Cubs-Reds Preview

The Cincinnati Reds have had no trouble beating the Chicago Cubs

since the start of last season, and are perfect against them at

Great American Ball Park this year.

They haven’t swept a three-game home series from them, however,

since they played at Riverfront Stadium.

The Reds look to sweep a three-game home set from the sputtering

Cubs for the first time in 15 years Wednesday.

Cincinnati (32-30) has won the first two games of this series by

identical 8-2 scores, and has outscored Chicago 31-13 in winning

the last five meetings.

Miguel Cairo provided the big blast Tuesday, hitting his second

career grand slam in the seventh inning to make it 8-1. Jay Bruce

scored his second run of the game on Cairo’s homer, and is batting

.440 with four homers, seven RBIs and 10 runs in his last seven

home games against the Cubs (23-36).

Cincinnati is 6-1 this season against Chicago – including 4-0 in

Cincinnati – and 18-5 over the last two seasons. The Reds swept a

two-game series from the Cubs at Great American Ball Park in

mid-May, but haven’t swept a three-game set at home since Sept.

24-26, 1996.

Cincinnati appears to have the right pitcher starting to help

the club continue its dominance in this series.

Bronson Arroyo (4-5, 5.37 ERA) is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his

last seven starts against Chicago. He was on the mound for the

Cubs’ lone win in this season’s series, but the right-hander wasn’t

at fault.

At Wrigley Field on May 7, Arroyo allowed a run and seven hits

in 7 1-3 innings and departed with the Reds leading 2-1. Chicago

rallied in the bottom of the ninth to win 3-2.

Against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, Arroyo gave up one

run and five hits in six innings of a 2-1 win. He had gone 0-2 with

a 13.50 ERA in his final three starts in May.

Besides trying to prevent being swept, Chicago also hopes to

avoid losing nine straight games for the first time since May 8-18,

2002.

The Cubs got 10 hits Tuesday for the second night in a row but

left seven runners on base. They’ve scored 15 runs in the last

seven games, and No. 3 hitter Starlin Castro is batting .154 with

one RBI in six games this month.

“When you’re going bad, everyone wants to point fingers,”

losing pitcher Doug Davis said. “You have to look at the guy in the

mirror and that has nothing to do with what (Carlos Zambrano)

said.”

Zambrano let out some frustration Sunday, calling out closer

Carlos Marmol for throwing what he believed was a questionable

pitch with two outs in the ninth inning and the Cubs leading.

Ryan Dempster (4-5, 6.32) takes the ball in the finale after

allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings in Friday’s 6-1

loss to St. Louis. The right-hander had posted a 2.08 ERA in

winning his previous two starts.

Dempster, who has the majors’ second-highest ERA, has been

incredibly inconsistent lately. Since April 23, Dempster has a

14.06 ERA in four of his starts but a 2.18 ERA in the other

five.

He made a start against the Reds during this stretch May 8 and

pitched well, allowing two runs, five hits and no walks in seven

innings, but was saddled with a 2-0 loss. Dempster is 2-4 with a

2.78 ERA in seven starts against Cincinnati since 2008.

Dempster has limited Joey Votto to a .167 average with two

homers in 18 career at-bats.