Game Six: Cubs (1-4) vs. Phillies (3-2)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Villanueva (0-2, 13.50/3.00/11.47) vs. A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50/1.50/3.72)
The Cubs will try to salvage the last game of the series with the Phillies this afternoon behind Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs swingman is making his first start of the year after taking the loss in two of the Cubs first five games.
The offense is hitting, singles at least, but has not found a way to string together any hits this season. The Cubs have scored eight runs in the first five games with only seven extra basehits. The Cubs are 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position and it will not be any easier for the offense today with A.J. Burnett on the mound.
On the pitching side, the bullpen has been decent five games into the season while the Cubs have received four quality starts from the rotation in the first five games.
It does not appear Carlos Villanueva has been put on a pitch count for today’s game. With that said, the relievers received a break Saturday thanks to Jeff Samardzija so the bullpen should be at full strength this afternoon with Monday’s off-day on the horizon.
This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
It is not too often that a team’s fifth starter has appeared in two of his team’s first five games and lost both before he makes his first start of the season, but that is the case this year with Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva appeared in the first two games of the year, both extra innings and in back-to-back games he was walked off and took the loss. On Opening Day it was a Neil Walker blast in the 10th and on Wednesday it was a Tony Sanchez single in the 16th inning.
Carlos Villanueva was effective early last season in the starting rotation before he started bouncing back and forth from the pen to the rotation. Villanueva was 7-8 in 47 games, 15 starts, last year with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. As a starter last season, Villanueva was 1-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
The Phillies faced Villanueva only one time last year and only for 1 1/3 innings. For his career, Carlos Villanueva is 2-0 in 14 appearances, one start, with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.
Phillies Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Jimmy Rollins: 3-for-11 with two doubles, one home run and two walks
- Ryan Howard: 3-for-10
- Carlos Ruiz: 2-for-8 with one double and one walk
- Chase Utley: 0-for-9 with one walk
- Tony Gwynn Jr.: 0-for-4 with two walks
- Wil Nieves: 2-for-5 with one double
- Marlon Byrd: 2-for-4
- Domonic Brown: 0-for-3
- A.J. Burnett: 0-for-1
- Ben Revere: 0-for-1
A.J. Burnett is coming off an excellent outing in Texas. Burnett held the Rangers to one run on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
Like Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett has owned the Cubs throughout his career. Burnett is 7-2 in 11 career starts against the Cubs with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Burnett was 1-1 in three starts against the Cubs last year in a Pirates’ uniform with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (13 hits, six walks, 18 strikeouts). And he is 5-0 in seven career starts at Wrigley Field with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett
- Starlin Castro: 9-for-22 with one double
- Ryan Sweeney: 6-for-20 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-15 with one home run and two walks
- Luis Valbuena: 0-for-13 with three walks
- Darwin Barney: 2-for-11 with one walk
- Nate Schierholtz: 5-for-10 with one double and one walk
- Justin Ruggiano: 3-for-9 with one double and one home run
- Welington Castillo: 2-for-7 with two doubles and one walk
- Emilio Bonifacio: 1-for-5 with two walks
- John Baker: 1-for-6
- Ryan Kalish: 1-for-2 with one walk
- Carlos Villanueva: 1-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …