Game Seventy-Four: Cubs (36-37) vs. Pirates (35-41)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Ted Lilly (7-5, 3.41/1.11) vs. Ross Ohlendorf (6-6, 4.75/1.29)
Updated – 4:00pm C.T. – Jeff Samardzija Recalled – Jose Ascanio Optioned
Can the Cubs make it two in a row on the road? In order to do so they will need a bounce-back performance from Ted Lilly … as well as production from Kosuke Fukudome and Sam Fuld.
Milton Bradley is expected to get the next two days off against Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez (both right-handers). Piniella wants Bradley to work with Von Joshua on his left-handed hitting. Kosuke Fukudome will play right and Sam Fuld is expected to start in center.
It might be a good time to get Alfonso Soriano a breathier as well. Soriano is still struggling and Micah Hoffpauir needs the playing time. With the speedy Fuld in center, he would help cover some ground and Ohlendorf struggles against lefties.
A quick show reminder…The CCO Radio will air live tonight at 7:00pm C.T. during the Cubs-Pirates game on Blog Talk Radio. To listen to the 60-minute call-in show live, click on this link and go to Blog Talk Radio. The podcast of the show will be available around 9:00pm C.T. and can be accessed through the player on the right side of the CCO or through Blog Talk Radio.
A variety of topics will be covered and the call-in number to discuss the Cubs with the CCO live is 347-237-4020.
From the history books … Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the first Cubs-Pirates game at Forbes Field.
While the offense must build on Monday night’s performance, all it takes is one win at a time … and tonight it starts with Ted Lilly. Ted Lilly is coming off his worst start of the year. Lilly completed just six innings and gave up six runs (a season high), all earned, on 10 hits (a season-high) with a walk and six strikeouts. Lilly also served up two more longballs to the Tigers and of his 16 home runs surrendered this season, four have come in his last two starts … after a string of six starts and only three total home runs.
Ted Lilly, without a doubt, has been the Cubs most dependable starter this season and must keep the ball down tonight against the Bucs. Lilly has struggled in the past against the Pirates, despite never posting a loss (3-0 in nine career games, six starts, with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP … a .321 batting average).
Tonight will be Lilly’s first start of the year against the Pirates. He was 2-0 a season ago in four starts against the Pirates with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP … at PNC, 1-0 in three starts with a bloated 6.48 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP (the Pirates hit .338 against him).
The Cubs will need ‘The Bulldog‘ to bring his A-Game tonight, something he has struggled with on the road this season (3-4 in eight starts with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP).
- Eric Hinske – 1-for-6 with a double and a walk
- Andy LaRoche – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Adam LaRoche – 5-for-12 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Craig Monroe – 1-for-11
- Nyjer Morgan – 0-for-1
- Brandon Moss – 3-for-3 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Steve Pearce – 1-for-3
- Freddy Sanchez – 5-for-20 with 2 doubles
- Jack Wilson – 3-for-14 with a double
The Cubs will get their first look tonight at Ross Ohlendorf. The 26-year old right-hander was acquired from the Yankees last season in the Xavier Nady deal and has pitched rather well for the Pirates this year … especially at home (4-2 in eight starts with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP). Ohlendorf struggled in five games for the Pirates after the trade last summer (0-3 in five starts with a 6.35 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP) but appears to be putting it together this season.
The Cubs must make Ohlendorf work. He has given up 90 hits in 89 this year to go along with 25 walks and just 44 strikeouts. Ohlendorf struggles against left-handed hitting to the tune of a .327 batting average, so Lou Piniella will be able to play his favorite game of lefty-righty match-ups … right-handers have hit only .216 against him.
Ohlendorf is coming off a no-decision to the Indians. He allowed only two runs on five hits in seven innings with three walks and two strikeouts. And other than a start to the Rockies on June 19 (six runs on nine hits in five innings), Ohlendorf has been rather solid this month (1-1 in five starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP).
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….