Series Peek: Cubs v Reds


Apr 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; The Reds celebrate on the field after they beat the Chicago Cubs in 13th innings at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 5-4 on a walk-off single by Cesar Izturis. (David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

When you’re on a roll and you see the Chicago Cubs on your schedule, you can’t help but display a slight grin. Chicago heads into GABP in the NL Central cellar with a record of 18-28, 12 full games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals.

Meanwhile, the Reds are tied for second with the Pittsburgh Pirates who both own a record of 29-18. That is a tie for baseball’s third best record. The Good Guys can’t let down their guard though. Got to take care of business against the Cubbies.

Game 1: Friday – Scott Feldman (4-3, 2.19) v. Bronson Arroyo (4-4, 3.28), 7:10 PM ET.

This will be Feldman’s first start against the Reds.

Only three Reds have ever faced Feldman (Jack Hannahan, Cesar Izturis and Shin-Soo Choo) and none have what you would call splendid results. Miserable might be the better choice of words. Of the three mentioned, the “best hitter” is Izturis…with an average of .182 (2-11) in 12 plate appearances.

Arroyo has the ability to confound the Cubs. He owns a lifetime 11-9 record (28 games with 26 starts) with an ERA of 2.99 and a WHIP of 1.148.

It should be of no surprise that Nate Schierholtz is the most successful Cubs hitter (10 PA minimum) when facing Bronson. He’s 3-for-10 (.300) with an RBI against him.

The other side of the coin? Hard to imagine that Alfonso Soriano struggles when facing Arroyo. In 56 plate appearances, he’s only batting .196 (10-51) with only 1 home run. Arroyo has struck out Soriano 15 times.

Game 2: Saturday – Travis Wood (4-2, 2.24) v. Homer Bailey (2-3, 3.09), 4:10 PM ET.

This will be the second time this season the Reds have a shot at their former teammate. Although the Reds won the last time they saw Wood, he did not get the decision as the Reds came from behind and eventually won a 5-4, 13-inning affair. A Cesar Izturis walk-off single ended that game.

Only one Red has 10 plate appearances against Wood: Zack Cozart. He’s 3-10 but has 5 whiffs. Of note is that Jay Bruce is 2-5 with both hits being home runs and Todd Frazier is 4-8, but in the last time they squared off, ToddFather was 0-3.

When facing Chicago, Bailey has exhibited success from a win-loss standpoint going 5-2, but his era is slightly over 5 at 5.02 and hid WHIP is a lofty 1.586.

And Homer doesn’t like to see Darwin Barney at the plate. Barney is 7-17 (.412) in 18 plate appearances. Soriano is a non-spectacular .227 (5-22 in 23 PA) when he faces Bailey.

Game 3: Sunday – Matt Garza (0-0, 0.00) v. Johnny Cueto (2-0, 3.02), 1:10 PM ET.

Both Garza and Cueto has occupied a spot on their respective team’s disabled list this season, but this is the most intriguing matchup of the three games.

When Garza faces the Reds, he is 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.479 WHIP, but the Reds haven’t faced Garza since 2011. That season accounts for all four of Garza’s outings against the Redlegs.

Garza has surrendered only 1 home run to the current crop of Reds: Jay Bruce. Joey Votto is only a .200 hitter against him (2-10). Brandon Phillips does well when facing the Cubs righty as he is 4-12 in 13 PA.

As for Cueto, he owns an 8-6, an ERA of 3.01 and WHIP of 1.211 when facing the Cubs. As much success as Barney as against Bailey, it’s quite opposite with the Reds ace. Cueto has a grasp on Barney as he has a career .154 batting average (2-13).

You could say Soriano has some good feelings when Cueto is throwing. He’s 11-40 with 4 HR and 6 RBI. The average may not blow you away (.275), but when he does hit Cueto, it has meaning.

All right. Series predictions?