Reds-Cubs Preview

Chicago Cubs fans haven't had many opportunities to revel around the North Side with their beloved team sitting in playoff position heading into September.

What's all too familiar is the sinking feeling of watching the Cubs struggle with the season's final month on the horizon.

Dan Haren serving up home-run balls also has become an unwelcome sight, and he'll take the mound Tuesday night against the visiting Cincinnati Reds looking to help the Cubs avoid a sixth defeat in seven games.

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Chicago (74-56) is seeking its first postseason appearance since 2008 and holds the edge over San Francisco for the NL's second wild card. The Cubs haven't played up to their standards lately, though, dropping two of three to the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on their road trip before falling 13-6 to Cincinnati (54-76) on Monday.

The Reds took the lead with a four-run sixth and broke the game open with a six-run ninth as Starlin Castro committed two of his three errors. Six Cubs relievers combined to allow 10 runs - six unearned - one night after they watched Jake Arrieta throw a no-hitter against the Dodgers.

''I'm over it already," manager Joe Maddon said. "Just throw that one away.''

Kris Bryant made his fourth start in the outfield in the last seven games as Maddon continues shuffling his players around Jorge Soler being on the disabled list and Dexter Fowler battling nagging injuries.

The Cubs acquired Austin Jackson from Seattle earlier Monday to add some outfield depth, and they're expected to promote more young talent from the minors with rosters expanding.

It's unclear what the lineup will look like behind Haren (8-9, 3.90 ERA), who faces a Reds club that is tied with Washington for the third-most homers in the NL.

Haren is tied with Detroit's Anibal Sanchez for the most home runs allowed in the majors with 29, and the 14 he's surrendered in eight starts since July 19 are four more than anyone in baseball.

The right-hander fell to 1-2 with a 6.31 ERA in five outings with the Cubs after giving up five runs and walking three in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-1 loss to San Francisco on Thursday. Maddon was impressed with Haren's performance, though, as he recorded an out in the seventh for the first time in 12 starts.

''Take away the (three-run) home run by (Marlon) Byrd and he pitched pretty darn good,'' Maddon said. "Danny has something to build off of going into the next outing.''

The last time Haren went that deep into a game was against the Reds on June 19. He's 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against Cincinnati this season, both while he was with Miami.

Todd Frazier is 3 for 6 with two doubles this season against Haren and has a homer in 11 career at-bats in their matchups.

Anthony DeSclafani (7-10, 3.84) opposes Haren looking to continue his success against the Cubs. DeSclafani gave up one run in seven innings against the Dodgers on Thursday but was outdueled by Zack Greinke in a 1-0 loss.

''DeSclafani was terrific,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''He was always on the attack. I was proud of him.''

That marked the fifth time this season that the right-hander hasn't earned a victory when allowing one earned run or none. Two of those instances have come against the Cubs, who he's held to a .197 average while posting a 0.98 ERA in three starts in 2015.

DeSclafani has allowed one run in 13 1-3 innings in two outings at Wrigley Field.