In case you vacationed under a rock over the weekend, the Cincinnati Reds
swept the Chicago Cubs in three games at Wrigley Field. The Reds outscored
the Cubs 18-7 during their last trip to Chicago this season as they moved to
a pair of games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Reds reduced
their "magic number" to fifty with as many games left in the regular season.
opened the series on the mound for the Reds and Travis Wood
ended it. Both pitched admirably as Edinson Volquez placed a
rugged gem in between. Arroyo struck out seven during seven scoreless
innings of five hit ball on Friday and Travis Wood went 6.1 innings (4H,
3ER, 3K) on Sunday allowing three runs on four hits. Wood' s first five
innings were of no-hit variety until Cubs' catcher Koyie Hill broke it up
with a one-out single in the sixth.
On Saturday, Edinson Volquez struggled with his control (4BB), but allowed
just one run on six hits in 6.2 innings of work. Aside from Francisco
Cordero nearly blowing his seventh save of the season on Saturday, and
notching crumbling numbers during his 1.1 innings of work (2ER, 5BB), the
Reds' bullpen was brilliant against the Cubs. Take Cordero out of the
picture and the bullpen (Ondrusek, Masset, Rhodes, Bray, and Smith) pitched
5.2 no-hit scoreless innings (5K, 2BB).
Scoring eighteen times during the series, the Reds' offense made several
strides. On Saturday, in between off-days, Drew Stubbs went 3-4 with two
runs scored and two RBI and led the Reds to a 4-3 victory. Jay Bruce went
3-4 during Sunday's 11-4 win and drove in two runs. After going 0-4 with
three strikeouts on Friday and sitting on Saturday, Jonny Gomes went 1-1
with four walks and four runs scored on Sunday. All three struggled mightily
during the month of July (Gomes: .240, Bruce: .200, Stubbs: .213) and will
be major factors to the Reds' success during the remainder of the season.
Monday, the Reds will carry their momentum into a
three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American
Ballpark. The Reds could set themselves far apart from second place during
St. Louis' last visit to Cincinnati this season. Currently two games up on
the Cards, and a season-high sixteen games above the .500 mark, the next
three days will be epic, indeed.
"Itís time," Dusty Baker said. "People wanted us to focus on it
earlier. We had to focus on the Cubs. Itís hard to sweep them in Chicago.
That was a big sweep for us. Now (the Cardinals) are here and now we deal
with it. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be fun and it's the next
to last series where we know we can take care of our own business."
MONDAY: Mike "Godzilla" Leake (7-3, 3.86) vs. Chris Carpenter (12-3,
2.91) at 7:10pm on ESPN
Mike Leake has faced the Cardinals just once during his 2010 rookie season.
During the MLB Civil Rights Game on May 15, Leake went six innings and
allowed two runs on four hits. Leake received his fourth victory of the
season as the Reds beat Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals 4-3.
During his 13-year major league career, Chris Carpenter has faced the Reds
sixteen times. Carpenter has owned the Reds with a 10-3 record and a 1.69
ERA over his career and is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Reds this season,
but is recovering from his worst month of the season. In July, Carpenter
went 2-2 in six starts and posted a 3.60 ERA. Joy Votto owns a .400 career
average against Carpenter, Jonny Gomes is 0-7 with five strikeouts, and
Chris Dickerson's .385 career average against Carpenter could easily place
him into a Reds' uniform on Monday night.
TUESDAY: Johnny Cueto (11-2, 3.24) vs. Jaime Garcia (9-5, 2.53) at
Jonny Cueto is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts against St. Louis this
season. Over his three-year career, Cueto has faced the Cardinals eight
times and has posted a 6.39 ERA along with a 3-2 record. Cueto has kept
Albert Pujols quiet during his fourteen at-bats against him this season
(.214, 3BB, 2K), but has allowed Matt Holliday (8AB, .375, 4RBI) to succeed.
In his first two career starts against the Reds this season, Jaime Garcia is
undefeated (2-0). During 12.1 Innings pitched, Garcia struck out twelve
while allowing four runs on twelve hits. Jonny Gomes (3-5) and Drew Stubbs
(1-5) have both driven in two runs off Garcia this season.
WEDNESDAY: Bronson Arroyo (12-6, 3.83) vs. Adam Wainwright (16-6,
2.07) at 12:35pm
Overall, Bronson Arroyo is 7-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 23 starts against the
Cardinals during his career. In 2010, Arroyo is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA against
the Redbirds in three starts. Albert Pujols is hitting just .143 in seven
at-bats off Arroyo this year. In ten at-bats in '10, Matt Holliday has four
hits (1HR, 3RBI) when facing Arroyo.
Adam Wainwright has faced the Reds twice this season (1-1, 4.45). During his
six career starts against Cincinnati, Wainwright is 2-3 with a 4.68 ERA.
During nine starts during the day this season, he is 8-0 with a 1.45 ERA.
Joey Votto and Drew Stubbs are both hitless when facing Wainwright this
"It will be tough," Dusty Baker said. "This is what championship
baseball is all about."