One of the most accomplished hitters in baseball is back on the shelf, but it didn't hurt the Cincinnati Reds' offensive production Monday. The Reds look to continue where they left off in a 9-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs when the teams play a day-night doubleheader Tuesday. Cincinnati scored eight runs during its final four at-bats in the opener of a five-game series despite playing without first baseman Joey Votto.
Votto (strained left quadriceps) could be headed for another stint on the disabled list, so Jay Bruce made his first big-league appearance at first base Monday and homered for the second straight game. The win moved the Reds within five games of first-place Milwaukee in a crowded National League Central. The Cubs are the only team out of contention in the division and have lost three straight following a four-game winning streak.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Tsuyoshi Wada (NR) vs. Reds LH David Holmberg (2013: 0-0, 7.36 ERA)
Wada was added to the Cubs' roster as the 26th man and is set for his major-league debut after posting a 9-5 record and a 2.66 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) at Triple-A Iowa. The 33-year-old veteran of the Japanese leagues averaged nearly a strikeout per inning in nine pro seasons in Japan and has shown the same type of stuff in the minors. Wada has gone at least six innings in 13 of his 16 starts this season, which bodes well for the Cubs' bullpen usage in the doubleheader.
Holmberg is poised for his second big-league start after an uneven debut for Arizona last season in which he allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old is still a promising prospect but has had a rough time at Triple-A Louisville, going 0-4 with a 5.28 ERA in 10 starts. Those numbers are skewed by a couple of terrible outings early in the season, though, and he has given up only three runs in 22 1/3 innings over his last four starts.
1. Bruce has 49 homers off left-handed pitchers over the past five seasons, the most in the majors during that span.
2. Cubs OF Justin Ruggiano has recorded five straight multi-hit games and is 18-for-40 in his last 10 contests.
3. Reds 1B/3B Todd Frazier has collected multiple hits in four of his last five games and leads the team with 98 hits.
PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Reds 5