Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/07/11

Game One Hundred Fifteen: Cubs (49-65) vs. Reds (54-59)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Randy Wells (3-4, 5.89/1.62) vs. Bronson Arroyo (7-9, 5.45/1.40)

Weather permitting … Q’s Cubs enter play this afternoon riding a seven-game win streak and have already posted back-to-back series wins for only the second time this season. After managing a pathetic 9-17 record in July, the Cubs are 6-0 in August and are shooting for their seventh victory of the month … in as many days.

The last time a Cubs team posted eight straight victories was back in 2008 when they won nine in a row (May 26 – June 3). The nine-game winning streak was the most consecutive wins during the Lou Piniella Era.

Q’s starting pitchers have put together back-to-back quality starts in the series despite walking a combined 10 batters in 12 innings (Ryan Dempster: 6 on Friday; Carlos Zambrano: 4 on Saturday). Randy Wells has not found a way to succeed when he helps out the opposition. If Wells starts issuing free passes like Dempster and Zambrano, the Reds will put a lot of runs on the board this afternoon.

Look for Mike Quade to load his lineup with lefties this afternoon. Bronson Arroyo has held right-handed hitters to a .248 batting average this season while lefties have hit .344 with 17 of the 30 homers Arroyo has served up.

In other news Andrew Cashner spent a little time with Bruce Levine during Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning. Cashner threw another bullpen Saturday morning. Cashner said he felt great and thinks he will be able to go on a minor league rehab in 10-14 days. Cashner is hoping to return to the Cubs before September 1.

The Cubs have said that if Cashner is able to pitch in the big leagues this season it would be out of the pen and not as a starter. If Cashner returns around September 1, it would be only as a reliever. He would not have time to build up the arm strength (and pitch count) to be used as a starter.

From Down on the Farm … Prior to Saturday night’s game against the Fresno Grizzlies, Brett Jackson was 14-for-35 over his last 10 games. Jackson was riding a five-game hitting streak and had reached base safely in 10 straight. Jackson’s line over the 10 games: .400/.500/.800/1.300 with two doubles, a triple, four home runs and seven walks (nine strikeouts). After struggling for a bit, Jackson was hitting .291/.394/.570/.963 with five doubles, a triple, five home runs, 14 runs scored and 14 walks (28 strikeouts) in 22 games with the I-Cubs. Jackson was 0-for-4 on Saturday night in Iowa’s 3-2 victory over Fresno.

After posting back-to-back wins on Sunday, the Cubs are 4-13 on Sundays in 2011 … and today it all starts with Randy Wells.

Randy Wells is coming off a solid outing after the offense gave him a big cushion. Wells pitched with a confidence that he has not since his rookie season. No matter the score Wells must pitch like he did on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Wells gave up only the two first inning runs (17 first inning runs in 13 starts) on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings.

Wells has pitched better at Wrigley (2-2 in seven starts with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP) than on the road (1-2 in six starts with a 6.90 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP) and is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Randy Wells’ first start of the season against the Redlegs … 4-1 in seven career starts with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP (2-1 in three starts in 2010 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP).

Reds Career Numbers against Randy Wells

  • Bronson Arroyo – 1-for-4
  • Jay Bruce – 2-for-9 with a double and a walk
  • Miguel Cairo – 0-for-1
  • Ryan Hanigan – 6-for-11 with a walk
  • Chris Heisey – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Paul Janish – 0-for-10 with a walk
  • Fred Lewis – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Brandon Phillips – 5-for-17 with 2 walks
  • Drew Stubbs – 3-for-9 with a double and a home run
  • Joey Votto – 3-for-17 with a home run and a walk

Bronson Arroyo has had a rough year, mainly due to illness (Valley Fever and mono) but has pitched better of late. Arroyo is coming off a no decision against the Astros (three runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in eight innings) and has not posted a win since June 25 (Reds 1-5 in his last six starts).

Arroyo may be 0-2 in his last four starts with a 4.94 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP but he is facing the Cubs this afternoon … and he always dominates the North Side Nine.

Q’s Cubs finally beat Arroyo back on June 8 (four runs, three earned, on eight hits with a walk, three strikeouts and two homers allowed in 6 1/3 innings) but that was a rarity … the first time a Cubs team had beaten him since 2007.

Arroyo is 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs this season with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … for his career, 9-8 in 24 games, 22 starts, versus the Cubs with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (6-3 in 12 games, 11 starts, at Wrigley with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP).

Cubs Career Numbers against Bronson Arroyo

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-1
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-7
  • Marlon Byrd – 9-for-19 with a double and a home run
  • Tony Campana – 2-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-8
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-12
  • Blake DeWitt – 7-for-22 with a double and a home run
  • Koyie Hill – 3-for-9 with a double and 2 walks
  • Reed Johnson – 3-for-16
  • Carlos Pena – 4-for-15 with a double and a home run
  • Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-51 with a double, 2 home runs and 4 walks
  • Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-42 with 5 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-11 with 4 walks
  • Randy Wells – 1-for-3

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