Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 04/18/14

Game Fifteen – Cubs (4-10) vs. Reds (6-9)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29/1.05/3.09) vs. Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20/0.73/3.18)

The Cubs open a seven-game homestand this afternoon with the first of three against the Reds. The Cubs actually begin a stretch of 30 games in 31 days today and will look to bounce back from a bad road trip (1-4) that ended with a two shutouts in the Bronx on Wednesday in which the team went 0-for-13 with RISP and left 12 men on base in 18 innings at Yankee Stadium.

MLBAutismAwarenessThis weekend is the first of 10 decade-themed homestands this season the team will celebrate Wrigley Field turning 100 years old. The Cubs and Diamondbacks will recognize the first game at what was known as Weeghman Park on Wednesday. The Cubs will wear Chicago Federals jerseys and the Diamondbacks have agreed to wear Kansas City Federals jerseys. The Chicago Whales beat the Kansas City Packers 9-1 at the first ever game at Wrigley Field 9-1.

Rick Renteria shifted his starting rotation for the weekend series with the Reds. After today’s match-up of Jeff Samardzija and Alfredo Simon, Edwin Jackson faces lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday. Carlos Villanueva and Homer Bailey start the finale on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds have owned the Cubs over the last two seasons, especially at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were 5-14 versus the Reds a year ago and just 4-12 in 16 games the year before. The Cubs are 9-26 in two seasons with the Reds while being outscored 165-120.

For the first time since 2008, Dusty Baker will not be calling the shots for the Reds from the visitor’s dugout at Wrigley. Baker was dismissed not long after the Reds’ season ended last year and was replaced by Bryan Price. The Reds started clicking offensively once Joey Votto was finally moved to the two-hole in the lineup.

Rick Renteria should run out a balanced lineup today. Righties (.174/.208/.250) and lefties (.167/.219/.313) have hit pretty much the same against Alfredo Simon this year and for his career the numbers are rather close as well (LH: .259/.332/.378; RH: .263/.324/.378).

This afternoon it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is off to an excellent start to his season. Samardzija has completed seven innings in each of his first three starts and could easily be 3-0 this year. Samardzija has not received any run support and once he did, Jose Veras happened and he received a no decision the last time out. Samardzija tossed seven innings of shutout ball on Opening Day in Pittsburgh then held Philly to a pair of runs on six hits his next time out. Samardzija limited a very good Cardinals’ team to one run on six hits in his last start.

Samardzija has thrown strikes and limited his walks this season. In 21 innings, Samardzija has issued only five free passes while striking out 15 batters. The strikeout totals might be down a little but his average innings per start are up.

Like many of his teammates, Samardzija has struggled against the Reds. Cincinnati has had the Cubs’ number over the last three years and Jeff Samardzija is just 1-3 in 21 career appearances, seven starts, versus the Redlegs with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Samardzija was 0-2 in five starts against the Reds last season with a 5.16 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP (35 hits allowed, 17 walks and 29 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings).

Reds Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Joey Votto: 6-for-25 with two doubles and four walks
  • Brandon Phillips: 6-for-29
  • Jay Bruce: 6-for-22 with three doubles and three walks
  • Zack Cozart: 5-for-21 with one double and one walk
  • Todd Frazier: 6-for-16 with one double, two home runs and four walks
  • Roger Bernadina: 2-for-12
  • Devin Mesoraco: 5-for-9 with one home run
  • Chris Heisey: 3-for-7
  • Ryan Ludwick: 1-for-4 with one walk

The Cubs get their first look today at the starter Alfredo Simon (last name now pronounced SIGN-mon). The Reds converted Simon back to a starter and he has responded extremely well. Simon pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since 2012 after starting 16 games for the Orioles in 2011 (4-9 in 23 games, 16 starts, with a 4.90 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP).

Simon beat the Mets in his first start of the season on April 6 after he allowed one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. Simon held the Rays to one run on five hits in eight innings in his last start but took the loss. Alfredo Simon has issued only two walks in 15 innings this year with 10 strikeouts.

Alfredo Simon is 1-0 with a save in 10 games against the Cubs (3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) and he will make the first start of his career against the Cubs this afternoon. Simon has completed six innings over five appearances at Wrigley Field during his career with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP (eight hits, two walks, six strikeouts).

Cubs Career Numbers against Alfredo Simon

  • Darwin Barney: 3-for-6
  • Ryan Sweeney: 1-for-6 with one walk
  • Starlin Castro: 1-for-6 with one double
  • Justin Ruggiano: 1-for-3
  • Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-2
  • John Baker: 1-for-2
  • Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-2
  • Luis Valbuena: 2-for-2 with one double and one home run
  • Emilio Bonifacio: 0-for-1
  • Welington Castillo: 0-for-1

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