Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 07/30/09

Game One Hundred: Cubs (53-46) vs. Astros (51-50)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Kevin Hart (2-1, 2.08/1.52) vs. Russ Ortiz (3-5, 4.75/1.57)

Updated 11:30am C.T.Jeff Stevens Recalled – Reed Johnson Placed on 15-day DL

Weather permitting … The Cubs will play game number 100 of the season this afternoon, a makeup from the rain postponement on May 15 in which the original pitching match-up was Randy Wells versus Brian Moehler.

Following Wednesday’s win, Lou Piniella indicated Aramis Ramirez would have the day off in order to give him a breathier Jake Fox is expected to make the start at the hot corner in place of Ramirez.

The injury woes continued on Wednesday. Reed Johnson broke his foot and will be out for at least a month. The Cubs are expected to call-up Sam Fuld to take his place on the roster. Fuld hit .318 with a .375 OBP against southpaws this season in Triple-A. In 107 at bats, Fuld managed 34 hits (five double, four triples, a home run) and 11 walks. Unless Jim Hendry makes a move to replace Johnson, Fuld should play against lefties while Kosuke Fukudome continues to start against righties.

While the offense must do their job against Russ Ortiz, it all begins with Kevin Hart … and one win at a time.

Kevin Hart is coming off his best start of his big league career. While being coached from the dugout by Ted Lilly, Hart gave up just one run on five hits in six innings to the Reds. But other than the one run allowed in the first inning, the biggest stat … one walk. Hart threw strikes and reportedly consulted Ted Lilly between innings.

Kevin Hart has done an okay job filling in for Ryan Dempster and now Ted Lilly but he has not faced an offense like the one he will see this afternoon. Today will be a big test to see where Kevin Hart is in his baseball maturity.

Today will be Hart’s third start of the year at Wrigley. He is 1-1 in the first two with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

One of Kevin Hart’s four career big league victories came against the Astros. He tossed 1 2/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball against Houston on April 5, 2008. Hart struck out two and did not issue a single free pass in relief of Jason Marquis.

Hart must throw strikes today and not give the high-powered Astros offense any help.

  • Michael Bourn – 1-for-1 with a triple
  • Matt Kata – 0-for-1
  • Jeff Keppinger – 0-for-1
  • Hunter Pence – 0-for-1

Russ Ortiz has not posted a win since June 2 when he was still in the Astros’ bullpen. Ortiz shutdown the Cubs the last time he faced them in Houston back on June 11. The Cubs did not plate a single run in 5 1/3 innings against Ortiz and managed just three hits and three walks and struck out five times. The Cubs must make Ortiz work and not be as aggressive as they were six weeks ago.

Ortiz is coming off a loss to the Mets. He allowed six runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Ortiz has been serviceable and has given the Astros a chance to win every time he has taken the hill this season.

The veteran righty is 0-1 in seven road games, four starts, this year with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.

Ortiz is 0-2 in his last four starts with a 9.47 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP … against the Cubs this year, 0-1 in three games, two starts, with a 5.06 ERA and a 2.16 WHIP.

  • Andres Blanco – 0-for-2
  • Milton Bradley – 6-for-16 with a double and 3 walks
  • Mike Fontenot – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-3 with a double and 3 walks
  • Koyie Hill – 4-for-7
  • Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-4
  • Derrek Lee – 3-for-33 with a double, a home run and 6 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 6-for-16 with 3 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-10 with a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 2-for-5 with 2 walks

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

UpdateAccording to a report from the Tribune, Jeff Stevens was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Thursday to take Reed Johnson’s spot on the active roster. Look for another roster move on Friday. Sam Fuld is expected to rejoin the Cubs on Friday.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt