Forget about his past label as reliever, Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva might just be more than a No. 5 starter.

After another stellar performance on Thursday in which he allowed two runs over seven innings in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers, Villanueva has established himself as arguably the Cubs best starter so far.

"I know what's in him and how he can pitch to a game plan," manager Dale Sveum said. "With his ability to throw four pitches and change speeds with his breaking ball, you're talking getting people out and keeping slugging percentage to a minimum."

The day started out as a question mark as the rain pounded Wrigley Field. Villanueva already had to endure Wednesday's postponed game, now he wasn't sure about Thursday. It let up just in time for it to start on time.

"I kept hearing it's (the rain) going to come at 1:35 p.m., it's going to come in the fourth inning, in the fifth inning," Villanueva said. "I said 'You know what, just don't tell me.' "

It's an important point because Villanueva is a preparation pitcher. He studies as much tape as anyone and mentally prepares the same. He won't speak to the media the day before his scheduled start. He's that locked in.

"I've had a good fastball," Villanueva said. "I'm feeling a little better every time out there. I think my fastball has a little more life in it. It's a combination of everything.

"It's repetition for me. Not try to overthrow. Which I do sometimes and the ball is flat and long home runs happen. It's just being consistent."