Game One Hundred Seventeen: Cubs (60-56) vs. Rockies (60-56)
Game Time – 2:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Coors Field, Denver
Sean Marshall (5-6, 4.17/1.34) vs. Tim Harikkala (0-0, -.–)
Updated – 2:12pm C.T. with Roster Moves – Cliff Foyd was placed on the bereavement list before the game on Sunday and Daryle Ward was actived from the 15-day DL.
The Cubs will look to hand the Rockies their first home series loss since mid May today in the 4th and final game of the series. The Rockies have won 9 consecutive series at Coors Field and will go with 36-year old Tim Harikkala. Harikkala was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday night and will make only his second career Major League start.
Lou Piniella announced Saturday that Ryan Dempster, Bobby Howry and Carlos Marmol will all be used in the closer role, for more of a closer-by-committee situation. The notion of using three closers harks back to his ‘Nasty Boys’ of the early ’90′s with the Cincinnati Reds. Piniella stated that Dempster needs more work and has not been as sharp since returning from the DL. Also, from all indications on Sunday morning, the talk of Scott Podsednik to the Cubs was just that, talk, and it appears no additional deals will be made this season between the North Side and South Side of Chicago.
Piniella’s crew could salvage a bad road trip with a victory today and head back to Chicago winning 3 of their last 4. While it all starts with Sean Marshall, the offense must do their part as well and stop scoring just 1 run after loading the bases. Statistically Sean Marshall is coming off his worst two starts of the season. In Marshall’s defense his last outing against the Astros should have been decided in the 1st inning. Marshall ended up allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings but when he left the game, only 3 runs had crossed the plate. Kerry Wood allowed 2 inherited runs to score to inflate Marshall’s line. The Cubs offense let down their young pitcher that night by letting Woody Williams off the hook by scoring just 1 run after loading the bases with no outs.
After a very good start on a Saturday night in Cincinnati on July 28th (his last win) Marshall has given up 12 runs on 16 hits in 8 innings, a 13.50 ERA and a 0-2 record. Today will be his first career start against the Rockies.
The Rockies were scheduled to send Jason Hirsch to the mound today but he broke his leg in his last start against the Brewers and was put on the 15-Day DL this past week. Hirsch was hit in the right leg by a line drive off the bat of J.J. Hardy in the 1st inning of last Tuesday’s game, he finished his outing and pitched 6 innings for the win but afterwards team doctors discovered the leg was actually broken.
There were rumors circulating the Rockies were trying to acquire Steve Trachsel to make the start today but apparently the deal fell through and they have recalled Tim Harikkala from Triple-A to make the start instead.
Harikkala signed a Minor League contract with the Rockies at the end of July and was 1-0 in 4 games at the Triple-A level with a 0.84 ERA. Harikkala pitched for the past two seasons in Korea. Harikkala last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2005 with the A’s and pitched in Colorado in 2004. In 55 games he was 6-6 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP out of the bullpen. His only previous start at the big league level came in 1996 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa, Cliff Floyd and Jason Kendall have faced Harikkala but collectively have a hand full of at bats and only 1 hit.
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