Friday, April 20, 2012

Series notes: Chicago Cubs

This weekend features a series at Wrigley Field between two clubs that aren't exactly "setting the world on fire" right now. The host Cubs (3-10) enter Friday's affair riding a 5-game losing skid and a last place standing in the division. Meanwhile, Dusty Baker leads the Reds (5-8) into the Windy City hoping that a trio of games against the hapless Cubs will get the team back to .500. Can the Reds salvage what has been a poor road trip so far (2-5), or will the Northsiders add to the team's woes?

Here's a look at the game times, pitching probables and other notables regarding the series:

Friday - 2:20pm ET:Homer Bailey(0-2, 5.40) vs. Chris Volstad (0-1, 4.91)

Saturday - 1:05pm ET: Mike Leake (0-1, 5.84) vs. Paul Maholm (0-2, 13.50)

Sunday - 2:20pm ET: Johnny Cueto (1-0, 1.89) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.33)

* This weekend will mark the first between the two division foes in 2012. The Reds won the season series 11-7 in 2011, but was just 4-5 at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
* Neither club has won a night game yet (CIN=0-6, CHC=0-4). And that won't change this weekend as all three games will be played during the daylight hours.
* The Reds are hoping to post back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
* Ailing Cub - Kerry Wood (shoulder) is listed as day-to-day although he is expected to be available for the series.
* Star of Chi-Town - SS Starlin Castro is currently 9th in the league in batting average (.360) and 3rd in stolen bases (7).
* The Cubs enter the weekend 26th in MLB in runs scored (43), 25th in average (.233), 30th in homers (5), and 25th in OBP (.295).
* The Cubs also rank 25th in the bigs in team ERA (4.85), 17th in WHIP (1.33), and 22nd in fielding percentage (.978).
* Cubs tamer - Leake is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.105 WHIP in 7 career starts against the Cubs.
* The two clubs will tangle again on May 1-3 for a 3-game set at Great American Ball Park.

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