Game Eighteen: Cubs (5-12) vs. Reds (11-8)
- Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
- Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Travis Wood (1-1, 1.83/1.07) vs. Mike Leake (1-0, 4.26/1.32)
The Cubs are reeling and not only do they need a win tonight to put an end to a three-game losing streak and a six-game road skid, but Dale Sveum’s team is in need of a well-played game. While the pitching staff has shown improvement of late, the defense and offense have continued to struggle.
The Cubs committed six errors over the three games in Milwaukee, and have been charged with 17 errors over the first 17 games of the season. The entire team seems to be rushing plays in the field. If they continue to give extra opportunities to the Reds, it will be an ugly series.
While the defense tries to figure out how to catch the baseball, the offense needs to hit the ball with runners in scoring position. The offense is just 5-for-the-last-58 with RISP. And it will not get any easier for the offense over the next three games.
After tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and Mike Leake, Carlos Villanueva takes on southpaw rookie Tony Cingrani on Tuesday with Jeff Samardzija squaring off against Mat Latos in the finale on Wednesday morning.
The Cubs managed just four wins in the 16 games (4-12) with the Reds last season.
After starting the season out 2-1, the Cubs are 3-11 in the last 14 game. The Cubs have been in every game they have played this season but they must start doing the little things that add up to wins.
Travis Wood is off to a good start to his season. Wood pitched into the eighth inning of his last outing against the Rangers and was the victim of no run support. Wood held a very good offensive team to two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
Wood has shown a lot of improvement over his time with the Cubs. Wood will still lose his concentration against the bottom of the lineup and that must stop, especially walking the opposing pitcher. It is one thing to get beaten by the top of a lineup and the big guys in the middle, but walking the eighth and ninth spots in a National League lineup is unacceptable.
Travis Wood faced his former team twice last season and did not fare too well in his start in Cincinnati. Wood was 0-1 in two starts with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP while the Reds hit .286 against him. Wood pitched seven excellent innings against the Reds at Wrigley on August 11 (one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts) but stumbled in his very next start in the Queen City. The Reds scored seven runs, six earned, on nine hits with non walks and four strikeouts. Wood served up three home runs … one to Ryan Ludwick, one to Todd Frazier and one to Jay Bruce.
Reds Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Jay Bruce – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Shin-Soo Choo – 0-for-2
- Zack Cozart – 1-for-7 with a double
- Todd Frazier – 4-for-5 with a home run and a walk
- Jack Hannahan – 1-for-2
- Chris Heisey – 0-for-3
- Brandon Phillips – 1-for-6 with a double
After struggling in his first two starts, Mike Leake is coming off an excellent out against the aging Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals and Pirates had their way with Leake before the Phillies could only manage three hits over seven shutout innings.
Leake put it all together in his last outing but the Phillies are not the most patient team at the plate. If the Cubs can make him work, Leake will help them out. Prior to striking out seven and issuing no walks to the free-swinging Phillies, Leake had as many walks (6) as strikeouts (6) in his first two starts (12 innings).
Mike Leake had his way with the Cubs early in his career. Leake owns a 4-2 mark in 10 starts against the Cubs with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … but last year, Leake was 0-1 in three starts with a 6.11 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake
- Darwin Barney – 7-for-18 with two doubles
- Welington Castillo – 0-for-2
- Starlin Castro – 11-for-28 with three double, a triple and a walk
- David DeJesus – 3-for-9 with a double
- Anthony Rizzo – 4-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Nate Schierholtz – 3-for-7 with a double and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-18 with a home run and two walks
- Luis Valbuena – 2-for-5 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …