Game Eighty-Three: Cubs (49-33) vs. Giants (36-46)
Game Time – 9:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – AT & T Park, San Francisco
Ted Lilly (8-5, 4.74/1.32) vs. Barry Zito (3-11, 5.91/1.82)
If there is such a thing as a must win for a team 16 games over .500 on the last day of June….tonight’s game fits the bill. Lou Piniella’s crew opens a 4-game series in San Francisco in need of a victory and will face a Giants’ team for the first time without Barry Bonds. Ted Lilly will have the task of ending the Cubs longest losing streak of the season….without one of the Cubs’ biggest bats. Aramis Ramirez will miss the first 3 games and a club already missing one big bat will find itself even shorter for the next three nights. This is an important week for the Cubs after posting just one win in their last 6 games…. Ted Lilly picked up the only win in the 3-game series against the Orioles in his last start. Lilly did his job but gave up 2 more home runs and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings of work with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks….two 2-run homers by Jay Payton. Lilly must start keeping the ball in the park….18 home runs in 17 starts (98 2/3 innings) is not a good combination. While the Giants’ struggle offensively, they can hit balls left up in the zone with the best of them.
Lilly has benefited from a lot of support from the Cubs offense. While Lilly has not lost a game since June 4th (2-1 to Greg Maddux in San Diego), the Cubs have scored a total of 44 runs in his last 7 starts (6.29 runs per start). Lou Piniella needs innings and the Cubs’ offense needs time to plate runs against Barry Zito.
Lilly is 3-3 in 8 road starts this season with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.
‘The Bulldog‘ is 2-1 in 4 career starts against the Giants with a 6.08 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP….0-1 at AT & T Park with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Last season, 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Lilly beat the Giants at Wrigley on July 19th, 9-8. He allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings and gave up a home run to Barry Bonds (#752) in his chase of Hank Aaron….Bonds hit #753 in the 7th off of Will Ohman.
- Rich Aurilia – 4-for-12 with a double and a home run
- Ray Durham – 3-for-12 with a triple
- Bengie Molina – 4-for-14 with a double
- Aaron Rowand – 6-for-16 with a home run
- Omar Vizquel – 2-for-18 with a double
- Randy Winn – 9-for-30 with 2 doubles and a home run
During the long baseball season sometimes it is not how a team plays against another….but when. With that said, the Cubs might be facing Barry Zito at the wrong time. Zito has been horrible this season for the Giants but is coming off of one of his best starts of the year. Zito held the Indians to just a run on 4 hits in 6 2/3 innings with 4 strikeouts and no walks….the first time Zito has not walked a batter this season.
To say Zito has not lived up to the huge contract he signed before the 2007 season would be an understatement. Zito did not win his first game until May 23rd after spending time in the Giants’ bullpen.
Zito has been very successful in the past against the Cubs and turned in one of his best outings as a Giant last year at Wrigley against Lou Piniella’s crew. Zito beat the Cubs 4-2 on July 17th and held the Cubs to 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits in 7 innings with 8 strikeouts and no walks….Zito received a no decision in San Francisco against the Cubs on August 22nd. The Cubs won the game 4-2 but Zito tossed a gem….2 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts and no walks.
Zito has struggled at home this season and has yet to post a win. He is 0-7 in 8 starts with a 7.34 ERA and a 2.13 WHIP while opponents have hit .370 against him.
The Cubs are 1-1 in the other 3 times they have faced Zito with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Last season, 1-0 in 2 starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP.
- Mark DeRosa – 6-for-26 with 2 home runs
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-1
- Derrek Lee – 5-for-8 with a double and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-8 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-7 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….