Game One Hundred-Four: Cubs (55-48) vs. Reds (45-59)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WCIU/ESPN Monday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 175
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Randy Wells (7-4, 2.84/1.15) vs. Aaron Harang (5-12, 4.50/1.46)
After what had to be a long flight from Miami to Cincinnati on Sunday night, the Cubs will go back to work and try to rebound from Sunday’s loss behind Randy Wells. The Cubs will enter play tonight a half game back of the idle Cardinals who open a three-game set on Tuesday night in New York.
The Reds will have a much different look than the team that faced the Cubs at Wrigley ten days ago. Dusty Baker’s bunch continues to deal with injury after injury and will be without Chris Dickerson for the series. Jerry Hariston, Jr. was traded to the Yankees … and Scott Rolen was acquired from the Blue Jays for Edwin Encarnacion.
Scott Rolen was hit in the helmet on Sunday by former teammate Jason Marquis in the seventh inning. Rolen left for precautionary reasons and his status for tonight’s game is in question. The Reds are reeling right now. They have lost six in a row and nine of their last ten.
Aramis Ramirez is expected back in the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s finale in Florida. Lou Piniella must find a spot for Jake Fox in the starting lineup if Ramirez is back. The Cubs need offense and Fox’s bat should be utilized until it goes cold.
The Cubs are in need of another solid outing from Randy Wells. Not only is the bullpen spent, it is in disarray after three bad days in South Florida. Wells has pitched like a veteran more often than a rookie this season … and another quality start and win would go a long way towards righting the ship after dropping two of three to start this 10-game trip.
Lou Piniella ‘joked’ Carlos Zambrano could see some action out of the pen during the series. Let’s hope the starters (Wells tonight, Tom Gorzelanny on Tuesday and Rich Harden on Wednesday) put together long efficient outings that keep Piniella from using Zambrano until the opener in Colorado on Friday night.
While the offense must do their job against Aaron Harang, it all begins with Randy Wells … and one win at a time. Randy Wells is coming off his best start as a big league pitcher. Wells stepped up when his team needed it after a 13-inning marathon the night before. Wells tossed eight innings of shutout ball and allowed just six hits to the Astros. Wells combined with Mitch Atkins on a 12-0 Cubs win. Wells struck out only one and walked two.
Wells finished a very good month of July with a 5-1 record and a 3.23 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Teams have hit him better the second time through the league but Wells has still gotten results.
Tonight will be Wells’ third start of the year against the Reds and his second at Great American Ball Park. Wells is 1-0 in two starts against Cincinnati this season with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. The Reds have hit him to the tune of a .280 batting average. Wells beat the Reds and Aaron Harang back on July 24 at Wrigley … his only mistake, a three-run homer by Aaron Harang (three runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings).
- Jonny Gomes – 1-for-6
- Alex Gonzalez – 0-for-6
- Ryan Hanigan – 3-for-6
- Aaron Harang – 1-for-1 with a home run
- Laynce Nix – 0-for-3
- Brandon Phillips – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Willy Taveras – 1-for-3
- Joey Votto – 1-for-3
Aaron Harang is coming off a rough outing against the Padres in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits walked four and struck out five in seven innings. Harang has not posted a win since May 25 … and is past due for a good outing.
Harang has pitched much better at home this year (4-5 in 11 starts with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP) than on the road (1-7 in 11 starts with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP). In July, Harang was 0-4 in six starts with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP … teams hit .309 against him.
Tonight will be Harang’s third start of the year against the Cubs. He is 1-1 in the first two with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Harang beat the Cubs on April 23 at Wrigley 7-1 and allowed only one run on seven hits in seven innings with a walk and two strikeouts. The Cubs beat Harang on July 24 at Wrigley and Lou’s offense plated four runs on nine hits in six innings … with a walk and six strikeouts. Harang’s better outings of the year have come against the Cubs.
- Milton Bradley – 2-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 5-for-15 with a double, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 5-for-13 with a double and 2 walks
- Sam Fuld – 0-for-3
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Micah Hoffpauir – 2-for-7 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 14-for-52 with 2 doubles, 5 home runs and 6 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 15-for-46 with a double, a triple, 4 home runs and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-28 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 10-for-33 with a double and 2 walks
- Randy Wells – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….