Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 04/21/12

Game Fifteen: Cubs (3-11) vs. Reds (6-8)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89/89
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Paul Maholm (0-0, 13.50/1.88) vs. Mike Leake (0-1, 5.84/1.30)

Updated 10:33am CDTRyan Dempster placed on 15-day DL – Tony Campana Recalled from Triple-A Iowa

Updated 10:33am CDT Randy Wells is scheduled to start Sunday in place of Ryan Demspter. Cubs will make another roster move prior to Sunday’s game.

Dale Sveum’s team will try to start a new week this afternoon and put the last seven days behind them. The Cubs have dropped their last six games due to a variety of reasons but the bottom line is they have not played a complete game since they beat the Brewers on April 12.

The Cubs bullpen got a lot younger Friday when Kerry Wood was placed on the DL and Scott Maine was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Rafael Dolis and James Russell figure to be the two pitchers Sveum uses in the eighth while Wood is on the shelf.

Ryan Dempster could be joining Wood on the DL. Dempster was expected to undergo an MRI on his right quad Friday. Sveum said the results were expected Saturday morning. Randy Wells spent Friday in Chicago and will take Dempster’s place in the rotation if he is forced to miss time.

It will be interesting to see the lineup Dale Sveum runs out against Mike Leake this afternoon. Marlon Byrd is lost at the plate and is just 3-for-15 with a double against Leake. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-13 with a walk) and Geovany Soto (1-for-12 with three walks) have also struggled against Leake … and haven’t exactly been hitting.

Today it all starts with Paul Maholm

Paul Maholm followed up his horrible debut against the Brewers (six runs on six hits with two walks, two hit batsman and two strikeouts in four innings) with just about the same performance against the Cardinals (six runs on six hits with a walk, two hit batsman and two strikeouts in four innings). Maholm not only needs a good outing for his team this afternoon but for himself. Maholm has struggled mightily since his last win (0-4 in four starts in August of 2011 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP) against the Cubs on July 10, 2011.

Maholm has been a better pitcher throughout his career than what he has shown in his last six starts. If the Cubs’ offense could put up a couple of runs early against Mike Leake that could go a long way towards a successful outing for Maholm.

The veteran southpaw makes his 20th career start against the Reds this afternoon. Paul Maholm is 6-4 in the first 19 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Maholm did not face Cincinnati last year and was 2-0 in four starts versus Dusty’s division champs in 2010 with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Jay Bruce – 2-for-15 with two home runs
  • Miguel Cairo – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Ryan Hanigan – 1-for-7 with two walks
  • Chris Heisey – 2-for-8
  • Mike Leake – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Ludwick – 6-for-22 with a double and a triple
  • Brandon Phillips – 17-for-48 with three doubles, four home runs and a walk
  • Scott Rolen – 6-for-22 with two doubles and three walks
  • Drew Stubbs – 2-for-12
  • Joey Votto – 3-for-20 with a double and two walks

Mike Leake has not been so good in his first two starts this season. The Nationals scored five times on five hits in 6 1/3 innings against Leake in his last start. Leake received a no decision after walking three and striking out just one. Leake has the tools to be a successful Major League starter but has stretches of inconsistency … except when he faces the Cubs.

Mike Leake has owned the Cubs in his brief big league career to the tune of a 4-1 record in seven starts with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (1-1 in three starts at Wrigley with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP). The only Cub, other than Starlin Castro, to have success against Leake over the last two seasons now plays his home games at Coors Field.

The Cubs must make Mike Leake work this afternoon. Early swings will equal quick outs and another loss.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake

  • Darwin Barney – 4-for-9 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 3-for-15 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 6-for-19 with a double and a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 5-for-12 with two doubles and a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-4 with a home run
  • Paul Maholm – 1-for-5
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-13 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-12 with three walks

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