Game Twenty-One: Cubs (7-13) vs. Brewers (13-7)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (1-2, 2.42/0.77) vs. Ben Sheets (1-2, 5.00/1.15)
The Cubs will look to Ted Lilly to salvage the last game of the series and of the homestand….the Cubs are just 3-9 at Wrigley this season and will not play at home again until May 4th. Lilly has had a great start to the season despite being a “hard-luck-loser” to this point; he has given up a total of 3 runs in his last 2 games, both losses. Lilly enters play today second in the National League in strikeouts with 30, behind Cole Hamels with 33. The Cubs have beaten Ben Sheets once this season, this would be a good day to see a repeat performance. The Brewers start play today 6 games over .500 for the first time since July 1, 2004 and will look for the sweep today. Ted Lilly will have his hands full and must keep the ball in the park. Lilly has allowed just 1 home run in 26 innings this season but the past two losses have been due to free passes. Lilly has walked just 3 in his last 13 innings but two of those have scored and have been the difference in the games. While 5 walks to 30 strikeouts is a great ratio, with the way the Cubs offense is playing right now, the pitching staff has little to no room for error.
Ted Lilly has pitched just 2/3 of an inning against the Brewers in his career….he struck out 1 and did not allow a hit or a walk. Lilly is 0-2 in 3 starts at Wrigley this season with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.
Ben Sheets will make his second start of the season today against the Cubs. After a tremendous Opening Day start against the Dodgers, Sheets has been very pedestrian and has not posted a win in his last three starts. He allowed 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings against the Cubs and 8 runs, 7 earned, on 8 hits in 5 innings against the Cardinals. Sheets did hold the Astros to just 2 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings in his last start but Greg Aquino could not hold the lead and Sheets received a no decision. Sheets has had problems throwing strikes of late and has walked 5 and struck out just 6 in his last 12 innings of work.
The Cubs need to reverse a few of the bad trends they have started the season with, one being no run support for their starting pitchers….a win today would be a good way to head into an off day and a trip to St. Louis, where the Cardinals have more trouble winning home games than the Cubs do.
There is such a thing as a must win in April and it is today….
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