Game Eight: Cubs (5-2) vs. Rockies (3-4)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Harden (0-0, 1.50/0.83) vs. Jason Marquis (1-0, 2.57/1.00)
Today is the 62nd Anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier…and every player and uniformed personnel throughout the league will wear #42 in his honor.
After spending Tuesday warming up and drying out, Lou Piniella’s crew will get back to work today against a former teammate. Jason Marquis was a big part of the back-to-back Central Division Championships. Marquis, at times, frustrated not only the fan base but his manager as well…but Marquis took the ball every fifth day and did not miss a start during his time in Chicago.
Marquis was very good in his Rockies debut against the Phillies and always starts the season on a positive note (13-8 in 40 career games in April, 31 starts with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP).
Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto are expected back in the starting lineup. Soto pinch-hit in Milwaukee on Sunday but has not been behind the plate since the sixth inning of last Tuesday’s game in Houston. Ramirez arrived to Wrigley on Monday with a sore back, one that he has been dealing with all spring.
Milton Bradley is expected to be out of the lineup until at least Friday. Rich Harden was simply dominating in his first start of the year against the Brewers. He struck out 10 and walked only two. The Brewers scored two runs, one earned, in 6 innings…the lone run was a solo homer by Corey Hart.
Rich Harden quieted a lot of critics and concerns last Friday but his performance was lost by the struggles of the pen and poor defensive play. The Cubs had trouble plating runs in games started by Harden after his arrival last July…a trend that must stop today against an old teammate (70 runs in 12 starts, Cubs were 9-3 in games started by Harden last season).
Today will be Harden’s first career start against the Rockies.
Jason Marquis is the only current Rockie with any career at bats against Harden…he is 1-for-2 with a 3-run double.
Jason Marquis will face his former team for the twelfth time in his career…but the first time since August 18, 2006. Marquis was 23-18 in 63 starts for the Cubs and did not spend one day on the DL. Marquis and his contract were traded to the Rockies for Luis Vizcaino over the winter…and the trade was viewed as each team dealing one bad contract for the other.
Marquis was solid as a Cub but inconsistent and frustrating. Marquis is his own worst enemy and if he ever puts it together he has a chance to be a solid number three in the Major Leagues.
The Cubs know how to beat Marquis. Lay off the sinker and make him beat himself. He eventually will…they must be patient and not allow him to get comfortable.
Marquis was excellent in his Rockies debut. He allowed only two runs on five hits in seven innings with two strikeouts and a pair of walks. Marquis kept the ball down and recorded 13 groundball outs and the Rockies’ defense turned three double plays behind him.
Marquis is 13-12 in 36 career starts at Wrigley with a complete game shutout. In 207 2/3 innings he has served up 25 longballs with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Against the Cubs, 3-5 in 11 career games, 10 starts, with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 0-for-6
- Joey Gathright – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 14-for-30 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and 3 walks
- Aaron Miles – 6-for-13 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 9-for-21 with a double, a triple, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6 with a double and 2 walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….