Game Ninety-Six: Cubs (37-58) vs. Nationals (41-56)
Game Time – 12:20pm C.T. Fox TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – R.F.K. Stadium, Washington D.C.
Sean Marshall (5-8, 5.00) vs. Livan Hernandez (6-8, 5.87)
Can the rookie provide a win for the Cubs today in the Nation’s Capital? Sean Marshall takes the hill today in search of his 6th victory of the year. Marshall has been one of the surprises for the Cubs this season and has pitched better than his record and stats indicate. He is coming off of a disappointing loss last Sunday against the Mets in which he allowed 7 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. The defense let down Marshall on that Sunday evening in prime time. Sean Marshall will face the Hernandez brothers in back-to-back starts, let’s hope today’s match up results in a win. Before last Sunday Marshall had thrown 7 innings of shutout ball against the Astros and has given up a lot of runs over his last 8 starts. Marshall has trouble throwing strikes consistently and he must be able to locate his curve ball. He deserved a better fate last Sunday than he received; today he must show he has a short memory and take care of the Nationals for the second time this season. Marshall beat the Nats back on May 17th at Wrigley, he allowed only 1 hit in 6 innings of work, gave up 4 walks and struck out 6, that game was his first 100-pitch performance at the Major League level and he has reached the century mark two other times since.
Livan Hernandez is pitching hurt this season, his fastball is registering only in the mid 80′s, and the Cubs took advantage of that on May 16th at Wrigley. Carlos Zambrano beat Hernandez in that game and the Cubs scored 4 runs, 2 earned, on 8 hits in 7 innings of work. Hernandez had a horrible June and to this point an inconsistent July. After a 10 hit, 3 run performance against the Devil Rays, the Marlins scored 7 runs on 6 hits in just 1 2/3 innings he lasted 6 innings against the Pirates and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits. The Nationals starting pitchers have not recorded a decision in their last 13 games and Hernandez has not recorded a victory in almost a month, June 25th against the Orioles, his ERA for July is an inflated 7.98.
The Cubs must continue to be patient against Hernandez, while their formula at the plate has been successful the misadventures of the defense must be cut to a minimum to record a victory today.
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