Final
  for this game

Reds-Cubs Preview

Sep 11, 2009 - 12:56 AM By MATT BECKER STATS Senior Writer

Cincinnati (63-76) at Chicago (71-67), 2:20 p.m. EDT

The Chicago Cubs' offense is finally starting to show some signs of life.

Trouble is, there are just three weeks remaining in the regular season and their playoff chances have all but vanished.

Coming off a sweep over one of the worst teams in the majors, the Cubs look to continue their offensive surge when they open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Wrigley Field.

After leading the NL in runs last year (855), Chicago (71-67) was predicted to have another strong offensive team this season and capture its third consecutive NL Central title. Instead, the offense has sputtered, leaving the Cubs 11 1/2 games back of division-leading St. Louis.

There is still a remote possibility Chicago can reach the playoffs via the wild card, but the Cubs will need to get on an incredible run over the final three weeks to even have a chance.

To do that, Chicago's offense will need to produce like it did in the final two games of its sweep at Pittsburgh.

After beating the Pirates 9-4 on Tuesday, the Cubs, who are 10th in the NL in runs (608), wrapped up the series with Wednesday's 8-5 victory.

Micah Hoffpauir and Koyie Hill each drove in two runs Wednesday for Chicago, which trails wild card-leading Colorado by 8 1/2 games.

"We need every win, every game," Wednesday's winning pitcher Carlos Zambrano told the Cubs' official Web site. "Who knows what will happen? Anything can happen. Baseball is a strange, weird sport. Who knows?"

The Cubs' three-game winning streak is their longest since a five-game run July 22-27. That stretch included a three-game sweep over Cincinnati at Wrigley Field.

Scheduled starter Rich Harden (9-8, 4.10 ERA) defeated the Reds in that series, and has posted a 1.42 ERA in winning three career starts versus them at Wrigley.

Harden has been one of the best pitchers in the NL since the All-Star break, going 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 10 starts, striking out 79 over 60 innings in that span. The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits with 10 strikeouts in five innings of a 5-3 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.

The Reds (63-77) could have done the Cubs a favor by winning a game or two at Coors Field this week, but they ended up getting swept in four games. Cincinnati entered that series having won seven in a row.

A sluggish offense was the biggest reason for the four-game sweep. The Reds went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's 5-1 loss, and plated eight runs while batting .198 in the series.

"That's been a problem for us all year," manager Dusty Baker said. "We get runners in scoring position and we can't make contact or put the ball in play."

Baker gives the ball to Justin Lehr (4-1, 4.43), who missed his last scheduled start because of a strained groin.

Lehr injured his groin on the second pitch of a game against Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, but stayed in and lasted six innings. He allowed four runs, six hits and five walks in an 11-5 victory.

The right-hander's best start of the season came against Harden and the Cubs on Aug. 5, when he threw a four-hitter in a 4-0 win for his first career complete game.






  • 20
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Reds 4, Cubs 6  FinalSep 12 5:44 AM
  • 15
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Reds 4, Cubs 6  FinalSep 12 2:04 AM


  • Cubs 6, Reds 4 - FINAL
    CINCINNATI ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    D Stubbs cf 3 1 1 0 2 1 2 .250
    P Janish ss 3 0 0 0 2 1 3 .207
    J Votto 1b 5 1 2 1 0 3 4 .299
    B Phillips 2b 4 1 1 0 1 2 4 .275
    S Rolen 3b 3 0 0 0 1 2 4 .268
    J Gomes lf 4 1 1 3 0 0 5 .279
    D McDonald rf

    Sep 11 5:24 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BOBBY SCALES SCORED ARAMIS RAMIREZ
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B SCALES ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4
    CHICAGO CUBS 6 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J BAKER (.299, 0-FOR-3)

    Reds 4, Cubs 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 11 5:05 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Reds 4, Cubs 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 11 5:05 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Reds 4, Cubs 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 11 4:45 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED KOSUKE FUKUDOME
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4
    CHICAGO CUBS 5 BOTTOM,5TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M HOFFPAUIR (.234, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Reds 4, Cubs 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 11 4:17 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 40 roots

    Reds 4, Cubs 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 11 4:17 PM
  • 45
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots

    Reds 4, Cubs 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 11 4:06 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JONNY GOMES (19) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 5TH OFF JEFF STEVENS SCORED BRANDON PHILLIPS
    AND JOEY VOTTO.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4, CHICAGO CUBS 4
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: D MCDONALD (.216, 0-FOR-2)

    Reds 4, Cubs 4  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 11 4:02 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GEOVANY SOTO (10) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 4TH OFF JUSTIN LEHR.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1, CHICAGO CUBS 4
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.287, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 1, Cubs 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 11 3:48 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED DERREK LEE AND MILTON
    BRADLEY
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M HOFFPAUIR (.236, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Reds 1, Cubs 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 11 3:28 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOEY VOTTO SCORED DREW STUBBS
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VOTTO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 TOP,3RD
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: B PHILLIPS (.274, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 1, Cubs 1  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 11 3:14 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY GEOVANY SOTO SCORED ARAMIS RAMIREZ
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BAKER ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM,2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.288, 7 HR, 51 RBI)

    Reds 0, Cubs 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 11 3:04 PM
  • 5
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Reds vs. CubsSep 11 1:31 PM