Greg Maddux will try to avoid going winless in a month for the first time in nearly five years when he takes the mound for the Chicago Cubs in the middle game of a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
Maddux (5-4, 4.28 ERA) is 0-4 with a 7.81 ERA in five May starts after going 5-0 with a 1.35 ERA and being named the NL pitcher of the month in April. The 40-year-old right-hander last went winless in a month in September 2001, while with Atlanta.
“I’m pitching like (garbage). Plain and simple,” Maddux said.
The four-time CY Young Award winner gave up six runs—five in the fifth inning—and eight hits in a 9-3 loss to Florida on Wednesday. He showed his frustration with his fifth-inning performance by grabbing a bat and slugging a water cooler in the dugout.
“I made pretty good pitches, but they got me,” Maddux said. “You don’t like to lose, especially like that.”
He will get a chance to bounce back and earn his first win since April 28 when he meets a Reds team that he held to one run and three hits in six innings of a 4-1 win on April 12. Maddux is 18-16 with a 3.61 ERA in 47 starts against Cincinnati (28-23).
Maddux will try to lead the Cubs (19-31) to consecutive victories for the first time since May 16-17 after they ended a six-game losing streak with a 7-3 win in the opener of this series on Monday behind Kerry Wood’s first victory since July 15.
Todd Walker went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer, and is 11-for-25 (.440) in the last six games. He is hitting .419 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 16 games against the Reds.
The Cubs have scored 19 runs in their last two games after plating a total of 22 in going 1-7 in the previous eight contests.
The Reds will try to quiet the Cubs’ bats when they send Brandon Claussen (3-5, 5.25) to the mound. The left-hander is looking to rebound from his last outing, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“We’d like to see him throw more strikes,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “We’ve told him that we’d like to see him get guys out early in the count.”
Claussen has struggled at Wrigley Field, going 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA over three starts. He lost to Maddux on April 12, giving up four runs and five hits in five innings.
Adam Dunn, who hit a solo homer for Cincinnati on Monday, is hitting .320 with 17 homers and 36 RBIs in 41 games at Wrigley Field.
The Reds have dropped 15 of their last 24 games, including five of seven on the road.