Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Sunday 8/7, 1:20 CT: Eight Would Be Great

Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs raises his fist after hitting a solo home run during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on August 6, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Sweeping series is never easy, but the Cubs have a chance for back-to-back series sweeps if they defeat the Reds on Sunday.

The Cubs have actually had a history of this in recent years. Despite an overall record of 91-96 against the Reds since 2000 -- a time in which the Reds have been mostly bad, and the Cubs have had six winning seasons -- the Cubs have swept the Reds in a three-game series twice at Wrigley Field during that time: May 22-24, 2001 (which included a one-hitter thrown by Jon Lieber on May 24) and July 24-26, 2009.

Let's make that three sweeps this afternoon. And check out this note about what the Cubs have been doing so far this month:

It’s the formula that has led to a 6-0 mark to begin August. That last happened in 1969, a year of Cubs ­infamy. According to STATS, the Cubs have had only two 7-0 starts to August, in 1909 (9-0) and 1927 (8-0).

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Campana LF, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Byrd CF, DeWitt 2B, Soto C, Colvin RF, Wells P

Reds lineup was not available at posting time.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Bronson Arroyo
Bronson Arroyo
Reds
3-4 W-L 7-9
5.89 ERA 5.45
49 SO 76
30 BB 32
12 HR 30
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randy Wells 3-4 13 13 0 0 0 0 70.1 84 47 46 12 30 49 5.89 1.62


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Bronson Arroyo 7-9 25 22 0 0 0 0 135.1 158 87 82 30 32 76 5.45 1.40

Randy Wells last pitched against the Reds in 2010. His three starts against them last year resulted in a 2-1 record and 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings, with just two HR allowed. Wells looked better in his last outing; maybe he's finally returning to his good late-2010 form. Drew Stubbs and Joey Votto are the only current Reds to have HR off Randy, but Votto is just 3-for-17 (.176) overall against him.

Bronson Arroyo threw seven good innings against the Cubs on May 7 at Wrigley Field, allowing just one run. But the Cubs came back and won that game in the bottom of the ninth. In seven starts since June 25, Arroyo has posted a 6.65 ERA in 44 innings and given up 13 (!) home runs. He leads the major leagues with 30 HR allowed, and the Cubs seem on a home run binge lately. Among current Cubs, Aramis Ramirez (two) and Blake DeWitt, Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd (one each) have homered off Arroyo.

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. 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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