Game Seventy-Four: Cubs (28-45) vs. Twins (38-35)
Game Time – 1:10pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 182
Location – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis
Sean Marshall (4-5, 4.97) vs. Brad Radke (5-7, 5.84)
Updated – 12:37pm C.T. – Freddie Bynum put on DL to make room on the Active Roster for Derrek Lee – Tony Womack is listed as Day-to-Day
It has been a very long and disappointing 67 days. The Cubs have gone from 4 games over .500 to 17 games under .500 and while the Cubs skid cannot be blamed entirely on the absence of Derrek Lee most credit it as the main reason for the 19-40 record since he was injured on that horrific night in Los Angeles on April 19th. While Lee is back with the Cubs, can he provide salvation to a team that is completely lost and playing the worst ball of any team in the entire league? Only time will tell, but at least the remaining 89 games (including today) should be better to watch, maybe they can win a few more ball games and if the Cubs play better, look like a different team and basically make a 180 degree turn, that $65 million dollar contract will look like the bargain of the year. After a very strong offensive series in Cleveland that saw the Cubs take 2 of 3 from the Tribe and score 21 runs in those two victories and 23 overall, the Cubs have been able to score only 2 runs the past two games on just 13 hits. The Cubs should have beaten the Twins on Saturday, while Johan Santana was just short of brilliant on Friday. How will the Cubs perform today against Brad Radke and the Twins? Can Derrek Lee help the struggling offense? His presence, if nothing else, should make a difference. Lee was supposed to be the DH today for the I-Cubs and it will be interesting to see if Dusty puts him in that role today against the Twins.
Radke is 2-2 in four games against the Cubs with a 3.12 ERA. Radke will give up the long ball but will the Cubs be able to take advantage of his generosity? After a horrible April (2-3, 8.89 ERA) and equally as bad May (2-3, 5.60 ERA), Radke has settled down and is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts in June. Radke is the American League version of Glendon Rusch….in 86 1/3 innings Radke has given up 17 home runs, walked 24 and struck out 43. In his last 4 starts he has struck out 8 while walking 7 and has given up 12 runs on 28 hits in just 24 2/3 innings. Radke will beat himself if the Cubs give him a chance to do so.
Sean Marshall is coming off a win against the Indians when he gave up 3 home runs, half of his season output….before last Monday, Marshall had only given up 6 long balls on the season. In his 14 starts, he has had only 4 bad outings and if he had received any kind of run support he would be 10-4 at this point of the season. Marshall must throw strikes today and get ahead of the Twins’ hitters. Marshall has given almost as many free passes this season (36) as strikeouts (50), but isn’t that the mo of the entire Cubs’ pitching staff? Marshall should benefit with Lee’s return, it should take pressure off of him to give the Cubs a win and a .500 road trip. Let’s see what Dusty will be able to do now….there is no excuse to not start Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Phil Nevin…. hopefully Lee is ready to return and Dusty will play him. The Cubs have said that Nevin will not play in the outfield and today they do not have to but they should consider inserting Nevin into left field….what would they lose, except for another game.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….
Update – The Cubs placed Freddie Bynum on the DL on Sunday morning to make room for Derrek Lee on the active Roster. Tony Womack is listed as Day-to-Day after leaving Saturday’s game with lower back spasms. Will update when an official reason for Bynum being placed on the DL is released.