Despite spending more than $300 million in the offseason, the Chicago Cubs are off to their worst start at home in a decade—and the frustration has started to get to new manager Lou Piniella.
The Cubs (3-6) look to end a four-game losing streak when they continue a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds (6-4) on Saturday.
Chicago is off to its first 0-3 start at Wrigley Field since 1997, when that team lost its first six home games and 14 overall. After watching his team blow a five-run lead to lose 6-5 in the series opener Friday, Piniella finally erupted.
“What the hell do you think isn’t working? You see the damn game,” said Piniella, who had plenty of reasons to be upset.
Starter Carlos Zambrano, who doubled and a homered at the plate, was near perfect for the first four innings before collapsing in the fifth. He had held Cincinnati to just one hit before a two-run single by Josh Hamilton sparked a six-run inning. After giving up run-scoring hits by Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. and hitting Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch, Zambrano was replaced by Will Ohman—who walked the next two batters, allowing the Reds to take a 6-5 lead.
“I can start to see some of the ways this team has lost ballgames,” an exasperated Piniella said. “I can see it. We’ve got to correct it obviously.
To try and get their first win at home, the Cubs will turn to Rich Hill (1-0, 1.29 ERA). The left-hander allowed only a solo homer over seven innings of a 9-3 win over Milwaukee on April 6. He was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game versus Houston, but it was postponed due to poor weather.
Hill was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts versus the Reds last year.
Bronson Arroyo (0-1, 3.86) will start for Cincinnati. A 14-game winner last year, the right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings against Arizona on Monday and didn’t get a decision in a 3-2 loss.
This is Arroyo’s second time facing the Cubs this season. He allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 4-1 loss in his season debut on April 4.
He hasn’t allowed a run while winning his last two starts at Wrigley Field, giving up a total of 10 hits with 11 strikeouts.
The Cubs played Friday without third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was scheduled to be seen by a hand specialist because of a swollen right wrist suffered in spring training. Ramirez, batting .406 (13-for-32), will be re-evaluated Saturday
“Let’s hope it’s not serious, but he’s got a lot of swelling,” Piniella said Friday.