Game Forty-Nine: Cubs (18-30) vs. Braves (26-23)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 182
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jae Kuk Ryu (0-0, 6.30) vs. John Smoltz (4-2, 3.12)
Jae Kuk Ryu will make his first Major League start today against John Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves. Ryu will become the ninth different pitcher to start a game for the Cubs this season. Ryu made his Major League debut on May 14th against the Padres at Wrigley Field and gave up 1 run on 1 hit, walked 2 and struck out 2 in an inning of work. This season for the I-Cubs, Ryu pitched in 9 games, started 8, was 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 51 1/3 innings of work, he allowed 19 runs on 41 hits, walked 18 and struck out 42. Ryu was impressive during Spring Training and according to several reports almost made the team as a reliever. He will have a tall task today….facing the Atlanta Braves and ending the Cubs current 5-game losing streak. John Smoltz has had a tremendous May and in 5 starts he is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and threw a complete game against the Nationals on May 12th. In his last start on May 22nd he threw 7 innings of shutout ball against the Padres in San Diego. Smoltz throws strikes and the aggressiveness of the Cubs offense might work to their advantage, but Smoltz is 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 37 career games against the Cubs.
The Cubs have hit well against the Braves in the first two games of the series, but not when it mattered most. In the first two games the Cubs have tallied 22 hits, but only 6 runs and have left 15 on base but the most concerning stat was 0-11 on Saturday with runners in scoring position and the amount of first pitch swings that the team took. For example in the 8th inning with the tying run on 2nd base and 1 out, John Mabry swung at the first pitch and popped out to left field after being on the bench all day.
Juan Pierre has said, “What’s frustrating me, is me.” Pierre has to start playing the way he is capable of. At this point last season, an off year by his standards, Pierre was hitting .258 with 1 home run and 12 RBI’s for the Marlins. Pierre is hitting .231 without a home run an only 2 RBI’s and is 0-22 with runners in scoring position. Once he starts producing the Cubs will start winning, everyone else in the lineup with the exception of whoever is in the 2 hole has picked up their game….when will Pierre?
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….