Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds - 8/5/2009



6:10 P.M. CST

Great American Ballpark

Cincinnati, OH.

Rich Harden (7-6) vs. Justin Lehr (0-0)

Scouting Report

Rich Harden is 7-6 on the season with a 4.50 ERA in 18 starts. He's given up 91 hits in 98 innings pitched, 19 of which have been homeruns. Harden has issued 41 walks while striking out 115. Hitters are batting .245 against Harden on the season. Harden is coming off of a strong outing on Friday in Florida against the Marlins where he pitched 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, walking 3 and striking out 11. In his last outing against the Reds on July 26th Harden got the win, pitching 6 innings, giving up 1 hit and 1 earned run. He did not walk a single batter and had 8 strikeouts.

Justin Lehr will be making his second Major League start two days after his 32nd birthday. Lehr was called up July 31st from Triple-A Louisville and started against the Colorado Rockies. Lehr recorded a no-decision, going 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 earned runs. He walked 6 batters and did not record a strikeout. In his 4 year Major League career, batters are hitting .279 against the 6'2", 215 lbs. right-hander out of the University of Southern California.

Lehr, who was 13-3 with a 3.31 ERA this season in the minors, was named the International League's pitcher of the week last week. He began the 2009 season in the Phillies' organization, but was traded in May and began his third stint with the Reds organization in less than two years. Since returning to Louisville, Lehr was 8-1with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts and one relief appearance. His previous big league stops were with the A's and Brewers. In fact, the right-hander's last big league appearance was against the Reds with the Brewers on May 22, 2006.

Inside The Numbers

Rich Harden has a 2.19 ERA in away games and a 2.37 ERA in night games on the season. Harden also has a 2.38 ERA in the last 30 days. Harden should fair wll against the Reds right-hand dominant line-up. Right-handers are batting .223 against Harden on the season (.271 for left-handers).

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee has 14 hits in his last 39 at-bats (.359) with 3 homeruns, 10 RBIs, and 12 strikeouts. Lee is 2-9 with a homerun, 2 RBIs, and 5 strikeouts in this series against the Reds. Lee's numbers are staggering over the past 10 games and he did have a towering homerun to leftfield late in lastnight's ballgame. However, it appears that Lee is having a hard time picking up the slider in the last 2 games.

Second baseman Mike Fontenot is 5 for his last 14 (.357 batting average) with a homerun and 3 RBIs to begin the month of August. He's looked more comfortable in the batter's box, hitting pitches back up the middle and to right-center field. Fontenot has already matched his career high in homeruns and is 5 RBIs shy of tying his career high in that category. Look for Fontenot to finish this season strong as the Cubs push towards a 3rd straight Central Division title.

Last night, reliever Angel Guzman took his turn on the Cubs merry-go-round that has become the 8th and 9th innings. Guzman faced 7 Reds batters, pitching 1.1 innings, giving up 2 hits and 2 earned runs, both on a Wladimir Balentien 9th inning homer. He notched one strikeout. In 42 games, Guzman is 2-2 with a 2.68 ERA to go along with 12 holds and 1 save. He has given up 14 runs (all earned) in 47 innings pitched with 15 walks and 37 strikeouts. Batters are hitting .206 against the Cubs right-hander.

Prediction

Cubs win 5-2

News and Notes

Lastnight's winning pitcher Tom Gorzelanny grew up in the south suburbs cheering for the White Sox. When asked to rank his favorite teams as a youngster on Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago, Gorzelanny replied, "The Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox,and Bulls -- the Cubs were pretty far down on the list." Welcome to the dark side Tom!

Centerfielder Kosuke Fukudome opened lastnight's game with the first leadoff home run of his career.

Derrek Lee led off the seventh inning by hitting his 150th homer as a Cub, passing Mark Grace on the teams all-time list.

Cubs closer Kevin Gregg will be available tonight out of the bullpen in a save situation.

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