Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Friday 8/5, 1:20 CT: Let's Knock Another Team Out!

Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated by teammate Tyler Colvin after hitting a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

When the Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central in 2010, many sung their praises, saying young players like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce would lead them to dominance in the division for several seasons. I had my doubts; the 2010 Reds got a big year out of Scott Rolen, and there was no proof that Votto could repeat his MVP season.

Maybe it was just a lucky guess, but -- at least as of now -- it appears I might be right; Rolen has been injured and showing his age, and while Votto is having a good year, it's nowhere near MVP quality. The Reds' starting pitching has also, apart from Johnny Cueto, been pretty mediocre. Francisco Cordero has five blown saves, tied for fourth in MLB. They have also had a bit of bad luck; they have a +42 run differential, which should translate to approximately a 60-51 record, but they are six games worse at 54-57, and 7.5 games out of first place.

Good, I say; let's hope the Cubs can squash their repeat hopes this weekend.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Campana CF, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, DeWitt 2B, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Hill C, Dempster P

Reds lineup:

Stubbs cf, Janish ss, Votto 1b, Phillips 2b, Bruce rf, Hernandez c, Alonso lf, Frazier 3b, Leake p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Mike Leake
Mike Leake
Reds
8-8 W-L 9-6
4.96 ERA 3.89
129 SO 83
45 BB 28
15 HR 12
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 8-8 24 23 0 0 0 0 134.1 145 77 74 15 45 129 4.96 1.41


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Mike Leake 9-6 25 18 0 0 0 0 113.1 108 50 49 12 28 83 3.89 1.20

Ryan Dempster is 1-1 vs. the Reds this season with a very good 2.08 ERA, and has allowed just one home run to a Reds hitter (Drew Stubbs, on May 8 at Wrigley Field). In fact, Dempster, after giving up nine HR in April, has allowed only six in 103.1 innings since then, and just two in 60.2 innings since June 8.

Mike Leake defeated the Cubs on June 6 in Cincinnati, giving up just two runs in eight innings. He has never lost to the Cubs in four career starts; in one Wrigley Field start last year, he gave up three runs in six innings in another of those blowouts we were so familiar with a year ago. Enough of that already.

Today's game is on WGN 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. Be careful over there, though.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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