Pregame Notes: Chicago Cubs look for series win against Cincinnati


Mar 20, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman

Mike Olt

(30) follows through on a single in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Cubs Park. The Mariners won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In yesterday’s matchup with Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs’ offense came alive, clubbing a trio of home runs in support of right-hander Edwin Jackson, who notched his first win of the 2014 campaign. Today, the club hands the ball to another righty in Carlos Villanueva, who will look to lead the Cubs to their first series win of the season.

Chicago (5-11) will run out a lineup that includes third baseman Mike Olt, who hit his third home run of the season in yesterday’s win. This is notable because manager Ricky Renteria has primarily run out Luis Valbuena against right-handers, which is the makeup of today’s Reds’ starter, Homer Bailey.

Olt  has hit just .176/.222/.235 in 17 at-bats against right-handers this season, with all three of his home runs coming against southpaws. However, Renteria seems willing to give him a chance to prove himself this afternoon, making Olt’s day at the plate something to keep an eye on.

Villanueva (1-3, 11.57 ERA) has had a rocky start to the campaign and is coming off a start against St. Louis in which he was shelled for nine earned runs on ten hits in just three innings of work. In April, he’s allowed 20 hits in just 9 1/3 innings of work, pitching to the tune of a 2.04 WHIP.

Today’s game will be broadcast on WGN 720 AM and can be seen in the Chicagoland area on WCIU.

Here are today’s starting lineups: