DeSclafini attempts to continue early season magic

( – Anthony DeSclafini looks to continue his hot start to
the season on Sunday when the Cincinnati Reds finish what is now a two-game
series with the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

Saturday’s middle contest was postponed by rain, but no makeup date has been

DeSclafini won his second straight start on Monday in Milwaukee and didn’t
allow a run for the second consecutive outing either, as he scattered two hits
over eight scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.86.

Over his last two starts, he’s given up four hits in 15 innings without
allowing a run. He also owns a 0.62 WHIP, and a 16/4 K/BB ratio over 21
innings this season.

“He was just on,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He was locked in. He had
great pitch quality. Really happy, obviously for our club, but for him, too,
as a young guy trying to get established in the league.”

Chicago, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Jake Arrieta, who has won two
of his three starts this season and is pitching to a 1.74 ERA. Arrieta bounced
back from his lone defeat to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, as he
allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven and
has fanned 19 batters in 20 2/3 innings this season.

“This guy has turned into such a high-end professional,” Cubs manager Joe
Maddon said. “He just settled down, made better pitches, controlled his
emotions, and he was wonderful.”

On Friday, Jonathan Herrera singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning,
as Chicago claimed a 7-3 win. Anthony Rizzo was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer
and two runs scored and David Ross added a two-run double for the Cubs, who
came into the series off a four-game split with Pittsburgh.

Jon Lester allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts over
six innings for Chicago, while Jason Motte (1-0) got out of a bases-loaded jam
in the bottom of the 10th to pick up the win.

“I always felt highly of a team that could win in extra innings on the road,”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That has always been my measuring stick for a
team, and we showed that tonight.”

Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart each drove in a run for the Reds,
who have lost their last two games.

The Cubs took two of three at home over the Reds from March 13-15 and have won
eight of the past 11 meetings.