Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/01/06

Game Twenty-Four: Cubs (13-10) vs. Pirates (7-19)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. on Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Sean Marshall (2-0, 4.22) vs. Victor Santos (1-4, 6.48)

The Cubs look to rookie Sean Marshall to end the 2-game losing streak. Marshall picked up his first career victory against the Pirates on April 14th. Marshall is 2-0 in his young career. but most importantly the Cubs have not lost when Marshall has started the ballgame (4-0). The Cubs finished the first month of the season 3 games above 500 and in 4th place in the Central Division 3 games back of the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs offense was a no show on Saturday and Sunday and they only have 39 hits on this home stand….and 13 came against the Brewers on Friday. While I questioned adding another player to this team before the weekend series against the Brewers, I now think it is imperative they do so. Aramis Ramirez is back under the Mendoza Line and Jacque Jones is not too far behind him. Todd Walker and Ronny Cedeno have cooled off and they are the only two players in the everyday lineup with averages above .300.

The offense is struggling and it needs a spark and maybe the calendar change will be what the doctor ordered. The Cubs’ offense is currently ranked 9th in the league and they are hitting .260 as a team and with the lack of effectiveness over the last few days, the pitching staff dropped from 4th to 11th over the weekend and the team ERA is now at 4.66 after 23 games.

The good news for the offense is they are facing the worst pitching staff in the National League and could build some confidence over the next few days against the Pirates and long as the Cubs do not play to the level of their competition….which historically has been a problem….two games against the Pirates could be the answer to a lot of problems. The Cubs are 3-3 on this home stand and anything less than a 2-game sweep over the Pirates would be unacceptable. The Pirates are the worst road team in the league and are under achieving this season.

Juan Pierre is the key to this series for the Cubs. When he gets on base, the Cubs relax and perform the way they are capable of. The Cubs depend on Pierre and with Lee out and the lack of leadership skills of Aramis Ramirez, Pierre has to step up and lead by example. The Cubs need to forget who is on the mound and just play their game, the hits will come….its just the wins that need to follow.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax