Game Fifty-Five: Cubs (28-26) vs. Astros (25-30)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast Sports Net – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Ted Lilly (6-4, 3.28/1.08) vs. Brian Moehler (2-3, 6.37/1.61)
The Cubs will get back to work tonight against a hot Houston Astros’ team. While the Cubs have won six of their last 10, the Astros have posted a victory in seven of their last 10…the Cubs lead the season series with the Astros, 5-2. Due to the always-questionable MLB schedule, the Cubs open their last series of the season in Houston tonight…on June 9. The Cubs have seven more games, all at Wrigley, against the Astros this year.
Lou Piniella’s crew has found a way to win three of the last four and seven of their last 11 despite playing not-so-good baseball. The Cubs are 3-2 on their current eight-game road trip with three left before heading home to start their Interleague schedule on Friday against the Twins.
After pinch-hitting twice over the weekend in Cincinnati, Milton Bradley is expected back in the Cubs starting lineup tonight. Bradley’s season must start at game number 55. Bradley has been talked about in recent weeks as being the worst signing of the off-season and has shown signs of starting to hit the ball. It is time for Mr. Bradley to quit looking around and start hitting the ball…and most importantly, producing runs.
Tonight is a rematch of the third game of the year…Ted Lilly against Brian Moehler. Lilly served up four home runs that night but the Cubs roughed up Moehler in less than two innings. But that was then and this is now and tonight it all starts with Ted Lilly. Ted Lilly will make his third start of the season against the Astros tonight. Lilly is 2-0 against Cecil Cooper’s team, both in Houston, with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. The Astros offense has hit him pretty hard (.273 batting average) and five of the 11 home runs served up by Lilly this season have come off the bats of the Astros. Lilly must not help out the Astros offense with free passes (three in 11 innings) because the balls will be flying out of Minute Maid Park tonight.
Lilly has struggled on the road this season (2-3 in six starts with a 5.20 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP) but is coming off his best game of the year away from Wrigley. Lilly held the Braves to just two runs, one earned, on six hits in seven innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. The Cubs won the second of four extra inning games, 3-2.
Ted Lilly has walked only 18 batters in 71 1/3 innings this season and must not repeat his first performance of the year at Minute Maid Park (five runs on eight hits in five innings, four home runs allowed with three strikeouts and no walks). The Cubs were scoring runs back on April 8 and might not have enough to overcome a bad start by ‘The Bulldog‘ tonight.
Lilly is 5-1 in eight career starts against the Astros with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.
- Lance Berkman – 2-for-22 with a home run and a walk
- Geoff Blum – 3-for-12 with a double and 2 walks
- Michael Bourn – 1-for-5
- Darin Erstad – 2-for-25 with a double and 2 walks
- Jeff Keppinger – 7-for-20 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Carlos Lee – 7-for-29 with 3 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
- Kaz Matsui – 2-for-11 with a triple, a home run and 2 walks
- Brian Moehler – 0-for-4
- Hunter Pence – 3-for-17
- Ivan Rodriguez – 6-for-22 with a double, 3 home runs and a walk
- Miguel Tejada – 9-for-39 with 3 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
The Cubs will get their third look of the season tonight at Brian Moehler (1-1 in two starts with a 13.50 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP). The Cubs offense beat up Moehler on April 8 to the tune of seven runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout. Moehler then spent time on the DL and came back and beat the Cubs in Chicago, 6-5. The Cubs offense managed only three runs on five hits in five innings against Moehler with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Cubs must be patient against Moehler tonight. He is coming off a shaky no decision against the Rockies (four runs on seven hits in six innings) after tossing a complete game gem on May 29 against the Pirates. Moehler allowed only one run on seven hits with four strikeouts and a walk…by far his best start of the year.
Moehler has struggled at home this season and is 0-2 in four starts with a 8.24 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 1-for-7 with a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 3-for-10 with a double and 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 4-for-12 with a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-1
- Micah Hoffpauir – 0-for-2
- Derrek Lee – 6-for-16 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs
- Ted Lilly – 2-for-6
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-20 with a double and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-12 with a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-10 with 2 doubles and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….