Game Sixteen: Cubs (6-9) vs. Cardinals (6-9)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (1-1, 2.37/0.74) vs. Braden Looper (2-1, 2.37/1.11)
Most feel the Yankees and the Red Sox are the best rivalry in all of sports and while the Cubs and White Sox is a very intense rivalry, the Faithful knows nothing beats the rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals. This is the first meeting of the long time rivals since the Cardinals were crowned World Series Champions and if the Cubs are to take the next step….it starts today. Ted Lilly has been very impressive in his first three starts as a Cub but the offense must give him some support today against Braden Looper, who has been a big surprise on the young season.
Braden Looper was forged into the Cardinals rotation by default when the Cardinals allowed Jeff Weaver, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis to leave town following the 2006 season. With many question marks surrounding the move, Looper has answered them all proving Dave Duncan is the best pitching coach in the National League. Looper has been spectacular in his first three starts….his second start of the season was a 7 inning, 2-hit, shutout performance against the Pirates on April 9th. He has allowed just 5 earned runs on 15 hits in 19 innings and while his strikeout to walk ratio is not what Tony LaRussa expects from one of his starters (9 strikeouts and 6 walks), Looper has given up just 1 long ball in the first three games. Looper is 1-2 with 4 saves in 32 career games against the Cubs with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP….15 runs, 12 earned, on 36 hits, 2 home runs, 14 walks and 14 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.
Several Cubs have hit well against Looper in the past:
- Michael Barrett – 7-11, 2 doubles (.636/.667/.818)
- Cesar Izturis – 2-4
- Jacque Jones – 3-4
The Cubs announced on Thursday night Alfonso Soriano will not play in the weekend series against the Cardinals but will likely return to the lineup on either Monday or Tuesday against the Brewers.
While a majority of the country will be paying attention to the weekend series in Boston….thanks to ESPN and Fox, this series will set the tone for the rest of the season especially with both teams having identical records at the start of play today.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….