Game Fifty-Eight: Cubs (31-26) vs. Reds (27-31)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 84, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.19/1.35/4.30) vs. Michael Lorenzen (1-1, 3.29/1.38/5.74)
Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a six-game all-Ohio homestand tonight with the first of four with the red hot Cincinnati Reds. The Indians make the trip to Wrigley next week (June 15-16) for the last two games before the Cubs hit the road for five games in Cleveland and Minneapolis.
The right field bleachers open tonight and the players are excited about playing in front of a packed Wrigley Field for the remainder of the season. Joe Maddon pointed out Wednesday the Cubs must make Wrigley a home field advantage. The Cubs are 15-11 in their park this season.
The Cubs face a Reds team for the next four days that is playing good ball right now. The Cubs are 4-1 in the first five games of the season with the Redlegs. But Joey Votto and company are coming off a sweep over the Phillies and have won four straight. The Reds think they are still in the mix for a spot in the post-season and enter play tonight four games under .500 and five games behind the Cubs and Pirates for second place in the division.
The Reds have owned the Cubs in recent years, especially at Wrigley Field, and the pitching match-ups favor the Reds over the next four days.
Tsuyoshi Wada and rookie Michael Lorenzen, a very good pitcher the Cubs have not faced, kick off the series. Jason Hammel and Johnny Cueto square off on Friday afternoon. Kyle Hendricks faces Mike Leake under the lights on Saturday night. The series concludes Sunday night with Jon Lester taking on Anthony DeSclafani in primetime on ESPN.
If the Cubs let up against a team that is technically under .500 like they have to this point of the season, the Reds will make Wrigley Field their home away from home once again.
Tonight all starts with Tsuyoshi Wada …
There is no way to spin it, Tsuyoshi Wada is coming off a horrible start. The Nationals pounded Wada for 3 2/3 innings and scored five runs on nine hits with two walks. Wada struck out only one batter and did not have the command he requires to be at least serviceable in the majors.
Wada is pitching for a spot in the rotation every time out and he knows it. The front office is looking for ways to upgrade the rotation and cannot have starters without the ability to complete at least six innings every five days. Wada has been a five and dive pitcher in the big leagues. He has completed at least six innings only five of his 17 starts in the majors.
Tsuyoshi Wada has no record in two starts at Wrigley this season. Wada has allowed two runs on six hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in 11 innings (1.64 ERA, 0.91 WHIP).
After making his big league debut in Cincinnati against the Reds almost a year ago, Wada did not face the Redlegs again last season. Wada received a no decision last July 8. The Reds scored one unearned run on five hits with a walk and Wada struck out three batters.
Until Travis Wood was used in the ninth inning of the blowout in Detroit on Wednesday night, the thought was if Wada struggled early, Joe Maddon would go to Travis Wood. Now it’s questionable if Wood will even be available and it may take a lot of mixing and matching to get through the middle innings if Wada does not keep the Reds off the board early in the game.
Reds Career Numbers against Tsuyoshi Wada
- Billy Hamilton: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Tucker Barnhart: 1-for-2
- Jay Bruce: 0-for-2
- Zack Cozart: 2-for-2
- Todd Frazier: 0-for-2
- Brandon Phillips: 0-for-2
- Skip Schumaker: 1-for-2
The Cubs get their first look at Michael Lorenzen. The rookie right hander has been rather impressive over his first six starts in the big leagues. Lorenzen has shut down offenses much better than the Cubs and has not allowed more than three earned runs in each of his six starts.
Outside of Great American, Lorenzen is 1-0 in three games, two starts, with a 1.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Only 11 hits allowed in 12 innings with seven walks and six strikeouts.
The Cubs obviously must make him work or Michael Lorenzen and his high-90s fastball will shut them down. No one on the Cubs active roster has faced Lorenzen in a regular season big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …