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Cincinnati Reds (7-9) at Chicago Cubs (4-11)
Saturday, April 19 - 2:20 PM EST
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
Not even an early exit by one of the Cincinnati Reds’ top hitters could stop their incredible success when it comes to beating the Chicago Cubs. After Brandon Phillips left the Reds’ series-opening road win with back spasms, Cincinnati hopes he will return to his familiar spot near the top of the order as the teams continue their three-game set Saturday. The Reds have thoroughly dominated the Cubs on their home field of late, winning 16 of the last 17 meetings at Wrigley Field.
"We hope that (Phillips’ injury is) not so severe that he can't play (Saturday). He wanted to stay in," Reds manager Bryan Price told the team’s official website after the 4-1 victory. Chicago ended its 24-inning scoreless streak with a seventh-inning single from Luis Valbuena, but has tallied only nine runs during its five-game losing streak. The Cubs are a National League East-worst 4-11, but may be able to draw some hope from their 2-2 record against left-handed starters, like the one they will face Saturday in the Reds’ Tony Cingrani.
TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds LH Tony Cingrani (1-1, 2.60 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Edwin Jackson (0-1, 6.19)
Cingrani yielded two runs on five hits while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 12-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The outing extended his major-league record streak to 21 starts to begin a career without giving up more than five hits and allowed the native of Evergreen, Ill., to improve to 8-5 with a 2.75 ERA as a starter in his career. Cingrani, who left with back spasms after 1 2/3 innings versus the Cubs in his final outing of last season, is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four all-time turns against them.
The 30-year-old Jackson was roughed up for the second straight time after allowing four runs on eight hits over six frames in Sunday’s 6-4 setback against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 12-year major-league veteran needed 114 pitches to get through the start after getting tagged for six runs and nine hits over 4 2/3 in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 8. Jackson has been sharp in five career starts against the Reds, however, going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
1. Cincinnati has won 14 of its last 18 meetings overall with Chicago.
2. Chicago SS Emilio Bonifacio has two hits in his last 24 at-bats – despite going 1-for-3 in the series opener – after opening the season 19-for-38.
3. The Reds stole five bases Friday and have 16 for the season, second in the majors behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
PREDICTION: Reds 6, Cubs 3