Game Forty-Eight: Cubs (22-25) vs. Dodgers (28-21)
Game Time – 3:10pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184/174
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Rich Hill (4-4, 3.38/1.09) vs. Randy Wolf (6-3, 3.75/1.23)
Lou Piniella has seen his team both at their best and at their worst during the current 6-game west coast trip but with a win today the Cubs would finish the road trip with a respectable .500 record. Rich Hill must put the past month behind him and get back on track. After a remarkable April that saw him finish the month with a 3-1 record and a 1.77 ERA, Hill has flip-flopped his record this month, 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA. While the Cubs have underachieved this season and have struggled to say the least, with finishing games, they enter play today in 2nd place just 5 games back in the Central Division. The Cubs are among eight teams in the National League with a below .500 record and have yet to display the power the team is capable of, especially in the outfield.
Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs’ outfield with 4 home runs and is third to Cliff Floyd among Cub outfielders in RBI’s. Lou Piniella has not seen consistent contributions from the outfield and many feel the inconsistent playing time is to blame….
- Alfonso Soriano – .297/.349/.477/4/12 in 43 games – 172 at bats
- Jacque Jones – .250/.300/.345/1/16 in 41 games – 148 at bats
- Matt Murton – .289/.349/.381/1/8 in 37 games – 97 at bats
- Cliff Floyd – .284/.340/.389/2/18 in 35 games – 95 at bats
- Angel Pagan – .278/.316/.528/2/5 in 15 games – 36 at bats
Rich Hill looked absolutely horrible in his last start against the Padres when he gave up a season high (or low) 4 home runs and he looked tremendous when he set a high mark on the year with 8 strikeouts. Hill surrendered 6 hits in 6 innings but 5 of them were for extra bases and while he cut down his walks (2) from his previous start against the Mets (4), Hill is still allowing base runners to change his approach on the mound….holding runners on base is very important but a pitcher can still win games regardless of the amount of bases are stolen against them, just ask Greg Maddux.
Today will be the first time in Rich Hill’s career he has faced the Dodgers, however Luis Gonzalez is 2-6 with a double off the Cubs’ southpaw.
Randy Wolf has rebounded from a bad start to the season (3-3 with a 5.05 ERA) and has been better than the Dodgers could have expected when they signed him as a free agent this past off-season. Wolf made only 25 starts the past two seasons for the Phillies and has already taken the hill 10 times for the Dodgers this year. Wolf has not allowed more than 2 earned runs in any of his last 4 starts and has given up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 19 hits in his last 24 1/3 innings. Wolf has not allowed a home run in nearly a month (April 30th against the Diamondbacks) and has struck out 30 and walked 6 in May, with 11 of his k’s coming against the Reds on May 11th when he tossed 7 shutout innings and allowed just 4 hits and no walks. Wolf is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 4 starts and is 4th in the NL in strikeouts with 66.
In 11 career starts against the Cubs, Wolf is 2-5 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….