Game One Hundred Thirteen: Cubs (44-68) vs. Reds (68-46)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Brooks Raley (0-1, 15.75/2.75) vs. Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.58/1.19)
The Cubs have lost 10 of 11 and it will not get any easier for Dale Sveum’s struggling team this afternoon in the series finale against the Reds. After ending their eight-game skid on Thursday night, the Cubs have had two rough games and will turn to rookie Brooks Raley in the series finale. Raley will make his first start at Wrigley Field against arguably the most underrated pitcher in the league.
In other news … Brett Jackson was held out of Saturday’s lineup with a sore upper body after Friday’s collision with Starlin Castro. Dale Sveum described Jackson’s injury “as whiplash-like“. Jackson was available to pinch-hit Saturday and is expected back in the starting lineup this afternoon.
Josh Vitters will likely be out of the starting lineup once again in today’s finale against the Reds. Johnny Cueto dominates right handed hitters (.207/.265/.274) and Sveum will likely load up his lineup with as many lefties (.299/.345/.367) as possible.
Theo Epstein was in Daytona watching the organization’s High-A affiliate. Epstein discussed the Cubs’ system, the “spy-cam”, the infield of Christian Villanueva, Javier Baez and Ronald Torreyes with the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Jason McLeod discussed the Cubs’ system with Bruce Miles and indicated that they are planning on backing off the newly acquired Kyle Hendricks due to the amount of innings he has already thrown this season.
This afternoon all starts with Brooks Raley … To say Brooks Raley’s Major League debut did not go so well would be an understatement. Brooks Raley was fine the first time through the lineup then the Padres adjusted and teed off on him. The key for Raley, like many pitchers, is pitching from ahead in the count. Raley does not have the stuff to blow hitters away and must rely on hitting his spots early and often in the count … basically pitch, instead of throwing. Raley admitted afterwards that he was nervous last Tuesday night in San Diego. Unfortunately it will not be any easier for him today at Wrigley Field.
In his first big league start, Brooks Raley allowed seven runs on eight hits (one big blast by Carlos Quentin) with three walks and four strikeouts in four innings.
This afternoon will be Raley’s first action against the Reds and no one on Cincinnati’s roster has faced Raley in the big leagues.
If the Cubs thought Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake were fun, they are in for a real treat this afternoon. Johnny Cueto might be the best pitcher in baseball that no one talks about. Cueto is coming off two mediocre starts, by his standards, and has a win and a loss to show for his efforts … to go along with 18 strikeouts and one walk in 14 1/3 innings.
Johnny Cueto is coming off a loss in Milwaukee that he allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings. The Reds lost the game 3-1 and Mike Fiers shutdown Dusty Baker’s offense. Prior to his last start, Cueto posted five straight wins and he is 7-3 in his last 10 outings.
Cueto has followed up an excellent first half of the season (10-5 in 18 starts with a 2.39 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP) with five very good ballgames (4-1 in five starts with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP, 33 strikeouts and eight walks in 33 1/3 innings).
Johnny Cueto has already beaten the Cubs once this season (two runs, one earned, on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings) and is 5-16 in 15 starts with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 3-4 in 10 starts with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Johnny Cueto
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-4
- Starlin Castro – 4-for-18 with three walks
- David DeJesus – 3-for-9 with a double and a walk
- Bryan LaHair – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 0-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-35 with a double, three home runs and two walks
- Luis Valbuena – 2-for-3 with two doubles
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