Game Twelve: Cubs (4-7) vs. Padres (7-5)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (0-1, 3.27/1.27) vs. Clay Hensley (0-2, 9.00/2.00)
The first week of the season at Wrigley did not go as Sweet Lou had planned and he has mentioned he might “shake things up a little”, the Cubs hit just one home run and posted just one win in five tries against central division foes. The Cubs play their first night game of the year tonight against a team they have not beaten since 2005 (0-7 in 2006) but as an organization they have a .516 winning percentage in 337 night games (174-163) at home since 1988. Lou Piniella stated earlier in the week that he divides the season into 16 parts, with 5 games left in the first 16th of the season, he still has time to “right the ship” but it must start tonight against a pitcher they have only faced once and had no success against.
For some unknown reason the Cubs organization as a whole struggles against pitchers they are unfamiliar with. In the past week they have allowed Chris Sampson and Kyle Lohse to have career games and the only time Clay Hensley has ever faced the Cubs he posted a 2-hit complete game shutout at Wrigley (May 14th of last year, Mother’s Day, against Rich Hill).
Hensley has been battling a blister on his pitching hand and has not made it out of the 5th inning in his first 2 starts of the year. This will be his first match-up against a team that is not the San Francisco Giants. In 9 innings this season, he has given up 11 runs, 9 earned on 13 hits and has walked (5) almost as many as he has struck out (6). Hensley will throw strikes and will be around the plate all night it is up to the Cubs to take advantage early and not try to rely on a late inning comeback against the best bullpen in the league.
The Cubs must take advantage of the Padres in ability of throwing out would be base stealers. Prior to Sunday night’s game against the Dodgers, the Padres had allowed 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts….the Dodgers were successful on 5 attempts.
Jason Marquis’ Cub debut was a good one, but a disappointment (bullpen blew a 2-1 lead) and in his last outing against the Astros he had trouble throwing strikes and received little to no help from his defense (3 charged errors and 2 missed double plays). Marquis is 2-2 in 4 career starts (5 games) against the Padres with one complete game. Marquis has a 4.63 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP while allowing 12 runs on 24 hits in 23 1/3 innings. He has not faced the Friars since 2005 when he was 1-1 with a complete game, a 3.77 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. The Padres have a very good lineup with Khalil Greene, Mike Cameron, the Giles’ brothers and Kevin Kouzmanoff….but only Geoff Blum has had a lot of success against Marquis (4-11, 2 doubles, a home run and 2 RBI’s).
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….