After getting swept by the Atlanta Braves this past weekend, the Cincinnati Reds are thrilled to come home and face a team, they have dominated the last two season. Also, they will have one of the hottest pitchers on the mound in Alfredo Simon on Monday, who has been outstanding while filling in for the injured Mat Latos.
Jeff Samardzija has been nearly as good for the Chicago Cubs, but he doesn’t have much to show for it.
In a rematch of an earlier get together between the two, a week and a half ago, Simon takes the hill opposite Samardzija as the Reds open a three-game home set against the Cubs on Monday night.
Simon has given Cincinnati a huge lift, surrendering two runs or fewer in each of his first four outings while holding opponents to a .172 average. The right-hander is looking to win a third consecutive start after allowing two runs and four hits over 6 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory at Pittsburgh.
Simon pitched well in a 4-1 win at Wrigley Field on April 18, allowing one unearned run over six-plus innings opposite Samardzija.
Samardzija, who has yet to yield more than two earned runs this season, can’t seem to catch a break. The right-hander has struck out 27 and walked just nine over five starts spanning 35 1-3 innings while receiving a combined nine runs of support.
Samardzija has received an average of 2.60 runs of support during an 11-start winless stretch dating to last year.
Samardzija surrendered three runs, one earned and struck out seven in as many innings against the Reds earlier this month, dropping to 0-4 with a 4.75 ERA in his last seven starts in the series.
The Reds just suffered a three-game sweep as I said in the beginning, at Atlanta to conclude a 5-5 road trip, falling 1-0 in 10 innings on Sunday. Cincinnati also lost 4-1 on Saturday and is 7 for 61 (.115) in its last two games.
“It was tough for us,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It was another one-run game that we weren’t able to pull out. You want to win the games that are there.”
The Cubs had dropped four in a row before posting their first shutout in Sunday’s 4-0 win at Milwaukee.
The Reds are 25-7 against the Cubs dating to August 2012 after taking two of three in this season’s first series.
First pitch is at 7:10pm, TV: FSN OHIO, RADIO : 700 WLW.