Game Fifty-Eight – Cubs 0 Astros 1
With Updates on Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee
Sean Marshall pitched a tremendous game but was out pitched by the Astros rookie Chris Sampson in his first Major League start. The Cubs made another young pitcher look like a proven veteran and was shutout for the 7th time this season. The Cubs could only manage 3 hits against the rookie Sampson, Dan Wheeler and Brad Lidge and only 5 base runners on Wednesday afternoon in Houston.
Marshall only made one mistake, a home run in the 3rd by Brad Ausmus. Marshall allowed only 3 other hits in 7 innings, walked 3 and struck out 5. The Cubs turned two double plays but the consistent 88 MPH fastball of the rookie Chris Sampson kept them off balance all afternoon. The Cubs could not have asked more out of Sean Marshall and like many of his starts he should have recorded a win. Marshall was sharp and threw only 86 pitches in the 7 innings he worked but again the offense could not get to Sampson who threw 86 pitches as well. For a guy that did not play baseball for 3 years he looked like Tom Seaver or Greg Maddux on the mound. Sampson had very good command and movement on his fastball.
The Cubs anemic offense that plagued last month has come back around and if not for John Mabry on Tuesday night they might be looking at back-to-back shutouts. Only 3 different Cubs reached base on Wednesday….Mabry had 2 hits, Michael Barrett had a hit and a walk and Juan Pierre was hit by Dan Wheeler in the 8th.
Wednesday could be a preview of years to come with duels between Sean Marshall and Chris Sampson. Marshall has recorded 47 strikeouts on the season and his 12th start on Wednesday ties him with the Pirates’ Paul Maholm for the most starts by a rookie pitcher this season. Wednesday’s game might have been between two rookies but they did not perform the way one would expect a pair of rookies to pitch.
Here is a strange stat – The last time the Cubs won a game televised on WGN was April 23rd against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
The Cubs head to the Queen City on Thursday for the first of a 4-game series against the “red hot” Cincinnati Reds. With a win on Wednesday night, the Reds will be tied for first place in the Central Division with the Cardinals. Glendon Rusch will face Bronson Arroyo and hopefully Rusch will be able to keep the ball in the park against the Reds.
Kerry Wood – According to a report on Cubs.com, Kerry Wood is questionable for his next start scheduled for Sunday against the Reds. Wood will be examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati. Carlos Marmol could take his place in the rotation and if Marmol gets the start he would become the 5th rookie to start a game for the Cubs this season and the 11th different starter used by Dusty Baker.
Derrek Lee – According to a report on Cubs.com, Lee could start taking batting practice next week if he keeps progressing the way he has.