Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 08/16/09

Game One Hundred-Sixteen: Cubs (60-55) vs. Pirates (46-70)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rich Harden (7-7, 4.30/1.30) vs. Ross Ohlendorf (10-8, 4.30/1.32)

Updated 4:35pm C.T. – Cubs-Pirates Game Postponed Due to Rain

Weather permitting the Cubs will complete their homestand and three-game series with the Pirates this afternoon.

Aramis Ramirez is expected back in the starting lineup this afternoon. Ramirez made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning on Saturday and collected a single. If Ramirez is back, Lou Piniella should sit Alfonso Soriano in favor of Jake Fox. Soriano is not hitting and has become more of an automatic out than anything … not to mention a defensive liability. Soriano was hitless in two trips to the plate against Ross Ohlendorf back in June and could use a day off before the long trip to the left coast.

The Cubs offense must be patient today against Ross Ohlendorf. The young right-hander tossed seven innings of shutout ball the last time he faced the Cubs in Pittsburgh … and made the Cubs look rather bad in the process.

While the offense must do their job, it all begins with Rich Harden … and one run and one win at a time.

Rich Harden has turned his season around since the All-Star break. After an inconsistent first half (5-6 in 14 starts with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP) that featured a stint on the DL, Harden has pitched rather well in the second half.

Harden is 2-1 in his last six starts with a 1.95 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. Teams are hitting 121 points lower against Harden in his last six games (.150) than they did in his first 14 outings (.271).

Today will be Rich Harden’s 12th start of the year at Wrigley. He is 3-5 in the first 11 with a 6.31 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP … during the day, 2-5 in 10 starts with a 6.66 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.

Back on June 29 in Pittsburgh, Harden beat a very different Pirates team in his first career start against the Bucs. The Cubs won the game 3-1 … Harden allowed a run on nine hits in seven innings with a walk and nine strikeouts.

  • Jason Jaramillo – 0-for-3
  • Andy LaRoche – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-4
  • Lastings Milledge – 0-for-3
  • Brandon Moss – 1-for-5
  • Ramon Vazquez – 2-for-3

Ross Ohlendorf has not lost a game since July 25 and is coming off a win against the Colorado Rockies. Ohlendorf is one of the trio of excellent young starters the Pirates have in their rotation … along with Zach Duke and Paul Maholm.

Ohlendorf has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last six starts … and the last time he allowed more than three was back on July 5 in Miami against the Marlins.

Ross Ohlendorf has improved as the season has progressed. He was 7-7 in 18 first half starts with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Since the break, 3-1 in five starts with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He has walked more batters but has been more successful.

Today will be Ross Ohlendorf’s second career outing against the Cubs. He dominated Lou Piniella’s crew on June 30 in Pittsburgh. The Pirates shutout the Cubs 3-0 and Ohlendorf scattered just four hits in seven innings without a walk and a season-high eight strikeouts.

Ross Ohlendorf is 3-6 in 11 road starts this season with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Teams are hitting .302 against him on the road and just .244 against Ohlendorf at PNC Park. This afternoon will be his first career appearance at Wrigley Field.

  • Mike Fontenot – 1-for-3
  • Jake Fox – 0-for-3
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
  • Derrek Lee – 1-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-2
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Ryan Theriot – 0-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney