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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (6-9) at Chicago Cubs (4-10), 2:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20) Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Samardzija hopes for some run support on Friday when the Chicago Cubs open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.
After not scoring in his first two starts, the Cubs finally managed to push a run across for Samardzija in his final inning of work against St. Louis on Friday. Still, the hard-throwing righty didn't get a decision, despite allowing just one run and six hits in seven innings of his team's 6-3 win.
In three starts this season Samardzija is 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA.
"You keep pitching and keep giving your team a chance to come out and give you runs -- I learned my lesson when I was in the bullpen," said Samardzija, who is 1-3 lifetime versus the Reds with a 4.92 ERA in 21 games (7 starts). "You go out and have quick innings and come back in, and a lot of times, you get some runs."
Chicago's bats were certainly quiet on Wednesday in the Bronx, as the Cubs were swept in a day/night doubleheader by the New York Yankees and were shutout in both contests, losing 3-0 in game one, then falling, 2-0, in the nightcap.
The Cubs lost the final four legs of their five-game road trip and have dropped five of six overall.
"We could use a nice outing from Jeff (Samardzija) to stop this roll a little bit, but the reality is that we have to grind out good at bats and get some timely hitting," Renteria said. "I know they are all cliches, but we need to drive in some runs. It's just a matter of staying within ourselves and not trying to do too much. Hopefully, we can get that started at home."
It may not get any easier for the Cubs on Friday as they go up against a Cincinnati team that won 14 of 19 from Chicago in 2013, including 13 of the last 17 games.
Going back to 2012, the Reds have taken 23 of the last 29 meetings.
It's been even worse at Wrigley, where the Reds have won 15 of the last 16 from the Cubs. A 12-game win streak was snapped on June 13, ending the most consecutive wins by an opponent in the ballpark's 100-year history.
Cincinnati, which enters this matchup on the heels of a series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, will rely on righty Alfredo Simon, who has been stellar filling in for the injured Mat Latos. Simon suffered a hard-luck loss on Saturday against Tampa Bay, as he allowed a run and five hits in eight innings of his team's 1-0 setback to fall to 1-1 on the year to go along with a 1.20 ERA.
"This is an opportunity that he is seizing," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think he sees himself as a starter or a primary setup man or closer. He's certainly showed us his value to the organization as a starter. Not having Latos ready right now, he's been a huge shot in the arm and given us a chance to win a couple of games in his first two starts."
This will be Simon's first start against the Cubs, but has faced them 10 times in relief, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
Cincinnati was 14-5 versus the Cubs last season.
04/18 10:21:28 ET