Game Sixty-Three: Cubs (26-36) vs. Astros (32-32)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Sean Marshall (3-4, 4.43) vs. Andy Pettitte (5-7, 5.81)
The Cubs are coming off a very good road trip and will face a familiar foe tonight under the lights at the Friendly Confines….Andy Pettitte. He will be the third straight left hander to start against the Cubs who’s struggles against lefties this season has been much publicized (7-12). Pettitte has never beaten the Cubs and is 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 6 starts. Pettitte has struggled this season, while Sean Marshall has been one of the huge surprises for the Cubs and is coming off a hard luck loss last Wednesday against the Astros when Chris Sampson beat him and the Cubs 1-0. Marshall has been better at Wrigley then on the road this season but is coming off of two great starts in a row….both on the road. In Marshall’s last 2 starts he has allowed 3 runs on 12 hits, struck out 9 and walked just 3 in 13 1/3 innings with a 2.03 ERA. Marshall has only allowed 5 earned runs on 19 hits in his last 3 starts and other than a start against the Marlins (May 22nd) and a start against the Giants (May 11th) he has pitched better then anyone with the Cubs could have ever expected….he shows composure on the mound that many veterans in the league do not possess. Marshall has received little if no run support this season and if the Cubs offense could score some runs for their rookie left hander he could have easily tallied at least 5 more wins on the season….and it is just June 13th.
The Cubs must be patient against Andy Pettitte and allow him to beat himself. Although he had a fine outing in his last start against the Braves in the 2 starts he has made in June he has walked 7 and only struck out 10 and of the 215 pitches he has thrown in 12 innings of work only 123 were for strikes. Pettitte is throwing a lot of pitches and has had control problems all season and other than a complete game shutout against the Rockies he has only gotten through the 7th inning twice and only pitched into the 7th inning once. The Cubs aggressive offense must take a backseat against Pettitte tonight and not allow him to get into a groove like he did against the Rockies. In his 14 starts this season he is averaging just under 6 innings per start and 102 pitches per outing with just under 64 for strikes….that is a very favorable ratio if the Cubs are willing to take advantage of it.
The Cubs have won 8 of their last 13 and are 10 games under .500. They have had three opportunities of late to reduce the deficit to single digits and they were not able to do so. They must take advantage of a struggling Pettitte, especially with Roy Oswalt pitching on Wednesday night and win their 4th game in a row….something the Cubs have not done all season.
Wouldn’t it be nice?
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….