Game One Hundred Ten: Cubs (65-44) vs. Pirates (50-58)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (6-6, 4.69/1.45) vs. Jeff Karstens (0-0, -.–/-.–)
The theme for the upcoming weekend must be….no let down. After an impressive trip to Milwaukee, the Cubs must not take the Pirates for granted and give back what they fought so hard for against the Brewers. The Cubs will face a Pirates team much different from the one that took the field in Pittsburgh at the end of May.
Jason Bay is gone, along with Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte and it could be very easy for the Cubs to just expect to win. The Pirates also placed Adam LaRoche on the 15-day DL with a right intercostals strain and Freddy Sanchez is dealing with a back problem but with all of the change going on in Pittsburgh they are 6-4 in their last 10 games and their entire roster will be playing for a job for the remainder of the year.
Jeff Karstens came over from the Yankees in the Nady-Marte deal and will make his Pirate debut today….also, expect to see one of the best young prospects in the game in Steve Pearce in the starting lineup.
Jason Bay was involved in the 3-team trade on Thursday that involved Manny Ramirez. The Pirates received Andy LaRoche, brother of Adam, and Bryan Morris from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox for Bay and the Dodgers received Manny Ramirez and $7 million dollars.
The Cubs will face the Pirates for the last time at Wrigley Field this season over the weekend. Six of the Cubs remaining 53 games are against the Bucs and the two teams will square off at the end of the month for the last series of the year at PNC Park, August 25th – August 27th.
Today starts a very important month for the Cubs. They play 22 of the next 31 games at Wrigley (19 of 28 in August) before finishing the season with 16 of the final 22 on the road. The Cubs must take advantage of the schedule over the next month and build on the momentum they started in Milwaukee.
While on paper the next three days may seem easy for the Cubs, if Lou Piniella’s crew treats this weekend that way they will start of the month of August on a bad note. Jason Marquis started the game on Sunday in which the Cubs found themselves in a 5-0 hole in the 3rd inning. Marquis ended up allowing 6 runs (on 3 home runs) in 6 innings on 9 hits but gave his skipper two solid frames to complete his outing. The Cubs scored 3 runs on Mike Fontenot’s bases clearing double and won an important game 9-6. Marquis was not sharp the last time out and walked 3 to go along with 6 strikeouts.
Marquis has not posted a win since June 21st against the White Sox and his team is 2-3 in his last 5 starts. The Cubs need Marquis to come out today and throw strikes.
Marquis was 0-2 in 4 starts in July with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP….at Wrigley this season, 3-3 in 10 starts with a 5.81 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP while opponents have hit .305 against him.
Today will be Marquis’ 4th start of the season against the Pirates. He is 2-0 in the first 3 with a 3.12 WHIP and a 1.27 ERA.
- Jose Bautista – 4-for-16 with 2 doubles
- Ryan Doumit – 4-for-15 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Andy LaRoche – 0-for-3
- Nate McLouth – 5-for-17 with a double and a home run
- Jason Michaels – 2-for-3
- Doug Mientkiewicz – 1-for-5 with 3 walks
- Ronny Paulino – 0-for-3
- Freddy Sanchez – 7-for-31 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Jack Wilson – 7-for-37 with a double
The Cubs will get their first ever look at Jeff Karstens today….there is not a single current Cub that has faced the former New York Yankee. Karstens came to the Pirates in the deal with the Yankees last week that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Bronx.
Karstens will make his first Major League start of the season today. He was 1-4 in 7 games, 3 starts, with a 11.05 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP for Joe Torre a year ago after finishing 2-1 in 8 games, 6 starts, with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 2006.
Karstens did not make Baseball America’s list of top 30 Yankees’ prospects at the beginning of this season after being named the 25th best prospect before the 2007 season. Karstens was 6-4 in 12 starts in Triple-A with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP with 55 strikeouts and 15 walks in 68 2/3 innings before being traded.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….