After missing the first 3 1/2 months of the season while
recovering from elbow surgery, Edinson Volquez has been a bit shaky
since returning to the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation.
A start against the struggling Chicago Cubs could be a good way
for him to continue getting back on track.
Volquez, who has shut down the Cubs in the past, looks to help
the NL Central-leading Reds win a third straight game Saturday at
Cincinnati (62-48) defeated Chicago 3-0 in the series opener
Friday, winning for the seventh time in nine games. Ryan Hanigan
hit a two-run homer and Brandon Phillips added a run-scoring single
for the surprising Reds, who are 14 games over .500 for the first
time since going 96-67 in 1999.
“To win these close games – have guys go deep in the game, have
the bullpen come in for just two innings like that – that’s big,”
said Hanigan, who has 10 RBIs in his last seven games.
Cincinnati, 5-10 versus the Cubs last year, is 8-3 against them
this season. The Reds have won six of the last seven matchups,
limiting Chicago to 13 runs.
Cincinnati isn’t the only team that has given the Cubs problems,
as Chicago has plated two runs or fewer in five of its last
The Cubs (47-62), losers of eight of nine, are now set to face
Volquez, who has posted a 0.75 ERA in winning both career starts
Volquez (2-1, 6.35 ERA) hasn’t faced Chicago since his All-Star
season of 2008, as injuries have limited him to 13 starts
Making his fourth start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last
August, Volquez was again wild in a 2-1 win over Atlanta on Sunday.
The right-hander walked five and hit a batter, but yielded one run
and three hits while striking out seven over five innings.
He has issued 13 walks in 11 innings over his last three
“I think it’s coming,” Volquez said. “I feel good. This is part
of the process. In my mind, I feel good. I have to put everything
together. Command is the last step.”
Volquez has a chance to improve his control against a Chicago
lineup that has the third-fewest walks in the NL with 327.
Derrek Lee, 1 for 7 against Volquez, has been a big part of the
Cubs’ struggles against Cincinnati, going 1 for 27 with eight
strikeouts in the last seven games.
While Lee has been awful versus the Reds, scheduled starter
Randy Wells is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in five career starts against
Wells (5-9, 4.40) allowed one hit through three scoreless
innings against Milwaukee on Monday, but things quickly fell apart
for the right-hander in the fourth. He failed to make it out of the
inning, giving up seven runs and 10 hits in an 18-1 loss.
“In all reality it (stinks) to get beat up like that but I don’t
think it is anything to start looking into,” Wells said. “I just
had a bad start.”
Wells had been one of Chicago’s most reliable starters,
recording a 1.79 ERA over his previous six outings. That stretch
includes a strong performance against Cincinnati on July 3, when he
gave up one run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-1