Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Marlins – 05/01/09

Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (10-11) vs. Marlins (14-8)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rich Harden (2-1, 3.86/1.19) vs. Graham Taylor (0-1, 9.82/2.73)

It’s a new day and a new month…and it’s time for the Cubs to get to work and win a few ballgames.

The Cubs stumbled through the first month of the season and are looking up a most of the division. While it is still early, this team needs to show improvement from hitting with runners in scoring position to the bullpen throwing strikes and doing their job…and the list could go on. And the first key…play mistake free ball. The Cubs are 0-9 in games that commit at least one error. With the offense struggling, they are not out hitting their mistakes like the Cardinals.

The Cubs have plenty of time and there is no need for panic but they do need to start showing improvement…and it must start today behind Rich Harden.

Rich Harden has pitched very well in three of his four starts and his team needs the ‘Good‘ Harden to show up this afternoon. The Cubs’ offense is reeling and they are making it hard on the pitching staff right now…with the Cubs not scoring, every mistake thrown is magnified.

Harden is coming off a great start and a win against the Cardinals. Harden allowed only two runs on four hits (solo home runs by Rick Ankiel and Yadier Molina) in six innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. Harden is among the league leaders in strikeouts with 35 in four starts…fifth place in the National League.

Today will be Harden’s third career start against the Fish. He has two no decisions and has allowed two runs on seven hits in 10 2/3 innings…with 15 strikeouts and five walks. Both starts for Harden against the Marlins came last season…one with Oakland on on June 20 and the other with the Cubs in Miami on July 26.

  • Alfredo Amezaga – 0-for-6 with a walk
  • John Baker – 0-for-2
  • Jorge Cantu – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Wes Helms – 1-for-2
  • Jeremy Hermida – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Hanley Ramirez – 2-for-4 with a double and 2 walks
  • Cody Ross – 0-for-2
  • Dan Uggla – 2-for-5 with a double and a home run

Graham Taylor was the 10th round pick of the Marlins in 2006 and will be making his second career big league start today. The lefty was beat up in 3 2/3 innings by the Phillies last Sunday. Taylor gave up four runs on four hits with six walks and two strikeouts.

The Cubs must be patient today and make the rookie work…especially the first time through the lineup. If they swing early and often it could be a long day, plus pitching at Wrigley is a lot different from pitching at Dolphin Stadium.

Baseball America ranked Graham Taylor as the Marlins’ 30th best prospect before the season began. Taylor has a “sneaky 85-89 mph fastball with plus life, a big-breaking slurve and a changeup with good tailing action.” According to Baseball America, when Taylor is on, he’s a groundball machine. Taylor hides the ball well and is good at deceiving batters.

Graham Taylor was reportedly in the deal that would have sent Jacque Jones to the Marlins back in 2007.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

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