Game One Hundred Twenty-Four: Cubs (62-61) vs. Nationals (45-81)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Harden (8-7, 4.04/1.25) vs. Livan Hernandez (7-8, 5.47/1.59)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to rebound from the embarrassing performance on Tuesday night behind Rich Harden this evening. The Cubs enter play just a game above .500 and nine back of the Cardinals in the Central Division.
Rookie right-hander J.D. Martin was scheduled to start tonight’s game but the Nationals decided to go with veteran Livan Hernandez instead. Hernandez was signed by the Nationals on Tuesday and will begin his second tour of duty with the Nationals/Expos organization tonight.
Alfonso Soriano will likely miss tonight’s game. Soriano was scheduled to undergo a MRI on his sore left knee. Look for Jake Fox in left once again.
Tonight all begins with Rich Harden … Rich Harden has been very, very good in the second half. His numbers, and performance, have started churning the rumor mill on whether or not the Cubs will sign Harden to a new contract at the end of the year.
Since the break, Harden is 3-1 in seven second half starts with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP … with 55 strikeouts and 14 walks in 44 innings.
The Cubs need the ‘Good Rich Harden‘ tonight.
Harden beat the Nationals in his first start following the All-Star break. Harden tossed a gem on a night many thought he was pitching for his spot in the rotation (Harden was 5-6 in 14 starts with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP). He allowed just one unearned run on three hits in six innings without a walk and seven strikeouts.
Tonight will be Rich Harden’s third career outing against the Nationals. He is 2-0 in the first two with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.38 WHIP.
- Josh Bard – 0-for-1
- Ronnie Belliard – 1-for-7
- Adam Dunn – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Cristian Guzman – 0-for-8 with a walk
- Willie Harris – 0-for-8 with a walk
- Austin Kearns – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Nyjer Morgan – 4-for-7
- Josh Willingham – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Ryan Zimmerman – 0-for-6
Livan Hernandez will make his return the Nationals organization tonight. The Mets released Hernandez last week when they activated Billy Wagner. The Nationals signed him on Tuesday to help mentor some of the good, young pitching.
Hernandez last pitched for the Mets on August 19. The Giants rocked him to the tune of six runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. His last win came on July 26 in Houston but he has always pitched well against the Chicago Cubs.
Tonight will be Hernandez’s 20th career start against the Cubs. He is 10-6 in the first 19 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 4-3 in nine starts with a 2.92 EA and a 1.36 WHIP.
- Jeff Baker – 3-for-4 with 2 doubles
- Milton Bradley – 3-for-20 with a home run and 5 walks
- Derrek Lee – 8-for-33 with 2 doubles, a triple, a home run and 3 walks
- Aaron Miles – 0-for-10
- Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-26 with 3 doubles and 4 home runs
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-12
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….