Reds vs. Cubs: RHP Johnny Cueto vs. RHP Jake Arrieta


Cincinnati Reds (71-80) vs. Chicago Cubs (66-84)

RHP Johnny Cueto (18-8, 2.15 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .194 OAV) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (8-5, 2.82 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .217 OAV)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014: 8:05 p.m. at Wrigley Field

* * *

If there is one statistic that symbols the importance of Johnny Cueto to the Cincinnati Reds, it is this: no player in the game of Major League Baseball has had a bigger impact on the game than Cueto. Having faced a league-high 875 batters heading into his start on Tuesday, Cueto has affected (and dominated) the game in ways that position players cannot always do.

While winning the Cy Young award is out of the question, having the best single-season in the history of the Reds franchise for a starting pitcher is not. Cueto has pitched against the Cubs twice this season, and while both were quality starts, they were not flat out domination, like many have become accustomed to with Johnny Beisbol.

His last time out against Chicago, both the rain and Anthony Rizzo got to Cueto. Seemingly, neither will be able to tonight. For his career, his ERA has dipped under three in 21 starts against the Cubs, which is astounding for a divisional opponent.

Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

LF – Chris Coghlan (2-for-11, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K)

SS – Javier Baez (0-for-3, 3 K’s)

3B – Luis Valbuena (3-for-17, 2 2B’s, 2 RBI, 2 BB’s, 1 K)

RF – Jorge Soler (yet to face Cueto)

C – Welington Castillo (2-for-11, 1 BB, 4 K’s)

1B – Chris Valaika (yet to face Cueto)

2B – Logan Watkins (yet to face Cueto)

CF – Matt Szczur (1-for-1, 1 BB)

P – Jake Arrieta (yet to face Cueto)

* * *

Without question, it has been a career year for Jake Arrieta. He has allowed more than three earned runs in just three of his 23 starts—one of which came against the Reds back on August 28.

It has been all the way back since July 26 that Arrieta has been good for tossing 100 pitches in a game. The Cubs are caught somewhere in between attempting to win, and attempting to preserve the arm of their best pitcher for when his performances may mean something.

In 10 starts within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field this season, he is 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA. Having allowed just two home runs in 64 innings in the blustery conditions, Arrieta has proven himself to be comfortable tossing in a park where the wind can make a pitcher anything but.

Even though Arrieta has been dynamite at home, he has struggled a bit since the All-Star break. His numbers are largely skewed due to two horrific starts (one against the Reds), but his ERA in the first half sat at 1.95 in 13 starts, before jumping all the way up to 3.90 in just 10.

Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

CF – Billy Hamilton (2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB’s, 1 K)

C – Brayan Pena (0-for-2)

1B – Todd Frazier (2-for-6, 2 RBI, 3 K’s)

RF – Jay Bruce (1-for-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 4 K’s)

2B – Brandon Phillips (1-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI)

LF – Chris Heisey (yet to face Arrieta)

3B – Ramon Santiago (0-for-2, 1 BB)

SS – Zack Cozart (2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K)

P – Johnny Cueto (yet to face Arrieta)

* * *

Each team sends their respective ace to the hill in the middle game of a three-game set. Having dominated in Chicago for such a prolonged period, the Reds look to keep up their winning ways at Wrigley, while the Cubs try to switch their fortune when Cueto and Arrieta collide at 8:05 p.m.