Game One Hundred Fifty-Five: Cubs (94-60) vs. Mets (86-69)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 174, 188
Location – Shea Stadium, New York
Jason Marquis (10-9, 4.39/1.42) vs. Jonathon Niese (1-0, 4.09/1.73)
The last week of the regular season begins tonight with the first of four against the New York Mets….and the final game for the Cubs in baseball’s first season will be next Sunday in Miller Park. The Cubs need one win over their final 7 games (hopefully game number 162 in Houston will not be necessary) to secure home field advantage throughout the National League Playoffs. Lou Piniella stated on Sunday that he will go with his everyday lineup, for the most part, in the season’s final week.
Piniella said before the game on Sunday that he will give a few players a much-needed break but he will play his starters with games against two teams trying to make the playoffs….so don’t look for the starting eight he sent out on Sunday again this year. Piniella also added he would not set his playoff rotation until the Cubs find out which team they will play in the first round.
The New York Mets have been through a lot since the Cubs swept them in a brief 2-game series in April (21-22) at Wrigley….the Cubs did not face Johan Santana and will see him tomorrow night. The highlight from the two games, other than the wins, was the Grand Slam off the bat of Ronny Cedeno in the 8th inningof game two.
Willie Randolph has been replaced by Jerry Manuel….Moises Alou and Angel Pagan are no longer in their outfield….Billy Wagner is no longer their closer….but they still have a dangerous offense led by Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and David Wright. The Mets enter play tonight a game and a half ahead of the Brewers in the Wild Card race and a game and a half back of the Phillies in the NL East. If the post season began tonight, the Mets would be at Wrigley facing the Cubs.
The Cubs will get the best the Mets have to offer, and the Cubs should get back to work tonight….and Keep Their Eye on the Prize.
Marquis needs to put together a solid outing tonight. While Marquis will likely be watching the first round of the playoffs from the dugout, if he can throw strikes in his last two outings and stop beating himself, he could make a case to be on Cubs 25-man roster on October 1st.
Marquis did not face the Mets in the brief 2-game series at Wrigley in April. He is 5-5 in 20 career games, 13 starts, with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
Marquis has been a different pitcher on the road this season that at Wrigley. His ERA is more than 2 runs less (5.53 ERA at home and 3.05 ERA on the road) away from the Friendly Confines and opponents hit a much lower .230 against him compared to a nearly .300 average at Wrigley (.290).
- Carlos Beltran – 2-for-17 with a home run
- Endy Chavez – 3-for-14 with a double
- Ryan Church – 0-for-2
- Carlos Delgado – 5-for-9 with a double and a home run
- Jose Reyes – 7-for-24
- David Wright – 6-for-20 with a home run
Jonathon Niese will make only his third career big league start tonight against the Cubs. Jon was ranked as the Mets 8th best prospect by Baseball America before the season. The southpaw has a good fastball that has consistently been clocked in the lower 90s. Baseball America described his curveball as his plus pitch and what he throws as his out pitch as the game progresses. Niese did not pitch beyond A ball last season and Baseball America felt he would not be a factor for the Mets for a couple of seasons….that is what injuries and the New York media will do.
The Mets problems this season has been with their pitching. Anyone not named Johan Santana has been inconsistent at best and has dealt with one injury after the other.
Tonight will be Jon Niese’s first career start against the Cubs….and he is coming off a gem against the Braves. In his first start at Miller Park on September 2nd, the Brewers scored 5 runs on 7 hits in 3 innings….but the Braves could not manage a run in 8 innings. Niese threw 8 shutout innings, allowed 6 hits, walked 2 and struck out 7.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….