Game Fifty-Four: Cubs (27-26) vs. Reds (29-26)
Game Time – 12:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Randy Wells (0-2, 1.69/0.97) vs. Bronson Arroyo (7-4, 5.37/1.39)
The Cubs will try to win the rubber match of the series today behind Randy Wells. The Reds have won three of the first five match-ups of the season…a win today would not only even the season series with the Reds but it would keep the Cubs from dipping down to the .500 mark again.
Alfonso Soriano needs a day off. He was favoring his knee on Saturday night and is not helping his team right now. Soriano is marred in a slump and his defense that is questionable at best on a good day, is a step above below average right now. When Soriano is hot he can carry a team, right now he is as cold as he has been in his two plus years with the Cubs.
After catching eleven innings on Saturday night Geovany Soto will likely get the day off with the early start….expect to see Koyie Hill behind the plate and hopefully Micah Hoffpauir in left.
Rich Harden will make a rehab start for Iowa today. Aaron Miles played third for the I-Cubs on Saturday and was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
But today is all about getting Randy Wells his first big league win…and winning a series on the road.
Updated – 11:46am C.T. – Rich Harden Scratched from Rehab Start
According to a report from the Tribune, Rich Harden did not make his scheduled rehab start for the Iowa Cubs on Sunday…the Cubs have not made an official announcement. Harden was slated to return from the DL on Friday to face the Twins…but that is unlikely at this point.
Updated – 11:52 am C.T. – Harden’s Rehab Start Moved to Monday
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Rich Harden has a “stomach bug” and his rehab start was moved to Monday. Harden is slated to start on Saturday against the Twins. Randy Wells will make his sixth start of the season this afternoon. While it would be easy to say Wells should be 5-0, instead of 0-2, on the season the Cubs young right-hander should be at least 4-1. Wells has pitched beyond anyone’s expectations so far and is coming off a gem against the Atlanta Braves.
Wells took a no-hitter into the seventh inning his last time out and Chipper Jones broke up the no-no with a clean single to left. Wells left the game in the eighth up 5-1 and for the second time in his first five starts, the bullpen blew the game.
It will be interesting to see how Wells responds today. The rookie has said all of the right things so far but he has to be frustrated with as well as he has pitched.
Tonight will be Randy Wells’ first career appearance against the Reds. Wells is 0-1 in two road starts this year with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.
Bronson Arroyo has been very good this year for Dusty Baker, despite the bloated ERA. Arroyo is coming off a loss against the Cardinals…he allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Arroyo was 4-2 in six starts in May with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP after posting a 3-1 record in four starts in April with a 6.48 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. The Reds are 7-4 in Arroyo’s eleven starts…and his offense gives him plenty of run support.
The Cubs must make Arroyo work today and make him get his sinker up. Arroyo has struggled at home this season…3-2 in five starts with a 7.58 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
Bronson Arroyo has owned the Cubs in the past…7-6 in 18 career games, 16 starts, with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP…last season, 3-0 in three starts with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. The Cubs hit just .209 against him a year ago.
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-3 with a double and a home run
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-1 with a double
- Micah Hoffpauir – 0-for-1
- Reed Johnson – 3-for-11
- Derrek Lee – 7-for-29 with a double, 2 home runs and 6 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-38 with 5 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-7 with 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 6-for-24 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….