Reds look to continue to confound Cubs

STATS/TSX

The Chicago Cubs will try to bounce back from their first loss in more than a week when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon in the second part of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

A 3-2 loss on Friday afternoon snapped a six-game winning streak for Chicago (49-36), which failed to score five-plus runs for the first time in nine games. The Cubs are 3-7 against the Reds this season.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (39-49) will try to keep up its recent hot streak. The Reds have won two straight, five of six and 14 of 18 to rewrite the narrative on a miserable start to the season.

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Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to make his 16th start. He does not have a victory in his past eight outings and is seeking his first win since May 11.

Control has been a problem for Chatwood, who leads the big leagues with 66 walks in 73 1/3 innings. He hopes for better results and his first win against Cincinnati, against whom he is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career starts. He has walked 17 and struck out 17 in 23 2/3 innings against the Reds.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.91), who will make his 15th start of the season and his 11th with the Reds. The 29-year-old has found confidence since arriving from the New York Mets, limiting opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his past three outings.

"It's nice to finally get into a groove, get into a rhythm, know I can get out of jams when I need to and also be able to go deep into games with consistent velocity and good stuff," Harvey said recently to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "When you start feeling healthy, the confidence comes back, for sure."

Harvey's renewed effectiveness could make him a trade candidate for an eager contender.

In five career starts against the Cubs, including three at Wrigley Field, Harvey has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.23 ERA. He has walked eight and whiffed 28 in 27 2/3 innings.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 because of inflammation in his left shoulder, is nearing a return as the weekend approaches. He said he felt good after taking swings in the batting cage Friday, which pleased team president Theo Epstein and others.

"The shoulder, it's an important joint for the swing, and his swing, and the finish he has," Epstein said to the team's official website. "I don't know that we expected it to (take) this long, but it's certainly very legitimate, and he needs to be able to execute his swing. I'm glad today is a good day, and hopefully we'll have him back sometime soon.

"He really wants to be out there, but any time you have an injury you feel on your swing, you have to be smart about it. He's been smart about it. He wants to be out there contributing. The fact that guys have stepped up and won some games makes it a little bit easier."

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