Heading to Wrigley: Game 1 v. Cubs


Three games at Wrigley. Three day games. Three posts that have be done in an early and timely manner, right?

Consider this as “on time” then, please…

We’ll take a brief look at the game 1 pitchers for today. The Reds send Edinson Volquez to the mound while Mike Quade and the Cubs will counter with Matt Garza. Here’s how all shakes out for the two…

Reds: Edison Volquez (season: 2-1, 5.67 ERA; career v. Cubs: 2-0, 0.96 ERA)

We’ve already seen this before from Volquez this season. A team that he has dominated in the past has gotten to him this season. We hope that trend does not continue with the Cubs. I’m kind of confused (well, that’s nothing new) as to who need a good outing more, Volquez or the Reds. Long run: the Reds. Short term: Volquez. Those would be my guesses. And they are just that…guesses.

But as you look at only the lines from game Volquez has started this season (minus “startgate”) and aside from the first inning woes (which are now over publicized at this point), this guy has been really doing some pitching. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the by inning breakdown from Volquez for 2011.

Without even looking at his game logs, we can gather some info from this: Volquez has always gone 5 innings. Always. But also know that he has never gone beyond 6 innings. For a guy that is the closest thing to an ace (according to ?), that won’t do. One thing that you cannot glean from this is that in his last three outings, he has thrown over 100 pitches in all of them. I do think he’s finally getting a little more comfy on the hill.

When you look at how the current Cubs roster stacks up against Volquez, it’s pretty darn good really. The overall numbers…12-40 (.300/.429/.425). But only one current Cub has a HR off of him, Jeff Baker. And for some reason Kosuke Fukudome can’t seem to hit Volquez (1-7, .143) while Aramis Ramirez does kind of hit him (3-8, .375).

Chicago: Matt Garza (season: 1-3, 3.96 ERA; career v. Reds: first start)

We’re all aware that the Cubs pulled off a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to get Garza. To date, you could say that the Cubs haven’t gotten from Garza what they thought they would get. Not so fast. While his record may not look all that pretty Garza has looked good at Wrigley. Sure he’s 0-1, but in 19 innings over three games, he’s only allowed four runs (1.89 ERA). In his three games away from the friendly confines, he thrown 19.2 innings and allowed 13 runs. So at home it’s been run support, on the road, well…

As I noted above, this will be Garza’s first start against the Reds. There are only four current Reds that have even seen Garza. One of those is Fred Lewis. Don’t be shocked if Lewis gets a start today if for only that reason. Lewis hasn’t been too shabby against him (3-11). The only other three Reds are Ramon Hernandez (2-9), Edgar Renteria (0-2), and Miguel Cairo (0-1).

So what’s this all mean?

Quick summation: Volquez has done well against the Cubs in the past. The current Cubs roster does hit him a bit though. The Reds, almost to a man, have not seen Garza. Garza pitches very well at Wrigley.

Bottom line: Could be a long day for hitters, especially for the Reds.

I hope I’m wrong…