With the upcoming season fast approaching here's a look at part of the Reds' upcoming schedule.
The Chicago Cubs look to rebound from a rebuilding season that sent them to their third straight losing season. Last season the Cubs went 61-101 including 4-13 against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds took away any home field advantage from Chicago going 8-2 at Wrigley Field.
Dale Sveum enters his second year with the Cubs as manager and has some key pieces returning. Alfonso Soriano showed that he still has some pop at age 37 after belting 32 homers and driving in a career best 108 runs. Chicago also returns gold glove second baseman Darwin Barney and All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro as well as up and coming first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
The newest faces to Cubs fans will be in the starting rotation as Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker and Scott Feldman all look to start fresh at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. The Cubs also went out and signed one of the best relievers from Japan in Kyuji Fujikawa.
Key Additions: Edwin Jackson (Nationals), Scott Baker (Twins/did not play in 2012), Scott Feldman (Rangers), Dioner Navarro (Reds), Scott Hairston (Mets), Nate Schierholtz (Phillies)
Key Departures: Bryan LaHair (Japan), Tony Campana (Diamondbacks)
Here's a look at what the Chicago Cubs might look like when the face the Reds:
Rotation (2012 Stats):
1. Jeff Samardzija (9-13, 3.81 ERA, 180 strikeouts) finished his first full year as a starter with a bang as he tossed a complete game against the Pirates before being shut down early to save his arm from being overused in meaningless games.
2. Matt Garza (5-7, 3.91 ERA, 96 Ks) had to sit out a lot of 2012 with an injury and finds himself in the same situation to start this season as he is on the DL with a strained lat muscle. Garza could also be potential trade bait if he can stay healthy.
3. Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03 ERA, 168 Ks w/Nationals) is a serviceable pitcher who eats innings pitching in at least 189 innings in each of the last four seasons. He's also an All-Star, World Series Champ (w/ St. Louis) and like Garza, has thrown a no-hitter.
4. Scott Baker hasn't played since 2011 after having elbow surgery last season, but was one the better arms for the Twins in the past five years. He's compiled a 63-48 record although his career 4.15 ERA is nothing to write home about.
5. Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.09 ERA, 96 Ks w/Rangers) came off an injury shortened 2011 and saw his numbers stay in decline from his breakout year in 2009 when he won 17 games.
6. Travis Wood/Carlos Villanueva-Wood and Villanueva both get a chance to crack the rotation with the injury to Garza and could make the rotation full-time if Baker or Feldman have any complications from previous injuries. Wood went 6-13 last season for the Cubs after being traded by the Reds before the season and Villanueva went 7-7 as a reliever and a starter for the Blue Jays.
Hector Rondon comes over from Cleveland as a rule 5 draft pick, but missed time in 2012 with an injury.
Chris Rusin (2-3, 6.37 ERA, 21 Ks) picked up his first major league win back on Sept. 14 against the Pirates and finished the year with a victory over Arizona.
Rafael Dolis (2-4, 6.39 ERA, 24 Ks) had a chance to take over the closer's role and was able to convert four saves, but a 1.66 WHIP and two blown saves gave the job back to Carlos Marmol.
Alberto Cabrera (1-1, 5.40 ERA, 27 Ks) picked up his first MLB win on Sept. 21 after a scoreless inning against the Cardinals.
Michael Bowden (0-0, 2.95 ERA, 32 Ks w/Red Sox and Cubs) came over from Boston early on and enjoyed great success, setting career bests in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched (39.2)
James Russell (7-1, 3.25 ERA, 55 Ks) showed he could be a durable reliever as he appeared in 77 games and had 13 holds and two saves while setting a career low in ERA.
Shawn Camp (3-6, 3.59 ERA, 54 Ks) was also a durable option appearing in 80 games and had a career best 18 holds.
Kyuji Fujikawa becomes the second Japanese player in Cubs history (Kosuke Fukudome being the other) and will set up Marmol. He had two 40 save seasons while in Japan.
Carlos Marmol (3-3, 3.42 ERA, 72 Ks, 20 saves) struggled with his control and briefly lost his job as closer. He also saw a decline in strikeouts as he recorded his lowest total since his rookie season in 2006.
C. Welington Castillo (52 games, .265 avg, 5 HR, 22 RBI) will get a chance to be the Cubs full-time catcher after Geovany Soto was shipped to Texas midway through last season.
1B. Anthony Rizzo (87 games, .285 avg, 15 HR, 48 RBI) showed enough promise to take the starting job away from LaHair who garnered All-Star honors for his first half performance. Rizzo came over with GM Jed Hoyer from San Diego and was drafted by Cubs president Theo Epstein while he was in Boston.
2B. Darwin Barney (156 games, .254 avg, 7 HR, 44 RBI) took home a Gold Glove after setting the NL-record for games without an error with 141.
3B. Ian Stewart (55 games, .201 avg, 5 HR, 17 RBI) showed why the Cubs missed the bat of Aramis Ramirez in the lineup. His 2012 numbers were actually an improvement from his horrible 2011 campaign.
SS. Starlin Castro (162 games, .283 avg, 14 HR, 78 RBI) earned an All-Star nod with his work at the plate including 12 triples, but his glove work left something to be desired as he ranked dead last among shortstops with 27 errors.
LF. Alfonso Soriano (151 games, .262 avg, 32 HR, 108 RBI) at age 37 set a career high in RBI and turned in his highest home run output since 2007. He will also be approaching two milestones as he is 103 hits away from 2,000 and 28 homers from 400.
CF. David DeJesus (148 games, .263 avg, 9 HR, 50 RBI) had a fairly unremarkable transition from the AL, but his eight triples were tied for 11th best in all of baseball.
RF. Nate Schierholtz (114 games, .257 avg, 6 HR, 21 RBI w/Phillies and Giants) adds a left handed bat, but he may lose playing time to Brett Jackson and Scott Hairston.
C. Dioner Navarro came on late in the season for the Reds and played well enough to make the postseason roster and earn a $1.75 million contract from the Cubs this off-season.
C. Steve Clevenger appeared in 69 games last season and smacked his first MLB round tripper off Bud Norris on June 29.
3B. Luis Valbuena benefited from the poor play of Stewart, but couldn't muster stats that were any better as he hit .219 with four homers.
3B. Josh Vitters was called up in August and played in 39 games. He hit his first homer in the big leagues off Mark Rogers on Aug. 20.
OF. Dave Sappelt appeared in 26 games last season after coming over from Cincinnati before the season. He led off a Sept. 25 game with his first career homer coming off Jorge De La Rosa.
OF. Brett Jackson had a nice stretch in August when he hit four homers and drove in eight runs, but he would only drive in one more run the rest of the season.
OF. Scott Hairston brings a veteran presence to a young team. He also hit a career best 20 homers and drove in 57 runs for the Mets last season.