Game Seventy-Nine: Cubs (34-44) vs. Reds (44-35)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01/1.05) vs. Travis Wood (0-0, -.–/-.–)
It’s a new month … will the results be different? The Cubs were 11-13 in April, 13-15 in May and 10-16 in June. Lou’s crew enters play today 10 games under .500 and 9 1/2 behind the Cincinnati Reds in the central. The Cubs have lost 10 straight series openers (first time since 2000) and posted just one series win last month. Could it get worse for the Cubs?
The Reds could put the final nail in the Cubs’ coffin this season over the next four days. The Reds have a very talented team that does not give up. Dusty Baker’s bunch has won 25 times this season in come from behind fashion and if Lou’s crew plays the way they did against the Pirates, it could get real ugly … real quick.
The Reds just took two of three from the Phillies, including beating Roy Halladay in the finale Wednesday. The Reds can hit, pitch and catch the ball while the Cubs struggle at all three facets of the game.
The Cubs have won two of six against Cincinnati this season (2-4) and will face a Reds’ rookie making his big league debut for the second time this season. Mike Leake took the hill for the first time against the Cubs and today will be Travis Wood’s turn.
According to a report from Bruce Levine, Derrek Lee’s back is bothering him more than the team is letting on. If Lee is hurt as bad as Levine indicated, he should not be playing … much less hitting in the middle of the lineup.
The Cubs have not been 11 under during the Lou Piniella Era … today it all begins with Carlos Silva. Carlos Silva is coming off a no decision against the White Sox and due to the Cubs’ very bad offense, Silva has not posted a win since June 7. When a pitcher owns a 1-2 record in four starts with a 2.77 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP while holding teams to a .208 average, there is something obviously wrong. In the Cubs case, the biggest reason is the offense.
Silva has done his job this season and is one of the few bright spots for the Chicago Cubs in the first half.
Silva is 4-2 in eight starts at home this year with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Today will be Silva’s third start of the year versus the Reds. He faced Joey Votto and company back on April 9 in Cincinnati in his first start in a Cubs’ uniform. Silva received a no decision after the bullpen blew it in the eighth. Silva then beat the Reds on May 7 back in the Queen City. The Reds put up a four spot on Silva, one of his worst starts of the season, but the Cubs offense scored 10 in the win.
Reds Career Numbers against Carlos Silva
- Jay Bruce – 1-for-4 with a walk
- Orlando Cabrera – 14-for-36 with 4 doubles and a home run
- Miguel Cairo – 1-for-2
- Jonny Gomes – 2-for-5
- Ramon Hernandez – 5-for-22 with 2 doubles
- Laynce Nix – 2-for-6
- Brandon Phillips – 1-for-8
- Scott Rolen – 4-for-11 with 2 doubles
- Drew Stubbs – 1-for-6 with a triple
- Joey Votto – 2-for-6
The Cubs will get their first look today at a very good young southpaw. Travis Wood will make his big league debut this afternoon … and Walt Jocketty deserves kudos for sending a kid to the mound against the free-swinging Chicago Cubs. The Cubs make mediocre pitchers look good and Wood possesses more than just average stuff.
Wood’s fastball has been clocked in the low 90s and Baseball America described his changeup as a “plus-plus” pitch. Wood busts right-handers in with a very good cutter.
If the Cubs walk to the plate swinging, they will struggle mightily once again. They must make the rookie work and not help build his confidence.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …