Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/15/07

Game One Hundred Nineteen: Cubs (60-58) vs. Reds (51-67)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ted Lilly (13-5, 3.51/1.14) vs. Phil Dumatrait (0-1, 7.71/2.14)

The Cubs will try to end their 4-game losing streak tonight behind Ted Lilly. Lilly will be shooting for his 14th win of the season, which would tie him with Carlos Zambrano for the team and National League lead. Lilly has without a doubt been the most consistent pitcher on Lou Piniella’s staff this season and he will need the offense to do their part once again tonight. After struggling to score runs with Lilly on the mound early in the season, the Cubs offense averages 6.07 runs a game while Lilly is on the mound, the 5th most in the league….but tonight Lou Piniella’s crew will face a rookie southpaw in Phil Dumatrait, for the first time. While Ted Lilly has to hold the Reds offense in check, the Cubs offense has to put runs on the board.

Lou Piniella’s team is in dire need of a win, especially against a team that is below .500. The Reds always appear to step up their game when they play the Cubs and have been a thorn in their sides for years. If the Cubs want to play meaningful games in September, they have to finish this homestand with a winning record.

The Cubs enter play tonight in a division that is up for grabs. The front-running Brewers are in the same tailspin as the Cubs while the defending World Champions are red-hot right now. Only 4 1/2 games separate the Brewers from the third-place Cardinals and the Cubs hold a slight 3-game advantage over their long-time rival.

Ted Lilly has been arguably the biggest surprise of the season for the Cubs. He is 8-1 in his last 9 games and is coming off an impressive, but taxing win in Colorado. Lilly held the Rockies to 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings of work but threw a season-high, 127 pitches. In his last 2 starts, Lilly is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA against the Mets and Rockies….4 runs on 12 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

Tonight will be Lilly’s 3rd start of the season against the Reds. Lilly 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA and a 0.54 WHIP in his first two starts….2 runs on 5 hits in 13 innings.

The Cubs will get their first look at Phil Dumatrait. Dumatrait was listed as the 16th best prospect (7th best pitching prospect) in the Reds system by Baseball America at the beginning of the year. He was acquired from the Red Sox in the Scott Williamson trade back in 2003 along with Tyler Pelland. Dumatrait had Tommy John surgery in 2004 and missed the entire season.

According to Baseball America, Dumatrait has an average fastball (88-91 MPH), a just below average changeup and a “slurvy” breaking ball.

Tonight will be Dumatrait’s 3rd career big league start. He was recalled from Triple-A on August 1st and lost his Major League debut against the Nationals on August 2nd. He gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 3 1/3 innings but showed improvement his last time out. He received a no-decision against the Dodgers on August 9th and held them to 2 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings of work.

This match-up has proved to be a difficult one for the Cubs this season. Jake Fox should make his first career big league start tonight in right field. Right handers are hitting .419 with a .474 OBP against Dumatrait in his first two starts.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe