There haven't been many pitchers better than Carlos Villanueva this season. However, he has no wins to show for it. Villanueva will try to change that on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs continue a three- game series with the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field.
Villanueva has allowed just one run (0.64 ERA) in 14 innings this season, but he has yet to record a decision thanks to his bullpen. He scattered three hits over 7 1/3 scoreless frames on Friday against San Francisco, as the bullpen again imploded in the Cubs' eventual 4-3 win.
"I'm happy just getting the (team) 'W,'" Villanueva said after the contest. "The atmosphere in our clubhouse right now, I wouldn't change that for the world."
Texas will counter with righty Justin Grimm, who makes his second start in place of the injured Matt Harrison. Grimm did not get a decision on Thursday in Seattle, as he gave up a pair of runs and five hits with three walks in five innings.
"It was a battle," Grimm said. "It was a matter of not trusting my stuff, but when I had to trust it, I did. It could have been a lot worse. At least I battled and gave my team a chance."
Texas won its fifth straight interleague road tilt on Tuesday, as Craig Gentry's diving catch on a Darwin Barney liner with two outs in the ninth helped the Rangers hang on for a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"In that situation unless you're sure you can catch it, you don't do something like that," said Gentry. "As I got closer to the ball it kept hanging there so I knew I had a play on it."
The Rangers led 4-0 with two outs in the ninth inning before Nate Schierholtz ripped a pinch-hit, two-run double to left with the bases loaded, plating two runs. Joe Nathan, who did not start the inning but entered when Michael Kirkman allowed two baserunners, then hit Welington Castillo in the foot to re-load the bases. Finally on a 2-2 count, Barney, who was making his season debut, ripped a line drive to center field only to be robbed by Gentry. Nathan recorded his fifth save of the season.
Derek Holland (1-1) tossed seven shutout innings and Adrian Beltre belted his second home run of the season for Texas, which has won three of its last four outings. Jeff Baker had two hits and an RBI for his first multi-hit game of the campaign.
"He just kept making pitches," praised manager Ron Washington. "He was able to get us through seven."
Alfonso Soriano had two hits to pace Chicago, while Travis Wood went 7 1/3 strong innings, yielding just two runs and five hits.
The Rangers went 14-4 in interleague play last year, including 7-2 on the road. Chicago on the other hand lost seven of nine at home to the AL a year ago.