The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds continue their three-game series between National League Central division rivals at the Great American Ball Park
Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds
Chicago has dropped a season-high seven games in a row, outscored by its opponents 44-20 over that span. “We’re just in a tough place right now,” said Cubs pitcher Matt Garza. “There’s still four months of baseball to play, so there’s a lot of stuff to turn.” This is the Cubs longest skid since dropping seven straight last July 27-Aug. 3. The club’s offense is still managing to bat .269 as a team, which is second-best in the National League, but falls off to .234 with runners in scoring position. Chicago has dropped its last four games in Cincinnati and is 1-7 at the Great American Ball Park since May 8 of last season. Facing division opponents has been a nightmare for the squad, posting a 7-20 mark thus far in 2011.
Cubs starting pitcher Doug Davis is 0-4 with a 5.95 ERA in four starts this season and is coming off a solid outing. The left-hander will be making just his second appearance on the road this season, entering with an 0-1 mark and 17.18 ERA, as opponents are batting .471 against him. Davis will be making his 17th career start against the Reds, posting a 6-3 record and 3.31 ERA, while owning a 4-2 mark and 3.12 ERA in nine outings at the Great American Ball Park. He is 15-14 with a 3.93 ERA in 45 lifetime appearances (44 starts) in June, which is his best career earned-run-average of any month.
Cincinnati received a season-high four RBIs from outfielder Jonny Gomes to lead the club to a 8-2 victory in the first of a three-game series against Chicago. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Reds, who had won just five of their last 18 games before Monday. “That was an everything game,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker. “It was a perfectly scripted game if you had to write it.” Gomes three-run homer was his first since May 16 versus the Cubs. Cincinnati likely wants to host Chicago all season long, looking to gain its 17th victory in 20 meetings tonight. Facing division opponents has been a winning proposition for the squad, entering with a 23-13 mark this season and 118-77 over the last three years.
Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez is 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA and returns to the Major League level after posting a 1-0 mark and 1.88 ERA in two minor league outings at Triple-A Louisville. “I’m hearing he’s throwing the ball very well,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker stated. “He made some adjustments and that’s why he went down, to try to get himself back together.” Volquez’s biggest hurdle by far has been the first inning, as he’s posted an ERA of 18 and an ERA of 3.51 in all other frames. In five career starts versus the Chicago Cubs, he is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA, allowing just a single home run in 29 2/3 frames.
Bettors will likely back the Reds due to their 28-10 record versus left-handers at home, while the Cubs are 0-6 in their last six games against right-handed starters