Game Fifty-Nine: Cubs (23-35) vs. Reds (35-24)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Glendon Rusch (2-5, 6.86) vs. Bronson Arroyo (7-2, 2.40)
Glendon Rusch takes the hill tonight against the first place Cincinnati Reds and Bronson Arroyo for the first of a four game series. The Reds have won 7 games straight and have not lost since the Cubs beat them back on May 30th, 8-3. The Reds are playing great ball and are coming off a sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis. Glendon Rusch has faced the Reds and Bronson Arroyo twice this season, lost both and Arroyo homered in each of those games. The Cubs have split the eight games with the Reds this season. Rusch is coming off his best start of the season against the Cardinals last Saturday. Rusch threw 5 strong innings and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits to earn his second victory of the year but he must keep the Reds in the park tonight. In two games against the Reds, Rusch has allowed 8 runs on 11 hits in 9 innings and the Reds have hit 6 home runs in those 2 games. Rusch has allowed 13 long balls to this point in the season and the Cubs cannot afford another bad start from Glendon Rusch. The Cubs bullpen has been overworked to this point in the season and with Greg Maddux going on Friday and Kerry Wood visiting the doctor….it could get ugly quick in the launching pad known as Great American Ball Park.
After an offensive explosion that saw the Cubs reach double-digit hits in 9 out of 10 games they have totaled only 10 hits in their last 2 games. Arroyo has been one of the biggest surprises in the National League this season and not only has he pitched beyond any expectations the Reds may have had for him, he has hit the ball extremely well. Arroyo is coming off a great performance against the Astros where he allowed only 2 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings of work and went 3-4 at the plate with 4 RBI’s, for the season he is hitting .156 with a double, 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. In two games against the Cubs Arroyo has allowed 3 earned runs (5 total) and shutout the Cubs in 7 innings of work on April 11th.
The Cubs are 3-3 on this 10 game road trip and anything less than a series win could put an end to their post-season hopes before the middle of June. Juan Pierre must get going this weekend and give the Cubs a chance to score some runs.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….