Game Eighty-One: Cubs (49-31) vs. White Sox (44-35)
Game Time – 2:55pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 178
Location – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago
Sean Gallagher (3-3, 3.97/1.32) vs. Javier Vazquez (7-6, 4.24/1.33)
Updated – 12:36pm C.T. – According to a report from Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000, the Cubs are expected to place Scott Eyre on the DL before today’s game and will recall Jose Ascanio from Triple-A Iowa to take his place on the active roster.
It’s game two of round two….it’s the Cubs versus the Sox, it’s the North Side versus the South Side….it’s the Crosstown Classic. Today marks the halfway point of the 2008 season, game 81 of 162, and the Cubs are in need of a win. Not because it is the White Sox but because they are banged up and are not playing good ball right now. Lou Piniella’s crew has lost 3 out of 4 and 4 straight on the road and a win today would help them avoid their second 3-game losing streak of the year.
It appears Alfonso Soriano will return sooner than expected from his broken hand. After X-Rays on Friday, reports suggested the Cubs left fielder could be back in two weeks. Reed Johnson is expected back from the DL on July 3rd and Carlos Zambrano is on track to make his next scheduled start on Friday in St. Louis….pending the outcome of his bullpen session on Sunday. While the Cubs appear to be on the backside of several big injuries, one thing is for certain….Eric Patterson will not be in left field today. Lou Piniella was not happy on Friday with the play of the former second baseman. Don’t be surprised to see Mark DeRosa in left, hopefully Jim Edmonds in center and Kosuke Fukudome in right….a big improvement, defensively, from Friday.
Of course, if Scott Eyre is placed on the DL there are options at Triple-A that could help out over the next few days….and Jose Ascanio could be recalled after the weekend series if Eyre is placed on the DL. But a little roster manipulation could get a little help from the farm sooner rather than later. There is no pressure at all on the Cubs’ 22-year old rookie right-hander today. All Sean Gallagher has to do is go into a hostile environment, stymie an offense that is much better at home than on the road and end his team’s 4-game losing streak away from Wrigley Field….other than the previous mentioned, it should be just like any other start in Gallagher’s brief big league career.
Sean Gallagher will make his first career start and appearance against the South Side today after tossing a gem his last time out in Tampa on June 19th. Gallagher held a very talented Rays’ offense to one unearned run on 4 hits in 6 innings and should have picked up his first career victory on the road. But Carlos Marmol and Scott Eyre could not hold the 3-1 lead and the Cubs limped out of Tampa after losing three games in a row for the first time all year. Unfortunately for Gallagher, he has that added pressure once again today. A loss at the Cell would be the Cubs third straight and the second time in the last 11 days the Cubs have dropped three in a row….so once again, no pressure at all on the young Mr. Gallagher.
The Cubs must relax today, both in the field and at the plate, and just play ball. They have played very tight the past two games and the results can be seen on the scoreboard. Yes, the Cubs are missing several important pieces, but most role players take advantage of times like these, step up and improve their stock in the mind of their manager. It is time for several of the Cubs role players to help win a game….
The Cubs will face Javier Vazquez once again today. Vazquez struggled with his command last Sunday and the Cubs scored 2 runs in the 1st inning after back-to-back walks to Kosuke Fukudome and Eric Patterson to start the game and a single to right center by Derrek Lee. The Cubs kept tacking on and Ryan Dempster took care of the rest….but that was then and Vazquez is due for a good outing.
Vazquez has given up at least 4 earned runs in his last 4 starts after being very effective in May. Vazquez is 2-2 in June with a 6.94 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. In May he was 2-2 in 6 starts with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. The Sox score a lot of runs for Vazquez (last 4 starts, Sox scored 28 runs while Vazquez has allowed 19 runs, 18 earned) and he figures to be on top of his game, like the rest of his team, today.
Vazquez is 5-1 in 7 starts at the Cell this season with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-3
- Mark DeRosa – 6-for-22 with a home run
- Jim Edmonds – 8-for-20 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Derrek Lee – 17-for-47 with 6 doubles and 3 home runs
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-26 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-9
- Daryle Ward – 9-for-24 with a double and 3 home runs
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….