Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 05/20/06

Game Forty-Two: Cubs (17-24) vs. White Sox (27-14)
Game Time – 12:20pm C.T. Fox TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 180
Location – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago

Rich Hill (0-3, 7.63) vs. Freddy Garcia (6-1, 4.56)

Rich Hill goes for the Cubs today in search of his first victory of the season against Freddy Garcia who 3-0 lifetime against the Cubs with a 0.82 ERA, only allowing 2 earned runs in 22 innings of work. Hill has improved each time he has taken the ball this season, but has yet to face a lineup as potent as the White Sox and if he does not take several steps forward today….it could be a long day for the Cubs’ bullpen.

In the 3 starts Hill has made this season he has allowed 10 walks in 15 1/3 innings of work and given up 18 hits, but he is coming off of his best start of the season against the Padres….another game the Cubs should have won and only allowed 3 earned runs, but it was the 5 walks and the Cubs anemic offense that cost him the game.

On the other side, Freddy Garcia has won 6 games in a row and in his last 3 starts is 2-0 with a 2.91 ERA and has only given up 7 runs in 21 2/3 innings of work, allowing only 1 walk. After a rough April, Garcia has settled in and has pitched at least into the 7th inning in 4 of his last 5 starts.

Jacque Jones should be back in the lineup today, which should give the Cubs offense a boost….one that could only manage 2 hits on Friday….Jones has a career average at the Cell of .311. Jacque Jones is the least of the Cubs’ offense problems (.243 team average, last in the National League), in the month of May, Jones is hitting .321 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s with a .367 OBP and a .482 SLG and is hitting .364 in his last 10 games.

Two of the many problems that is wrong with the Cubs offense is Juan Pierre and Aramis Ramirez, neither has stepped up in the absence of Derrek Lee and not only have they not taken on a leadership role, their production has plummeted. Pierre is only hitting .205 in his last 10 games and in the month of May (18 games) is hitting .195 with an OBP of .244; that is pathetic for a player of his caliber. From April to May his OBP has dropped from .289 to .244….55 points.

Aramis Ramirez has 0 homeruns and a .182 average in his last 10 games and is only hitting .213 for the season. His 6 home runs and 18 RBI’s at the 1/4 mark of the season is again….pathetic for the former All-Star. Those numbers project to 24 home runs and 72 RBI’s, for the Cubs clean-up man. In the month of May, Ramirez has hit just 2 home runs and driven in 8 with a .231 average, a .261 OBP and a .404 SLG.

Until Juan Pierre and Aramis Ramirez start playing the game the way they are capable of, the losing will continue on the Northside of Chicago.

Walks will come at a premium today and Garcia is always around the plate an aggressive Cubs’ offense might be the only shot they have.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon