Cubs-Reds Preview

It’s been more than two weeks since the Cincinnati Reds sent a

struggling Edinson Volquez to the minors. They might have picked

the right opponent for his return.

Volquez will try to help the Reds continue their dominance over

the struggling Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

Volquez (3-2, 6.35 ERA) hasn’t pitched in the majors since

giving up seven runs over 2 2-3 innings in Cleveland on May 22. He

was sent to Triple-A Louisville the following day and was 1-0 with

a 1.88 ERA in two starts there.

“He made some adjustments, and that’s why he went down, to try

to get himself back together,” manager Dusty Baker told the team’s

website.

Volquez is expected to be recalled to face the last team he

defeated. The right-hander earned that win at Wrigley Field on May

6 while giving up four runs over five innings.

He allowed three runs and three hits over six frames to the Cubs

on May 17 in Cincinnati but did not get a decision in a 7-5

victory. Volquez is 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts

against Chicago (23-35).

This time, he’ll face a Cubs team that’s dropped a season-high

seven in a row and had to deal with internal turmoil.

After his team gave up its second walkoff home run in as many

games Sunday, starter Carlos Zambrano criticized closer Carlos

Marmol for his pitch selection to a former teammate and said the

club was “playing like a Triple-A team.”

Zambrano apologized for those comments before Monday’s opener at

the Great American Ball Park, but it had little effect on the

team’s fortunes in an 8-2 defeat.

The Cubs have been outscored 44-20 during their skid and

produced just 13 runs in their last six games.

“We’re just in a tough place right now,” pitcher Matt Garza

said. “There’s still four months of baseball to play … So there’s

a lot of stuff to turn.”

The Reds (31-30) entered the series having dropped 13 of 18 but

will try to continue rebounding with a 16th win in 19 matchups with

their NL Central rivals. Cincinnati has claimed five of six this

season and seven of eight home meetings.

Having lost each of his first starts with the Cubs, left-hander

Doug Davis wouldn’t seem likely to change that trend.

Davis, though, is coming off a solid outing but once again got

little help from teammates. The veteran gave up three runs over a

season-high 6 1-3 innings Wednesday against Houston but was on the

wrong end of a 3-1 defeat.

Davis (0-4, 5.95) has received three runs of support in his four

starts and is still searching for his first win since May 5,

2010.

“That’s the guy that I saw beating us in another dugout for a

lot of years. Just confounds the daylights out of you,” manager

Mike Quade told the team’s website. “(He) just made pitches and did

a good job and obviously just didn’t get any run support.”

The left-hander will face Cincinnati for the first time since

July 2, 2009, and has given up three or fewer runs in 12

consecutive starts against the Reds, going 5-2 with a 3.10 ERA.

Davis will try to help the Cubs avoid their first eight-game

skid since May 17-25, 2009, while Cincinnati’s Jonny Gomes will try

to hit his third homer in as many games against Chicago.

His three-run shot Monday was his first homer since May 16

versus the Cubs.