Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Twins – 06/23/06

Game Seventy-Two: Cubs (28-43) vs. Twins (36-35)
Game Time – 7:10pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

Carlos Marmol (1-1, 2.81) vs. Johan Santana (7-4, 2.87)

On the 22nd Anniversary of the game that put Ryne Sandberg* on the map, the Cubs for the third game in a row will face a southpaw but tonight’s opponent is not just any other lefty….Johan Santana is arguably the best pitcher in the Majors and the Cubs rookie Carlos Marmol will have his hands full with a very hot Minnesota Twins team. The Twins had won eight in a row before losing to the Astros on Wednesday night. The Twins came right back against the Astros on Thursday, beat the Astros and Roger Clemens 4-2. The Twins have a very exciting, young team that has really been playing good ball as of late.

The Twins have only lost 10 games at home this season (21-10) and with Santana pitching tonight it will take a performance like Wednesday night in Cleveland to put one in the win column. Unfortunately tonight’s game plays into the Cubs weekness….on the road (16-23) against a left-hander (8-16).

Santana has been just short of brilliant and it is too bad Carlos Zambrano could not have started tonight’s game. Santana is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last 4 starts and has allowed just 1 run in each of those starts, in 28 innings he has only allowed 17 hits while striking out 29 and only walking 1. After a sub-par April (1-3, 4.45), for Santana, he has settled in and is 6-1 in his last 10 starts and the loss was against the Tigers in which he threw a complete game and allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits. This will be Santana’s first start against the Cubs.

Carlos Marmol will have to pitch a near perfect game to give the Cubs a chance tonight. Marmol has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs and tonight will be the fifth appearance on the year for Marmol and his third start. While he was unbelievable in Cincinnati, the surprising Tigers scored 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings, but those runs came in the first three innings, with three in the 1st inning alone. Marmol settled down and pitched very good; especially considering he was throwing in Jackson, Tennessee last month.

The Cubs offense has to figure out a way to score on Santana….and not too many teams have this season.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

** The Anniversary of the Sandberg Game – 22 years ago today, June 23, 1984, Ryne Sandberg went 5-6 with game-tying home runs off of Bruce Sutter of the Cardinals in the 9th and 10th innings. Sandberg drove in 7 runs that day and the Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-11 in 11 innings….I cannot believe it has been 22 years…

Quote of the Day

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