Game Thirty: Cubs (11-18) vs. Reds (16-14)
- Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.35/1.17) vs. Tony Cingrani (2-0, 1.50/0.89)
After back-to-back tough losses, the Cubs will try to get back on track this afternoon behind Jeff Samardzija … and it will not get any easier with Tony Cingrani on the mound for the Reds.
The Cubs are 3-5 in game started by lefties this season. The Cubs lost their first four games against southpaw starters and have won three of the last four. Look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup with Cingrani on the hill. Sveum is happy with the production he is receiving from the Luis Valbuena-Cody Ransom platoon at third base. Will Sveum insert Ransom in the two-hole and move Starlin Castro back down to the five-hole today?
Anthony Rizzo has turned it on of late and is hitting very well at Wrigley Field. Rizzo has a .260/.351/.500 slash line with six doubles and two home runs at Wrigley with a .851 OPS … and against LHP this season, Rizzo is hitting .308/.386/.615/1.002 with three doubles and three home runs.
In Other News
The Cubs made the official announcement that Kyuji Fujikawa will start his rehab assignment on Sunday with the Iowa Cubs. The Cubs also announced that Matt Garza will make his second rehab start on Monday with Iowa. Garza is scheduled to throw 70-75 pitches in what the Cubs view as his third rehab outing.
The Cubs announced their minor league player and pitcher for the first month of the season on Friday. Rock Shoulders was named the organization’s player of the month for April while lefty Eric Jokisch took home the minor league pitcher award for April.
According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Brett Jackson could be placed on the DL in the near future. Jackson has been dealing with a jammed right big toe and was scheduled to have an injection on Friday.
Juan Carlos Paniagua is still waiting for his visa according to a report from Baseball America. The Cubs signed Paniagua last July after Major League Baseball approved his contract. The U.S. Consulate has not granted him his visa yet and there is not a clear timetable for when Paniagua will be able to pitch in the Cubs’ system this season.
This afternoon all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija is coming off his shortest start of the season. Samardzija lasted just five innings against the Padres last Monday night and allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. Samardzija did not use it as an excuse, but admitted after the game that his outing was affected by the cut he received on the index finger of his throwing hand in his previous start against the Reds … the Reds actually auctioned off one of the bloody balls from Samardzija’s game in Cincinnati. The Cubs ended up winning the game and are 2-4 in Samardzija’s six starts.
For the most part Jeff Samardzija is off to a good start to the season. He has not thrown the ball as well over his last three starts as he did in the first three outings of the year. The walks have increased, which is not a good sign. Samardzija walked six batters while striking out 27 in his first three starts, and has issued eight walks with 16 strikeouts in his last three games.
Samardzija faces the Reds for the second time in three starts this afternoon. Other than running up his pitch count early in the game and cutting his hand, Samardzija made only one mistake over six innings against the Reds. Todd Frazier took Samardzija very deep in the sixth for the only run in the game.
Jeff Samardzija is 1-2 in 17 career games, three starts, against the Reds with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
Reds Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Jay Bruce – 3-for-11 with two doubles and a walk
- Shin-Soo Choo – 1-for-3
- Zack Cozart – 2-for-9 with a double
- Todd Frazier – 3-for-6 with two home runs and two walks
- Chris Heisey – 3-for-7
- Cesar Izturis – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Devin Mesoraco – 1-for-3
- Xavier Paul – 1-for-4 with a home run and two walks
- Brandon Phillips – 2-for-16
- Joey Votto – 2-for-14 with two walks
The Evergreen Park native makes the first start of his career at Wrigley Field this afternoon. Tony Cingrani has been very, very good over his first three starts subbing for the injured Johnny Cueto. Cingrani is likely in the majors to stay, even when Cueto returns from his latest injury. The Reds have shown how important it is to have a deep farm system. When a team in the hunt for a division title can replace a Johnny Cueto with a Tony Cingrani, they are providing the right depth for the big league to succeed when injuries occur.
Tony Cingrani is coming off a big time performance against the Washington Nationals. Cingrani pitched six innings of shutout ball while allowing only two hits, one walk and striking out 11 batters. In 18 innings, Cingrani has struck out 28 batters while walking only four.
The Cubs had minimal success against Cingrani when they faced him on April 23. Cingrani allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Carlos Villanueva outpitched Cingrani that night but Carlos Marmol gave up the lead in the ninth before Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep in the tenth.
Darwin Barney (0-for-2), Welington Castillo (0-for-3), Starlin Castro (0-for-3), Scott Hairston (0-for-2), Cody Ransom (2-for-3 with a double and a home run), Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3), Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a double) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3) faced Tony Cingrani in his second start of the season.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …