Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 07/05/14

Game Eighty-Five – Cubs (38-46) vs. Nationals (46-39)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
  • Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC

Carlos Villanueva (4-5, 5.91/1.64/3.77) vs. Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 3.93/1.27/3.34)

To say a lot has changed since the Cubs won their fourth game in a row would be an understatement. And Rick Renteria and his staff now face the huge challenge of keeping his players focused while dealing with the loss of two of its clubhouse leaders.

Carlos Villanueva will start today’s game in place of the recently traded Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have recalled LHP Chris Rusin to help get through the game. Rusin is expected to act as a minor league piggyback for Villanueva today. Rusin last pitched Wednesday for Iowa, so today would be his throw day and he should be able to give the Cubs two to three innings, depending on his pitch count.

The Cubs are in the process of sorting out the Major League and Triple-A rotations. Tsuyoshi Wada will start one of the two games in Cincinnati on Tuesday and the Cubs are expected to bring up a reliever from Iowa before Sunday’s finale against the Nationals. While it was not said, Blake Parker should be the bullpen arm added to the active roster.

While the players are dealing with the loss of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the offense will have the tough task of figuring out Gio Gonzalez. The southpaw shut down the Cubs last Saturday at Wrigley for seven innings with Dallas Beeler recording one of the two hits.

So while Carlos Villanueva is getting the ball in the first inning of the game, today all starts with Rick Renteria and his coaching staff …

Carlos Villanueva is making his fifth start of the season today. Villanueva completed two innings on July 2 and depending on his pitch count, Villanueva should be able to go four innings this afternoon. Villanueva gave up two runs and picked up the win in long relief of Travis Wood. Villanueva was hittable in a long, wild game in Boston.

PrintAs a starter this season, Carlos Villanueva is 1-3 in four starts with a 9.68 ERA and a 2.09 WHIP. Villanueva has allowed 20 runs, 19 earned, on 35 hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. Villanueva makes his first start today since April 25 in Milwaukee.

Carlos Villanueva is 2-1 in 13 career appearances, one start, against the Nationals with a 2.30 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. Villanueva is making his first start at Nationals Park today and he is 1-0 in four appearances with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP in the new park in DC.

Nationals Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

The Cubs made Gio Gonzalez look very good last Saturday at Wrigley and managed just two hits off the southpaw. Gonzalez threw seven innings of shutout ball while walking two batters and striking out seven. If the Cubs use the same game plan today, the streak could be in real jeopardy.

Gio Gonzalez has not allowed a run over his last two starts and has surrendered only five hits. The key to Gonzalez is making him work, and the Cubs did not do that a week ago. Gio Gonzalez is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, and at Nationals Park this season, he is 2-1 in five starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Today will be the sixth time Gio Gonzalez has started a game against the Cubs in his career. Gonzalez is 2-1 in the first five with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Gio Gonzalez

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