Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is attempting to guide his team through the remainder of a disappointing season after last year’s NL Central title.
He’s not concerned with why his former club, the Chicago Cubs, are going through problems of their own.
The two struggling teams continue their three-game set Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Baker, in his fourth season with the Reds, took Cincinnati to the postseason for the first time in 15 years with a surprising run to the division title in 2010. This season has been a different story for the Reds (69-72), who fell 4-3 in the series opener Monday for their sixth loss in eight games.
Baker spent four seasons with the Cubs from 2003-06, taking them to within one victory of the World Series in his first year. Though the club has won a pair of division titles since his contract wasn’t renewed prior to 2007, Chicago is suffering through yet another tough season under first-year manager Mike Quade.
What do the Cubs need to do in order to improve?
“I can’t give them any advice on how to beat me,” Baker told the Cubs’ official website. “I had answers when I was here. They didn’t listen to me.”
Chicago (61-80), which showed signs of life by winning 12 of 15 from July 31-Aug. 15, has gone 5-10 in its last 15 games. The Cubs’ season has had few bright spots, and Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Rodrigo Lopez(notes) (4-6, 4.94 ERA), has struggled as well.
Lopez has lost his last three starts while compiling a 5.94 ERA. Opponents are hitting .358 off him in that span after he allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 4-0 loss in San Francisco.
The right-hander, though, has received only four runs of support in 16 2-3 innings during his rough stretch.
Ramirez is hitting .424 with four homers and 16 RBIs during that stretch and is a .338 career hitter against Cincinnati at Wrigley.
Leake has split two starts against the Cubs this season but pitched well in both. He won 8-2 on June 6 after allowing two runs in eight innings, then fell 4-3 at Wrigley Field on Aug. 5 when he gave up three runs over six.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA over his last four starts, allowing four runs in six innings of a 6-4 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.
The offense provided Leake with only one run of support in that start as the Cincinnati lineup has struggled of late.
Votto is hitting .162 in his last 11 games at Wrigley Field.