Thursday, July 1, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Reds

June is history! The Cubs will welcome in July today after going 10-16 last month. They've had their chances against last place teams, but they've lost to the likes of Pittsburgh and Seattle. Perhaps a good opponent is just was the doctor ordered.

Can the Cubs step up their game against the first place Cincinnati Reds, who come into play today 0.5 game ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central? The Reds are fighting for first, and they will do their best to take advantage of a meager Cubs offense. The Cubbies are ten games under at 33-43, which means they need a win today to avoid setting a new low water mark for the year. In fact, the Cubs have not been 11 under .500 in four years under Lou Piniella.

Speaking of managers, whenever these two teams meet it's a reunion of sorts. Sweet Lou spent three years in Cincinnati, including the World Series champion 1990 ballclub. Current Reds skipper Dusty Baker is returning to Wrigley Field, where he managed from 2003-2006. Piniella is in the final year of his contract and is in a situation similar to the one Dusty was in in '06. Chris Speier (bench coach, former Cubs third base coach) and Juan Lopez (former Cub and current Red bullpen coach) are still a part of Baker's staff.

The Cubs have fallen to forth place, 9.5 back of the Reds and 1 game behind the now third place Brewers. The Crew open a series with the Cardinals today. Cincinnati is in town for four straight day games that wraps up the seven game homestand at Wrigley.

The Cubs are coming off losing two of three to the Pirates to fall to 3-9 against the Bucs this year. In the three games, they scored a total of just four runs. The series finale, a 2-0 loss despite five shutout innings from ex-Pirate Tom Gorzelanny, was particularly frustrating. Andrew Cashner continued his recent struggles as he has gotten the loss in each of his last three appearances. The Cubs bats were silent, Aramis Ramirez made a costly error on defense, and Sean Marshall walked in a run.

The Reds just concluded a six game stretch at the Great American Ballpark where they went 4-2. The beat a good Phillies team 4-3 on Wednesday to take the series and finish the month 13-13. When the first place club had an average month and the Cubs had an "easy" schedule, you know Lou's crew missed a chance to make up some ground. From now on, they will have to do it against the good teams.

The Cubbies hope to finally put an end to their struggles in series openers today. They have dropped ten straight game ones and haven't started off a set with a win since May 25 against the Dodgers. Alfonso Soriano is a guy that needs to heat up. When he gets hot, he can carry the team on his back. Sori has showed some signs of getting hot with two solo-homers in Tuesday's win and a deep fly ball to the warning track that would have left the yard on most days on Wednesday.

John Grabow was placed on the DL with a knee injury during the last series. The Cubs now have four rookies in the bullpen in Andrew Cashner, Jeff Stevens, James Russell, and Brian Schlitter, but youth is not necessarily a bad thing. Grabow will wait for the swelling in his knee to lessen a may miss as long as a month.

Yesterday, Mike Fontenot got the start at second base and Ryan Theriot received the day off. According to FOX Sports, the Red Sox had talks about acquiring Little Mike before they settled on Eric Patterson. Could the Cubs be showcasing Fontenot for a possible trade? Will he see a few starts in this series?

On a quick note... the Major League Baseball All-Star voting ends tonight at 10:59 CT. Be sure to log on to or and give the Cubs players your votes! You can cast your votes 25 times per email address.

After only winning one series in the month of June, the Cubs will look to get that first series of July out of the way right off the bat this weekend.

Game 1: Thursday at 1:20 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva, RHP (8-2, 3.01 ERA)
Reds Starting Pitcher: Travis Wood, LHP (MLB Debut)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio 720

Games 2: Friday at 1:20 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster, RHP (6-6, 3.58 ERA)
Red Starting Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, RHP (7-4, 4.49 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio 720

Game 3: Saturday at 12:05 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Randy Wells, RHP (3-6, 4.96 ERA)
Reds Starting Pitcher: Johnny Cueto, RHP (8-2, 3.74 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN Radio 720

Game 4: Sunday at 1:20 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ted Lilly (3-6, 3.12 ERA)
Reds Starting Pitcher: TBA
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN Radio 720

The Cubs will look to avoid giving guys their first big league debut on back-to-back days. Travis Wood was called up from AAA after Sam LeCure was sent down. Wood, a former second round pick, was 5-6 with a 3.12 ERA at Louisville before the callup.

The Chicago Cubs will finish up the first half on the West Coast against the D'backs and Dodgers. After this weekend, they will not return to Wrigley until July 15 after the All-Star break. Dusty's club will continue their road swing in New York, and then finish up the first half in Philly. They will return to the Windy City August 6-8 and the Cubs go to Great American the final weekend of August.

No comments:

Post a Comment