Game Twenty-Nine: Cubs (11-17) vs. Reds (15-14)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 2.29/0.82) vs. Mike Leake (1-1, 4.34/1.52)
Weather permitting … The Cubs kickoff a three-game series this afternoon against a struggling Reds’ team. The Cubs lost two of three to the Reds in Cincinnati nine days ago and could have easily swept all three. Both losses were decided by a combined two runs and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the seventh in game one just to have Shawn Camp struggle before James Russell blew the save and wasted an excellent effort from Travis Wood.
Most predicted the Reds to win the NL Central Division crown, and while it is still very early, the Reds begin play this afternoon a game over .500 and in fourth place in the central. The Reds just finished a stretch of 20 games in a row and spent their off day in Chicago after dropping two of three to the Cardinals. For as good as the Reds are, Dusty Baker’s team is just 3-10 on the road.
After this afternoon’s matchup of Carlos Villanueva and Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday afternoon. Edwin Jackson and Mat Latos close out the series on Sunday afternoon. But the weather could end up changing pitching plans for both teams.
This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
Carlos Villanueva is coming off a bad outing against Giancarlo Stanton. Villanueva held the Marlins pretty much in check but decided to pitch to the only bat in the lineup that could hurt him and it did. Villanueva actually pitched better than his final line (four runs on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings) and will look to bounce back this afternoon against the Reds.
Even with his last start not going so well, Villanueva has been one of the biggest surprises for the Cubs this season. Villanueva has posted quality starts in four of his five outings and came within two outs of his first complete game against the Reds. Before his start against the Marlins, Villanueva had not allowed a run scoring hit with a man on base. The first four runs of the season that Villanueva gave up were all solo home runs (Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Chris Heisey), and the fifth he was charged with came off a single in the ninth inning in Cincinnati when Joey Votto singled in the tying run off Carlos Marmol.
Villanueva faces the Reds for the second time on the year this afternoon. Villanueva received a no decision back on April 23 in Cincinnati after allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. For his career, Villanueva is 2-2 in 21 games, six starts, against the Redlegs with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Reds Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Jay Bruce – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Shin-Soo Choo – 3-for-9 with a walk
- Zack Cozart – 0-for-3
- Todd Frazier – 0-for-3
- Jack Hannahan – 2-for-6 with a triple and two walks
- Chris Heisey – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Cesar Izturis – 1-for-7
- Mike Leake – one walk
- Corky Miller – 0-for-4
- Brandon Phillips – 3-for-21 with a home run and a walk
- Joey Votto – 4-for-14 with a home run and a walk
After completing seven innings in back-to-back starts against the Phillies and Cubs, Mike Leake only made it through three innings in his last start, The Nationals knocked Leake out of the game after he allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits with three walks and one strikeout. While Leake had his way with the free-swinging Phillies and Cubs, he really struggled against the Nationals.
Mike Leake, like a majority of his teammates, has really struggled on the road this season. Leake is 0-1 in two starts (Washington and Pittsburgh) with a 8.00 ERA and a 2.33 WHIP.
Mike Leake makes the 12th start of his career against the Cubs this afternoon. Leake is 4-2 in the first 11 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 1-2 in six starts with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake
- Darwin Barney – 8-for-21 with two doubles
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-5
- Starlin Castro – 12-for-32 with three double, a triple and a walk
- David DeJesus – 5-for-12 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Anthony Rizzo – 4-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Nate Schierholtz – 5-for-10 with a double and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-21 with a home run and two walks
- Luis Valbuena – 3-for-8 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …