Reds Use Long Ball to Beat Cubs Once Again

For the second straight game the Reds used the long ball to power their way past the Cubs.  Jeff Samardzija was on the wrong end of the power surge today giving up three home runs on the way to his 11th loss of the season.  Shark lasted five innings in game one of the double-header giving up four runs on six hits while striking out five, his ERA climbed to 4.17 on the season.  Early on it looked like the Cubs were going to provide a formidable challenge to Cy Young contender Johnny Cueto, but the good feeling didn’t last too long.  Alfonso Soriano launched his 22nd home run of the season in the first inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead, it was Soriano’s 1,000th career RBI, quite the accomplishment.  Soriano was basically it for the Cubs offense as they could only manage five hits on the day and Soriano had two of them.  The Cubs made things interesting in the ninth inning as they were able to push across a run against Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.  Unfortunately Chapman took it to another level against Joe Mather with the tying runs on base, striking him out to end the threat and the game.  Welington Castillo also had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with an RBI in the loss.  Brooks Raley was officially called up before game two as he will get the start in the night-cap.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Full Game Recap
Castro’s Great Play
Soriano’s Two-Run Homer (1,000 th career RBI)

Thanks for reading,
–  George

August 17 – 19, 2012; @ Reds – Series Preview

Tons of baseball to be played this weekend in Cincinnati as the Cubs and Reds square off in a four game series.  Yes, that’s right, four games in three days as the teams will play a double-header on Saturday which is making up a rain out from May.  After not seeing the Reds for three months the Cubs will round out this weekend seeing them in eight of the last eleven games.  The Reds just took three out of four from the Cubs at Wrigley so it’s time for the Cubs to return the favor.  If they plan on doing so they are going to have to put up more performances like they did against the Astros in the series finale.  The Cubs offense has been awful as of late as they struggle to find consistency with a very young lineup.  Surprisingly the Reds are having the same troubles, I guess it’s to be expected as they are still without Joey Votto but the Reds have only scored the 9th most runs in the National League.  Equally surprising is how good the Reds pitching staff has been, they have the second best ERA in the national league, it will be a formidable challenge for this Cubs offense.

****

Friday August 17, 2012
Cubs:  Travis Wood (4-8, 4.52 ERA)
Cincinnati:  Bronson Arroyo (8-7, 3.95 ERA)

Saturday August 18, 2012 – Game 1
Cubs:  Jeff Samardzija (8-10, 4.06 ERA)
Cincinnati:  Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.45 ERA)

 —

Saturday August 18, 2012 – Game 2
Cubs: TBD (Most likely Raley)
Cincinnati: TBD

 —

Sunday August 19, 2012
Cubs: Chris Volstad (0-8, 6.96 ERA)
Cincinnati: Mat Latos (10-3, 3.63ERA)

Season Series:  Reds lead 6-3

Prediction:  Reds win series, 3-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

August 12, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Reds

The Cubs look to finish the series with a split today after letting a late lead slip away yesterday.  Brooks Raley will make his second Major League start and he has quite the opponent, 14 game winner Johnny Cueto.  Here is how the Cubs will line up behind Raley.

DeJesus – RF
Barney -2B
Rizzo – 1B
Soriano – LF
Castro – SS
Valbuena – 3B
Jackson – CF
Clevenger – C
Raley – P

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!!
– George

August 9 – 12, 2012; vs. Reds – Series Preview

Talk about a weird schedule, the Cubs and Reds will play each other a total of 17 times during the 2012 season.  They have played each other only five times this year (one rain out) so far, and haven’t seen each other since May 3rd, a full three months ago.  Since then the Reds have taken off and the Cubs have sunk to the bottom of the Central division, which was somewhat expected.  The Reds have been rolling as they sit atop the Central division with a 2.5 game lead over the Pirates.  July was rather spectacular for the Reds as they had 19 wins, a Major League best (tied with Oakland).  They have leveled off here in August going 4-4 so far as they have lost their last four games, but they are doing this without their best player Joey Votto, quite the void to fill.  To be fair the Reds have beat up on lesser opponents while Votto has been out, and it continues in Chicago this weekend.  I hate saying that but it’s true, the Cubs are 0-for August, no wins in seven games and have lost eight straight.  The Cubs offensive woes might get even worse as they face a Reds team that is third in the National League in ERA at 3.38. 

SERIES VITALS

****

Thursday August 9, 2012
Cincinnati: Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA)
Chicago: Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22ERA)

Mike Leake has been beat up a little bit over his last three starts, but has turned in a decent season for the Reds up to this point.  Leake has started against the Cubs 8 times in his career and he has been good.  In those 8 starts Leake is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP.  Volstad on the other hand has been very bad, for a while.  His numbers against the Reds in his career don’t exactly give me a lot of confidence that Volstad will record his first win in over a year.  In four career starts against the Reds, Volstad is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA, and a 1.479 WHIP, at least he has a win.

Friday August 10, 2012
Cincinnati: Homer Bailey (9-7, 3.98 ERA)
Chicago:  Justin Germano (1-1, 3.38ERA)

Justin Germano has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs this season after being acquired mid-season from the Red Sox.  Germano has been versatile for the Cubs, pitching out of the pen and the rotation.  He is not going to light up the radar gun but he knows how to pitch, and pitchers have a chance against the Reds as opposed to throwers.  Likewise, Homer Bailey has also been a nice surprise this season for the Reds as he is starting to fulfill some of that potential that everyone was so excited about.  In his career, Bailey has been roughed up by the Cubs.  In 8 career starts, Bailey is 3-2 with a 5.60 ERA, and 1.667 WHIP.

Saturday August 11, 2012
Cincinnati: Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 4.05 ERA)
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-8, 4.77 ERA)

Travis Wood should have some extra incentive going into this one as the Reds are the only other team he has pitched for in his career.  After struggling a bit in July, Wood has been pretty good the last two times out, however he has no wins to show for it.  Bronson Arroyo profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, changes speeds, more slow than hard and the Cubs refuse to be patient.  The numbers back this up, in 26 games (24 starts) against the Cubs in his career he is 9-9 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP.  If the Cubs want success against Arroyo they need to take pitches and force him to elevate.

Sunday August 12, 2012
Cincinnati: Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.58 ERA)
Chicago: Brooks Raley (0-1, 15.75ERA)

Talk about being thrown into the fire, Brook Raley will make his second career start against a first place team and a 14 game winner.  Raley was the victim of some bad luck in his major league debut where balls were just finding holes.  He was unable to work out of jams after those dink and dunk hits and that’s what hurt him.  I’m sure nerves will be an issue once again for Raley as he will be making his Wrigley Field debut.  Johnny Cueto is having an outstanding season for the Reds, he has been just okay against the Cubs however.  In 15 career starts, Cueto is 5-6 with a 3.55 ERA with a 1.320 WHIP.

Season Series:  Reds lead 3-2

Prediction:  Reds win series, 3-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George