Game Fifty-Three: Cubs (22-30) vs. Braves (31-23)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Hill (4-4, 3.06/1.07) vs. Chuck James (5-4, 3.86/1.51)
The Battle of the Southpaws…. How will Lou Piniella’s crew respond? Their backs are against the wall after the embarrassing events that took place on Friday. All of the punishments have not been announced but ESPN 1000 in Chicago reported on Saturday morning that Carlos Zambrano has been fined but not suspended and they are speculating the same will happen to Michael Barrett. According to several sources Barrett did receive bruises to both eyes, one report had Barrett driving himself to the hospital while another report had Henry Blanco driving him to the hospital. With the Cubs having an early game today the details concerning this story are continuing to roll in and will be updated as the reports are confirmed. Koyie Hill has been announced as the starting catcher for today’s game and will hit 8th in the lineup.
On the field, the Cubs must get on track today and put a win on the board. Rich Hill rebounded from bad starts against the Phillies, Mets and Padres with his best outing of the month last Sunday against the Dodgers. Hill was back at the top of his game but received a no decision when he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the 7th inning. Not only was Hill’s command back, so was his efficiency. Hill did not allow a run in the 6 innings he completed, walked 2 and struck out 3 on just 66 pitches….an average of 11 per inning.
The last victory Hill recorded was on May 5th in Wrigley against the Nationals and at home this year Hill is 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP while holding opponents to a .221 batting average with a .321 OBP. Hill beat the Braves back on April 19th in Atlanta. He did not allow a run in 8 innings, gave up 4 hits, walked 3 and struck out 7 (at that time a season high, set a new season high of 8 in a loss in San Diego on May 22nd).
Hill’s teammates need him to step-up today and stop their 5-game losing streak.
After starting the season 2-0, Chuck James has posted a 3-4 record in his last 9 starts. He is coming off his best start of the season against the Brewers. James tied a career high with 8 strikeouts in 6 innings and gave up just 1 earned run on 5 hits while walking 2. James’ biggest problem this season has been his lack of consistency. He has completed 6 innings or more only three times and in six starts in May he averaged just over 5 innings per start with an outing against the Padres he did not make it out of the 4th inning. James throws strikes and the Cubs have displayed a lot of power against lefties of late….despite their record.
James has faced the Cubs just once in his young career and is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP….3 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits in 7 innings last September 9th (Braves won 7-3, it was Wade Miller’s first start as a Cub). Matt Murton hit a homerun.
- Matt Murton – 1-3, with a home run
- Derrek Lee – 0-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-2
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-8, with a double and a RBI
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….