Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Reds-Cubs Scouting Report

        When: 8:05 p.m. today; 2:20 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

        Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago.

        Radio: WLW-AM (700).

        TV: Fox Sports Ohio, today only.

        Records: Cincinnati 19-24, fifth place Central Division; Chicago 23-20, tied for third place Central Division.

        Probable pitchers:

        • Today, RHP Brian Reith (0-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. RHP Julian Tavarez (3-3, 2.92)

        • Wednesday, RHP Rob Bell (0-2, 4.09) vs. RHP Jason Bere (3-2, 5.00)

        • Thursday, Osvaldo Fernandez (5-2, 5.44) vs. RHP Jon Lieber (3-3, 3.71).

        The bats: Chicago hit .208 during an eight-game losing streak that ended Saturday. Though the Cubs have won two straight, they've received little offensive production from their catchers, first basemen and center fielders. Chicago misses 3B Bill Mueller (.317), who will probably be sidelined until mid-July with a broken left kneecap. Sammy Sosa (14 homers, 39 RBI) is doing his usual thing.

        The arms: Relief pitching is a definite strength. Todd Van Poppel and Kyle Farnsworth rank 1-2 among the majors' relievers in strikeouts per nine innings. Jeff Fassero, a starter for his entire career, has 10 saves. The Reds won't face Kevin Tapani (6-1), who has the best record of any Cubs starter.

        The rest: Cincinnati likes visiting Wrigley Field. The Reds have won 12 of their last 16 games there.


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