Game Six: Cubs (2-3) vs. Reds (2-3)
Game Time – 12:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 175
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Tom Gorzelanny (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Mike Leake (0-0, -.–/-.–)
The Cubs have a chance to complete their first road trip of the season with a .500 record. Despite the debacle on Opening Day and two blowups by the bullpen, if Tom Gorzelanny and the offense can do their job this afternoon the Cubs will head home to Wrigley with a 3-3 record … a respectable mark on the road.
Lou Piniella’s crew showed a lot of character on Saturday. Following the bad loss on Friday night to bounce back after being down 3-0 early is the type of win that can carry over … but as the old cliché goes, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.
Many thought the Cubs would face Aroldis Chapman this afternoon. But the spring training sensation did not make the big league team out of camp. The Cubs will face Mike Leake instead … the 21st player in the history of the game to go from college to the majors, without a stop in the minor leagues.
Mike Leake was the Reds’ first round pick (eighth overall) in last year’s draft. Leake will be the first pitcher since Jim Abbott in 1998 to go from college into the Major Leagues without throwing a single pitch in the minor leagues. The Cubs’ Xavier Nady was the last player to make the jump from college all the way to big league ball.
Mike Leake has been compared to Greg Maddux. He is a pitcher and not a thrower. Some say he is not intimidated by his surroundings and he will thrive in the majors. Today will be his first test.
Reports surfaced during Saturday’s game that Carlos Silva might miss his next start due to a stiff shoulder. The Cubs said he was fine and he is scheduled to start the opener on Friday against the Astros at Wrigley Field.
Ted Lilly, on the other hand, has suffered a little setback. After a stiff back pushed his rehab start from Friday to Sunday, the Cubs said on Saturday that Lilly would not pitch for Ryne Sandberg on Sunday.
Lilly will throw a bullpen session on Monday in Chicago and if all is well, Lilly will report to Iowa and start on Wednesday. The earliest Ted Lilly can return at this point is April 24 in Milwaukee.
Gorzelanny had one tremendous summer back in 2007 and is out to prove that was not a fluke.
Today will be Gorzelanny’s seventh career start against the Reds. He is 3-2 with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP … at Great American, 1-1 in three starts with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP. While the career numbers do not favor Gorzelanny, last year with the Cubs, Tom Gorzelanny dominated the Reds in Cincinnati on August 4. The Reds managed one run on three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Reds’ Career Numbers against Gorzelanny
- Jay Bruce – 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk
- Orlando Cabrera – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Chris Dickerson – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Jonny Gomes – 0-for-6
- Ryan Hanigan – 0-for-5
- Brandon Phillips – 2-for-14 with a walk
- Scott Rolen – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Joey Votto – 1-for-6
Mike Leake is the type of pitcher the Cubs have struggled against for years. Leake signed late and did not pitch at all professionally last season. At Arizona State, Leake dominated and posted a 16-1 record with a 1.71 ERA. If not for Stephen Strasburg, Leake would have been the talk of the draft.
Leake is a pitcher, not a thrower. He features five pitches that allow him to be very successful on the mound. His fastball tops out in the mid 90s but is more effective in the high 80s to low 90s. Leake’s other four pitches … a very good changeup, cutter, slider and curveball.
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