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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Monday 5/16, 6:10 CT: The Two-Game Series

Players are not fond of two-game series, especially on the road. They don't get much time to unpack before they have to re-pack, and in this case it's not that short a flight to their next stop -- Miami -- before yet another two-game series and another moderate-length flight (to Boston). The entire road trip will be played at night -- unusual for this time of year -- in fact, the Cubs have nine consecutive night games before they'll finally play again under sunshine on Thursday, May 26.

It does, at least, appear that the Cubs have at last outrun the rain; the Cincinnati forecast calls for a chance of light showers, but current radars show nothing anywhere near southwest Ohio.

In case you care, the sad MLB saga of Milton Bradley is likely over. The Mariners gave him his unconditional release today.

Finally, Tom Ricketts spoke to Ed Sherman at Crain's and had these interesting remarks about the lack of ticket sales:

Our ticket prices did not go up this year. This might be an issue from years past. For our season ticket holders, the average price did not go up. It was flat. We did juggle the pricing and added more premium games. But we took those dollars and subsidized 70% of our least expensive tickets. We increased the amount of our low-priced tickets.

I can't stand it when I hear someone say they can't afford to go to a game. It might be hard to get tickets for a Yankees or Sox game, but there's no reason why they can't afford to go another game. We want to get more fans in the park.

I'll let you all comment on that one. I've already written quite a bit about this topic.

Cubs lineup:

RF Fukudome, 2B Barney, SS Castro, 3B Ramirez, LF Soriano, CF Byrd, 1B Pena, C Hill, P Zambrano

Reds lineup:

Stubbs CF, Renteria SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Rolen 3B, Gomes LF, Hanigan C, Bailey P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
vs. Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey
4-1 W-L 2-0
4.35 ERA 0.69
36 SO 12
16 BB 1
4 HR 0
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

2011 - Carlos Zambrano 4-1 8 8 0 0 0 0 51.2 47 25 25 4 16 36 4.35 1.22

2011 - Homer Bailey 2-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 13.0 9 1 1 0 1 12 0.69 .77

Carlos Zambrano did not start last weekend at Wrigley against the Reds; his last start against them was April 10, 2010, one of his better outings before his banishment to the bullpen. Current Reds are hitting .267 (52-for-195) against Z, the best of whom is Edgar Renteria (.382, 13-for-34, seven walks). Big Z has won five straight starts at GABP, dating back to July 29, 2007.

Homer Bailey has made two starts for the Reds this year since returning from the DL on May 5. He, too, missed the recent weekend series. In four games against him in his career, the Cubs have pounded him for a 7.65 ERA and 13 walks in 20 innings. Current Cubs are 11-for-39 (.282) against Bailey with three... homers, one by Marlon Byrd, one by Alfonso Soriano, and one from Starlin Castro -- that Castro homer was in his first major league at-bat last May 7 in Cincinnati. Let's hope for another one tonight.

Today's game is the fourth of the year on WCIU. There are only two more. If you have EI and are outside the blackout areas, you should be able to get the FSN Ohio feed. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. The usual caution is advised.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.