Game Seventeen – Cubs (5-11) vs. Reds (7-10)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 85, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Villanueva (1-3, 11.57/2.14/4.89) vs. Homer Bailey (0-1, 8.16/2.02/7.19)
The Cubs have a shot today to do something the team has not done since last September (Sept. 9-11), win a series. After losing to the Reds for the 16th time in 17 games at Wrigley, the Cubs listened to their skipper and beat the Reds on Saturday afternoon (2-16 in last 18 games against the Reds at Wrigley). A victory this afternoon would snap another skid. The Cubs have lost their last 10 series and have not won a series at Wrigley Field since the team took two of three from the Phillies at the end of August (Aug. 30-Sept. 1).
The Cubs played a clean game, for the most part, on Saturday and will turn to Carlos Villanueva this afternoon.
With Jake Arrieta close to returning to the big league team, this afternoon should be one of Carlos Villanueva’s last starts. The way the rotation is lining up, Carlos Villanueva will have to make one more start in five days. Arrieta is scheduled to pitch Monday in Clearwater which would put him on track to join the rotation on April 26. Villanueva’s spot in the lineup comes back around on April 25.
Anthony Rizzo is expected back in the lineup this afternoon after leaving Saturday’s game with back spasms. Rizzo said he was okay after the game and did not think he would miss any time.
Rick Renteria will run out every lefty he can this afternoon, and look for a lineup void of right handed hitters with the exception of Starlin Castro. Lefties are crushing Homer Bailey this season to the tune of a .538/.571/.857 line while right handers have managed a .256/.310/.571 line. Over the course of his big league career, Bailey has held righties (.256/.313/.368) to a similar line as lefties (.269/.335/.380.).
This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva …
To put it simply, Carlos Villanueva is coming off a bad start. Villanueva lasted just three-plus innings last Saturday in St. Louis and gave up nine runs on 10 hits with only one of those runs scoring on a solo home run. Villanueva did not walk a batter and picked up two strikeouts and Chris Rusin was called on to throw the last five innings. Villanueva really struggled in every aspect of his game and today could be more of the same if Villanueva is not focused.
It is rare to see a pitcher notch four decisions in his team’s first seventeen games, but that is the case for Carlos Villanueva this season. Villanueva showed how good he could be on April 6 against the Phillies at Wrigley. Rick Renteria will need a similar performance to the one run on six hits in five innings he turned in that day.
Carlos Villanueva is 2-3 in 25 games, seven starts, against the Reds with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Last year, Villanueva posted an 0-1 record in five games, two starts, versus the Reds with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
Reds Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva
- Brandon Phillips: 3-for-24 with one home run and one walk
- Joey Votto: 7-for-18 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Ryan Ludwick: 3-for-11 with one double and one walk
- Todd Frazier: 2-for-9 with two doubles
- Zack Cozart: 1-for-7 with one double
- Chris Heisey: 3-for-6 with one home run
- Devin Mesoraco: 1-for-3 with one double and one walk
- Brayan Pena: 0-for-3 with one walk
- Roger Bernadina: 0-for-1
- Ramon Santiago: 1-for-1
Homer Bailey got paid in just before camp opened, was injured in Spring Training and is off to a not-so-good start this season. Bailey has given up a lot of hits and even more home runs over his first three starts. And Bailey is not pitching deep into games whatsoever, sound familiar?
The Pirates put up five runs on eight hits in five innings during Bailey’s last start. Four of the six home runs Bailey has allowed this season came in his outing against the Bucs.
The Cubs must not allow him to get comfortable. He’s struggling and any confidence could lead to another frustrating afternoon for the Cubs’ offense.
Homer Bailey is 7-2 in 13 career starts against the Cubs with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Bailey was 2-0 in three starts against the Cubs a year ago with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. For his career, Bailey owns a 4-1 mark in six starts at Wrigley Field with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Homer Bailey
- Starlin Castro: 5-for-27 with two home runs and two walks
- Darwin Barney: 7-for-25 with one walk
- Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-11 with one double and five walks
- Nate Schierholtz: 7-for-15 with two doubles and one home run
- Luis Valbuena: 1-for-13 with two walks
- John Baker: 3-for-8 with one double
- Emilio Bonifacio: 1-for-7
- Justin Ruggiano: 0-for-7
- Welington Castillo: 1-for-5 with one double and one walk
- Junior Lake: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …