Cincinnati (6-8) at Chicago (8-5)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Wed Apr 16, 2008
  • TV: FSOH, CLTV
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A freak injury has left the Cubs without star outfielder Alfonso Soriano for a while. With the way teammate Derrek Lee is playing, though, it may not be that devastating a loss.

Lee looks to continue his torrid start and lead the Cubs to their third straight victory when they continue their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

Chicago (8-5) defeated the Reds 9-5 in Tuesday’s series opener, but the win proved costly as Soriano injured his right calf when he used his unique hop to catch Ken Griffey’s first-inning fly ball.

Soriano was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after an MRI confirmed a strained right calf.

He missed time last season with a hamstring strain and a strained right quadriceps, and the defending NL Central Division champion Cubs went just 12-15 without him. Soriano has gotten off to a slow start to this season, though, hitting only .175 (10-for-57) with two home runs.

With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field on Monday, Chicago hit three homers, as Lee, Mark DeRosa and Ryan Theriot all went deep.

The Cubs have hit 18 home runs through their first 13 games this season after hitting eight in their first 13 last season.

Lee has been a big reason for Chicago’s power surge. He leads the team with a .368 batting average, five home runs and 12 RBIs. He didn’t hit his fifth homer of 2007 until June 1.

Lee is 9-for-17 (.529) with two home runs and six RBIs during his four-game hit streak, and is batting .406 (13-for-32) with two homers and four doubles in his career against Wednesday’s scheduled starter Josh Fogg (1-1, 7.00 ERA).

The Cubs counter with Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 3.20), who looks to bounce back from a rough outing and continue his strong start at Wrigley Field.

After allowing only two runs in 13 2-3 innings in his first two starts of the season - both at home - Zambrano yielded five runs and nine hits in six innings of a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia on Friday.

The right-hander struggled mightily at Wrigley last year, going 6-9 with a 4.96 ERA in 17 starts.

The Cubs’ ace now tries to end his struggles against Cincinnati (6-8), which has lost four straight.

Zambrano went 2-4 with a 5.30 ERA in six starts versus the Reds last season, and is just 3-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 12 career starts against them at Chicago.

Tuesday’s game was Reds manager Dusty Baker’s first trip back to Wrigley Field after managing the Cubs from 2003-06.

Baker got Chicago within five outs of the World Series five years ago, but after a last-place finish in 2006, his contract was not renewed. He was booed loudly when changing pitchers in the seventh and eighth innings.

“Sooner or later you’re going to get booed. So, what the heck?” Baker said before the game.

Griffey hit his 595th homer on Tuesday, and is 11-for-30 (.367) with two homers and five doubles lifetime against Zambrano.

Fogg gave up three runs - one earned - and four hits in five innings of a 12-4 victory over Milwaukee last Wednesday after allowing six runs, five hits and three walks in an 8-4 loss to Philadelphia on April 4, his season debut.

The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA in his last three starts against the Cubs, and is 3-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 career outings at Wrigley Field.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Fogg Phi vs. C. Zambrano Phi
2-7 Record 14-6
7.58 ERA 3.91
45 K 130
27 BB 72
1.58 WHIP 1.29

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Apr 16