Game Fifty-Four: Cubs (32-21) vs. Rockies (20-33)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (2-3, 4.97/1.64) vs. Jeff Francis (1-5, 6.18/1.59)
Updated – 4:18pm C.T. with Roster Move – Jose Ascanio Optioned to Triple-A Iowa – Neal Cotts Recalled
According to a report on Cubs.com, Neal Cotts was recalled from Triple-A and will be available out of the pen tonight against the Rockies. Jose Ascanio was optioned to make room for Cotts.
The Cubs will try to keep the winning streak going against a Rockies team that will have a much different look than the one they faced in a brief 2-game series in April….the Cubs split the 2 games in Denver. The defending National League Champions have 9 players on the DL including Matt Holliday (with a strained left hamstring), Clint Barmes (with a right knee sprain), Brad Hawpe (with a right hamstring strain) and Troy Tulowitzki (torn tendon in left quad)….but Scott Podsednik will be in the starting lineup tonight. Len Kasper mentioned during Wednesday night’s telecast that former Cub, Glendon Rusch, could make the start on Saturday for the Rockies.
The Rockies were just swept by the Phillies and should not be taken lightly. They still have more than enough on the offensive side to put runs on the board….especially if Jason Marquis leaves the ball up. Rich Hill is scheduled to make his first start on Friday for Iowa since going on the DL. With Piniella wanting another southpaw in the rotation and the way Sean Gallagher pitched his last time out, Jason Marquis needs to step up and show he deserves to stay in the rotation. Jason Marquis pitched good enough to win his last start but the Cubs’ offense did not wake up until the 8th inning. The Cubs lost the game 5-4 to the Pirates in 14 innings and the Cubs lost another one of Marquis’ outings. Last season when Marquis was struggling he was at least putting his team in position to win, this year the Cubs are 4-5 in his first 9 starts.
Jason Marquis needs a solid performance tonight, throw strikes and keep the ball down. As Lou Piniella said following Marquis’ start against the Padres on May 13th, he seemingly has ‘one bad inning‘ every time he takes the mound. Marquis must limit his walks….that is the key to his success. Marquis is 2-2 in games he has walked 1 batter or less but more importantly his team is 3-2.
Marquis turned in one of his best starts of the season the last time he faced the Rockies in Denver. Aaron Cook out pitched him and the Cubs lost the game 4-2. Marquis tossed 7 strong innings and allowed 2 runs on 8 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Marquis is 5-3 in 10 career starts, 12 games, against the Rockies with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
- Garrett Atkins – 4-for-18 with 3 doubles
- Jeff Francis – 0-for-4
- Todd Helton – 8-for-28 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 5 walks
- Scott Podsednik – 7-for-17 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Ryan Spilborghs – 2-for-5
- Cory Sullivan – 2-for-7
- Willy Taveras – 9-for-32 with a triple
- Yorvit Torrealba – 3-for-8
Jeff Francis has struggled to start the year after a tremendous 2007 season. Francis beat the Minnesota Twins two starts back for his first decision of the year. He held the Twins to 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Francis appeared to be ready to turn the corner but lost his last start against the Mets. Willie Randolph’s team put up 6 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings.
Francis is 0-2 in 4 road starts this season with a 6.46 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.
The Cubs roughed up Francis in his only start against Chicago last season on June 25th (Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run single in the bottom of the 9th after the Rockies plated 6 runs in the top of the inning). The Cubs scored 6 runs on 10 hits in 5 innings at the Friendly Confines. Francis has never beaten the Cubs….0-0 in 4 career starts but has allowed 22 runs on 34 hits in 20 2/3 innings….a .9.58 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP, at Wrigley a 9.37 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP.
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-3
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-6
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-12
- Mike Fontenot – 3-for-3 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 6-for-6
- Jason Marquis – 1-for-4
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-11 with a double and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-9
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….