just a day off for the first baseman, who is still on the rebound from a left quad strain that put him on the disabled list last month. Votto is expected to be in the lineup for Monday's series opener against Chicago.
"For Joey, it's just a day off," Price said. "We're trying to be conscientious of the fact that he is playing at well below 100 percent right now and trying to keep him as healthy as we can under the circumstances, which is challenging. He's got some challenges, physically. I just thought it was a good idea to give him a day off today."
Votto has been out of the starting lineup three times since returning from the DL, and Price said the downtime is a normal part of Votto's return to full health.
"We knew the process when we initially put Joey on the disabled list that when we got him back, we weren't going to be able to get him to 100 percent over the course of the regular season," Price said. "We decided to do some strengthening exercises and really work on getting the inflammation and a lot of the soreness out of there. We accomplished that to a certain degree.
"Some days are better than others. This was my decision today not to play, though I stay in contact with Joey on how he's feeling. He didn't ask to come out. I just thought it was a good day to give him a breather and reassess and get ready for tomorrow."
• The Cubs' 2-1 loss on Sunday to Washington snapped a streak of three straight road series wins. They have won five of their last seven road games.
• Reds catcher Brayan Pena was placed on the paternity list on Sunday following the birth of his daughter Isabella.
• The Reds are 8-0-1 in series against National League Central rivals Chicago, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.