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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, August 18th (All times eastern)

Chicago Cubs (46-71) at Cincinnati Reds (72-47), 1:10 & 7:10 p.m. (DH)

Probable Starting Pitchers: Game One: Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (8-10, 4.06) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.45)

Game Two: Chicago - Brooks Raley (0-2, 9.00) Cincinnati - Todd Redmond (0-0, 0.00)

(Sports Network) - Johnny Cueto aims to tie the major league lead in wins this afternoon when the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a day/night doubleheader from Great American Ball Park.

Already with a career-high 15 victories, Cueto is coming off a sparkling performance at Wrigley Field on Sunday when he limited the Cubs to three hits over eight shutout innings in a 3-0 win.

Cueto, who has won six of his last seven starts overall, is 8-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 home starts this season. Even more impressive is his mark in day games. The righty is 10-0 in 12 day contests and leads the NL with a 1.55 ERA in such games.

In two starts against the Cubs this season, he's 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA with both contests coming at Wrigley Field. Cueto is 6-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 16 career starts versus the Cubs.

Jeff Samardzija will counter for the Cubs in the afternoon game. The right- hander snapped a personal three-start winless streak on Monday by matching a career-high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings in a 7-1 win over the Houston Astros. His eight wins ties a career-high. This will be Samardzija's 16 career game and second start against the Reds.

Todd Redmond is slated for his major league debut in the nightcap for the Reds. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched for Triple-A Louisville on Sunday and suffered a 5-2 loss to Gwinnett after allowing five runs in the fourth inning, three on homers. Redmond was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 14 in the deal that sent infielder Paul Janish to the NL East club.

Brooks Raley gets his third career starting assignment in the night contest for the Cubs. The southpaw is coming off a loss to Cueto on Sunday. Raley allowed five hits and three runs over six innings.

Last night, Ryan Ludwick and rookie Todd Frazier both homered during a five- run fourth inning and the Reds won, 7-3.

Bronson Arroyo (9-7) got the win, giving up three runs on nine hit with three walks and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. He also doubled and scored on Zack Cozart's Tobago in the fourth.

Jay Bruce added a solo homer and Drew Stubbs had an RBI triple for the NL Central-leading Reds, who took three of four games from the Cubs last weekend and are six games ahead of Pittsburgh for the division lead.

Travis Wood (4-9) dropped his career-high sixth straight decision, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over five innings. He did not issue a walk, struck out three, and added an RBI single.

Luis Valbuena hit a solo home run for the Cubs, who are just 3-13 in their last 16 games dating to July 31.

"We swung the bats well," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Their pitchers made a couple nice plays to change a couple of innings around. Other than that, I was pretty happy the way we swung the bats. We just didn't get much to show for it."

The Reds are 7-3 versus Chicago this season.

08/18 10:38:13 ET