Game Three: Cubs (1-1) vs. Astros (1-1)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Ted Lilly (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Brian Moehler (0-0, -.–/-.–)
The Cubs will go for their first series win of the season tonight behind Ted Lilly. Lou Piniella preached last year the importance of winning series and the Cubs will get their first test of the 2009 campaign tonight.
Koyie Hill will be behind the plate tonight. Geovany Soto left in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s game with right shoulder soreness and is expected to be out until upcoming weekend series against the Brewers. The Cubs will have only one active catcher in tonight’s game.
Milton Bradley is 0-for-his-short-Cubs-career…and is due. The Cubs have struggled in the past against Brian Moehler. A series win against the Astros would be a great way to spend Thursday’s off day in Milwaukee. Which Ted Lilly will show up tonight? The one that struggled at the beginning of last season and was horrible in his last two spring starts…or ‘The Bulldog‘ that was the best pitcher down the stretch for the Cubs last season.
Ted Lilly is behind in his conditioning due to his participation in the WBC. Lilly admitted after Friday’s game against the Yankees in which he allowed three home runs that he was not locating his fastball. Lilly is going to give up the longball (32 in 34 starts last season, 60 in two seasons with the Cubs, 68 starts), he must keep them to solo shots.
Many thought Ted Lilly was hurt at the beginning of last season. He posted a 1-4 record in six April starts with a 6.46 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. But Lilly settled down and once his velocity returned on his fastball his changeup went a long way. Lilly was 8-3 in 14 starts after the break with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP while holding opponents to a .223 average.
‘The Bulldog‘ was very good against the Astros last season. He posted a 2-0 record in 3 starts with a 1.40 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. For his career, 3-1 in 6 starts with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.
- Lance Berkman – 1-for-16 with a walk
- Geoff Blum – 3-for-7 with a double and 2 walks
- Darin Erstad – 2-for-25 with a double and 2 walks
- Jeff Keppinger – 5-for-15 with a double and a walk
- Carlos Lee – 5-for-24 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Kaz Matsui – 1-for-6 with a triple and a walk
- Hunter Pence – 2-for-12
- Ivan Rodriguez – 4-for-18 with 2 home runs and a walk
- Miguel Tejada – 6-for-33 with 2 doubles and 4 walks
Many feel the Astros will have a poor season because of their starting pitching. While Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez are the best two starters they have on paper, Brian Moehler has pitched very well against the Cubs.
Like Wandy Rodriguez, the Astros have been waiting for Brian Moehler to take the next step as a Major League pitcher. Moehler was consistent a year ago and showed how good he could be in May and June.
Moehler was 11-8 in 31 games, 26 starts, with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP…at the Juice Box, 6-3 in 17 games, 14 starts, with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Against the Cubs a year ago Brian Moehler was 1-2 in 4 games with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP…for his career, 2-2 in 10 games, 7 starts, with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 1-for-4
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-7 with a walk
- Joey Gathright – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-11 with 2 home runs
- Aramis Ramirez – 6-for-21 with a double and a triple
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-15 with a double and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-10 with a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-6 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….