Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 07/06/07

Game Eighty-Five: Cubs (43-41) vs. Pirates (38-47)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Jason Marquis (6-4, 3.31/1.21) vs. Paul Maholm (4-11, 4.74/1.34)

The Cubs open their last series of the first half tonight in Pittsburgh against the red hot Pirates. The Pirates just finished a 4-game series at PNC Park against the Brewers and they won the last 3 games of the series. They are 7-3 in their last 10, second only to the Cubs, 8-2, for the best 10-game stretch in the National League. The Cubs are 3-3 against the Pirates this year and 2-1 at PNC Park. If Lou Piniella’s crew is to finish the first half over .500 they will have to play better than they did the last 4 games against the Nationals. And it all starts with Jason Marquis.

Jason Marquis is coming off his best start since he threw a complete game against the Pirates on May 9th. Marquis held the Brewers to just 1 run on 4 hits in 7 innings of work, walked 1 and struck out 5 while tying his season high of 12 ground ball outs. Marquis has to keep the ball down tonight against a Pirates offense that is….well, on fire.

Marquis beat the Pirates in back-to-back outings to start the month of May. He threw a complete game shutout against them at Wrigley on May 9th and allowed just 1 run on 4 hits in 8 innings on May 2nd in Pittsburgh. Marquis did not walk a single batter in either of those games….17 innings and will need a similar performance tonight. Marquis is 5-4 with a 3.21 ERA against the Pirates in his career.

The Cubs have never beaten Paul Maholm (3-0 with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP) and one of his four wins on the season came against the Cubs on May 10th at Wrigley. He gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 7 1/3 innings (at the time his longest outing of the season) but gave up 3 home runs on the afternoon (Aramis Ramirez, Angel Pagan and Michael Barrett). Maholm beat Carlos Zambrano, 6-4.

Maholm is coming off a loss to the Nationals on July 1st. He gave up 3 runs on 9 hits in 7 innings of work, struck out 5 and walked 1. He finished June with a 2-3 record and a 3.74 ERA. The Cubs will have opportunities, they just have to take advantage. Maholm is 2-6 in 9 starts at PNC this season with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, opponents are hitting .269 against him.

Adam LaRoche is 16 for his last 32 with 5 doubles, 5 home runs (2 on Thursday against Ben Sheets) and 11 RBI’s in his last 8 games. He was 7-for-15 with 3 home runs, 3 doubles and 6 RBI’s in the 4 games against the Brewers.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." - James Gordon
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