The Cubs' treacherous stretch is almost over.
Chicago, losers in 12 of its last 16, completes a string of 17 straight games against teams that last season finished .500 or better on Wednesday afternoon against the Reds.
Despite all the struggles, Chicago has been playing its opposition close. All 19 of the Cubs' games have been decided by four runs or fewer, including 16 games within three runs.
Still, those numbers only go so far. Cubs manager Dale Sveum has made it clear all players must be held accountable, a view shared by general manager Jed Hoyer, who was in Cincinnati on Tuesday to back his manager. Hoyer said he and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein share in the club's poor record, which leaves all involved wanting more.
"It's a black and white business -- our report card is in the paper every day, and you have to look at it that way. Wins and losses, that's how we're measured," Hoyer said prior to Tuesday's win. "I think that's part of why all of us are frustrated. We have played better than our record so far.
"As Bill Parcells said, 'You are what you are,' and we are [6-13], you can't deny that. Feeling we played better doesn't mean anything. We have to be better at converting these games to wins."
One Reds pitcher who hasn't seen results translate to victories is right-hander Mat Latos, who starts Wednesday against Chicago's Jeff Samardzija.
Latos hasn't factored in a decision this season, despite sporting a 2.73 ERA in four outings. The 25-year-old right-hander has been especially good at Great American Ball Park, where he is 9-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 23 starts -- the lowest ERA for any pitcher with at least 10 starts.
Cubs: Ace on the hill
Samardzija received his first Opening Day start this year, an honor he relished. With that nod also comes the added expectation of pitching like an ace, and the Cubs turn to him Wednesday as they look to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
The right-hander has lost three straight starts, though he ranks among the National League strikeout leaders with 31.
• The Cubs have committed 18 errors that have led to 14 unearned runs.
Reds: Making history
Cincinnati pitchers have struck out at least 10 batters in six straight games, the longest streak in Reds' modern history.
• In the last four games, center fielder Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 18 of his 23 plate appearances.
• Samardzija is four strikeouts shy of entering the Cubs' top 10 all-time strikeout list for April.
• Reds first baseman Joey Votto has only one hit in 11 career at-bats against Samardzija, while second baseman Brandon Phillips is 2-for-13.
• Latos is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs.