Game Ninety: Cubs (46-43) vs. Astros (39-52)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (6-5, 3.67/1.26) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-7, 3.87/1.18)
While Lou Piniella’s crew has been the hottest team in baseball over the past several weeks, their Achilles Heal is left handed pitchers. The last three losses for the Cubs have come against southpaws and they face one today they have success against in the past but one that has not allowed a run in his last two starts. With the lefty Rodriguez scheduled to start today, Cliff Floyd was going to get the day off but reports on Saturday night stated Floyd might be heading to the DL after straining his left shoulder in the 1st inning on Saturday. The Cubs have a chance to win their first three games of the season half, and it all starts with Jason Marquis. Jason Marquis has to put his last two months behind him. He has posted just one win in his last 11 starts (granted the bullpen blew a big lead against the Rockies) and must begin his second half on a positive note. Marquis is traditionally a horrible second half pitcher, the Cubs knew this when they signed him, now he has to figure out a way to learn for his past.
After a tremendous outing against the Brewers, 1 run on 4 hits in 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and a walk, Marquis could not complete 5 innings against the Pirates. He gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 2/3 innings with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts plus 2 long balls. Marquis has to work on his consistency, he has shown he is capable of being successful in a Cubs’ uniform but he has not put together back-to-back quality starts in over 2 months.
Marquis has pitched better this season at Wrigley than on the road. He is 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA in the Friendly Confines with one of his losses coming at the hands of the Astros on April 10th. Marquis gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits in 5 innings with 3 strikeouts and 4 walks. As the weather continues to warm in Chicago, it is more and more imperative that Marquis keep his head in the game and the ball down.
- Lance Berkman – 17-29, with 4 doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI’s
- Morgan Ensberg – 16-35, with a double, 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s
- Carlos Lee – 6-17, with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s
Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start of the season against the Cubs today. He was scheduled to start the game on April 11th (against Rich Hill) that was snowed out. Rodriguez has finally started putting it together and has been just short of perfect in his last two starts. He threw his first career complete game shut out his last time out against the Mets (4 hits, 1 walk and tied a season high with 8 strikeouts) and has not allowed an earned run in his last two starts (16 innings) and has allowed just 7 hits while striking out 12 and walking 3.
Rodriguez has improved gradually throughout the season but has been less than effective on the road. He is 1-5 with a 6.60 ERA away from Minute Maid while he has posted a 5-2 record with a 1.81 ERA at home. Rodriguez is 2-3 in 5 career starts against the Cubs with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He has not posted a win at Wrigley and is 0-2 in 2 starts with a 8.38 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP.
- Derrek Lee – 4-7, with 2 doubles, a home run, 3 RBI’s and 4 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-4
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-9
- Jason Marquis – 3-4, with a home run and 3 RBI’s
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….