Reds face Cubs, look to rediscover winning formula at home

MLB

After starting the season strong at home, the Cincinnati Reds have struggled to win there of late.

Winning consistently anywhere has been a recent issue for the Chicago Cubs.

On Friday night, the Reds will look to avoid a fifth consecutive home defeat while keeping the Cubs from winning back-to-back road games for the first time this season.

Cincinnati opened the season with an 11-6 home loss to St. Louis, then won six in a row overall. They also won their next seven home games, and did so by averaging 9.1 runs and batting .317 during the span.

However, since that 6-1 start, Cincinnati is 5-12 overall. Also, the Reds have lost four straight home games since that early burst, and they have been outscored 33-23 while batting .243 with 45 strikeouts in those games.

The Reds return home following a 2-4 road trip, but two of those wins came against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. Even though Cincinnati was shut out for the fourth time this season, 8-0 by the Dodgers on Wednesday, there are some positive vibes after taking a series from the reigning World Series champions.

“I think if anything comes out of this, it’s just the importance of remembering to believe in yourself,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Continuing to have confidence no matter what’s going on.

“I do think a lot of positives did come out (of the Dodgers series) and we can continue to get better.”

Cincinnati pitchers need to be better at home after posting a 6.63 ERA while yielding 25 walks and seven home runs over the last four games.

The Reds’ scheduled starter for Friday is Wade Miley (2-2, 2.45 ERA), who allowed four hits while throwing 11 scoreless innings to win his first two starts of 2020. In his last two starts, however, the left-hander has given up six runs and 10 hits over 11 innings in a pair of losses.

Miley was rocked for six runs — five earned – over 1 2/3 innings of Cincinnati’s 8-7 home loss to the Cubs last July 27. Chicago’s Kris Bryant is 6-for-14 with a homer, and Willson Contreras is 4-for-12 with three doubles versus Miley, but Javier Baez is 2-for-13 against him.

For his career, Miley is 6-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 starts against the Cubs.

Ranked 27th in the majors with a team batting average of .213, the Cubs were outscored 33-10 during a five-game skid that ended with a 9-3 victory at Atlanta on Thursday. Anthony Rizzo had three hits and Bryant recorded two for Chicago, which is 3-7 on the road.

Scheduled Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (3-2, 2.57) has allowed one run over each of his last two starts covering a combined 11 innings. His teammates, however, have scored just 10 runs over five games with the right-hander on the mound this season.

“He doesn’t give in,” manager David Ross told the Cubs’ official website, referring to Arrieta, who retired 15 straight batters at one stretch during Sunday’s 6-0 loss to Milwaukee.

“He still has a lot of confidence in himself. I think his teammates feel that.”

Arrieta is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his last six starts at Cincinnati, but he has not faced the Reds there — or anywhere — since August 2017.

Joey Votto is batting .364 (8-for-22) with two doubles and two homers against Arrieta. Meanwhile, former Cubs player Nick Castellanos is batting .366 while hitting six of his seven home runs and recording 12 RBIs in 10 home games this season.

Bryant is batting .345 with three homers and nine RBIs in eight road games this season.

–Field Level Media

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