Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 09/18/09

Game One Hundred Forty-Six: Cubs (75-70) vs. Cardinals (85-62)
Game Time – 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Ted Lilly (12-8, 3.05/1.08) vs. John Smoltz (3-6, 6.53/1.42)

The Chicago Cubs begin their final road trip of the 2009 series tonight with the first of three against the soon-to-be NL Central Champs. The Cubs three-city, 10-game trip concludes in San Francisco next Sunday … with a three-game stop in Milwaukee mixed in.

The Cardinals magic number for winning the division is down to eight games. The Cardinals have lost five of their last six but with the Cubs losing back-to-back games to the Brewers, the Cubs will enter play tonight nine games back of the Redbirds. So no matter what happens this weekend in St. Louis, Albert Pujols and company will not be able to return the favor from a year ago and clinch against the Cubs.

Lou Piniella’s crew is just 5-8 against the Cardinals this year … 1-5 in St. Louis.

It appears Mark DeRosa will finally face Ted Lilly tonight. DeRosa missed Lilly when the Indians played the Cubs at Wrigley in the June and the former teammates joked about DeRosa ‘ducking‘ Lilly. Mark DeRosa put on a hitting clinic against Ted Lilly at HoHoKam last March … and some thought Lilly was ‘serving it up‘ to DeRosa in turn setting him up for later in the season.

After the archrivals completed their four-game series in Chicago to close out the first half of the year many thought this series would be for the division crown … but the two teams have gone in opposite directions since splitting the series two months ago.

Chris Carpenter was pushed back a day and Kyle Lohse will miss the series. Carpenter will start Saturday against Ryan Dempster with Adam Wainwright facing Carlos Zambrano in the finale on Sunday night.

Tonight it all begins with Ted Lilly, playing for pride and finishing the season with a winning record …

Ted Lilly is coming off another great outing against the Reds. Lilly tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed just six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Lilly has won his last three starts and the Cubs are 4-0 since August 28 in games started by ‘The Bulldog‘. Lilly is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.

Ted Lilly has become the Cubs’ number one pitcher this season.

Lilly is 4-7 in 13 road starts this year with a 4.62 EERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

The last time Ted Lilly was in St. Louis, the ‘best fans in all of baseball‘ booed him as he was introduced as a part of the NL All-Star team. Lilly is 1-1 in four starts against the Cardinals with a 2.40 WHIP.

Tonight will be the first time the Cubs will see Matt Holliday in a Cardinals’ uniform … and the mid-season trades for Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo have really worked out for Tony LaRussa.

  • Rick Ankiel – 3-for-13 with a double and a home run
  • Mark DeRosa – 2-for-10 with a home run and a walk
  • Khalil Greene – 1-for-10
  • Matt Holliday – 1-for-5 with 3 walks
  • Ryan Ludwick – 4-for-23 with 4 doubles and 4 walks
  • Julio Lugo – 4-for-16 with a home run
  • Yadier Molina – 5-for-28 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Albert Pujols – 10-for-34 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 5 walks
  • Colby Rasmus – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Brendan Ryan – 5-for-22 with 3 walks
  • Skip Schumaker – 1-for-12

The Cubs will get their first look tonight at John Smoltz in a Cardinals’ uniform. Dave Duncan has worked his magic with yet another pitcher and the future Hall of Famer has pitched rather well since signing with the Cardinals.

The Cubs were rumored to be very interested in John Smoltz before he signed with the Cardinals after being released by the Red Sox. Apparently Mark DeRosa had a little to do with his former teammate joining the ‘Other Evil Empire‘.

The Cardinals skipped John Smoltz the last time through the rotation. Smoltz is dealing with a sore shoulder and is coming off a no decision against the Brewers. Smoltz allowed three runs on six hits in five innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.

While Smoltz has posted only one win with St. Louis, the Cardinals are 3-1 in the four games he’s started.

John Smoltz has dominated the Cubs throughout his career … 15-5 with eight saves in 39 career games, 29 starts, with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

With the free-swinging Cubs offense, Smoltz figures to have a field day tonight and add to his impressive strikeout totals since moving to the National League. In 22 innings Smoltz has walked one batter while striking out 28.

  • Milton Bradley – 1-for-8
  • Derrek Lee – 4-for-18 with a triple, a home run and a walk
  • Aaron Miles – 2-for-9 with a double
  • Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-12 with 2 home runs and a walk
  • Ryne Sandberg – 13-for-46 with 6 home runs and 7 walks
  • So Taguchi – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

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