Game One Hundred Sixty: Cubs (83-76) vs. Reds (71-88)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Carlos Zambrano (17-13, 4.08/1.34) vs. Bronson Arroyo (9-14, 4.22/1.41)
Only 3 games left in the regular season…. Lou Piniella’s crew has to be happy to be out of Florida but it will not get any easier for them this weekend. The Reds are looking to continue what the Fish started on Tuesday, this is their playoffs and the Cubs must not take this team lightly. The Reds will be without the services of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Adam Dunn this weekend but the Reds still posses enough determination and talent to beat the Cubs. While the pressure is building, the Cubs are still in control of their own destiny….it is plain and simple, if they win they are in. The Cubs must take advantage of every possible scoring opportunity against Bronson Arroyo while Carlos Zambrano just needs to be the ‘Big Z’…. Carlos Zambrano is coming off a very good start against the Pirates. He did not allow a run in 6 innings before having to leave with forearm cramps. Zambrano gave up just 3 hits with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. Zambrano was very efficient and remained under control for the majority of the game.
Zambrano is 3-2 in his last 5 starts with a 4.25 ERA. He has struggled against the Reds this year and lost his last start against them at Wrigley on September 18th. Zambrano gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings….for the season he is 1-4 in 5 starts with a 6.59 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP, but his one win was a gem back on July 29th at Great American. Zambrano threw 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed just 2 hits.
The Cubs get another shot at Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is having his second best month of the season. He is 2-1 in his last 5 starts with a 3.06 ERA and is coming off a 7-inning shutout performance against the Giants in San Francisco. The most runs Arroyo has allowed since August 12th came on September 17th….against the Cubs. Arroyo received a no decision but gave up 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Arroyo is 0-2 in 4 starts against the Cubs this season with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. The Cubs must be patient against Arroyo tonight (and for the entire weekend) and make him work. The Reds bullpen has shown a lot of improvement of late but that is where they are very vulnerable. If the Cubs do not make Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey work, it could be a very long off-season.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….