Game Thirty: Cubs (15-14) vs. Pirates (13-17)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WCIU, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (2-2, 2.82/0.94) vs. Ian Snell (2-2, 2.31/1.10)
After completing their best stretch of the young season, the Cubs start a 3-game series tonight under the lights against the Pirates before hitting the road for 7 games with stops in Philadelphia and New York. Ted Lilly will take the mound in search of a better outing than the one he had against the Pirates a week ago. Lilly started the suspended game and received a no-decision after allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 9 hits in 5 1/3 innings….the first time as a Cub he had not completed at least 6 innings of work. Before his last outing against the Pirates, Ted Lilly had not allowed more than 2 earned runs in four of his five starts and received two losses when he allowed a combined 3 earned runs on 6 hits in 13 innings of work. The Pirates scored 3 runs in the 1st inning with two bunt singles, a single to right and a bases loaded walk….the lone free pass Lilly issued on the evening. Ronny Paulino homered against Lilly in the 4th, only the second long ball Lilly has given up this season. Lilly threw the ball well but the Pirates took advantage of every early mistake (remember Lilly slipped twice fielding sacrifice bunt attempts) and built a big lead.
Lilly has to throw strikes and like most big league pitchers his success is built around not allowing any free passes….three of the six walks Lilly has given up this season have scored or driven in a run and either cost him and the Cubs the win or as in last week, a no-decision.
The Pirates will be out to prove a point in this series. The Cubs took 2 of 3 from them at their house and they will be looking to return the favor. Ian Snell had his worst outing of the season against the Cubs in the second game of the “double header” last Wednesday. Snell tied a season high with 4 walks and a season low in strikeouts with 3. Like Lilly, Snell’s outing against the Cubs was his shortest of the season and the first time since April 3rd he had not pitched past the 7th inning. Beside Snell’s control problems, he also allowed just his second home run of the season to Alfonso Soriano, his first since April 3rd against the Astros.
Although the Cubs swept the 3-game series against the Nationals the bats were very quiet until the 9th inning on Sunday. The Cubs scored 4 runs in two games against the Nationals without a benefit of a hit as well, if the Cubs want to run their record in May to 6-0, the offense will have to get into gear again.
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