Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rangers – 04/18/13

Game Fourteen: Cubs (4-9) vs. Rangers (9-5)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64/0.86) vs. Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.88/1.02)

Weather permitting … The Cubs wrap up their first homestand of the season, a homestand that will be remembered for poor play, blown saves, countless mistakes, two rainouts and with the exception of the home opener, frigid weather. If the Cubs and Rangers are able to get this one in, the 10-game homestand has been reduced to eight games … and the Cubs are 2-5 in the first seven.

An official announcement has not been made as to when Wednesday’s rainout will be made up. The Cubs and Rangers have a mutual day off on May 9 and other one on June 3 … and it is very likely that one of the dates will feature a day-night doubleheader.

Dale Sveum decided not to skip any of his starters and will give the ball to Carlos Villanueva this afternoon. Jeff Samardzija will start the three-game series in Milwaukee followed by Edwin Jackson on Saturday and Scott Feldman on Sunday in the finale.

Cody Ransom reported to his new team on Wednesday. The Cubs played back-to-back games with a 24-man roster but Sveum will have a full bench this afternoon.

The Cubs need for Carlos Villanueva to continue where he left off against the Giants. Villanueva has been very, very good over his first two outings.

Carlos Villanueva makes his third start of the season this afternoon and he has put together two excellent starts. Villanueva held the Braves to one run on six hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in his first outing … then tossed 7 1/3 innings of three-hit, shutout ball to the Giants last Friday. Villanueva could easily be 2-0 on the season if it was not for the Cubs bullpen issues.

Villanueva has mixed his pitches and followed the game plan in both of his first two starts. Villanueva has walked three batters while striking out nine over 14 innings. Maintaining the 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio is critical for Villanueva, like it is for most pitchers.

Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to make his third career start against Texas. Villanueva is 1-1 in eight appearances, two starts, with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Rangers Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Elvis Andrus – 1-for-7 with a walk
  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-5
  • Adrian Beltre – 3-for-6 with a double
  • Lance Berkman – 5-for-21 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk
  • Nelson Cruz – 3-for-10 with a double and a home run
  • Ian Kinsler – 2-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Mitch Moreland – 3-for-8
  • David Murphy – 1-for-10
  • A.J. Pierzynski – 2-for-7 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-4

Instead of facing rookie Justin Grimm in the second game of the series, the Cubs’ struggling offense will see Alexi Ogando instead. It has seemingly been that kind of start to the season, the Cubs just are not getting many breaks.

Alexi Ogando is off to a good start to his season. Ogando is coming off a no decision against the Mariners after allowing one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings. Ogando has thrown the ball extremely well and the Rangers are 3-0 in his three starts.

Ogando has not allowed more than one run in each of his first three starts but he has a bad habit of pitching his way out of ballgames. If the Cubs can make him work, they should have plenty of opportunities to put runs on the board. Whether they can drive in those runners or not is another question.

Alexi Ogando makes his first regular season start against the Cubs this afternoon. Ogando has faced the Cubs numerous times in the Cactus League.

David DeJesus (1-for-2) and Nate Schierholtz (0-for-1) are the only Cubs on the active roster that has faced Alexi Ogando in a regular season big league ballgame.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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