Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview, Tuesday 5/17, 6:10 CT: The Tony Campana Era Begins

And since people around here seem really sensitive these days, I'm just joking around with that headline!

Tony Campana is in his fourth year in the Cubs system. I asked Josh, who knows a lot more about Cubs minor leaguers than I do, to write a little bit about him so we can all get to know the newest Cub better. Here's what he sent me:

The first thing you're going to notice about Tony Campana is that he's short. At 5'8" 160, the Ohio native has pretty much been the smallest player on every team he's ever been on. The second thing you're going to notice is that he's fast. A scout once told me that Campana had "90" speed, and that's on the 20-80 scale. He stole 66 bases between Peoria and Daytona in 2009 and he stole 48 last year for the Tennessee Smokies. He did need to work on reading pitcher's moves as he was caught stealing 20 times last season. He's been timed as quickly as 3.3 seconds to first base on a bunt, which means that any ball that he gets a good bunt down on is likely to be a base hit. The left-handed Campana is always a threat to bunt and is pretty good at it. He will bunt with two strikes. His overall hitting skill is about average.

Defensively, he uses that speed to cover a lot of ground. Like most scrappy little guys, he's willing to sacrifice his body, diving for the ball or crashing up against the wall. He'll make some spectacular catches if he gets the chance.

The negatives are also related to his size. He's got no power at all, as he's never hit a professional home run. His speed will turn a few doubles into triples, but that's about it. His arm is below average. He strikes out a little too often for a speedy contact hitter, although we're not talking about Soriano's K rates. Some of those strikeouts are bunted third strikes. He does walk some, but not as much as you'd like if you were going to have him bat lead-off.

As a seven-year old, he overcame Hodgkin's Lymphoma after six months of chemotherapy. He's been cancer-free since. He attended the University of Cincinnati along with former Cub farmhand Josh Harrison (who we traded for Tom Gorzelanny); Harrison might be half an inch taller than Campana. They appear to grow them pocket-size in Southern Ohio. All in all, from his skill set, his size and his life-story, he's similar to a certain outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays that we're all familiar with.

Cubs lineup:

RF Fukudome, 2B Barney, SS Castro, 3B Ramirez, 1B Pena, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, C Castillo, P Garza

Yay! Here's the Beef!

Reds lineup:

Stubbs CF, Janish SS, Votto 1B, Phillips 2B, Bruce RF, Rolen 3B, Lewis LF, Hernandez C, Volquez P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Edinson Volquez
Edinson Volquez
Reds
2-4 W-L 3-1
4.17 ERA 5.74
65 SO 41
16 BB 33
1 HR 7
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 2-4 8 8 0 0 0 0 49.2 51 27 23 1 16 65 4.17 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Edinson Volquez 3-1 9 8 0 0 0 0 42.1 37 28 27 7 33 41 5.74 1.65

May 6 at Wrigley Field The three-run homer Matt Garza gave up to Jay Bruce pretty much decided the game, even though the Cubs did come back to within 5-4. Volquez walked four that day; that's been his problem all year, so if the Cubs can be patient with him, good things can happen. That hasn't been the case all season, unfortunately; the Cubs are dead last in the major leagues with 102 walks. Thus, their .278 team batting average -- which ranks 2nd in MLB to the Cardinals -- only translates to a .332 OBA (sixth).

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Ohio. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter. The usual caution is advised.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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