Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/09/12

Game One Hundred Ten: Cubs (43-66) vs. Reds (66-45)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet- Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22/1.57) vs. Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51/1.34)

Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of four against the first place Cincinnati Reds. After just a miserable six-game road trip and being outscored 40-16 over the last eight games, Dale Sveum’s team must be looking forward to being back at home. The Cubs have played much better at Wrigley (27-24) than away from the old ballyard (16-42) this season.

Eight of the Cubs next 11 games are against the Reds. Following this four-game series, the Cubs host the Astros for three then depart for the Queen City. The Cubs play four-games next weekend at Great American Ball Park that includes their first doubleheader of the season (day-night twin bill on Saturday as a make-up for the game on May 1 that was rained out).

The Cubs struggling offense will not get a break over the next four days. After tonight’s matchup of Chris Volstad and Mike Leake, Justin Germano opposes Homer Bailey on Friday. Travis Wood will face his old team for the first time on Saturday with Bronson Arroyo taking the hill for Dusty Baker. Sunday’s finale is expected to be Brooks Raley against Johnny Cueto.

The Cubs have only played five games against Cincinnati this season (2-3) and will face the Reds 11 times over the next five weeks. The Reds begin play tonight just 2 1/2 games ahead of second place Pittsburgh after losing all three games in Milwaukee. With 11 games remaining against the Reds and seven more with the Pirates, the Cubs could have an impact on which team wins the division.

Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Brooks Raley will make their Wrigley Field debut this weekend … and Jackson is expected back in the starting lineup tonight. The three newest Cubs have struggled in their short time with the big club and hopefully the fan base will realize all of the young players on the Cubs roster are going through a process that will take time to produce positive, consistent results.

Tonight it all begins with Chris Volstad …

Chris Volstad is coming off another loss (winless in last 21 big league starts) but it was still his best start at the Major League level this season. Volstad did not implode and allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in seven innings. Volstad appeared to follow the game plan while not thinking too much. His last outing was the first time all year he completed seven innings of work.

Volstad has struggled mightily at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform and it does not figure to get any easier for him tonight. In five starts at Wrigley this season, Volstad is 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

The Reds beat up on Volstad at Wrigley back on April 20. Volstad allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. For his career, Volstad is 1-3 in four starts against the Redlegs with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Jay Bruce – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Miguel Cairo – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Zack Cozart – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Hanigan – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Chris Heisey – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Ludwick – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Devin Mesoraco – 1-for-1 with a walk
  • Xavier Paul – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Brandon Phillips – 3-for-7 with two walks
  • Scott Rolen – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Drew Stubbs – 2-for-6 with a double

Mike Leake has struggled since the break after putting together a solid first half. Leake was 2-0 in six starts in June with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP and appeared to take the next step in his career. But since the break, Leake is 1-1 in five starts with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.

The Reds beat the Pirates in Leake’s last start but he did not figure in the outcome. Leake allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings. For as much as Leake has struggled of late, the Reds are 6-4 in his last 10 starts.

Mike Leake has been very good on the road this season (3-3 in nine starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP) and has pretty much owned the Cubs during his career. Even with allowing five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings to the Cubs at Wrigley on April 21, Leake is 4-2 in eight career starts against the Cubs with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake

  • Darwin Barney – 6-for-12 with two double
  • Starlin Castro – 8-for-22 with two doubles, a triple and a walk
  • Steve Clevenger – 2-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-13 with a walk

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne