Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rangers – 05/21/10

Game Forty-Three: Cubs (19-23) vs. Rangers (24-18)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 179
Location – Rangers Ballpark, Arlington

Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65/1.19) vs. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68/1.13)

Can the Cubs start a new winning streak tonight? The Cubs begin their Interleague schedule tonight in Texas. The Cubs also face the White Sox (June 11-13, June 25-27), the Athletics (June 15-17 at Wrigley), the Angels (June 18-20 at Wrigley) and the Mariners (June 22-24 in Seattle) in Interleague play this season. Lou Piniella’s crew was 6-9 against the American League last year, just 1-5 on the road versus the Junior Circuit.

The last time the Cubs played the Rangers, Sammy Sosa hit the 600th homer of his career off of Jason Marquis. Texas won two of the three games back in 2007.

The Texas Rangers begin play tonight sporting a 24-18 record … good enough for first place in the AL West, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland A’s.

Lou Piniella mentioned he could use players such as Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin in the DH role this weekend. Piniella also brought up the possibility of using one of his position players as the team’s designated hitter tonight against righty Colby Lewis. Nady should be used Saturday and/or Sunday against lefties Derek Holland and C.J. Wilson. The Cubs will not face Rich Harden this weekend.

Piniella also said Jeff Baker could get more playing time in right field this weekend.

Aramis Ramirez is expected back in the lineup tonight. Ramirez was held out of Thursday’s starting lineup with a sore left thumb. Ramirez said he injured his thumb 10 days ago. Why did the Cubs sign Chad Tracy again?

Keep an eye on Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro this weekend. There could be a few spectacular plays made at shortstop over the next three games.

The Cubs must not help the Rangers this weekend. Giving the Rangers extra outs could make for a long, frustrating trip. Lou Piniella’s crew has little room for error as their 8-15 record in games decided by two runs or less indicates.

Tonight it all starts with Ted Lilly … and winning a ballgame.

Ted Lilly has not won a game since his first start of the season versus the Brewers. Lilly is coming off a quality start against the Pirates. Lilly allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings but walked three and struck out four. The Cubs won the game 4-3 and are 2-3 in his five starts.

The Cubs need Lilly to get them back on track tonight against a very good Texas Rangers team. The key for Lilly will be limiting the Rangers to solo homers.

The Bulldog‘ is 1-1 in two road starts this year with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

Tonight will be Lilly’s 13th career start versus Texas. He is 4-4 in 13 games, 12 starts, with a 3.63 ERA ad a 1.22 WHIP … at Ballpark in Arlington, Lilly has just one win in his career (1-3 in six games, five starts, with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP).

Rangers’ Career Numbers against Ted Lilly

  • Vladimir Guerrero – 3-for-11 with 2 home runs and 3 walks
  • Josh Hamilton – 0-for-3
  • Ian Kinsler – 2-for-9 with 2 doubles and a walk
  • Michael Young – 10-for-34 with 3 doubles, a home run and 3 walks

The Cubs will get their first look at Colby Lewis tonight. Lewis is coming off a loss to the Blue Jays and has not posted a win since April 25. Lewis has been very consistent this season for Ron Washington. He has allowed four earned runs or more in only one of his seven starts.

Lewis throws strikes but struggled with his command in his last outing. Lewis tied a season-high with four free passes (third time this season) in his last start. But Lewis has recorded three double-digit strikeout performances this season. Lewis’ season-high 10 strikeouts have come at the Mariners, Tigers and Indians expense. In 45 2/3 innings, Lewis has notched 54 strikeouts and walked 21.

Lewis pitched in Japan for two seasons … his last full year in the majors was in 2007 with the Oakland A’s.

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Colby Lewis

  • Marlon Byrd – 1-for-4
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-7 with a double

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Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth