Game Thirty-Four: Cubs (19-14) vs. Reds (13-21)
Game Time – 11:35am C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Jon Lieber (2-1, 1.86/1.19) vs. Edinson Volquez (4-1, 1.27/1.19)
After a very disappointing start to the road trip, the Cubs have a chance to win their first series since a 2-game sweep of the Mets back on April 21st and 22nd….but in order for that to happen they will have to play mistake free ball today and plate runs against the Reds’ very impressive young right hander.
Lou Piniella has been vocal of late about the way his team has played. This quote from the Chicago Tribune speaks volumes….
“We don’t have a powerhouse here. I don’t care what people say. I’ve seen this team play daily. It’s a good team, but it’s a team that has to execute and take advantage of opportunities, has to pitch and has to do all the things teams do to win baseball games. We haven’t executed well in some areas, and we have to get better. If we don’t, it’s going to be a struggle. I’m not disappointed or irritated or anything. It’s just fact.”
Jon Lieber will make his first start in a Cub uniform since August 1, 2002 when he faced the Padres at Wrigley….and the veteran right-hander will have the task of putting his team in position to win back-to-back games since April 23rd. Jon Lieber has been a valuable part of Lou Piniella’s pitching staff this season out of the bullpen. Lieber should be 3-0 as he took the loss in relief against the Astros on April 4th at Wrigley. The Astros scored a pair of unearned runs after a Mark DeRosa error. Lieber was the Cubs last 20-game winner (20-6 in 2001) and has been inserted into Rich Hill’s spot in the rotation.
Lieber has allowed only 4 earned runs on 21 hits in 19 1/3 innings this year with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks. Lieber always works fast and will give up his fair share of hits and it is up to the Cubs defense to make plays behind him.
Lieber is 11-8 in 28 career games, 26 starts, against the Reds with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. Lieber faced the Reds in the lopsided loss back on April 17th at Wrigley. Lieber allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits in an inning of work….the big hit was a 3-run homer by Ken Griffey, Jr.
Lieber is 1-0 in 2 career starts at Great American with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.28 WHIP….no earned runs on 3 hits with 11 strikeouts and a walk in 14 1/3 innings.
- Paul Bako – 4-for-20 with a home run
- Adam Dunn – 9-for-27 with 3 doubles and 2 home runs
- Edwin Encarnacion – 3-for-9 with a double and 2 home runs
- Ken Griffey, Jr. – 6-for-21 with a double and a home run
- Scott Hatteberg – 4-for-14 with a home run
- Corey Patterson – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Brandon Phillips – 0-for-8
The Cubs will be the first team to face Edinson Volquez for the second time this season….hopefully they took plenty of notes. Dusty Baker’s young right-hander dominated the Cubs back on April 17th at Wrigley. He held the Cubs to only 1 run on 4 hits with 7 strikeouts and 4 walks in 5 innings of work.
Volquez has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his first 6 starts for the Reds but is coming off his first loss of the year. Like Aaron Harang, the Reds gave him no run support for the second time this season. Volquez allowed only 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks to the Braves in a 2-0 loss.
Volquez has a very impressive strikeout to walk ratio. In 35 1/3 innings this year. Volquez has recorded 42 strikeouts to just 18 walks….in his last 2 starts, 13 innings, a remarkable 19 strikeouts and only 5 walks.
Reed Johnson was 2-for-2 against Volquez and the other 2 hits came from Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Theriot….all singles.
The Cubs must be patient today and make Volquez work.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….