Game Twenty-Two – Cubs (7-14) vs. Brewers (16-6)
- Game Time – 7:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee
Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 10.93/2.04/3.45) vs. Matt Garza (0-2, 4.50/1.31/3.87)
The Cubs begin a six-game, two-city road trip tonight in Milwaukee against the team with the best record in baseball. The Brewers have done everything right so far this season. From the starting staff, to the relief corps, to a healthy and productive Aramis Ramirez, the ball has bounced the Brewers way so far this year.
The Brewers, like the rest of the NL Central, have had their way with the Cubs over the last two seasons. Milwaukee won 13 of the 19 games against the Cubs a year ago while outscoring the Cubs by nearly 20 runs. If the Cubs think the recently completed homestand (3-4) was fun, they are in for a real treat this weekend in Milwaukee facing this Brewers’ team.
After tonight’s matchup of Carlos Villanueva and Matt Garza, Travis Wood is scheduled to face Marco Estrada on Saturday night. Jason Hammel and Wily Peralta are expected to square off in the finale on Sunday afternoon.
Matt Garza is facing his former team for the first time. And he’s made the matchups against the Cubs personal. Garza has promised to “try to kick their teeth in every time I get a chance.”
Rick Renteria should slot Junior Lake in behind Emilio Bonifacio in tonight’s lineup, because the Cubs should bunt early and often against Garza to get under his skin. Garza is an excellent pitcher that cannot field his position. If the Cubs can rattle him early, they will be able to put runs on the board.
As for the rest of the lineup, Rick Renteria should run out a balanced starting eight tonight behind Carlos Villanueva. Right handed hitters (.255/.311/.365) have hit virtually the same as lefties (.245/.316/.344) against Matt Garza throughout his career.
Tonight it all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
Carlos Villanueva should be making his last start for a while tonight. Villanueva is coming off a bad outing against the Reds and is off to a not-so-good start to his season. Villanueva has allowed 14 earned runs on 19 hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in his last two games (7 2/3 innings) … 16.45 ERA, 2.61 WHIP. And teams are squaring up just about everything Villanueva is throwing near the plate this season (.403 opponent’s batting average).
For as poorly as Villanueva has pitched this year, he’s been even worse on the road. In three games, one start, Villanueva is 0-3 with a 22.85 ERA and a 3.23 WHIP. Teams are hitting .500 against him (11 runs on 14 hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings).
Carlos Villanueva has had success against the team he broke into the majors with in 2006. Villanueva is 1-0 in five career games, one start, versus the Brewers with a 2.77 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Villanueva was 1-0 in four games, one start, against Milwaukee last season with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
Brewers Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Mark Reynolds: 5-for-16 with two home runs and three walks
- Aramis Ramirez: 4-for-8 with three doubles and five walks
- Carlos Gomez: 1-for-8 with two walks
- Jonathan Lucroy: 1-for-6 with one double
- Jeff Bianchi: 0-for-4
- Jean Segura: 1-for-5 with one home run
- Rickie Weeks: 1-for-4
- Ryan Braun: 0-for-1
- Martin Maldonado: 0-for-1
After an excellent start to his Brewers career on April 2 against the Braves, Matt Garza has not fared too well the last three times he’s been given the ball. Garza allowed one run on two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts to Atlanta and has given up 12 runs on 25 hits with six walks and 12 strikeouts in his three starts since his debut.
Garza lasted just five innings his last time out and gave up six runs, five earned, on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts to the Pirates. Garza’s emotions got the best of him and he should be all fired up for tonight.
Matt Garza makes his first career start against the Cubs tonight.
Cubs Career Numbers against Matt Garza
- Emilio Bonifacio: 4-for-11
- Ryan Sweeney: 3-for-8
- Ryan Kalish: 1-for-5
- Luis Valbuena: 0-for-5
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …