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Matchup: Alexi Ogando vs. Carlos Villanueva

4/17/2013

CHICAGO -- Manager Ron Washington decided to skip Justin Grimm and stick with Alexi Ogando as his starter for Thursday's game against Carlos Villanueva and the Chicago Cubs. Yu Darvish is scheduled to pitch Friday, followed by Nick Tepesch, Grimm and then Derek Holland for the series opener against the Angels. Rain could impact Thursday's game, but the clubs will try to do everything to get it in. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

Ogando (2-0, 1.08): Ogando has been solid in his return to the rotation, allowing only two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts and five walks. … Despite his impressive start, Ogando has only pitched six full innings in one of his three starts. … This will be Ogando’s first appearance against the Cubs. … Ogando has performed well in his 27 interleague innings, posting a 2.33 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks. … Ogando has three hits (all singles) and two strikeouts in five career plate appearances.

Villanueva (0-0, 0.64): Villanueva has been impressive in his two starts with the Cubs, allowing only one earned run in 14 innings. … The lone run recorded off Villanueva this season came via a solo home run from Braves center fielder B.J. Upton. … Villanueva was in line for the victory in both games he pitched this season, only to see a leaky Cubs bullpen blow the lead. … Villanueva had 4.16 ERA while striking out 122 and walking 46 in 125 1/3 innings (38 appearances, 16 starts) with the Blue Jays last season. … Villanueva struggled with a 4.50 ERA as a starter last season, but impressed with a 22.9 percent strikeout rate while walking only 6.7 percent of the batters he faced. … Villanueva has a 3.69 ERA in 85 1/3 interleague innings and is 1-1 with a 3.16 ERA in 25 2/3 innings against the Rangers.

Hitters: Nelson Cruz (3-for-10, 1 HR, 1 2B), Adrian Beltre (3-for-6, 1 2B) and Jeff Baker (3-for-5) have had success against Villanueva. Ogando has only faced two current Cubs, Nate Schierholtz (0-for-1) and David DeJesus (1-for-2).