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Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Thursday 5/3, 11:35 CT

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Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs homers against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs homers against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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You might remember that just about a month ago, right before the season, I wrote a long post titled "Why The 2012 Cubs Could Get Off To A Hot Start".

And then the Cubs started 3-11. Wow! Did I look bad or what?

But the Cubs have now gone 6-4 in their last 10 games. They're obviously not a great team, or even a very good team. Nevertheless, there's talent in there that might have a hot streak in it. Cubs starting pitching -- well, at least the starting pitching named Garza, Dempster and Samardzija -- has been pretty good. They're getting offensive production from ... well, some of their lineup, anyway. And they don't even lead the league in blown saves, though it might seem that way. The Cubs have three blown saves. The Rockies lead the league with seven.

Last year's Cubs, who were pretty bad, won eight in a row at one point. It would not surprise me to see this team do that, and look really good for a while, before settling back to mediocrity, or worse.

Ryan Dempster is being activated from the DL to start today's game and Kerry Wood will also rejoin the 25-man roster today. If you missed the tweets earlier, Randy Wells and Scott Maine have been sent to Iowa to make room. Thus, the uselessness of Lendy Castillo continues.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus rf, Barney 2b, Castro ss, LaHair 1b, Soriano lf, Stewart 3b, Johnson cf, Soto c, Dempster p

Reds lineup:

Heisey CF, Harris 3B, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Ludwick LF, Mesoraco C, Valdez SS, Bailey P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey
Reds
0-1 W-L 1-2
1.33 ERA 3.60
23 SO 16
8 BB 9
1 HR 3
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ryan Dempster 0-1 3 3 0 0 0 0 20.1 11 5 3 1 8 23 1.33 .93


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Homer Bailey 1-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 25.0 25 14 10 3 9 16 3.60 1.36

Ryan Dempster was off to the best start of his Cubs career as a starting pitcher. Naturally, that meant a stay on the DL. In 2011, in five starts vs. the Reds he posted a 2.81 ERA and 1.344 WHIP, with only two home runs allowed in 32 innings. Current Reds are hitting .224 (46-for-205) against him and the best of them isn't Joey Votto, as you might guess (he's hitting only .222 against Dempster), but Ryan Ludwick (12-for-30, .400, three doubles, one home run).

Homer Bailey threw seven strong innings on April 20 at Wrigley Field, giving the Cubs four runs, although only one of them was earned. Bryan LaHair had a couple of hits off him that day; maybe he can do it again.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. 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 post at 11:35 a.m. CDT and the overflows at 12:35, 1:35 and 2:20 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.