Preview: Reds At Cubs
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[April 18, 2014]
The Cincinnati Reds are coming off
their first series win of the season, something that has become
commonplace whenever they face the Chicago Cubs. The Reds, who begin a
three-game road set in Chicago on Friday, generated a bit of momentum by
taking two of three at home from the Pittsburgh Pirates after going 1-2
in each of their first four series. Cincinnati has encountered very
little resistance from the Cubs recently, winning 23 of the last 29
meetings – including a 14-5 mark in 2013.
The Reds have been even more dominant when they square off
against Chicago at Wrigley Field, where they are 15-1 over their
last 16 contests. Unsurprisingly, Cincinnati has won the last four
season series from the Cubs, who have dropped four in a row after
getting blanked on both ends of a doubleheader for the first time
since 1962 against the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Chicago ranks
second-to-last in the National League in runs scored and has already
been shut out four times through 14 games, including twice when
Friday’s scheduled starter Jeff Samardzija has taken the mound.
TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, Fox Sports Ohio, WGN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20 ERA) vs. Cubs RH
Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29)
Making only his second start after 99 relief appearances over his
first two seasons in Cincinnati, Simon matched his career high with
eight innings in Saturday’s hard-luck 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay
Rays. The 32-year-old Dominican allowed a second-inning solo homer
among his five hits to fall to 4-10 in 21 all-time starts. Simon,
who saw his stay in the rotation extended after Mat Latos suffered a
setback with his right elbow, went 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA against the
Cubs in seven trips out of the bullpen in 2013.
Samardzija lasted seven frames for the third time in as many
outings, settling for a no-decision despite holding the St. Louis
Cardinals to one run and six hits during last Friday’s 6-3,
11-inning victory. The Cubs’ fifth-round pick of the 2006 draft has
received very little help from his offense, getting his first run
support (one run) of the season in his final inning of work.
Samardzija is 1-3 with a 4.92 ERA in 21 career appearances (seven
starts) versus the Reds.
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Cincinnati, which begins a 10-game road trip on Friday, has
scored 30 runs while winning three of four after totaling 28 runs
over its first 11 contests.
Chicago SS Emilio Bonifacio is in a 1-for-21 slump since
recording hits in 19 of his first 38 at-bats.
Reds 1B Joey Votto has scored six runs and is 7-for-14 with three
homers and seven RBIs during Cincinnati’s four-game offensive surge.
PREDICTION: Reds 4, Cubs 2
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