Game One Hundred One: Cubs (53-47) vs. Reds (44-59)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Rich Hill (6-6, 3.58/1.14) vs. Bronson Arroyo (4-11, 4.58/1.45)
The Cubs open a 3-game series tonight in the Queen City against the Red-hot Cincinnati Reds. The Reds just took 3-of-4 from the division leading Brewers and have won 6 of their last 10 to get them out of the cellar in the central. This will be the first time the Cubs have faced the Reds since Jerry Narron was fired on July 2nd. The Reds have played a lot better under Interim manager, Pete Mackanin.
The Cubs have to be patient at the plate and make the Reds starters throw a lot of pitches and get into their pen as soon as possible. The Reds have a very dangerous, solid offense and good starting pitching, especially Aaron Harang, their weakness is their bullpen and in order to win the series they cannot allow the starters to pitch into the 7th or 8th inning. Lou Piniella’s crew will look to bounce back after a disappointing, lopsided loss on Thursday to the Cardinals and it all starts with Rich Hill. The “Firm of Hill and Hill” will likely be the battery for Lou Piniella tonight. The Cubs announced on Wednesday that Jason Kendall and Koyie Hill will start every other day and tonight will be Hill’s turn behind the dish. Piniella needs a solid performance out of Rich Hill tonight. Hill pitched a gem against the Giants in his first start after the break and followed with a strong performance against the Diamondbacks but received a no decision. Hill did have trouble with his location and threw a season high 115 pitches. Hill will look to end the month with a win….he has won just 1 game in his last 7 starts.
Hill beat the Reds at Wrigley on April 14th. He threw 7 innings of shutout ball, allowed 3 hits, struck out 5 and walked 4. Hill is 2-2 in 4 career starts with 2 complete games and a shutout (4.44 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP).
Hill will have the tough task of keeping the Reds offense off the scoreboard. Ryan Freel, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Adam Dunn always play their best against the Cubs. Dunn currently has a 12-game hitting streak as the trade rumors continue to swirl around him. Hill is 3-4 in 10 starts away from Wrigley with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.
Look for Koyie Hill to be behind the plate tonight, the Cubs are 15-6 with the underrated, defensive catcher in the starting lineup.
Bronson Arroyo dominated the Cubs last season (4-0 in 5 starts with a 1.01 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP and hit 2 home runs) but they bet him on April 4th in Cincinnati (4 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings) and April 14th at Wrigley (6 runs, 2 earned, on 8 hits in 6 2/3 innings). Arroyo has struggled this season but has pitched much better of late. After a winless June (0-3 in 5 starts with a 5.23 ERA) he is 2-2 in his last 4 starts with a 3.38 ERA. Arroyo lost to the Marlins in Florida his last time out and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings but he won his previous start against the Braves with his best start of the year….3 hits and no runs in 7 innings with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks. The 9 k’s tied a season high he set against the Cubs in his first start of the year.
Arroyo is 4-5 in 12 career games, 10 starts, against the Cubs with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
- Cliff Floyd – 5-12, with a double, a home run and 2 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 4-16, with a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 7-20, with a double, a home run and 3 RBI’s
The Cubs are 2-4 against the Reds this season, 1-2 at Great American and Lou Piniella’s crew has to continue to win games against teams with a losing record….but the Reds always play their best ball against the Cubs. This will be a very tough series.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….