Game Thirteen: Cubs (5-7) vs. Mets (4-8)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, ESPN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Citi Field, Flushing Meadows
Randy Wells (1-0, 2.92/1.54) vs. Jon Niese (0-1, 6.55/1.82)
Following a disappointing weekend at Wrigley Field, Lou Piniella’s crew begins a seven-game, two city road trip tonight in New York. The Cubs will spend the next four days in Queens then fly to Milwaukee for three against the Brewers.
Lou Piniella is expected to debut his new starting lineup against lefties tonight … Marlon Byrd, Jeff Baker, Derrek Lee, Xavier Nady, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot … followed by Randy Wells.
The Cubs will face three southpaws over the next four games in New York (Oliver Perez on Wednesday and Johan Santana on Thursday) and Doug Davis is scheduled to pitch the first game of the weekend series in Milwaukee.
With all of the southpaws for the next week, Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome should be used as late inning defensive replacements for Alfonso Soriano and Xavier Nady.
The key to the four-game series against the New York Mets will be to work deep counts against their starters … especially in the first two games. The Mets played a 20-inning marathon on Saturday that taxed their pen. Francisco Rodriguez picked up the win in St. Louis after blowing the save in the 19th inning. Jerry Manuel had to use Tuesday’s starter Mike Pelfrey to save it in the 20th.
The Cubs should face a fatigued Mets team on National TV this evening. The Cubs arrived in the Big Apple at 9:00pm while the Mets were still playing the Cardinals.
Due his recent illness, Ron Santo will not be making the trip to his ‘favorite city’. Santo was planning on traveling to New York but his doctors advised against it. Santo will rejoin the team in Milwaukee. Keith Moreland did a great job subbing for Santo last season and will fill in for the four games against the Mets. For those that have not heard “Zonk” with Pat Hughes, find a radio and listen to the next four games.
The Cubs broken even against the Mets last season … each team won three games
Wells was very good outside of Wrigley last season (5-5 in 13 starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP) and began the year with an excellent start on the road. Wells must not help the Mets tonight. They struggle scoring runs and free passes have a tendency to jump-start an under performing offense.
Randy Wells lost his only career game against the Mets last September 6 at Citi Field. Wells did his part and allowed only two runs, one earned, on seven hits without a walk and two strikeouts in six innings … but the Cubs’ offense managed only two runs against Mike Pelfrey and Francisco Rodriguez.
Mets’ Career Numbers against Randy Wells
- Luis Castillo – 1-for-2
- Jeff Francoeur – 0-for-5
- Daniel Murphy – 2-for-3 with a home run
- Angel Pagan – 1-for-3
- David Wright – 0-for-3
Jon Niese is the first of three lefties the Cubs will face during this series (Oliver Perez on Wednesday and Johan Santana on Thursday). Niese is a very talented southpaw that the Mets have high hopes for … he was their seventh round pick in 2005 and does not turn 24 until October 27.
Niese gave up only three runs in eight hits in six innings during his first start of the year against the Marlins … but was hit pretty hard by the Rockies in Colorado. The Rockies offense scored five runs on nine hits in five innings.
Tonight will be Niese’s second career start against the Cubs. Jason Marquis hit a grand slam off Niese as part of a six-run fourth inning on September 22, 2008 … six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings with two walks and two strikeouts (18.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP).
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Jon Niese
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-2
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-2
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-1 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …