Game Thirty-One: Cubs (14-16) vs. Reds (16-15)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Matt Garza (1-3, 3.96/1.37) vs. Edinson Volquez (2-1, 5.67/1.56)
Can Q’s squad win three games in a row? The Cubs are coming off a much-needed day off following a 4-3 trip to Arizona and Los Angeles. The Cubs won the final two games against the Dodgers in large part to two quality starts from Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano. In order for the Cubs to post their third win in a row for the first time this season, they will need a big outing from Matt Garza.
The Cubs open a ten-day, nine-game homestand this afternoon with the first of three against the reigning NL Central Division Champions. The Reds owned the Cubs last season (Cubs won four of 16) and several of the games were very lopsided. The Reds roster features several of the newest Cubs’ killers (Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Hanigan) and the Cubs’ offense struggles with Dusty Baker’s pitching staff (Edison Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood).
Mike Quade send Matt Garza to the hill, Casey Coleman in game two and Ryan Dempster Sunday while Baker will go with Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto, who will make his first start of the season.
Following the Reds series and an off day on Monday, Ryan Theriot and the Cardinals make their way to Chicago for a three-game series starting Tuesday … then the Cubs will face the Giants next weekend for three games. To say the Cubs schedule is going to be a lot more difficult from today on would be an understatement.
Could Starlin Castro get a day off? The Cubs shortstop has just one hit this month and has more than struggled at the plate of late. Quade mentioned Wednesday that Castro could receive an extra day off this weekend.
Quade also mentioned Wednesday that Tyler Colvin could get a start this weekend. With Kosuke Fukudome beginning his swoon a little early, it might be a good time to insert Tyler Colvin in right … and let Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney set the table for a couple of games.
Today it all begins with Matt Garza …
Garza has pitched better than his record indicates and will face one of the best lineups in the majors this afternoon.
Matt Garza is 0-1 in three games at Wrigley this season with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Garza has not allowed an extra basehit in three starts at home … a stat that figures to change this afternoon.
Today will be Garza’s first career start against the Reds.
Miguel Cairo (1-for-1), Ramon Hernandez (2-for-9) and Edgar Renteria (0-for-2) are the only active Reds that have faced Matt Garza.
The Cubs have never beaten Edison Volquez and in order to post a victory this afternoon, Q’s offense must be patient early in the game. Volquez has struggled mightily in the first inning all year and if they can wait him out, Volquez will make mistakes and help the Cubs out … but if Q’s squad walks to the plate swinging it is going to be another loss at the hands of Edinson Volquez.
The Reds’ Opening Day starter is coming off a solid win against the Marlins. Volquez allowed only one run on two hits in five innings of work. Volquez issued five walks and posted only four strikeouts. Volquez has not pitched into the seventh inning this season due to his high walk total (24 walks in 33 1/3 innings to go along with 28 hits).
Volquez is 2-0 in three career starts versus the Cubs with a miniscule 0.96 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-0 in two starts with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Edinson Volquez
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4 with a home run and 2 walks
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
- Blake DeWitt – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-7 with a double and two walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-6
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-8 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with a double
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
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