Game Eighty-Three: Cubs (42-40) vs. Nationals (33-50)
Game Time – 11:05am C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington D.C.
Rich Hill (5-5, 3.49/1.33) vs. Matt Chico (3-5, 4.74/1.54)
Happy 4th of July from everyone here at the CCO…. Coffee, donuts and Cubs’ baseball? Today’s start time of 11:05am C.T. is the earliest for Lou Piniella’s crew of the year and it will be a battle of southpaws. Rich Hill will take on fellow lefty Matt Chico and the Cubs offense will look to get back on track after a lackluster performance on Tuesday night. After Tuesday’s game, Lou Piniella praised his two catchers and said that both Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen have been doing a good job of handling his pitching staff. The Cubs need to stay on track today against a team that is struggling to score runs and it all starts with Rich Hill. The Cubs have struggled against southpaws this year to the tune of an 8-11 record. Lou Piniella’s crew will not only face a lefty, but a rookie they have not seen before….typically not a winning combination. The Cubs need to score early and often and give Rich Hill time to get into a rhythm. Aramis Ramirez is scheduled to be back in the starting lineup. Rob Bowen should make the start behind the plate and Mark DeRosa should start in right field.
Rich Hill has really struggled of late. After getting beaten around by the Padres on June 17th (5 runs on 5 hits, in 3 innings with 3 home runs), he pitched a very good game against the White Sox before taking a few steps back against the Brewers. Hill gave up 5 runs, again, in 3 innings on 5 hits. Hill struggled with his command and could not locate his trademark curveball. Piniella has received quality outings from Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano, so his bullpen has received some much-needed rest but Rich Hill needs to finish the first half on a positive note with a winning record.
Hill beat the Nationals on May 5th at Wrigley. He allowed 1 run on 6 hits in 6 innings of work….the win was Hill lone victory in the month of May. Hill has cut down on his walks and his strikeout to walk ratio is very good (more than 4:1, 33 strikeouts to 8 walks in his last 33 1/3 innings) but his problem lately is he is being hit very hard in between the k’s….18 runs, 16 earned, on 31 hits in his last 6 starts.
Matt Chico has done his job for Manny Acta. Today will be his 18th start of the season and he is coming off the best start of his career. Chico did not allow a run on 6 hits in 6 innings of work against the Pirates and has only allowed 1 earned run in his last 2 starts (12 innings). The Cubs will have plenty of chances against Chico (38 hits, 13 walks and 18 strikeouts in his last 35 innings) they just have to take advantage….which may be easier than it sounds.
Chico is 3-1 with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 9 starts this season at RFK. Lefties are hitting .315 with a .375 OBP while righties are hitting .272 with a .349 OBP.
- The Cubs are 115-92 all time on July 4th….most wins of any single day as well as the most losses of any single day.
Let’s Talk Cubs Independence Day Baseball….