Game Ten: Cubs (3-6) vs. Reds (6-4)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Hill (1-0, 1.29/0.14) vs. Bronson Arroyo (0-1, 3.86/1.14)
If there is such a thing as a “must-win” in April, today’s game would fit the bill. The Cubs have not posted a win since last Saturday when Carlos Zambrano beat Ben Sheets and the Brewers. After 3 straight loses, a little bit of snow, an off day and Friday’s debacle, it actually seems a lot longer than a week since the Cubs were able to fly the “W” flag proudly above Wrigley. Rich Hill was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Astros but his second start of the season was pushed to today because of the postponement. The Cubs need the Rich Hill that was just one pitch short of perfection last Friday night against the Brewers to take the ball today, throw strikes, go deep in the game and most importantly win his second game in as many starts. Hill has had success against the Reds; he was 1-1 in 2 starts last season with a 2.57 ERA (4 runs in 14 innings, 3 home runs, 6 hits, 20 strikeouts and 3 walks) and a 0.64 WHIP while holding the Reds offense to a .125 batting average. Both of Hill’s outings were complete games (one was rain shortened) and accounted for the only 2 complete games for the entire Cubs’ staff in 2006. Hill has faced the Reds four times in his career and in 3 starts he is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP….12 runs on 11 hits in 17 1/3 innings.
No one in the Reds starting lineup has more than 1 career hit against Rich Hill in 6 to 9 career at bats.
After a winless 2006 season against Bronson Arroyo, the Cubs finally handed him a loss behind Ted Lilly in the second game of the season. The Cubs beat Arroyo but Lilly threw a gem and will need a similar performance today from Rich Hill in order to end the losing streak. While Arroyo put up pedestrian numbers against the Cubs in his first start of the season, his defense was of little help and actually handed the Cubs a couple (of much-needed) runs. After the 8-hit, 4 earned run outing against the Cubs, Arroyo was very impressive against the Diamondbacks and allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings with just 2 free passes.
Maybe Lou was able to get everyone’s attention yesterday and the sloppy baseball will be a distant memory in a week or so.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….