Game Seventy-Three: Cubs (45-27) vs. Rays (42-29)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 179
Location – Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Sean Gallagher (3-3, 4.54/1.37) vs. James Shields (4-5, 3.91/1.18)
The Cubs will try to salvage the final game of the series tonight and avoid their third 2-4 road trip of the season. Sean Gallagher has yet to post a win on the road at the big league level but he has shown steady improvement for the most part this season….and there is no time like the present. The Cubs offense will have the tough task of beating James Shields and with the day game on Friday, Lou Piniella will likely sit Geovany Soto in favor of Henry Blanco.
The Cubs need the win to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season…. Sean Gallagher has pitched better than his 0-2 record in his last 2 starts. Gallagher has given up a grand total of 5 runs on 10 hits in his previous 2 outings (10 innings) with 11 strikeouts and 5 walks….but the offense has scored only 2 runs combined in both of those games.
Gallagher is 0-3 in 3 starts, 5 games, away from Wrigley with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.
Tonight will be Gallagher’s first career appearance against the Rays.
The Cubs will get their first look at James Shields. The Rays very good right-hander is coming off his 6-game suspension for his part in the Red Sox brawl. Shields has been horrible of late (10 runs on 13 hits in his last two starts, 9 innings, with no walks and 11 strikeouts) but has been just about unhittable at home this season.
Shields is 3-1 in 7 starts with 2 complete game shutouts (the Angels and the Red Sox) at the Trop with a 1,72 ERA and a 0,86 WHIP….10 earned runs on 37 hits in 52 1/3 innings with 39 strikeouts and only 8 walks.
The Cubs must make him work and implement the same game plan they used against Scott Kazmir. The best arms in the Rays’ pen have been well-used in the first two games and like most pitchers, the more he throws the more runs he allows….pitches 16-30, 9.82 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP….pitches 61-75, 4.72 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP….pitches 76-90, 5.02 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Mark DeRosa is the only Cub on the active roster that has faced Shields….0-for-3.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….