8/6 Arroyo tough on Cubs

The last pitcher the Cubs want to see was Bronson Arroyo. The Reds right-hander threw seven shutout innings Friday and now has held the Cubs scoreless in his last 18 innings at Wrigley Field.

“In years past, I felt their lineup was a little bit deeper,” Arroyo said of the Cubs. “Just the fact that [Aramis] Ramirez and [Derrek Lee] are having an off-year for them, it makes it a little easier to pitch through that lineup, not having those guys be as hot as they normally are.”

The Cubs were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and the key inning was the fifth when they had runners on second and third with none out. But Arroyo escaped when he got Tyler Colvin to pop up and struck out Starlin Castro.

“That was the ballgame in itself,” Arroyo said. “I had good stuff for four innings and kind of cruised through. Running the bases hard a couple of times and [Tom Gorzelanny] having fast innings a couple of times in between, I didn’t get a lot of rest. I got a pinch tired and started missing spots with my fastball. I was getting into some jams.

“I definitely didn’t want to get the bases loaded and have to see Derrek Lee,” Arroyo said of the Cubs first baseman, who followed Castro in the order. “Regardless of how he’s swinging it against me or in general, you never want that guy at the plate with the bases loaded.”

Arroyo now is 4-0 with a 0.81 ERA in his last five starts against the Cubs, dating to Aug. 20, 2008.

“He kept us off balance,” Marlon Byrd said of the Reds pitcher. “He used his fastball when he had to. He might have used it 10 percent in the time, up in the zone, down in the zone, but late in the count.”

Arroyo doesn’t dominate like CC Sabathia or Felix Hernandez. He’s crafty.

“It seems like everybody on that staff and rotation is getting it done and they’re pitching with confidence and playing with confidence,” Byrd said. “When you face a team like that you have to out play them someway, somehow.”

— Carrie Muskat

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