Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/12/07

Game One Hundred Forty-Five: Cubs (73-71) vs. Astros (63-81)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Rich Hill (8-8, 4.02/1.22) vs. Matt Albers (4-7, 5.88/1.56)

Including tonight, the Cubs have 18 games left in the regular season. The remaining 18 games will determine whether or not there will be baseball on the North Side of Chicago after September 30th. But when will Lou Piniella’s crew realize the clock is ticking on the season and if they do not wake up soon and string together some wins they will be watching the postseason from their living rooms. Other than a couple of good games here and there, since August 1st the Cubs have been underachieving. Is this the infamous swoon or are the Cubs just setting everyone up for a great finish? If it is the latter, a win tonight would be a good start.

Several players were reportedly upset about their performance over the weekend in Pittsburgh and the end result was the blip on Monday. The offense must give Rich Hill a little breathing room tonight and Rich Hill must bounce back from his last couple of starts. Piniella needs a quality start and a win tonight from his very talented lefty.

Rich Hill was 2-1 with a 3.99 ERA in 6 starts in August with a 1.20 WHIP and is 0-1 in has last two outings with a 9.00 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. Hill has been as bad as he was good. Hill is having trouble with his command and is not throwing an out pitch when needed. He has given up 11 runs on 15 hits in his last 11 innings with on 7 strikeouts and 5 walks….this was after striking out 41 and walking 10 in 38 1/3 innings in August. Hill has shown how good he can be and his team needs the confident Rich Hill tonight.

Hill will make his third start of the season against the Astros. He did not record a decision in his first two starts with very different performances. Hill has a 4.50 ERA (6 runs on 9 hits in 12 innings) and a 1.25 against the Astros this season. He threw a gem in Houston on August 6th, 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings with 6 strikeouts. The last time he faced the Astros at Wrigley on September 2nd, Hill gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings and did not look comfortable on the mound from the first pitch he threw.

Hill must step up tonight and get the win.

Troy Patton was scheduled to make the start tonight but just before game time on Tuesday, the Astros announced Matt Albers will make the start instead. Albers has pitched in the rotation and out of the bullpen for Houston this season. As a starter, Albers is 3-7 with a 5.70 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP in 14 games.

The Brewers pounded Albers in his last start. They scored 7 runs on 6 hits in 3 innings. Albers threw 64 pitches and walked 3. Albers will give the Cubs plenty of opportunities to score runs tonight….now the only question is, can they?

Albers will make his first career start against the Cubs. In 3 games out of the bullpen, Albers has allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 3 1/3 innings….a 8.10 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP. In 12 games, 5 starts, at Minute Maid this season Albers in 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth