Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Cubs (66-61) vs. Diamondbacks (72-57)
Game Time – 8:40pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Ted Lilly (13-6, 3.88/1.17) vs. Doug Davis (10-11, 4.22/1.60)
Lou Piniella’s crew will look for their 4th win in 5 games tonight against a familiar foe in Doug Davis. Davis will make his 13th career start against the Cubs but the first of the year since being traded from the Brewers on November 25, 2006 along with Dana Eveland and David Krynzel for Johnny Estrada, Claudio Vargas and Greg Aquino. The Cubs’ struggles this season against Southpaws are well-documented, 12-19, worst in the majors. They have shown improvement of late and will start newly acquired Craig Monroe in right field tonight to add a solid offensive threat against the lefty. The Cubs must be extremely patient tonight against Davis, he will give them plenty of opportunities to score runs, 165 hits and 81 walks in 153 2/3 innings….they just have to take advantage.
The Cubs will go with their surprising lefty, Ted Lilly. Lilly is coming off consecutive poor outings and will look to get back on track tonight. He has allowed 11 earned runs on 13 hits in his last 11 innings and will make his first start of the season against the Diamondbacks. While the offense must show a lot of patience, it all starts with Ted Lilly. The Cubs pitching staff has done a very good job on this road trip thus far. Lou Piniella has received 4 quality starts in 5 games, with Carlos Zambrano being the exception. If Ted Lilly can return to the form that saw him post an 8-1 record from June 26th – August 9th, he would help anchor an inconsistent rotation down the stretch.
Lilly is 2-1 in his last 4 starts with a 5.47 ERA but he is starting to leave the ball up and is allowing long balls at an alarming rate. After giving up 9 home runs in 66 innings from June 5th – July 30th, he has allowed 6 homers in his last 24 2/3 innings while struggling with his command….but two of those teams were the Reds and Cardinals at Wrigley.
Lilly has pitched very well on the road this season, 6-1 in 11 starts with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Lilly is 0-1 in his only other career start against the Diamondbacks (2 other appearances) with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Randy Johnson beat Lilly in Toronto, 5-3, on June 13, 2004. Lilly gave up 4 runs, 2 earned on 6 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Tonight will be Lilly’s first appearance at Chase Field.
- Eric Byrnes – 3-11, with a double, a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Jeff Cirillo – 3-8, with a double, a home run and 2 RBI’s
After a tremendous start to the season (2-2 with a 2.79 ERA in his first 5 starts), Doug Davis has been inconsistent at best. He was 1-4 in 6 starts in May with a 3.65 ERA, 2-3 with a 6.34 ERA in 6 starts in June and had a nice July, 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 5 starts. Davis was spectacular in his first 3 starts in August. He had his best start of the season on August 3rd in L.A. Davis threw 8 shutout innings against the struggling Dodgers, allowed 3 hits, struck out 4 and walked 1. He was 3-0 with 2.42 ERA in his first 3 starts in August before his last start on August 20th. His old team, the Brewers, chased Davis from the game after completing only 2 innings of work….he allowed 6 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and a strikeout, his worst and shortest start of the year.
Davis is 6-3 at home this season with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Lefties and righties are hitting about the same off of Davis (left handers – .276/.361 OBP, right handers .277/.369 OBP) but Davis has given up 12 homers to righties compared to 6 homers to lefties. Of the 19 long balls Davis has given up, 13 have come at Chase Field.
Davis is 6-5 in 12 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, 2-1 last season with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP in 3 starts.
- Jacque Jones – 5-14, with a double
- Jason Kendall – 4-13, with 4 walks
- Derrek Lee – 4-20, with a double, 2 home runs, 3 RBI’s and 11 strikeouts
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-19, with a double, 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s
- Ryan Theriot – 3-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….
**note, updated at 7:31pm C.T.