Game Thirty-Six: Cubs (15-20) vs. Pirates (14-20)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 2.83/1.20) vs. Brian Burres (2-1, 3.91/1.52)
After a much needed day off, the Cubs return to the field in search of a winning streak. The last time Lou Piniella’s crew won multiple games in a row was April 30 – May 2. The Cubs won three straight against the D’Backs then left for Pittsburgh with a 13-13 record. The Battlin’ Bucs sweep the Cubs in the Steel City for the first time since 2006 and the Cubs have have been reeling since.
How will the Cubs respond to being swept in Pittsburgh this weekend? The offense will not catch a break. After Brian Burres, who dominated them on May 6 and earned a spot in Pirates’ rotation, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf will finish the weekend for John Russell.
While many will point to this weekend as a way for the Cubs to get closer to .500, Lou Piniella’s crew took the Pirates lightly the last time around and paid the price … both teams enter play today with very similar records.
The Pirates should be fired up and ready to play this weekend. The Reds completed the three-game sweep of Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Reds’ pitching (Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey) tossed back-to-back shutouts to complete the sweep. The Pirates scored a grand total of one run in the three games (Reds outscored the Pirates 16-1).
Ryan Theriot was held out of the finale on Wednesday against the Marlins with a tight hamstring. Theriot is expected back in the lineup, along with Aramis Ramirez. Reportedly Starlin Castro will drop back to eighth in Piniella’s lineup.
Mike Parisi, the Cubs Rule 5 Draft pick last winter, is scheduled to undergo elbow surgery on Friday. Parisi had Tommy John Surgery in 2008. The right-hander struggled in Triple-A after a mediocre spring with the Cubs. Parisi was demoted to Double-A earlier in the month.
Marcos Mateo, minor league pitcher on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, hurt his knee on Wednesday night while fielding a ball. Mateo went for a MRI on Thursday but the initial reports are not good. Smokies manager Bill Dancy said they think it is the meniscus, there is clicking in his kneecap.
Did Jim Hendry give Lou Piniella the dreaded vote of confidence on Wednesday? Jim Hendry said, “Lou’s the right guy to bring us out of it.” The Daily Herald reported Hendry stood up for his manager on Wednesday and discussed the Cubs not being where the front office thought they would be after 35 games.
As Ted Lilly said, it all starts with today and one game at a time … Tom Gorzelanny has pitched better than his record indicates. The Cubs’ other southpaw in the rotation could have five wins this year. Gorzelanny has thrown the ball well, limited his walks and kept the ball down (two home runs allowed in 35 innings). He is coming off another loss in which he recorded a quality start. The Cubs are 1-5 in Gorzelanny’s starts despite the fact that he has recorded quality starts in all but two of them … including the game against Astros on April 17 left that he left with an injury after three innings.
In his last two starts Gorzelanny is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Gorzelanny has struck out 19 and walked just four … nearly a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. On May 2 against the D’Backs Gorzelanny set a new career high with ten strikeouts … then tied his previous high of nine in his last outing against the Reds.
Wrigley Field has been kind to Gorzelanny so far this year. In three starts he is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Today will mark the third time Tom Gorzelanny has faced the team that drafted him in 2003 (second round). Gorzelanny is 1-0 in one start, two games, with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP … he beat the Bucs last August at Wrigley 3-1 (one run on three hits in five innings with three walks and eight strikouts.
Pirates Career Numbers against Tom Gorzelanny
- Ronny Cedeno – 4-for-14 with a double and a walk
- Ryan Church – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Ryan Doumit – 0-for-2
- Garrett Jones – 0-for-3
- Andrew McCutchen – 0-for-2
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-6 with a double and 2 walks
- Steve Pearce – 2-for-2
Those on the Cubs roster that did not know who Brian Burres was before he faced them on May 6 quickly found out. Burres was the benefactor of a horrible outing by Randy Wells and embarrassed the Cubs to the tune of an 11-1 pounding in Pittsburgh.
Burres tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed just three hits. The lefty made the Cubs hitters look ridiculous at the plate. Will they change their approach this afternoon?
Burres tossed an inning of relief against the Reds on May 11. Counting that relief appearance, Burres has not allowed and earned run since April 25 … three games, two starts, 13 1/3 innings.
The Cubs must make the lefty work and not allow him to get comfortable on the mound again. Today will mark Brian Burres’ third outing versus the Cubs … second start.
After starting out the season as a patient team at the plate, in recent days the Cubs have come to the plate swinging the bat. The Cubs are 3-7 in the last 10 games … Coincidence?
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Brian Burres
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-9 with a home run and a walk
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-2
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Xavier Nady – 2-for-10 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with a double
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …