Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/24/08

Game Forty-Nine: Cubs (29-19) vs. Pirates (22-26)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Jason Marquis (2-3, 4.96/1.61) vs. Phil Dumatrait (1-2, 4.39/1.56)

It is been more than six weeks since the Cubs won back-to-back games on the road and tonight they will try to accomplish that feat behind Jason Marquis. For the second time in a week Jason Marquis will face Phil Dumatrait. Marquis was on the winning side of their first match-up last Sunday at Wrigley and the Pirates could receive a little boost tonight.

Reports have indicated Jack Wilson could return to the Pirates lineup tonight. Wilson has been on the DL with an injured left calf and has been on a rehab assignment for the last week. Wilson would help the Pirates both offensively and defensively.

In other news….Sean Marshall will miss his next start after leaving Thursday’s game in the 4th inning. According to a report on Cubs.com, Marshall pulled a hamstring. With Rich Hill already on the minor league DL, the Cubs pitching depth in minors took a big hit. Sean Gallagher will remain in the rotation and start Tuesday night’s game at Wrigley against the Dodgers.

Jason Marquis has won only two games this season and both have come against the Pirates at Wrigley. Marquis is coming off a solid performance last Sunday after it appeared he might not make it through 3 innings. Marquis gave up a 2-run homer to Adam LaRoche in the 1st inning, but settled down and did not allowed another earned run. Marquis surrendered 3 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits in 6 innings. It was a quality start for Marquis and a good ending to an impressive homestand.

But that was then and this is now. Lou Piniella needs a solid outing out of Marquis tonight. With the injuries to Sean Marshall and Rich Hill, the backend of the Cubs’ rotation has two big question marks….and another quality start by Marquis tonight would put off the Cubs trying to find an answer for one of the spots for at least another 5 days.

Marquis’ best road start last season came in Pittsburgh on May 2nd. Marquis held the Pirates to just 1 run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts and no walks in 8 innings….for his career, Marquis is 4-3 in 7 starts, 9 games, at PNC with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Marquis must keep the ball down and throw strikes tonight. If he leaves the ball up and starts walking batter after batter, it could end up being a very short outing.

Phil Dumatrait walked the Cubs seven times in 4 2/3 innings last Sunday. He surrendered only 4 runs on 4 hits….but the difference was all of the free passes. The Cubs must make him work again tonight. The Cubs’ offense had trouble finding a rhythm against the erratic southpaw, but it is hard to argue with the end result.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
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