Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 04/23/13

Game Nineteen: Cubs (5-13) vs. Reds (12-8)

  • Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185/844
  • Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.29/0.81) vs. Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80/1.60)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will look to bounce back after another rough loss on Monday night. 15 of the Cubs 18 games this season have been decided by three runs or less and all 18 have been by four runs or less. The Cubs continue to shoot themselves in the foot and until those mistakes are cleaned up, the losses will continue to mount.

The Cubs have really struggled against left handed starters this season (0-4) and it will be interesting to see if Dale Sveum runs out his right handed lineup or mixes a few lefties in with Anthony Rizzo. Tony Cingrani has a very good change-up he uses against right handed batters, plus Dave Sappelt and Scott Hairston have not exactly gotten the job done this season.

Dale Sveum needs a long outing tonight from Carlos Villanueva. If Villanueva struggles, he might end up taking one for the team. Carlos Marmol, James Russell and Michael Bowden each pitched multiple innings on Monday which should make all three relievers unavailable tonight.

The Cubs are reeling after losing four straight and seven of eight and simply need to remember what it is like to win a ballgame.

Carlos Villanueva is off to an excellent start to his season and for the third time in four starts he will face a very difficult lineup tonight. Villanueva is coming off his first win of the year after making only two mistakes over seven innings against the Rangers. Villanueva put together his third quality start of the season after allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. The only two blemishes were a pair of solo home runs … all three runs Villanueva has allowed this season has been via solo home runs. Justin Upton took Villanueva deep in Atlanta, and Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz went yard against Villanueva at Wrigley.

Carlos Villanueva has pitched to his game plan over his first three starts and must keep that up tonight. While he has close to a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio this season (15 strikeouts, four walks), Villanueva must not help out the Reds’ offense in what will be his sixth career start against the Reds.

Villanueva owns a 2-2 record in 20 games, five starts, with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Villanueva has not faced Cincinnati since 2011 (two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts in seven innings) and is 0-1 in 10 appearances, two starts, at the Great American Ball Park with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Jay Bruce – 1-for-4
  • Shin-Soo Choo – 1-for-6
  • Jack Hannahan – 2-for-5 with a triple and two walks
  • Chris Heisey – 1-for-2
  • Cesar Izturis – 1-for-7
  • Corky Miller – 0-for-1
  • Brandon Phillips – 3-for-18 with a home run and a walk
  • Joey Votto – 4-for-11 with a home run and a walk

The Cubs will get their first look in the regular season at lefty Tony Cingrani tonight. The Cubs faced Cingrani in the Cactus League this past spring, but that was just Spring Training. Cingrani is one of the top left-handed prospects in all of baseball, and if he stays healthy, he figures to be a thorn in the Cubs’ side for years to come.

The 23-year old southpaw is making just his second big league start tonight. Cingrani is taking the spot in the rotation of the injured Johnny Cueto. Cingrani put together a good outing in his big league debut. Cingrani held the Marlins to one run on five hits over five innings with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Tony Cingrani is a hard throwing lefty that has the ability to add and subtract from his fastball. Cingrani can locate his 88-95 mph fastball on both sides of the plate. Cingrani throws a plus-change with a good fade against right handers and a slider, that needs work. The Cubs must make him work, he can get himself in trouble if batters are patient enough.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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