Game One Hundred Nine: Cubs (57-51) vs. Mets (52-47)
Game Time – 2:55pm C.T. FOX Saturday Baseball, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (11-5, 3.60/1.12) vs. John Maine (12-5, 2.92/1.13)
The bottom line is, today is a must win for the Chicago Cubs. Not to keep pace with the Milwaukee Brewers but to prove to themselves they are a good enough team to beat the best in the NL and one of the elite pitchers in the game at home. Lou Piniella’s crew has played the Mets pretty good this season despite losing 4 of the first 5 match-ups. The Cubs should have split the 4 games in New York in May and had a chance to win the opener on Friday. In the first 5 games the Mets have scored a total of 26 runs while the Cubs have scored 22.
With the recent short outings by the starting pitchers, Lou Piniella needs a strong 6 to 7 inning performance out of Ted Lilly in order to give his pen a much-needed rest. The Cubs next day off is not until August 13th and with the uncertainty that is the back end of the rotation another short outing by Lilly could make the upcoming week a very long one. Kerry Wood should make his season debut this afternoon and while it all starts with Ted Lilly, the offense has to kick it in gear today against John Maine.
Lilly has pitched very well at Wrigley this season and better than his record indicates. He is 6-4 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP but in two of his losses he gave up a combined 3 runs on 6 hits in 13 innings of work. Today will be Lilly’s first start against the Mets in a Cubs’ uniform. He has never beaten the Mets and is 0-1 in 3 games, 2 starts, with a 6.52 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP.
- Shawn Green – 2-4, with a double, a home run and a RBI
The Mets love hitting southpaws and are 20-15 this season against left handed starters….the third best record in the National League.
John Maine has been tremendous this season for the Mets. He leads in team in wins (12) and ERA (2.92) and that ranks him 4th in the NL in earned run average as well. Maine was unbeatable in April (4-0 with a 1.35 ERA) and the Cubs handed him his first loss of the season on May 15th. Maine allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks. He is coming off back-to-back wins against the Pirates and Nationals and allowed a combined 2 runs on 6 hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. In his last start against the Nationals, he threw 5 innings of shutout ball on just 62 pitches, 44 strikes. The Cubs will have a hard time scoring runs today against Maine if they do not make him work.
Today will be Maine’s third career start against the Cubs and his first at Wrigley. He has faced them 3 other times and is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP (3 runs on 11 hits with 7 walks, 11 strikeouts in 13 innings).
- Cliff Floyd – 2-3, with a RBI
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-15, with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-7
- Ryan Theriot – 1-3, with a double
With the game being on FOX today, the Faithful will have the pleasure of listening to two lifetime Cardinals in Joe Buck and Tim McCarver….here’s to hoping the Cubs’ offense gives them plenty to talk about.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….