Game One Hundred Fifty: Cubs (58-91) vs. Reds (90-59)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Berken (0-1, 7.20/3.20) vs. Johnny Cueto (17-9, 2.92/1.18)
The Cubs and Reds conclude their three-game series and season series this afternoon. The Reds have owned the Cubs this season (4-11) and not only have the Redlegs taken 11 of the 15 games but they have won seven of the nine games at Wrigley Field. The Reds will not be able to clinch the NL Central Division crown this afternoon. The Reds magic number is down to three after taking the first two of the series from the Cubs … but the Cardinals have also posted wins over the last two days. The Reds will win the division but win or lose this afternoon the Cubs will not have to watch Cincinnati celebrate at Wrigley Field.
Dusty Baker was hospitalized on Wednesday night for precautionary reasons and further tests for an irregular heartbeat. Baker went to the hospital prior to Wednesday’s game to have X-rays on what was thought to be pneumonia. Baker is expected to rejoin his team in Cincinnati on Friday.
In other news … Dale Sveum was not too happy with Luis Valbuena after Wednesday night’s loss. Sveum had discussed giving Josh Vitters an extended break prior to the game but that may have changed after Valbuena fell asleep on the bases.
Major League Baseball is close to inking new TV deals with Fox and Turner Sports. According to multiple reports, the deals would run through 2021 and could mean an additional $50 million in revenue per season.
This afternoon it all starts with Jason Berken … Jason Berken makes his second start of the season this afternoon. Berken struggled in his Cubs’ debut and was much worse than his final line indicates. Berken fell behind to many of the batters he faced during his short, four-inning outing. Berken left too many hittable pitches up in the zone and the Pirates pounded the ball all over Wrigley. Berken allowed six runs, two earned, on eight hits with a walk, a HBP and two strikeouts in four innings.
If Jason Berken pitches like he did against the Pirates, Dale Sveum will wear out a path from the Cubs’ dugout to the mound this afternoon.
Jason Berken has faced the Reds once in his career. Berken was charged with a blown save after allowing a run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in an inning of work last June 24 in Cincinnati.
Reds Career Numbers against Jason Berken
- Jay Bruce – 0-for-1
- Chris Heisey – 0-for-1
- Dioner Navarro – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Xavier Paul – 0-for-1
- Scott Rolen – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Drew Stubbs – 0-for-1
Johnny Cueto has been about as good as it gets all season but is in the middle of a rough stretch that could end up costing him an award at the end of the season. After posting a 4-1 record in six starts in August with a 2.76 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP, Cueto is 0-3 in his last three starts with an 8.22 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP.
The Phillies, Astros and Marlins have lit up Cueto over his last three starts. Cueto is coming off his worst outing of the season. Cueto allowed six runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings … the six earned runs and 4 1/3 innings were both season-worsts for Johnny Cueto.
Johnny Cueto has been very, very good outside of Great American Park this season. Cueto is 8-6 in 17 road starts with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
Johnny Cueto faces the Cubs for the fourth time this season. Cueto has shut down the Cubs over the previous three games … and it should be more of the same this afternoon. Cueto is 3-0 this season versus the Cubs with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP (11 hits, four walks and 18 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings). For his career, Cueto 7-6 in 17 starts against the Cubs with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP … and at Wrigley Field, 4-4 in 11 starts with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Johnny Cueto
- Darwin Barney – 2-for-10
- Tony Campana – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Adrian Cardenas – 1-for-1
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 4-for-24 with three walks
- Steve Clevenger – 0-for-2 with a walk
- David DeJesus – 4-for-16 with a double and a walk
- Brett Jackson – 1-for-6
- Bryan LaHair – 2-for-6 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 0-for-1
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-6
- Alfonso Soriano – 11-for-40 with a double, four home runs and three walks
- Luis Valbuena – 2-for-7 with two doubles
- Josh Vitters – 0-for-3
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