Lefty Paul Maholm makes his third attempt at win No. 1 with the Chicago Cubs today when they face the Cincinnati Reds in the middle contest of a three-game weekend set at Wrigley Field.
The former first-round pick - eighth overall in 2003 - won 53 times in 185 appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates before coming to Chicago as a free agent in the offseason by signing a one-year deal for $4.75 million with a team option for 2013.
He won nine times in 32 starts for the Pirates in 2010 and six times in 26 starts last season. In two starts thus far for Chicago, he is 0-2 with a 13.50 earned run average after allowing 12 hits and 12 runs in eight innings against Milwaukee and St. Louis.
Maholm, who allowed an opposition batting average of .262 last season, has seen hitters post a .353 average this far in 2012.
He is 6-4 against the Reds in 19 career starts.
Cincinnati counters with its own former No. 8 overall pick, Mike Leake, who was selected in 2009 and reached the majors without a single pitch in the minor leagues.
The native Californian was 8-4 in 24 appearances as a rookie and jumped to 12 wins in 29 appearances for the Reds in 2011.
He's 0-1 with a no-decision this year against St. Louis and Washington after allowing 12 hits and eight runs in 12 1/3 innings.
In seven career starts against Chicago, Leake is 4-1 with a solid 2.66 ERA in 50 2/3 innings.
On Friday, Drew Stubbs had three hits, drove in three runs and stole two bases as the Reds jumped on the Cubs early and held on for a 9-4 victory.
Homer Bailey (1-2) picked up his first win after allowing four runs - one earned - on five hits.
Jay Bruce added two hits and two runs scored for Cincinnati, which earned its 10,000th win in franchise history, joining the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals as the only other clubs to accomplish the feat.
"That's a lot of wins," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That means we've been around for a long time and have done a lot of winning."
The Reds have won two straight since dropping five of six.
Chris Volstad (0-2) gave up six runs - five earned - on seven hits and two walks for the Cubs, losers of six consecutive contests.
Cincinnati captured 11 of its 18 matchups with the Cubs last season.