Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Marlins – 07/26/08

Game One Hundred Four: Cubs (60-43) vs. Marlins (54-49)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rich Harden (5-2, 2.12/1.11, 0-1, 0.73/0.89) vs. Chris Volstad (2-1, 2.16/1.14)

The Chicago Cubs will take the field on the last Saturday in July with a one game lead over the Brewers and a four game lead over the Cardinals after both teams lost on Friday night. While most of the baseball world will be focusing on Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame inductions on Sunday (quick note, Ron Santo should be preparing his speech this time next year), Lou Piniella’s crew will try to get back in the win column behind Rich Harden.

The Cubs’ offense will have to face yet another good young arm in the Marlins’ system for the first time today. Chris Volstad is scheduled to make his third career big league start for Fredi Gonzalez and the Florida Fish.

Dominic DiAngi will throw out the first pitch of today’s game. DiAngi was hit in the head by a foul ball of the bat of Ted Lilly back on July 10th against the Cincinnati Reds.

For the first time as a Cub, Rich Harden will pitch today on normal rest. After Jim Hendry traded for Harden the week before the break several reports suggested the Cubs would do their best to give Harden extra rest when possible. Harden responded his last time out and pitched a gem on eight days between starts.

Harden was a hard luck loser his last time out and actually pitched better than a future Hall of Famer. Harden struck out 10 for the second straight outing, tossed 4 perfect innings before allowing his first, and only hit, to start the 6th inning. A solo home run by Alex Romero was the only hit and run Harden allowed in 7 innings.

The Cubs need another solid outing from Harden today and his teammates need to award him with a win. Harden should be 2-0 as a Chicago Cub….not 0-1. Harden has allowed 1 run on 6 hits with 5 walks and 20 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings in his last 2 starts.

Harden faced the Marlins in an A’s uniform back on June 20th in Oakland. Harden received a no decision but allowed only 1 run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Today will be Harden’s second career start and appearance against the Fish.

  • Alfredo Amezaga – 0-for-4
  • Jorge Cantu – 1-for-6
  • Luis Gonzalez – 1-for-2
  • Jeremy Hermida – 0-for-3
  • Hanley Ramirez – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Cody Ross – 0-for-2
  • Dan Uggla – 1-for-3 with a home run

The Cubs will get their first look today at Chris Volstad, one of the top pitching prospects in the game. The 21-year old, 6’7″ right-hander was drafted out of prep school in the 1st round (16th overall pick) of the 2005 draft. Volstad was the Marlins’ top pitching prospect according to Baseball America at the beginning of the season….and he has not disappointed.

Volstad was 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 15 starts in Double-A before getting his chance in the Show. Volstad has responded quite well and in his first 3 games, 2 starts, at the big league level he has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP while opponents have hit just .217 against him. In 16 2/3 innings he has struck out 9 and walked 6 while giving up just 13 hits….and no home runs.

Volstad is a sinker baller with a fastball that ranges from the upper 80’s to lower 90’s.

In his first career big league start, Volstad beat the Dodgers 3-1 in Los Angeles….he allowed only 1 run on 5 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. Volstad lost his last outing and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. The Cubs success today will depend solely on the scouting reports….and making the youngster work. If the Cubs’ offense allows him to get comfortable on the mound, it could be a very frustrating afternoon at Wrigley.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney