The host Chicago Cubs will go for their seventh consecutive win and a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds when the two meet Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
In the opener, the Cubs won 1-0 on David Bote’s homer to left in a game played in elements that better resembled March than May.
On Saturday, Chicago’s bats awoke as the Cubs scored four runs in the sixth and three in the eighth to win 10-2.
Cincinnati helped the Cubs to score two runs in the second inning with a defensive miscue, but manager David Bell said that alone did not cost his team the game.
“It’s never one play, one player whether you win or lose,” Bell said. “It’s always as a team and that’s how we approach it. Errors are going to happen.”
Chicago will go with right-hander Jake Arrieta (5-4, 4.37 ERA) as he makes his 10th start of the season and fifth at Wrigley.
He got a win in his last start at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings.
Arrieta has been better at home than on the road this season (2.86 ERA vs. 5.68) and traditionally has found success against the Reds.
This will be Arrieta’s 12th career start against Cincinnati, and he is 7-3 with a 3.80 ERA all-time against the Reds.
Arrieta only lasted 3 1/3 innings against Cincinnati in his most recent start against the Reds on April 30, giving up seven earned runs off seven hits including three home runs.
He started that game with a cut on his right thumb that was covered in glue.
“One of those nights where I knew I was going to need some good fortune” Arrieta said afterward, “and was going to just have to compete my way through it. Those starts don’t happen very often.”
The Reds will counter with right-hander Tyler Mahle (3-2, 3.75), who gave Cincinnati a strong start on Tuesday as he beat Max Scherzer and the host Washington Nationals 2-1.
In that game, Mahle — who ranks 14th in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings (10.01) — went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out two.
Mahle has faced the Cubs once this season, getting the no-decision in Cincinnati’s 13-12 win in 10 innings on May 2.
In that game, he gave up six runs off nine hits in 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.
The Cubs, who already have 10 players on the injured list as well as a few who are day-to-day, lost third baseman David Bote on Saturday.
Bote separated his left shoulder trying to break up a double play by sliding into second in the fourth inning. How long he will be out is not known.
“I have never dealt with anything like this,” Chicago manager David Ross said of the rash of injuries . “You do feel bad for the players, it is part of the season. I am thankful for the guys coming up who are having success. … They are helping out and that’s the sign of a good organization. They come up, fit right in and have good at-bats. As much as it stinks, i am very thankful for the guys we have coming up.”
Ross said Bote will undergo “further evaluations in the days to come. They put it back in, were icing it down and the doc saw it. He will have some tests done in the coming days.”
–Field Level Media