Game Sixty: Cubs (29-30) vs. Twins (32-32)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (7-4, 3.00/1.05) vs. Scott Baker (4-6, 5.59/1.17)
Updated – 11:54am C.T. – Gerald Perry Fired – Von Joshua Promoted to Cubs Hitting Coach
Today is game 60 of 162. After this afternoon’s contest with the Twins, one-third of the Cubs season will be completed and this team is a mess. To say the 2009 version of the Chicago Cubs have not performed to expectations would be an understatement … but the fact the enter play in fourth place, only 3 1/2 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers is encouraging.
The Cubs are not hitting and are on the verge of being swept at home by the Minnesota Twins, a team that had won just nine road games before Friday (11-20). Lou Piniella sounds as frustrated as many of the players but the bottom line is that this team is not hitting with runners in scoring position, especially on third base with less than two outs. The entire team is playing tight and needs someone to step up today and drive in a few runs early and relax the entire team.
Ryan Freel will begin a rehab assignment on Monday with the I-Cubs and is expected to rejoin the Cubs soon.
But today it all begins with Ted Lilly as the Cubs offense tries to string together hits and put a couple of crooked numbers on the board … and end the Cubs embarrassing four-game losing streak. Ted Lilly has been very consistent for Lou Piniella this season, especially at Wrigley, and his teammates will need a similar performance this afternoon. ‘The Bulldog‘ is 4-1 in five starts at home with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP … with only five walks in thirty-five innings pitched. The Twins will likely hit a couple of longballs off Lilly this afternoon and Lilly must not help out the Twins’ offense by walking batters before the balls leave the yard.
Lilly is coming off his seventh win of the year … in fact he started the game the last time the Cubs posted a victory. Lilly shutout the Astros for 6 2/3 innings on just three hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
After posting an impressive 4-2 record in six starts in May (3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP), Lilly is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 0.66 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP (Astros and Braves) … today will mark his first start at Wrigley since May 29 (one run on four hits in seven innings against the Dodgers).
‘The Bulldog‘ will make his seventh career start against the Twins this afternoon. He is 3-1 in his first six with a 3.52 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP … the last time he face Minnesota was August 10, 2006. Lilly tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed only three hits in the Metrodome.
- Joe Crede – 4-for-18 with a double and a walk
- Michael Cuddyer – 2-for-7 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Joe Mauer – 0-for-3
- Justin Morneau – 0-for-3
- Nick Punto – 1-for-3
- Delmon Young – 3-for-3 with 2 doubles
The Cubs will get their first look at Scott Baker this afternoon. The very talented right-hander has pitched rather well this season for the Twins, despite the 4-6 record and bloated 5.59 ERA.
Baker is coming off back-to-back wins against the Indians and A’s in which he allowed a total of five earned runs on 10 hits in 15 innings with two walks and 18 strikeouts … his last start against the A’s was by far his best of the year, and maybe of his career. Not only has Baker been lights out in his last two games, but the Twins have given him plenty of run support … 21 runs in his last two starts.
Baker is 1-3 in four starts outside of Minnesota with a 6.56 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … but in his last two games, 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP while opponents have hit just .189 against him.
Scott Baker’s season line is very misleading and hopefully the Cubs advanced scouts have done their job or it is going to be another frustrating afternoon on the North Side … with a lot of swinging and missing and not very many runs.
- Andres Blanco – 0-for-2
- Milton Bradley – 2-for-6
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-3 with a walk
Just a quick reminder, ‘This Old Cub‘ the film about Ron Santo will air tonight on the MLB Network at 8:00pm C.T.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…
Update – 11:54am C.T. – The Cubs fired hitting coach Gerald Perry on Sunday morning according to a report from Cubs.com. Perry was participating in batting practice when Jim Hendry pulled him on the field around 11:00am C.T. and broke the news to Perry.
Von Joshua, hitting coach for the Iowa Cubs, will be promoted from Triple-A on Monday and will be in uniform for the opener of the White Sox series on Tuesday.