A Day Game, For A Change: Cubs vs. Reds, Sunday 6/7, 12:10 CT

The Cubs have played five straight night games (record: 2-3), and it would have been six if not for the rainout on Thursday.

They have a much better record in day games -- 13-9 -- as opposed to the 14-17 record in after-dark affairs. A lot of this, of course, is due to the home schedule; they are only 2-4 in road day games so far in 2009. Time to change that this afternoon.

Despite Mike Fontenot's rough day at 3B yesterday, he gets the start again today, via Twittermyer:

Soriano, lf; Theriot, ss; Fukudome, rf; Lee, 1b; Fontenot, 3b; Johnson, cf; Hill, c; Blanco, 2b; Wells, p

If you can stand a little more talk about Z's "retirement" speech, Bruce Miles' take on it is about the same as mine:

Retiring? Yeah, sure. And I’m going to be the Cubs’ next left-handed relief specialist.

From what I’ve read, Z has been in a goofy mood all week after the hubbub surrounding his blowing off of the team charter to Atlanta. He’s grabbed reporters’ notepads and directed them to other "controversies," such as Lou calling Geo Soto into his office for "a nice chat" the other day. (Actually, Z can be a lot of fun to be around when he gets like this, and I kind of like the big goofball.)

So I’m not betting against Carlos Zambrano being the Cubs’ opening-day starter in April 2014 in the newly refurbished Wrigley Field (or whatever it will be called). Maybe they’ll even show the "Best of Big Z" on one of the new JumboTrons they're going to install.

New JumboTrons? Don't count on that. But I think Bruce is right regarding Z in April 2014, when Wrigley Field will begin its 100th anniversary year.

Lou echoes what the rest of us feel, and what I wrote about in the game recap earlier today: the Cubs really, really miss Aramis Ramirez:

"I told him we're not trying to rush him, but we are," Piniella said, smiling at that point. "No, I told him it's important we get him back as soon as we can. He's a big part of this team and a big part of our offense."

Overall, the Cubs are hitting just .233 with men in scoring position. They're 4-for-32 (.125) with runners in scoring position on this road trip -- 0-for-17 since they got to Cincinnati.

Ramirez is expected back around the All-Star break next month.

I'd settle for after the All-Star break, just to make sure. If the Cubs can hang in there right about where they are -- three or four games behind -- until then, and they have series with both the teams they are chasing right before the ASB -- I think they'll be fine after A-Ram's return, even if he's not 100%.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Bronson Arroyo
Bronson Arroyo
0-2 W-L 7-4
1.69 ERA 5.37
27 SO 37
7 BB 24
1 HR 12
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

2009 - Randy Wells 0-2 5 5 0 0 0 0 32.0 24 7 6 1 7 27 1.69 .97

2009 - Bronson Arroyo 7-4 11 11 1 0 0 0 70.1 74 42 42 12 24 37 5.37 1.39

Bronson Arroyo has a decent 7-6, 3.18 lifetime record vs. the Cubs in 18 appearances (16 starts). This year he's 7-4 -- the seven wins have him tied for the NL lead with, among others, Jason Marquis, again illustrating how meaningless individual pitcher wins are. However, the 5.37 ERA and 12 HR allowed are ugly -- the ERA ranks fifth-worst among all NL qualified pitchers, and the HR allowed are fourth-worst. The wins largely result from the 52 runs the Reds have scored in his 11 starts, one of the top run-support marks in the league. Mike Fontenot, who had a tough day yesterday, is 2-for-3 lifetime vs. Arroyo -- a double and a HR. It's going to be a warm, pleasant hitter's type day in Cincinnati. Time for the bats to come alive!

Randy Wells has never faced the Reds or anyone on their current roster. Let's hope that works to his advantage.

Today's game, as last night's, is on cable in the Cincinnati area, and also nationally on WGN. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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