Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs (69-46) vs. Cardinals (64-53)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (11-6, 4.35/1.34) vs. Braden Looper (10-9, 4.29/1.36)
Two of the three best teams in the National League square off today for the first game of a big weekend series….it’s the Cubs and Cardinals and for many, the biggest rivalry in all of baseball. The two longtime divisional foes split their first 6 meetings of the season in St. Louis and will face off for the first time this year at the Friendly Confines.
The Cardinals won two of the last three in St. Louis against the Dodgers and come to Chicago today 6 games behind the Cubs in the division but just a game back of the Brewers in the NL Wild Card race. Both teams are playing very good ball right now and historically one can throw out the records when these two teams meet….but this season both organizations are right in the middle of the playoff picture and counting the next three games, will face each other 9 times in the season’s final 47 games.
The Cardinals could receive a boost in the lineup if Rick Ankiel is able to start after making only five plate appearances since July 26th but the Cubs goal, offensively, all weekend long must be to make Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer and Chris Carpenter throw a lot of pitches. If they can make Tony LaRussa’s starters work and get into the Cardinals’ bullpen early and often, it could be a very successful weekend on the North Side for the Cubs.
Lilly has struggled with keeping the ball in the park this season and must keep the ball down today….or Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick will have a field day. He is 6-3 in 11 starts at home with a 4.94 ERA (more than a run difference between his home ERA and road mark of 3.89) and a 1.34 WHIP. Of Lilly’s 25 home runs surrendered this season, 12 have been served up at Wrigley.
Today will be Lilly’s third start of the season against the Redbirds. He is 1-0 in the first two with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP….his win came on May 3rd and his no decision came on July 5th when Rick Ankiel and the Cardinals scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th off of Kerry Wood.
Lilly is 4-2 in 8 career starts versus Tony LaRussa’s team with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
- Rick Ankiel – 3-for-12 with a double and a home run
- Troy Glaus – 1-for-14
- Cesar Izturis – 3-for-9 with a double
- Adam Kennedy – 4-for-14 with a double and a home run
- Braden Looper – 2-for-4
- Felipe Lopez – 2-for-11 with 2 home runs
- Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-12 with 2 doubles
- Yadier Molina – 4-for-12 with a home run
- Albert Pujols – 8-for-21 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs
Braden Looper will make his second start of the season against the Cubs today. Looper has been very successful in the past against the Cubs and, despite the loss, in July he put together one of his best starts of the year against Lou Piniella’s crew. Carlos Zambrano beat Looper on July 4th, 2-1, and the Cubs were unable to take advantage of a couple of opportunities against Looper early in the game. Looper left after 7 complete and allowed only 2 runs, both solo home runs (one by Kosuke Fukudome and the other by Geovany Soto), on 6 hits with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.
Looper has been very good of late. The last time he gave up more than 2 earned runs was back on July 18th against the Padres. In his last 3 starts, Looper has allowed a total of 4 earned runs on 13 hits with 4 walks and 12 strikeouts in 17 innings but is just 1-2 in those 3 starts.
The Cubs must be patient at the plate today and get into the Cardinals bullpen as soon as possible. The longer Looper is on the mound, the longer the game will remain in question.
Looper is 3-4 with 4 saves in 37 career games, 5 starts, against the Cubs with a 2.39 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP….at Wrigley, 1-2 with 2 saves in 18 games, 2 starts, with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 2-for-8 with 3 walks
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-5
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-14 with 3 walks
- Jim Edmonds – 0-for-4
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Derrek Lee – 5-for-18 with a double and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-20
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-8
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-5 with a double and a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 4-for-14
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….