Reds-Cubs Preview

The Cincinnati Reds broke out of their offensive woes in a big

way as they get ready to see a familiar face.

The NL Central leaders will face Travis Wood for the first time

Saturday when they continue a four-game set against the Chicago

Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Cincinnati (67-46) totaled 11 runs during a season-high,

five-game losing streak before winning 10-8 on Friday to even this

series at a game apiece. Todd Frazier had three hits and four RBIs

while Ryan Ludwick homered among his three hits and scored four


There’s a good chance the Reds can turn in another big day at

the plate against Wood (4-8, 4.77 ERA), traded to the Cubs (44-67)

in the offseason deal which sent reliever Sean Marshall to


Wood went 11-10 with a 4.18 ERA in 39 games – 35 starts – with

the Reds over the previous two years.

The left-hander has an 8.78 ERA in losing his last five starts,

although he has given up two runs in each of the last two. Wood

lasted six innings Monday in a 2-0 loss at San Diego, marking the

third time in this slide he has received no runs of support.

The only Cincinnati hitters he has faced are Ludwick, who is 2

for 6 against him, and Wilson Valdez, who is 0 for 3. Ludwick is

hitting .391 with five homers and 17 RBIs over the last 13


Reds manager Dusty Baker has indicated he will rest

lefty-swinging Jay Bruce for the second straight game, with the

southpaw Wood on the mound. Bruce is 1 for 16 with seven strikeouts

over his past four games.

“He’s just not swinging well,” Baker told the Reds’ official

website. “He’s feeling for the ball. He’s not attacking. It looks

like he’s messed up right now.”

Third baseman Scott Rolen has missed three straight games with

back soreness. Rolen, who remains day to day, is hitting .358 since

the All-Star break.

No Reds player has been better lately than closer Aroldis

Chapman, who stopped an eighth-inning rally attempt Friday and

converted his 18th straight save opportunity. He’s thrown 19 2-3

consecutive scoreless innings in that span, totaling 42


“Whenever he comes in we’re in a relaxed state,” Frazier said of

Chapman, who has a 0.18 ERA against NL teams this year. “You know

he’s going to throw that fire.”

The Reds should be boosted Saturday by how Bronson Arroyo (7-7,

4.05) has fared at Wrigley over his last six outings, going 4-0

with a 2.58 ERA. He lost his lone start against the Cubs this year

by yielding three runs over six innings in a 3-1 defeat May 2.

The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano is a .222 hitter with 14 strikeouts in

45 at-bats against Arroyo. Starlin Castro (2 for 14) and David

DeJesus (2 for 11) also have fared poorly.

Arroyo had his three-start win streak snapped Monday at

Milwaukee after he gave up five runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3


The veteran right-hander will get his first look at Cubs first

baseman Anthony Rizzo, who is 3 for 6 with three walks and three

runs scored in this series.

Castro, 4 for 8 with four RBIs in this series, is batting .396

during an 11-game home hitting streak against the Reds. However,

the All-Star shortstop had a rough game Friday, committing an error

and getting booed by the home crowd after a baserunning miscue.

“The lack of concentration – it’s still not there on a

consistent basis, in situations where you can’t make mistakes like

that at all,” manager Dale Sveum said.

The Reds and Cubs have alternated wins through the first seven

games of the season series.