Game One Hundred Sixty-One: Cubs (97-63) vs. Brewers (89-72)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee
Angel Guzman (0-0, 7.04/1.70) vs. CC Sabathia (16-10, 2.80/1.14, 10-2, 1.78/1.09)
The final day of the 2008 regular season for most teams…. The Chicago Cubs will conclude the regular season portion of their schedule today with game number 161. It has been a long, strange, magically wonderful trip with more to come starting on Wednesday at Wrigley.
Today is the 1-year anniversary of the Cubs beating the Reds in Cincinnati….then waiting around and watching the Brewers play the Padres in the visitor’s clubhouse. The Cubs went from worst to first and won their first division crown under Lou Piniella. One week ago, the Cubs were still basking in their first back-to-back post season appearance in 100 years….a lot has improved over the last year on the North Side and the Cubs have their sights set much higher as the regular season concludes today.
Jason Marquis was originally scheduled to start today’s game, then Piniella toyed with the notion of Carlos Zambrano making the start and pitching only a couple of innings….but Piniella decided on Angel Guzman instead. Look for Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and possibly Geovany Soto back in the lineup, but not Mark DeRosa. Piniella will use his regular everyday lineup against southpaws while using his bullpen, starting with Angel Guzman, to complete the final 9 innings of the season.
CC Sabathia will make his third straight start on 3 days rest in an attempt to get the Brewers into the post-season for the first time since 1982′s Harvey’s Wallbangers. If the Brewers beat the Cubs and the Mets lose they are in and will face the Phillies in the NLDS. If the Cubs win and the Mets win, Ron Santo will likely visit Shea Stadium for at least one game in the NLDS….and a third scenario would have the two teams playing Game 163 in the Big Apple on Monday.
In other news…. Lou Piniella announced on Saturday that Jeff Samardzija will join Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Neal Cotts, Jason Marquis and Bobby Howry in the Cubs’ pen for the post-season. Remember though, with Piniella everything is subject to change.
Finally….There is always a first time for everything. The Arizona Diamondbacks became the first team to fail to win a division after building a 5-game lead at the end of the first month of play. The D’Backs led the Dodgers by 5 1/2 games at the end of April. Angel Guzman will make his first start of the season for Lou Piniella after missing a majority of the year recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Guzman has shown flashes of how good he can be in 5 games this month out of the pen. Guzman has the ‘stuff‘ to be very successful at the big league level but has struggled with command and injuries for most of his professional career.
Guzman has given up 6 runs on 9 hits in 7 2/3 innings with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts since his call-up on September 1st.
Guzman has not posted a win in 32 career big league games, 13 starts, over parts of the last 3 seasons. He is 0-7 with a 6.13 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP….and a .296 OBA. Today will be his first start in the majors since May 6, 2007 against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley.
Guzman faced the Brewers on September 17th and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits with a strikeout in 2/3 of an inning. For his career, Guzman does not have a record in two appearances against the Brewers….a 16.88 ERA and a 2.63 WHIP. The Brewers have hit .467 against him in 2 2/3 innings.
- Mike Cameron – 0-for-4
- Ray Durham – 1-for-3
- Prince Fielder – 2-for-2
- Bill Hall – 1-for-1 with a double
- J.J. Hardy – 1-for-2 with a double
- Corey Hart – 1-for-3
- Rickie Weeks – 0-for-1
The Cubs will face CC Sabathia for the third time this season since he arrived from Cleveland. Sabathia has more than earned the incredibly large contract he will sign in the upcoming off-season (speculation is between $20-$25 million a year). Sabathia has dominated the National League, with the exception of the Cubs…0-1 in 2 starts with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP with a .310 OBA.
CC was 5-0 with 3 complete games in 6 starts in August but the workload, complete games and overuse by Ned Yost appears to be catching up with him. Sabathia is 1-2 in his last 5 starts with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
The Brewers need Sabathia to beat the Cubs today and either clinch a playoff spot or force Game 163 against the Mets on Monday at Shea. Sabathia will see the Cubs’ A-team lineup against southpaws with the exception of Mark DeRosa.
Cubs’ stats versus Sabathia this season:
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-6
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 4-for-8 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-6 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-8 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-7
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….