Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (10-12) vs. Diamondbacks (10-11)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (1-0, 0.00/0.83) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-1, 4.43/1.12)
How will the Cubs’ respond to their disappointing series loss to the Nationals? The Cubs have played some of their worst ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks over the years … especially in Arizona. The Cubs won only two out of the six games versus an Arizona team a year ago that dealt with a lot of injuries … and inconsistent play.
The Cubs struggling offense will not get a break over the next four games. After Ian Kennedy this afternoon, Lou Piniella’s crew will face Rodrigo Lopez on Friday, Dan Haren on Saturday and Edwin Jackson on Sunday. The key to beating Arizona is getting into their bullpen, which could be worse than the Cubs. The D’backs pen leads the NL with six blown save and is ranked second to last with a 6.28 ERA.
Will Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy see any time in the starting lineup this weekend? Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee are not producing and could use a breather. Look for Alfonso Soriano back in the lineup this afternoon … where will Tyler play?
Lou Piniella’s crew is 4-8 in games decided by two runs or less.
The Cubs will have to win the last two games in April in order to finish the first month of the season as an average team with a .500 record … Ted Lilly is coming off a terrific Twenty-Ten debut against the Brewers. Reports after Saturday night’s game indicated Lilly left the game after six innings because his back stiffened up … not because of a pitch count limit. Lilly threw only 79 pitches.
The Cubs need Lilly to follow the trend of the Cubs starters … throw as many shutout innings as possible and hope the offense can score a few runs. The Cubs’ offense and bullpen have wasted quality start after quality start this season.
Ted Lilly was an unbelievable 8-2 in 13 starts at Wrigley a year ago with a 1.87 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Lilly walked only 12 batters while striking out 79 in 91 1/3 innings at the Friendly Confines. If the Cubs are able to remain in the race, they need Lilly to put up similar numbers at Wrigley this season.
‘The Bulldog‘ is 2-3 in seven career appearances, five starts, against the Diamondbacks with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP … not counting the infamous glove throwing game in the 2007 post season. The D’Backs hit Lilly pretty hard in his only start against them in 2009, a rare bad outing for Theodore in 2009.
At the Cubs House of Horrors in Arizona, Lilly allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits in five innings with four walks and three strikeouts on April 27. The Cubs lost the game 7-2.
Diamondbacks’ Career Numbers against Ted Lilly
- Stephen Drew – 2-for-7 with a triple and a walk
- Conor Jackson – 3-for-8 with a triple, a home run and 3 walks
- Kelly Johnson – 3-for-8 with a double
- Adam LaRoche – 6-for-15 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Drew Macias – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Augie Ojeda – 0-for-4 with 2 walks
- Mark Reynolds – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Chris Snyder – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
- Justin Upton – 2-for-8
- Chris Young – 5-for-12 with 4 doubles and a home run
Ian Kennedy, the former high-profile prospect of the New York Yankees, has yet to post a win this season … but is coming off an excellent outing against the Phillies. Kennedy held, arguably, the best offense in the National League to just two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in eight innings (set a new career high). For years the media hyped up the kid and in his last outing he lived up to just a little of it.
Kennedy throws strikes but will also serve up the longball. Kennedy has struck out 21 in 22 1/3 innings while walking only seven … but he has allowed 18 hits and served up six home runs. If the Cubs can square off on Kennedy, coupled with the warmer weather expected for Friday, Lou Piniella’s crew should hit a couple out of the park.
The D’Backs are just 1-3 in Kennedy’s four starts.
Today will be Ian Kennedy’s first career appearance against the Chicago Cubs. No one on the Cubs’ current roster has faced the 25-year old right-hander.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …