Game Forty-Nine: Cubs (23-25) vs. Cardinals (27-21)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (3-2, 3.99/1.26) vs. Chris Carpenter (5-1, 3.09/1.13)
Can the Chicago Cubs win two games in a row? After posting their first back-to-back series wins of the season, Lou Piniella’s crew will try to stay on track against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs enter play today two games under .500, five games behind the division leading Cincinnati Reds … four back of the second place Redbirds.
Aramis Ramirez was expected back in the starting lineup this afternoon. Ramirez was reportedly available to pinch-hit Thursday. If Ramirez is not back, look for them to place him on the DL soon.
The Cubs are expected to know more today about Jeff Baker’s right eye. Baker lost all vision in his eye Thursday and had to leave the game in the eighth inning. With the uncertainty of both Ramirez and Baker, Chad Tracy should be in or near the old ballpark today … just in case.
Lou Piniella mentioned the possibility of moving Ryan Theriot down in the lineup Wednesday. Theriot led off Thursday’s finale and continued to be overly aggressive at the plate. Theriot has done a good job in the field since his switch to second but his offense has taken a nosedive. Theriot is not showing any patience and has not worked a walk since May 1. The Cubs need Theriot to produce, not to swing and miss early and often in the at bat.
Lefties and righties hit about the same against Chris Carpenter. Today might be a good time to give Theriot and rest … depending on the ability of both Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Baker.
After spending Thursday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Thursday, Carlos Zambrano was expected to be okay and should be available out of the pen Friday and Saturday … the Cubs have not made an official announcement about his availability.
Today it all starts with Randy Wells … and just winning a ballgame. Randy Wells is coming off another no decision, his second in a row. Wells has not notched a win since April 30 but has thrown the ball rather well in three straight starts (Cubs are 2-1 in Wells’ last three games). Wells allowed three runs on seven hits in 8 1/3 innings to the Rangers … his longest outing of the season.
Since his debacle in Pittsburgh, Wells has allowed seven earned runs on 18 hits with three walks and 17 strikeouts in 23 innings (2.74 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP).
Randy Wells has struggled at Wrigley this year. He is 1-1 in four starts with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. The last time Wells posted a win at home was on April 30 against the Diamondbacks. Wells must be at the top of his game this afternoon … and not give the Cardinals any extra opportunities.
Today will be Wells’ second career start against the Redbirds. He is 0-1 in two career games, one start, with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Wells lost the second game of a day-night double header last year at Wrigley. The Cardinals beat the Cubs on Sunday night baseball, 4-2. Sean Marshall played left field during the last game before the All-Star break.
Cardinals’ Career Numbers against Randy Wells
- Felipe Lopez – 2-for-4 with 2 walks
- Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-3 with 2 home runs and a walk
- Yadier Molina – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Albert Pujols – 0-for-4
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-1 with 2 walks
- Brendan Ryan – 1-for-3
- Skip Schumaker – 1-for-5
The Cubs will face an old nemesis, and one of the best pitchers in baseball this afternoon. Chris Carpenter struggled in his last outing against the Angels and gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits in six innings. Carpenter walked two and struck out only four in six innings of work. The Cardinals won the game and are 8-2 in his 10 starts this season.
Carpenter has not been as dominant in his last few outings but is 2-1 in his last five starts with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
The Cubs have not figured out how to beat Chris Carpenter … and it does not figure to get any easier today. The Cardinals’ ace is 9-3 in 17 career starts versus the Cubs with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. At Wrigley, Carpenter is 6-2 in 10 career starts with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Carpenter was 2-0 in three starts against Lou’s crew last year with a 1.42 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. The Cubs managed only three runs on 18 hits in 19 innings.
The last time a Cubs team beat Chris Carpenter was August 10, 2008.
If the Cubs want to start the weekend out on a positive note, they must capitalize on every opportunity Carpenter gives them … at the same time, Lou’s crew must not give the Cards any extra chances.
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-11
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-6
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-10 with 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 15-for-46 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-5
- Aramis Ramirez – 13-for-46 with 3 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 12-for-33 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-7
- Ryan Theriot – 4-for-9 with a double and a walk
- Chad Tracy – 1-for-6
- Carlos Zambrano – 6-for-10 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …