Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 05/26/10

Game Forty-Seven: Cubs (22-24) vs. Dodgers (25-20)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 3.09/1.29) vs. Chad Billingsley (5-2, 3.66/1.34)

Can the Chicago Cubs win four games in a row? Lou Piniella’s crew has shown a lot of improvement over the last week. They have won seven of nine and enter play tonight two games under .500. While improvement has been made, the Cubs still have a tough hill to climb as they try to reach, and pass, the mediocre mark.

The Cubs’ offense will have their hands full again tonight. Chad Billingsley has overcome early season struggles and has pitched to expectations of late. For the Cubs to beat the Dodgers for the second day in a row, they will have to play errorless ball and take advantage of every opportunity once again.

Aramis Ramirez is expected to be out of tonight’s starting lineup. Reports have suggested the Ramirez could return by the end of the week. Additional tests were done on his thumb and revealed no broken bones or tendon problems. According to Bruce Levine, Ramirez’s hand has been slow to respond to treatment. The Cubs are not planning on placing Ramirez on the DL but that could change if there is not improvement by Thursday.

Lou Piniella stated during his pre-game show Tuesday night that Carlos Zambrano would be available as early as Thursday out of the pen. Zambrano will return to the rotation in Pittsburgh with a yet undetermined starter moving to the pen. With the recent performances from the five starters, the Cubs have a tough decision ahead of them.

Tonight is an important start for Tom Gorzelanny. Not only he is pitching to stay in the rotation, he also has to prove he is healthy after taking Ruiz’s rocket off his hand a week ago.

Lou Piniella must load his lineup tonight with as many lefties as possible. Right handers are hitting .223 against Chad Billingsley while left handers are hitting .287 against him … 19 of Billingsley’s 21 walks have been issued to southpaws.

Tonight it all starts with Tom Gorzelanny … and just winning a ballgame.

Tom Gorzelanny is coming off his best outing of the season. Unfortunately it was cut short in the seventh by Carlos Ruiz. Gorzelanny held the potent Phillies’ offense scoreless for 6 2/3 innings and gave up just three hits. The Cubs’ other lefty in the rotation struck out five and walked two.

Tom Gorzelanny has quietly put together a solid start to the season. After posting a 0-3 record in four starts in April with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, he is 2-1 in his last four outings with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Take out the horrible start against Pittsburgh and he has not allowed more than two earned runs in his eight starts this season.

Gorzelanny is 1-2 at Wrigley this year with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Tonight will be Gorzelanny’s fourth career start versus the Dodgers. He is 1-0 in four career appearances, three starts, against L.A. with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Gorzelanny gave up a pair of runs on five hits in five innings to the Dodgers on August 20, 2009. Gorzelanny received a no decision in a 7-2 Cubs’ loss.

Dodgers’ Career Numbers against Tom Gorzelanny

  • Garrett Anderson – 1-for-2
  • Ronnie Belliard – 1-for-8 with a home run
  • Casey Blake – 0-for-2
  • Jamey Carroll – 0-for-4
  • Rafael Furcal – 5-for-9 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-4 with 4 walks
  • Matt Kemp – 2-for-3
  • James Loney – 0-for-2
  • Russell Martin – 2-for-6 with 2 walks
  • Manny Ramirez – 1-for-2

After a rough start to the season, Chad Billingsley has allowed four or more earned runs only once in his last five starts.

Billingsley posted a 2-1 record with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in April and had many saying his once promising career had already peaked. Billingsley dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness last season. Billingsley lost confidence and spent the post-season in Joe Torre’s bullpen.

Billingsley has rebounded from his slow start and is 3-1 in his last four outings with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Teams that were hitting .303 against him have managed a .198 average in May.

The last time Billingsley lost a game was May 5 against the Brewers and he is coming off an impressive win against the Tigers. Billingsley allowed one run on four hits in seven innings with just two walks and five strikeouts.

Tonight will be Billingsley’s fifth career regular season start against the Cubs … 1-3 in six career appearances, four starts, with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Billingsley is 0-2 in two career starts at Wrigley with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Chad Billingsley

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-3
  • Mike Fontenot – 2-for-6
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 3-for-11 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Derrek Lee – 1-for-12 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Xavier Nady – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-10 with a triple
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-12 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 4-for-8 with a walk
  • Chad Tracy – 4-for-17 with a double and a walk

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Quote of the Day

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