A First-Place Team Comes To Town: Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Friday 8/6, 1:20 CT

The Reds have gotten off to good starts in several recent seasons, only to fade. This time, they look for real and will likely battle the Cardinals down to the end of the season.

The Cubs, though, won't see much of that competition; though the Cubs do have home-and-home series with the Cardinals in September, they won't play the Reds after a series in Cincinnati at the end of this month. In fact, of 29 games the Cubs play from September 1 to the end of the season (there's an unusual number of four off days that month), just a little over half (16) will be against teams in the NL Central.

I realize that that with interleague play and an unbalanced schedule and divisions in the National League that aren't all equal-sized, it's impossible not to play teams outside your division in September. But IF the Cubs were in a playoff chase now, and trailing one or more teams, it would be nearly impossible for them to catch those teams because of the small number of games between them. The Cubs do have nine games left with the Cardinals, but only three with the Brewers. They haven't played the Giants or Padres yet this year -- but will play 16 games against those two teams starting next week through the end of the season.

I'm hoping next year's schedule will make more sense, but I doubt it will.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Cubs
vs. Bronson Arroyo
Bronson Arroyo
Reds
6-5 W-L 11-6
3.48 ERA 4.07
89 SO 71
46 BB 49
5 HR 17
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Tom Gorzelanny 6-5 21 15 0 0 1 0 93.0 89 44 36 5 46 89 3.48 1.45


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Bronson Arroyo 11-6 22 22 2 0 0 0 148.0 125 68 67 17 49 71 4.07 1.18

Bronson Arroyo is 8-6, 2.91 in 20 career appearances (18 starts) against the Cubs; his last outing was six shutout innings in the Reds' 12-0 win on July 2 at Wrigley Field. Not very many Cubs hit him well, but one who does is newcomer Blake DeWitt, who is 4-for-10 off Arroyo.

Tom Gorzelanny has faced the Reds once this year, allowing them only an unearned run in 6.1 innings on April 11 in Cincinnati. As has been the case way too many times this year, the bullpen blew that game. Gorz has held current Reds to a .225 average (18-for-80) and has allowed only five home runs this year in 93 innings. He's been one of the pleasant surprises of this dismal season.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Ohio. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. As always, be careful over there.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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