Game Thirty-One: Cubs (16-14) vs. Brewers (18-13)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee
Sean Marshall (0-2, 4.15/1.31) vs. Jeff Suppan (2-2, 5.68/1.45)
Happy Mother’s Day from everyone here at the CCO… If there is such a thing as a must win on the second Sunday in May, today might fit the bill. The Cubs not only end a five-game road trip today (2-2) they also a complete a 20-game stretch without a day off dating back to April 20. The Cubs are 9-10 over that stretch and have dealt with one injury after the other…as well as one of the worst bullpens in the league.
It became obvious on Saturday night how bad Derrek Lee is hurt. With the bases loaded, one-out and the Cubs down 3-2 in the seventh, Micah Hoffpauir was left in to face a southpaw. Hoffpauir struck out on three pitches and the game went downhill after Geovany Soto grounded out to end the inning. While Lee was reportedly available to pinch-hit, he is apparently not healthy enough to play in the field.
Piniella said Lee will not start today and reports on Saturday night indicated Lee will have a MRI on his neck Monday in Chicago.
Milton Bradley put together one of his best all-around games of the regular season on Saturday and must build on that starting today. The Cubs need Bradley and Geovany Soto, though Soto will likely be out of the lineup today, pick-up the slack for the injured Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.
Aramis Ramirez will be in a sling for the next week and will not participate in any baseball related activities for at least three weeks after that….that means a minimum of four weeks. A report from the Sun-Times indicated Ramirez could be out for two months, if not longer.
Ryan Freel was in Lou Piniella’s original lineup Saturday night but was a late scratch due to a tight left hamstring. The Cubs’ offense is struggling to string together hits and maybe Freel could give them a little spark.
Changes to the pen are coming, look for them over the next few days. Chad Fox’s career is likely over and the David Patton experiment could be over as well. But for today, it all starts with Sean Marshall and look for Koyie Hill to spell Soto to give the under-performing Rookie of the Year a couple of days off before opening a seven-game homestand…. Sean Marshall has pitched better than his record and ERA indicates. Today will be his fifth start of the season and the Cubs’ fifth starter is still in search of his first win. Marshall could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2.
In his last four starts, Marshall has allowed three runs (Cardinals), three runs (Cardinals), one run (Marlins) and five runs (Giants). The Cubs are 0-4 in those starts…and like many games early this season, the Cubs are not giving him any run support.
Marshall gave up five runs in seven-plus innings against the Giants in his last outing. Marshall served up a three-run shot in the first inning to Bengie Molina, settled down and did not allow another run while he was on the mound. Marshall left with his b-team behind Tim Lincecum 3-2 with two on and no outs in the eighth…the Giants plated three against Jeff Samardzija and split the two-game series.
Today will be Marshall’s third career start against the Brewers…and they have had his number. Marshall is 1-2 in nine games with a 9.53 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP. The Brewers are hitting .333 against him. Marshall faced the Brewers three times at Miller Park last year…0-1, all in relief with a hold but two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
- Ryan Braun – 1-for-4 with a double and 2 walks
- Mike Cameron – 1-for-4 with 3 walks
- Chris Duffy – 3-for-5 with a home run
- Prince Fielder – 2-for-8 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Bill Hall – 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- J.J. Hardy – 1-for-2
- Corey Hart – 1-for-3 with 2 walks
- Jason Kendall – 0-for-1
- Rickie Weeks – 0-for-2
The Cubs depleted and underachieving offense will face a very familiar foe today in Jeff Suppan. Ryan Dempster and the Cubs beat Suppan on Sunday Night Baseball that began the second week of the season. Suppan walked six in 3 2/3 innings and surrendered just two hits but allowed five earned runs. A much-different lineup from a month ago must make Suppan work and not swing at his pitch…the same game plan from April 12.
The Brewers have won Suppan’s last four starts and he is coming off a win in Pittsburgh. Suppan held the Pirates to three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Suppan is 6-7 in 20 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 0-for-7
- Mike Fontenot – 3-for-5
- Ryan Freel – 5-for-13 with a double and 3 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6 with a double and 3 walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-5
- Derrek Lee – 21-for-47 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 walks
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-40 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-6 with 2 home runs and a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 8-for-18 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…