Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/17/12

Game One Hundred Seventeen: Cubs (46-70) vs. Reds (71-47)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184/914
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Travis Wood (4-8, 4.52/1.25) vs. Bronson Arroyo (8-7, 3.95/1.23)

The Cubs begin a difficult seven-game road trip tonight in Cincinnati that concludes Wednesday in Milwaukee. The Cubs not only play four games in three days in the Queen City but all four games will be played within 48 hours.

Dale Sveum’s team has struggled against the first place Reds this season. After dropping three of four to the Redlegs last weekend at Wrigley, the Cubs are 3-6 in the first nine games of the season with only three remaining on the schedule after this weekend (September 18 – September 20 at Wrigley) … and it does not figure to get any easier for the slumping Cubs over the next three days.

Following tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and Bronson Arroyo, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Johnny Cueto in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. Brooks Raley is expected to be activated for game two. The Reds have not announced their starter for the second game of the twin bill. And Chris Volstad will square off against Mat Latos in Sunday’s finale.

With the new rule changes, the Cubs and Reds will be able to add a pitcher for Saturday’s games. Both teams will play with a 26-man active roster as opposed to the usual 25-man roster.

Look for Dale Sveum to load his lineup with as many lefties as possible tonight. Sveum used the lefty formula against Bronson Arroyo and beat him back on May 2 in Cincinnati … but last Saturday was the exact opposite as the offense managed only two runs on hits in eight innings. Lefties are hitting .304/.333/.447 with 17 doubles and 12 homers against Arroyo while right handers have managed a .232/.269/.357 line with 14 doubles and eight homers.

The Cubs must figure out a way to slow down the Reds offense. The Cubs were outscored 20-15 in the four games last weekend with eight of the 15 runs the Cubs scored coming in the 10-8 loss on Friday afternoon. Todd Frazier had a huge four-games and he has killed Cubs’ pitching during his short big league career (.378/.452/.703/.1.155, 14-for-37 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs in 14 games).

The Cubs final trip of the season to Cincinnati all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood faced his former team in his last outing now he gets to take the hill in his old home park for the first time as a visitor. Wood was able to keep his emotions in check the last time out … can he do it again tonight?

Travis Wood put together one of his better starts of the season against the Reds and left with a lead. But James Russell imploded and the Cubs’ offense could not mount a comeback against the Reds’ pen. Wood allowed one run on five hits with a walk in seven innings and tied a career-high with eight strikeouts. With Wood’s history at Great American, repeating his previous start seems unlikely … but that is why ‘they‘ play the game.

After a miserable three starts following the break, Wood is 0-2 in his last three starts with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Wood, unlike many of his teammates, has been better on the road (2-4 in seven starts with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP) than he’s been at Wrigley (2-4 in nine starts with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP) this season.

Travis Wood will face his old team for the second time in a park he owns a 3-6 record in 15 games, 13 starts, with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Bronson Arroyo – 0-for-2
  • Zack Cozart – 0-for-4
  • Todd Frazier – 2-for-2 with a walk
  • Ryan Hanigan – 2-for-3
  • Chris Heisey – 0-for-3
  • Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-8 with two walks
  • Brandon Phillips – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Drew Stubbs – 0-for-3
  • Wilson Valdez – 0-for-6 with a walk

Bronson Arroyo outlasted Travis Wood in his last start and picked up another win against the Cubs. Arroyo allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts over eight innings … his longest start in over a month.

Arroyo is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … and since the break he is 4-2 in six starts with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.

Like a majority of his staff mates, Arroyo has been better on the road (6-5 in 13 starts with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP) than at home (2-2 in 10 starts with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP) this season.

Bronson Arroyo is 1-1 in two starts against the Cubs this year with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP … for his career, 10-9 in 27 games, 25 starts, with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bronson Arroyo

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-11
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-17 with a double and a home run
  • Steve Clevenger – 1-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-15 with two walks
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-4
  • Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-48 with five doubles, a home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
  • Travis Wood – 0-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne