Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds - 8/4/2009

Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds

Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati, OH.

6:10 P.M. CDT

Tom Gorzelanny (3-1) vs. Johnny Cueto (8-8)

Inside The Numbers

Evergreen Park, IL. native and Marist High School grad Tom Gorzelanny will make his Cubs debut tonight in Cincinnati. Gorzelanny, who came over from the Pittsburgh Pirates along with left-handed reliever John Grabow, is 3-1 on the season with a 5.19ERA. Gorzelanny has pitched primarily out of the bullpen after struggling early in the season and being demoted to Triple-A, amassing 8.2 innings this season and giving up 6 hit and 5 earned runs. He has a 3.86 ERA on the road this season and right-handed opponents are hitting a minute .143 against the 6'2", 200 lb. lefty. Gorzelanny should be able to get off to a good start in a Cubs uniform against a sputtering Reds ballclub.

Johnny Cueto will be looking to end the Reds current 7 game losing streak when he toes the rubber tonight. Cueto comes into tonight's match-up with an 8-8 record and a 4.06 ERA in 21 starts. Opposing hitters are batting .262 against the righty. Cueto has not faired well in home night games this season, with a 4.20 ERA at home and a 4.15 ERA at night. In his last start against the Cubs, Cueto took the loss going 6.0 innings and giving up 9 hits and 4 earned runs. He walked 3 batters and had 4 strikeouts. The Cubs batters should be patient tonight against the Cincinnati starting pitcher. In his last 51.1 innings pitched he has walked 23 batters and given up 37 earned runs.

What To Watch For

Joey Votto

Reds First baseman Joey Votto has 5 hits in his last 25 at-bats over the past 7 days with only 3 RBIs and 5 strikeouts. However, he is batting .337 (30 hits in 89 at-bats) with a .584 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching on the season. he's batting .333 with 2 RBIs and 2 strikeouts against Gorzelanny this season. If the Cubs can manage to keep runners off of the bases in front of Votto they should be well on their way to sending Dusty Baker and his Cincinnati ballclub to their 8th straight loss.

The Cubs Big Boppers

Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are a combined 30 for 80 (.375 batting average) with 5 doubles, 5 homeruns, and 11 RBIs against Johnny Cueto this season. The Cubs should be able to get to the Reds starter early and often tonight. The question is -- can the bullpen sustain the lead?

Kevin Gregg

Should there be a save situation, Cubs fans will see a different fireman for the second night in a row. Cubs closer Kevin Gregg will be held out of tonight's game with a tired arm. Gregg has yielded 10 home runs this season -- the most by any reliever in the National League and tying Orioles right-hander Brian Bass, a middle reliever, for most in the majors entering Monday. On the road, Gregg is 11-for-16 with a 4.17 ERA and has allowed a .260 average with seven home runs. In contrast, at Wrigley Field, he's 10-for-10 in save situations, has a 2.92 ERA and has held opponents to a .213 batting average with three home runs.

John Grabow will be the Cubs primary set-up man. Carlos Zambrano, who only went 3.1 innings in his last start, may be used to bolster the bullpen for tonight's game.

Interesting Note

Cubs reliever John Grabow, upon his acquisition from Pittsburgh, requested # 34(the number formerly worn by Indians closer and Cubs "legend" Kerry Wood) from Cubs clubhouse manager Tom "Otis" Hellman. He was told that number 34 was unavailable (along with Wood's old locker in an already petite home clubhouse). Grabow took number 43 instead. Could there be plans in the works between Cubs brass and Kid K for a return to Wrigley Field? Not likely given the 2 year, $20 million pricetag currently hanging on the 1998 Rookie of the Year.

Next Up

The Cubs will retire # 22 in honor of Mark Prior and Kevin Hart.

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