Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 08/31/08

Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven: Cubs (85-51) vs. Phillies (74-62)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Sean Marshall (3-3, 3.52/1.15) vs. Jamie Moyer (11-7, 3.81/1.35)

Updated – 10:55am C.T. – Carlos Zambrano scratched – Sean Marshall to start

Updated – 11:15am C.T. – Zambrano pushed back to probably Wednesday against the Astros

It’s the last day of August and happy Labor Day weekend from everyone here at the CCO…. Lou Piniella’s crew will take the field today with a chance to win their 21st game of the month (20-7) and in the process establish a new mark for wins in August. The previous high was set in 1984 when the Jim Frey-led Chicago Cubs finished with a 20-10 record. A win today would not only give the Cubs a winning record on the season series against the Phillies (3-3) for the first time since 2001 but would give them 10 series wins in a row of two or more games for the first time in over 100 years. The Cubs are 9-0-1 in their last 10 series dating back to July 24th.

The Cubs will need a solid outing today from Sean Marshall as he fills in for Carlos Zambrano. A report in the Sun-Times on Sunday morning indicated Zambrano is battling through a dead arm period. Piniella mentioned before Saturday’s game that the schedule over the next two weeks would allow him to give not only Zambrano extra time between starts but Rich Harden and Ryan Dempster as well. Piniella mentioned on Saturday he might use Sean Marshall in a spot start in order to give his regular five a little more rest but gave no indication that spot start could come as early as today. With extra arms on the way Monday (Jon Lieber and Angel Guzman), Piniella will have plenty of options over the season’s final month.

The Cubs must be patient today against Jamie Moyer and make him pitch to them….not the other way around. If the offense tries to hit his pitch it could be a very frustrating afternoon. The Cubs have not lost back-to-back games since July 25 – July 26 against the Marlins and with the former Indian pitching in the Steel City today, the Cubs will need to pick up a win to keep the current distance with their closest pursuer.

Carlos Zambrano is in need of a good outing today against the Phillies. Not only would a win today for Big Z be his 14th of the season but might get him back on track after a horrible month. After a winless August a year ago (0-4 in 5 starts with a 7.06 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP), Zambrano has posted just one win this month and his performance has been eerily close to the ones from 12 months ago. Zambrano is 1-1 in 5 starts with a 7.43 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.

Zambrano’s struggles have raised the question about which pitcher Lou Piniella would use to start a post-season series if the Cubs do make the playoffs. Without a doubt Zambrano is the number one pitcher on the Cubs’ staff, it is up to him to prove it over the next 5 weeks. As Aramis Ramirez pointed out a few months back, the Cubs go as Zambrano goes….and it must start today with a win.

Zambrano is coming off a no decision against the Pirates in his last outing. He gave up 6 runs, all earned, on 8 hits in 4 1/3 innings, the second time in 4 starts that Z failed to complete 5 innings. The only positive concerning Zambrano in the past month, other than the offense he gives his team, is that the Cubs are 4-1 in his last 5 starts and 8-2 since he came off the DL on July 4th.

The Phillies and Brett Myers beat Zambrano back on April 11th in Philadelphia. Zambrano allowed 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings with 7 strikeouts and no walks. For his career, Big Z is 3-3 in 7 starts versus the Phillies with a complete game, a 3.38 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

  • Pat Burrell – 3-for-12 with a double and a home run
  • Greg Dobbs – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Pedro Feliz – 1-for-14 with a double
  • Ryan Howard – 3-for-13 with a double
  • Jimmy Rollins – 3-for-17 with a double
  • Matt Stairs – 1-for-5
  • So Taguchi – 2-for-7 with a double
  • Chase Utley – 3-for-13 with a double
  • Jayson Werth – 0-for-3

Update – 11:15am C.T.According to a report on, Carlos Zambrano could start against the Astros on Wednesday. Jason Marquis will still face Roy Oswalt on Monday with Ryan Dempster scheduled for Tuesday against Brandon Backe. The report on is calling Zambrano’s problem a ‘dead arm phase‘.

Here are Sean Marshall’s numbers against the Phillies:

Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless inning of relief in Thursday’s win against the Phillies and was one of the reasons Aramis Ramirez and Mike Fontenot were able to provide the dramatics in the 8th inning. Marshall will make only his third start today since July 1st. Marshall beat the Cardinals 7-1 in the series finale on July 6th and lost to the Marlins 2-1 on August 16th.

Marshall is 1-3 in 4 starts this season with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

For his career Marshall is 0-1 in 5 appearances, 2 starts, versus the Phillies with a 13.50 ERA and a 2.08 WHIP. This season no earned runs in 3 games (2 2/3 innings) with only 1 hit allowed.

  • Pat Burrell – 3-for-4 with a home run
  • Chris Coste – 3-for-4
  • Pedro Feliz – 5-for-9 with a double
  • Ryan Howard – 1-for-6
  • Jimmy Rollins – 1-for-4 with a double
  • So Taguchi – 5-for-10 with a double
  • Chase Utley – 0-for-3
  • Shane Victorino – 0-for-3
  • Jayson Werth – 1-for-3

The Cubs will face the ‘Ageless Wonder‘ today for the second time this season. The Cubs drafted Jamie Moyer in 1984, he made his debut with the Cubs in 1986 and 22 years later the organization that drafted him will try to beat him for the first time. Moyer must have a portrait of himself in the attic that shows his age, kinda like Dick Clark, or at least a mannequin with a left arm that is about to fall off. Whatever the case, Moyer continues to defy logic and Father Time.

Moyer is the true definition of a crafty lefty at age 45 and uses his changeup to perfection. Not only does he change speeds with regularity, but he does it with a fastball in the upper 70s to low 80s. The Cubs must wait him out today, and hit the ball to right field. If Jimmy Rollins is getting a lot of action early on, it could lead to the Cubs fourth loss of the season to the Phillies.

Moyer was shelled by the Mets in his worst outing of the season after an impressive start against the Nationals on August 21st (2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits in 6 2/3 innings). Moyer lasted just 3 innings in his shortest start of the season and tied a season high 6 runs allowed, all earned, on 9 hits without a walk and 3 strikeouts.

Moyer has been very good on the road this season (7-3 in 13 starts with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP) and is 1-1 in his last 5 starts with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP….despite the start against the Mets.

Moyer is 2-0 in 5 career starts versus the Cubs with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He received a no decision back on April 13th when Carlos Zambrano beat out a fielder’s choice in the 10th that led to the winning run scoring on a throwing error by Chase Utley. Moyer allowed 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings.

  • Henry Blanco – 5-for-11
  • Ronny Cedeno – 3-for-8 with a double
  • Mark DeRosa – 4-for-13 with a double
  • Jim Edmonds – 6-for-26 with a double
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
  • Reed Johnson – 10-for-30 with 3 doubles and a home run
  • Derrek Lee – 4-for-6 with 3 doubles
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-7
  • Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-47 with a double and 4 home runs
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
  • Ryan Theriot – 2-for-9

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon