Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 04/12/08

Game Eleven: Cubs (6-4) vs. Phillies (5-6)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 174, 183
Location – Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Ted Lilly (0-1, 9.72/1.68) vs. Cole Hamels (1-1, 1.20/1.00)

A sixteenth of the 2008 season is complete. The Cubs are 6-4 and have shown glimpses of how good the team is capable of playing….but they have also shown the opposite. Lou Piniella’s crew must work on building consistency, getting on base and most importantly cut down on all of the extra opportunities they are giving to the other teams on a daily basis. Today is a big game for the Cubs, not in terms of the standings or record, but for Ted Lilly.

Read on for more on tonight’s match-up, the latest from the newsroom and a little speculation from the CCO….

After a shaky Spring Training, Ted Lilly has regressed in his first two starts of the young season and needs a good start tonight. Lilly has struggled with his location and the velocity on his fastball is down. Lilly was the most consistent starter on Piniella’s staff a year ago and tonight would be a good time for Lilly to put up his first win of the season.

Ted Lilly has yet to complete 5 innings in either of his two starts this year. The Brewers rocked Lilly on April 2nd….he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Last Monday, the Cubs offense staked him a 7-0 lead but because of nibbling around the plate and errors by Ronny Cedeno and Aramis Ramirez, Lilly left with 2 outs in the 4th inning.

Lilly’s strike to ball ratio is adequate but his walk to strikeout ratio is alarming. Lilly has walked 2 and struck out just 5 in 8 1/3 innings this year….and is elevating the ball, 15 fly ball outs to only 4 groundball outs. If Lilly does not keep the ball down tonight, it could be another very short outing for Lou Piniella’s number two starter.

Ted Lilly is 1-1 in two career starts, both in 2007, against the Phillies with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP….his win came at Citizens Bank Park, the only one the Cubs posted in Philly last year.

  • Pedro Feliz – 3-for-8 with a home run
  • Ryan Howard – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Chase Utley – 0-for-3
  • So Taguchi – 1-for-11 with a home run

According to several reports, Kosuke Fukudome will not be in the starting lineup tonight. The outfield could consist of Reed Johnson in center and Mark DeRosa in right with Ronny Cedeno making a start at 2nd base.

Cole Hamels has been the total opposite of Ted Lilly. Hamels has allowed only 2 earned runs, 3 total, in his first two starts of the year. Hamels lost on April 2nd against the Nationals but gave up on 1 run on 5 hits in 8 strong innings. Hamels has a nice 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio and is arguably the best young southpaw in the league. Hamels is what Rich Hill has the talent to be.

Hamels is 2-1 in 3 career outings against the Cubs with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP….but those numbers are deceiving. The Cubs lit up Hamels at Wrigley on August 24, 2006 to the tune of 9 runs, 5 earned, on 9 hits in 2 innings. Last year the Cubs offense could not touch Hamels….2-0 in 2 starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, 3 runs on 10 hits with 4 walks and 15 strikeouts in 15 innings.

  • Mark DeRosa – 0-for-5
  • Derrek Lee – 0-for-6
  • Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-8 with a triple and a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-20 with a double and 3 home runs
  • Ryan Theriot – 5-for-10 with a double and a home run

From the Newsroom

The Cubs completed the deal for Craig Monroe with the Twins earlier in the week. As talked about here at the CCO on Friday, the Cubs acquired Doug Deeds as the PTBNL for Monroe.

Deeds was drafted by the Twins in the 9th round back in 2002 and had two impressive years in Double-A in 2005 and 2006 before struggling last season in Triple-A in limited action. Deeds has a career .375 OBP in 538 career games in the minors with a little bit of pop….51 home runs. The lefty was compared to Matt Murton on Friday and from the numbers, the comparison looks valid. Deeds also has spent time at 1st base.

Doug Deeds’ page at the Baseball Cube

In a related note, Tim Lahey was released by the Phillies, cleared waivers and was returned the Minnesota Twins.

Rich Hill will be available out of the bullpen for the remainder of the series in Philadelphia and his next scheduled start was pushed back until Thursday against the Reds at Wrigley. Ryan Dempster will pitch the opener on Tuesday with Carlos Zambrano starting the Wednesday night game.

Bruce Levine speculated on Saturday morning that Hill could soon be replaced in the rotation unless he quits thinking so much on the mound and just starts pitching. Hill is over thinking and must learn to pitch to contact. Many have suggested that Hill’s ability to strikeout batter after batter in the minors have his approach at the big league level.

Maybe Mr. Hill should watch ‘Bull Durham‘ and listen to Crash Davis’ take on strikeouts.

And finally from the speculation department…. With the way the Cubs are promoting Jeff Samardzija, look for a promotion to Triple-A and a call up soon after to the big league team. The Shark’s performance on Thursday was featured predominately on Cubs.com, he was interviewed on XM Radio Friday afternoon and joined Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000 Saturday morning.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none." - William Shakespeare
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