Game One Hundred Twenty-One: Cubs (61-59) vs. Cardinals (58-60)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Hill (6-7, 3.85/1.22) vs. Braden Looper (10-9, 5.08/1.38)
The Rivalry is renewed once again….The Chicago Cubs vs. The St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs and Cardinals have been playing games since 1882 when they were known as the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Stockings and have played countless memorable games over their 125-year history. The Cardinals open a 4-game wrap around series today at Wrigley that concludes on Monday afternoon and this weekend should have a large impact on which team wins the NL Central Division this year.
While the Cubs are struggling to win games (3-7 in their last 10), the Cardinals are red-hot and are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee. The Cardinals are playing their best ball of the season. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games while averaging 6.4 runs a game. The Cardinals’ make shift pitching staff has a 2.00 ERA and they have won 5 in a row.
The Cubs will have their hands full against a Cardinals’ team that is clicking on all cylinders right now. And it all starts with Rich Hill…. The Cubs need Rich Hill to return to his early season form today and beat the Cardinals for the first time in his career. Hill is coming off his worst start of the year against the Rockies. He gave up 7 runs on 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings after struggling with his command from the onset….but the thin air in Colorado never helps a pitcher’s breaking ball. Hill threw a gem in Houston but did not pick up the win. He held the Astros to 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings. Hill is 0-1 with a 5.71 ERA in his last 3 starts (12 runs, 11 earned, on 20 hits in 17 1/3 innings).
Hill will face the Cardinals for the first time this season today. He does not have a record in 4 games, 3 starts, in his career against the Cardinals with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
- Chris Duncan – 2-6
- Juan Encarnacion – 3-6, with a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Albert Pujols – 0-5
- Scott Rolen – 0-3
Braden Looper has 10 wins this season, and 2 of those are against the Cubs. He has dominated Lou Piniella’s crew while pitching his best ball of the year in the two games he has faced the Cubs. Looper is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP against the Cubs this season….only 2 runs on 10 hits in 14 innings, by far his best stats against one team.
Looper has struggled on the road this season to the tune of a 4-6 record in 11 starts with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. In his last 3 road starts, Looper has given up 16 runs on 23 hits in 13 innings, 11.08 ERA and has not last past the 4th inning in his last 2 road starts. The Cubs must be patient with Looper today and make him get the ball up….or they will have another similar performance against Looper….a losing one.
Jason Kendall – 7-13, with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s
Derrek Lee – 3-10, with a home run and 2 RBI’s
The Cubs could be without the services of Jacque Jones today. Jones left Thursday’s game with an ankle injury and will be sorely missed if he is not in the lineup….a far cry from early in the season when Jones’ was not contributing and all but shipped out of town for a minor leaguer.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….