Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 08/21/06

Game One Hundred Twenty-Four: Cubs (53-70) vs. Phillies (61-62)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rich Hill (3-5, 6.90) vs. Jon Lieber (5-9, 5.10)

With Roster Moves – Bynum and Rusch Activated – Marmol Placed on 15-Day DL

The first game of the season against the Phillies, a team that was left for dead at the Trade Deadline has found themselves in the thick of the race for the National League Wild Card. The Phillies enter play tonight just 2 1/2 games back of the Cincinnati Reds and just 1 game under .500….not bad for a team that unloaded one of their superstars in Bobby Abreu. The Phillies still have Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and a new outlook on their season. This is the first of two games that will feature pitchers of Cubs’ past against pitchers of Cubs’ future.

Rich Hill will have to be very careful with a very good offense centered around second year pro Ryan Howard. Howard has not had a sophomore slump after winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He has hit 43 home runs and driven in 111 RBI’s while hitting for a high average (.296/.387/.624)…not to mention winning the Home Run Derby and will be among the finalists for this years NL MVP. Howard has been hot of late, .333 average with 4 home runs and 9 RBI’s in his last 10 games.

After two very impressive victories against the Diamondbacks and Pirates, Hill stumbled in the thin air of Colorado, had little to no command and took a few steps back in his development. Hill’s command problems were blamed on Coors Field; he was effective in 2 innings of relief in the marathon game against the Astros….he looked very sharp and earned the win. Hill earned 2 of his 3 victories at Wrigley but not against an offense like the one the Phillies possess. Hill must stay in front of hitters, throw strikes and the Cubs must give him an early lead and allow him to settle in on the mound.

Former Cub, Jon Lieber (1999-2002), will take the mound for the Phils tonight and has had an inconsistent season for Philadelphia. Lieber has allowed just 7 runs in his last 3 starts and is coming off a complete game shutout against the Mets. He allowed just 5 hits, no walks, struck out 4 and is 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last 3 games and has given up just 16 hits in 24 innings….a stark contrast from earlier in the season. In 5 starts in July Lieber was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA. He gave up 42 hits and 5 home runs in 30 2/3 innings while walking 11 and striking out just 13. On the season Lieber has given up more hits (133) than innings pitched (120) but after a horrible outing against Florida on July 31st (9 runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings) he seems to have put it together and has gotten hot like the rest of the team.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Roster Moves – On Monday the Cubs activated Freddie Bynum and Glendon Rusch from the 15-day DL and placed Carlos Marmol on the 15-Day DL with right shoulder fatigue. Official Release from the Cubs.

Quote of the Day

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