Game One Hundred-Fifteen: Cubs (59-55) vs. Pirates (46-69)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 175
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tom Gorzelanny (4-2, 6.23/1.15) vs. Zach Duke (9-10, 3.40/1.24)
The Cubs will look to win their second game in a row against the Pirates, but a 17-run output is not likely again today with Zach Duke on the mound for the Bucs. The Pirates’ southpaw always gives the Cubs his best and it figures to be more of the same today … especially facing his former staff mate, Tom Gorzelanny.
Tom Gorzelanny will face his former team for the first time this afternoon. Gorzelanny must remember winning the game is proving a point. Gorzelanny figures to have a lot of energy and nervousness when the game begins. The first two innings will be a big test for the Evergreen Park native.
The Cubs will likely be without Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley once again this afternoon. Ramirez was in the original starting lineup on Friday but was a late scratch due to a head cold. It turns out Ramirez was sent home “with an infection in his tonsils” according to Lou Piniella. The Cubs did not want him to infect the team.
Like Ramirez, Milton Bradley was in the original starting lineup on Friday. Bradley was a late scratch due to tightness in his right hip that he suffered on Thursday going for a foul ball.
Both players are said to be day-to-day, but Piniella said he was not sure how long it would take to get Bradley back in the lineup. Bradley will receive treatment for his injury. When asked about Bradley, Piniella responded with “we’ll see on Milton”
Lou Piniella is apparently not thrilled with Geovany Soto right now. Look for Koyie Hill to get a lot of playing time, especially if he keeps hitting the way he did on Friday. Also, Jeff Baker will be at second today against the lefty, Zach Duke. Baker received the start on Friday against a right-hander and should receive more playing time due to the fact he is hitting … and Mike Fontenot is not.
If Aramis Ramirez is ready to go this afternoon, Lou should insert Jake Fox in left for the slumping Alfonso Soriano. As Ron Santo put it on Thursday afternoon, Soriano has become an automatic out. For the Cubs to think about life after game 162, Lou Piniella must begin utilizing players that are producing at the plate … and in the field.
While the offense must do their job, it all begins with Tom Gorzelanny … and one run and one win at a time.
Gorzelanny was great his in Cub debut against the Reds but was far less than average in his last outing against the Rockies. Gorzelanny left in the second inning with a bruised foot after a comebacker by Dexter Fowler knocked him out of the game. When Gorzelanny was in there, he was not missing too many bats. The southpaw gave up six runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings.
The former Pirate figures to be out to prove a point today … and hopefully he will be able to harness that energy into a win. The Cubs pen, for the most part, received a good day off on Friday and with the long road trip starting on Monday, another quality start will go a long way towards getting the pen back on track.
Tom Gorzelanny is 1-1 in two starts with the Cubs with a 7.27 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
- Ronny Cedeno – 4-for-12 with a double and a walk
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-4 with a double and a walk
The Cubs will face Zach Duke for the third time this season. While Duke has not beat the Cubs this year (0-1 in two starts with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP), he has held them in check for the most part. The Cubs have hit the ball pretty good off of Duke but have not scored many runs … sound familiar? The Cubs’ offense has managed 15 hits against the southpaw in 14 innings but only five runs and three walks. Duke has struck out six batters and served up only one longball.
After a stellar July (1-3 in five starts with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP), Duke has struggled in August to the tune of a 0-1 record in two starts with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Both his ERA and WHIP are season highs while teams have hit .314 against him in his last two outings … also a season-high, by nearly 50 points.
Zach Duke might be reacting to all of the moves his team has made over the past month … but he always shows up against the Cubs. For his career many of his better outings have come at the Cubs’ expense. This afternoon will be his 16th career start versus the Cubs. Duke is 4-6 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP … his best career line against the other 29 teams.
Zach Duke will not help the Cubs offense. They must take advantage of every opportunity he gives them … and not leave another victory on base.
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-6 with a home run
- Milton Bradley – 5-for-10 with 3 doubles, a triple and a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-1
- Jake Fox – 2-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
- Derrek Lee – 10-for-40 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Aaron Miles – 5-for-13 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 11-for-35 with 6 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 15-for-33 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 4-for-17 with a double and 3 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 12-for-32 with 3 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….