Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 07/21/09

Game Ninety-Two: Cubs (47-44) vs. Phillies (52-38)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Rich Harden (6-6, 5.06/1.46) vs. Joe Blanton (6-4, 4.44/1.37)

The Cubs will look to rebound from a poor performance on Monday behind Rich Harden tonight. The Cubs have shown they are capable of playing better than they did in the first game of the series. Monday was just one game and that is the beauty of baseball there is usually another game the very next day.

Milton Bradley is expected to be out of the starting lineup once again this evening. Bradley worked with Lou Piniella on Monday and reportedly the session went well … although Bradley was not very talkative to reporters following the time with his manager

Jake Fox was supposed to receive a start in right field on Monday and should be in the lineup tonight. The Cubs need all of the offense they can get right now and for as questionable as Fox’s defense has been, at least he is out hitting his defense shortcomings.

Tonight will feature the second rematch of former Oakland A’s teammates. Rich Harden and Joe Blanton began last year in the A’s rotation before they were dealt to the Cubs and Phillies respectively. Harden and Blanton squared off last August 29 at Wrigley and neither pitcher figured in the decision. The Cubs won the game 3-2 with Jeff Samardzija picking up the win. Harden allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits in five innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Blanton surrendered two runs, both earned, on two hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

While the offense must show up tonight against a red-hot Joe Blanton, it all begins with Rich Harden … and one win at a time.

After Rich Harden’s last outing, Lou Piniella said they would do everything they could to pitch Harden in night games. Harden has proved he is a better pitcher at night than during the day … and the Cubs need a solid outing from Harden against the Phillies.

Rich Harden is coming off a solid performance against the Nationals. He found a rhythm early and dominated a good offensive team. Harden allowed one run on three hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. Harden hit a batter on a 3-2 pitch but that was really his only blemish on an otherwise good night.

Harden has pitched much better on the road (4-1 in six games with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP) this season, than at Wrigley (2-5 in nine starts with a 7.59 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP) … a topic that has been the center of a lot of conversation over the past week.

Simply stated, the Cubs need the ‘Good Rich Harden‘ to take the mound tonight and shutdown the Phillies offense the way he is capable.

Rich Harden is 1-0 in two career starts against the Phillies with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP … tonight will be his first career appearance at Citizens Bank Park.

  • Paul Bako – 0-for-2
  • Joe Blanton – 0-for-1
  • Greg Dobbs – 0-for-9
  • Pedro Feliz – 0-for-4
  • Ryan Howard – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Raul Ibanez – 5-for-23 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Jimmy Rollins – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Carlos Ruiz – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
  • Matt Stairs – 2-for-9
  • Chase Utley – 1-for-5
  • Shane Victorino – 2-for-6
  • Jayson Werth – 0-for-4 with a walk

After an inconsistent start to the year, Joe Blanton has been lights out in his last two starts. Blanton has allowed just one run in his last two starts on eight total hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts. The Cubs offense will not get a break or any help tonight … they will have to beat Joe Blanton because right now, he is not beating himself.

Blanton has been mediocre at home this season, again until his last two games. For the year he is 3-2 in nine home starts with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP … but in his last two starts, 2-0 with a 0.61 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.

Tonight will be Blanton’s second career start against the Cubs. He received a no-decision last August and allowed two runs on two hits in 5 2/3 innings (3.18 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP).

  • Milton Bradley – 3-for-9 with a double
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-2
  • Rich Harden – 0-for-1
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-10 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Derrek Lee – 0-for-2
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-11 with a double, a triple and a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon