Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/05/10

Game Twenty-Eight: Cubs (13-14) vs. Pirates (11-15)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Ted Lilly (1-1, 4.91/1.27) vs. Charlie Morton (0-5, 12.57/2.17)

The Chicago Cubs will attempt to reach the .500-mark for the fifth time on the year tonight behind Ted Lilly. Lilly is coming off a bad start against the Diamondbacks but reportedly Lilly feels fine and will look to get back on track tonight.

Lou Piniella hinted at a possible lineup shakeup following Tuesday’s loss to the Pirates. Aramis Ramirez is not hitting and Piniella has been thinking about dropping him out of the middle of the order … and moving up Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs are not hitting consistently with runners in scoring position. They have to start manufacturing and scoring more runs with base hits and not just with the longball.

While Soriano should be in left and Kosuke Fukudome back in right, tonight might be a good time to give Marlon Byrd a break. Lefties are hitting .432 against Charlie Morton this season. Tyler Colvin needs to play, the same could be said for Chad Tracy, plus the Bucs are sending another southpaw in the finale of the series on Thursday.

The Pirates will get their leadoff man back tonight. Reportedly Andrew McCutchen will return to centerfield after missing Tuesday’s game with a sore ankle.

It is past time for the Cubs’ offense to start scoring runs on a consistent basis … but tonight it all starts with Ted Lilly.

Following a great start against the Brewers, Ted Lilly struggled in his last outing and had many watching the radar gun. Lilly said he felt great after his loss to the Diamondbacks despite giving up six runs on seven hits in five innings with two walks and six strikeouts. In his last two innings of work, Lilly served up three home runs and all six runs.

For the Cubs to contend in the central they must have a healthy Ted Lilly in the rotation.

The Bulldog‘ has been inconsistently good versus Pittsburgh in his career. Theodore is 4-2 in 12 career games, ten starts, with a 4.29 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP … at PNC, 3-1 in seven starts with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.

Ted Lilly posted a 1-2 record in three starts versus the Bucs last season with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Pittsburgh hit just .208 against him.

Lilly is going to serve a couple up tonight, he must make sure they are of the solo variety.

Pirates’ Career Numbers against Ted Lilly

  • Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-3
  • Ryan Church – 0-for-3
  • Bobby Crosby – 4-for-15 with 3 doubles and a walk
  • Ryan Doumit – 5-for-15 with a double and a walk
  • Jason Jaramillo – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Garrett Jones – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Andy LaRoche – 2-for-11 with a home run and a walk
  • Andrew McCutchen – 0-for-9 with 2 walks
  • Lastings Milledge – 3-for-11 with a double
  • Charlie Morton – 0-for-3
  • Delwyn Young – 0-for-5 with a walk

Many of the experts have begun to question why is Charlie Morton still in the Pirates’ rotation? Morton showed improvement in his last outing and the Cubs must not overlook him or they will hand Morton his first win of the year.

Charlie Morton will be making only his second home start of the season tonight. Morton is coming off one of his two six-inning starts and his best overall performance of the in Twenty-Ten. The Dodgers were aggressive and walked only two times in six innings. The Cubs must make him work, as in years past, and not allow him to build any confidence.

While Morton’s numbers look very, very bad this is the type of game the Cubs have done very poorly in under Lou Piniella.

Morton will be making his fourth career start against the Chicago Cubs tonight … 1-3 in three starts with a complete game shutout, a 10.22 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP.

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Charlie Morton

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-5
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-7 with a home run
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-1 with a triple
  • Derrek Lee – 2-for-3 with a walk
  • Ted Lilly – 0-for-2
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-3
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-4 with a double
  • Ryan Theriot – 4-for-6 with a walk
  • Chad Tracy – 0-for-3

Lou Piniella should load the lineup with as many lefties as possible tonight. Southpaws are hitting .432 against Morton with four walks and six of his 20 strikeouts … righties are hitting ‘only’ .333 versus Morton with four walks and 14 strikeouts.

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