Game One Hundred Thirty: Cubs (66-63) vs. Brewers (65-65)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Hill (7-7, 3.67/1.19) vs. Jeff Suppan (8-11, 4.85/1.54)
Updated – 5:24pm C.T. with Roster Moves – The Cubs activated Alfonso Soriano from the 15-Day DL and optioned Carmen Pignatiello to Triple-A Iowa. Also, Koyie Hill cleared waivers and was returned to Iowa.
The Cubs open a 10-game homestand tonight with 3 games against the Milwaukee Brewers. Alfonso Soriano is expected to be activated from the DL and Lou Piniella has stated he will return to his spot at the top of the Cubs’ lineup. While neither the Cubs nor the Brewers are playing very good baseball right now, the winner of this series figures to carry the momentum over to the next series and beyond. The Cubs are 7-5 against the Brewers this year and at least one win would guarantee them the edge in the season series if it comes down to tie breakers after the 162nd game is played. Despite the Cubs struggles of late and the 8-11 record with Soriano on the DL, Lou Piniella’s crew still owns the best record in the National League since June 3rd, 44-32.
The offense must step it up tonight and give their pitcher some well-deserved run support. As usual it all starts with Rich Hill. Hill will have his hands full with a team that loves hitting against lefties and one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Rich Hill is coming off his best back-to-back starts of the second half and should have easily put two wins in the left hand column instead of just one. Hill beat the Cardinals at Wrigley on August 17th. He gave up 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks but received a no-decision against the Giants his last time out. Hill gave up 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings in San Francisco with 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. After a horrible outing in Colorado, Hill is 1-0 in his last 2 starts with a 1.93 ERA.
Rich Hill could easily have 10-12 wins to this point of the season. He has received 11 no decisions this year and in those games he has allowed a total of 21 earned runs, a 3.26 ERA. Hill is 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA in his last 5 starts with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Tonight will be Hill’s 4th start of the season against the Brewers. He dominated them in Milwaukee in his first start of the season on April 6th. Hill gave up just 1 run on 1 hit (a home run by Corey Hart) in 7 innings with 6 strikeouts and no walks. But the Brewers beat him at Wrigley on April 24th and then pounded him again at Wrigley on June 29th. The Brewers chased Hill from the game after the 3rd inning but Aramis Ramirez ended up winning the game with his walk-off in the 9th. Hill is 1-1 this season against the Brewers with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, the Brewers hit lefties very well and will be looking to make a statement tonight. Hill must be on top of his game and give the offense time to score runs.
- Kevin Mench – 3-8, with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s
- Ryan Braun – 1-2
- Prince Fielder – 2-7, with a home run and 2 RBI’s
Jeff Suppan, like the rest of the Brewers’ pitching staff, is in the middle of a slump. Suppan has not posted a win since June 22nd against the Royals after starting the season off just about unhittable. Suppan dominated the Cubs on April 24th at Wrigley with his best start of the season. He threw 8 innings of shutout ball but gave up 8 hits….the Cubs could not string together any offense, sound familiar? But the Cubs returned the favor on June 6th at Miller Park. Suppan gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits in 5 innings.
Suppan is 0-2 in his last 4 starts with a 4.13 ERA and is coming off a loss against the Diamondbacks his last time out. Suppan gave up 3 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings. The loss was the only one in the 3-game series the Brewers dropped to the D’Backs.
Suppan is a big game pitcher and will be on top of his game tonight. The Brewers paid Suppan a lot of money in the off-season to win the big game, and tonight more than fits that bill.
Suppan is 1-1 this season against the Cubs with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. For his career, Suppan is 5-5 in 15 career starts with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.
- Jacque Jones – 12-42, with 4 home runs and 4 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 15-33, with 5 doubles, 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s
- Felix Pie – 3-7, with a triple, a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-29, with 3 doubles, 1 home run and 6 RBI’s
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-30, with 2 doubles
On a side note, Lou Piniella turns 64 years old today….
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