Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 06/28/10

Game Seventy-Six: Cubs (33-42) vs. Pirates (25-50)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Randy Wells (3-6, 5.21/1.50) vs. Paul Maholm (4-6, 4.24/1.57)

Updated – 5:52pm CDT – Carlos Zambrano will be placed on ML Restricted List Tuesday – Jeff Stevens will be Recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Zambrano will not rejoin the team until after the All-Star Break

Can the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates? The Cubs are convinced they can get back into the mix in the central but first they have to get to the mediocre mark. The Cubs enter play tonight nine games under .500.

If the Cubs are serious about turning their season around, they must first figure out how to beat the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs are 2-7 versus the Bucs this season … 2-7 against a team 25 games under .500 with just 18 wins and 30 below versus the rest of baseball (18-48). The Cubs no longer intimidate the Pirates and it is time Lou Piniella’s crew takes them seriously. Pittsburgh has outplayed the Cubs in every facet of the game this season in their nine head-to-head match-ups.

The Pirates have lost their last 17 road games and are 9-31 away from PNC this season … but two of Paul Maholm’s wins have come at the Cubs’ expense and he has lost only once in his career to the Cubs. In order for the Cubs to win a series versus the Mighty Pirates, they must shutdown Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones. The Pirates new addition, Pedro Alvarez, is struggling since making his big league (.114/.158/.171/.329 with two doubles in 10 games, 35 at bats) but is due for a breakout.

Derrek Lee should be back at first base tonight after serving as the team’s DH the final two games against the White Sox. Lee’s back acted up on him after two four-hour flights to Seattle.

But the big question heading into the Cubs seven-game homestand … Will Tyler Colvin continue to be in the lineup on a daily basis? Colvin recorded his first four RBI game Sunday and continues to produce at the plate. An outfield of Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano and Tyler Colvin gives the Cubs the best chance to win games.

Ron Santo Night – Ron Santo made his debut against the Pirates at Forbes Field on June 26, 1960 … the Cubs are honoring Santo’s 50 years with the organization tonight. Santo should have been voted into the Hall of Fame years ago. And maybe the Veteran’s Committee will get it right this winter. The numbers do not lie and Santo has earned the right to click his heals one more time.

Ron Santo will throw out the first pitch prior to tonight’s game.

Tonight it all begins with Randy Wells

Randy Wells’ downward spiral started against the Pirates on May 6. Wells entered his outing in Pittsburgh that night 3-0 in his first five starts with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He was coming off a rough outing against the D’Backs but still won the game. Wells has not posted a win since beating Arizona on April 30 and has seemingly struggled ever since.

Wells is 0-6 in his last 10 starts with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP … 0-3 in his last four with a 7.33 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP. Teams are hitting .353 against him in his last 23 1/3 innings.

Wells has posted only one win at Wrigley this season (April 30 versus Arizona) and is 1-3 in seven home starts with a 5.77 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.

The 27-year old right-hander is coming off another bad outing. Seattle pounded him to the tune of six runs on 10 hits in six innings. Wells walked two and struck out three … and it was a four-pitch walk to the Mariners’ ninth place hitter with the bases loaded that was his undoing.

The Pirates have owned Randy Wells this season. In two starts, Wells is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. For his career, Wells is 2-1 in four starts versus the Bucs with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Randy Wells

  • Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-6
  • Ryan Church – 0-for-4
  • Ryan Doumit – 1-for-3 with a double and a walk
  • Jason Jaramillo – 3-for-5 with a double
  • Garrett Jones – 4-for-10 with a double
  • Andy LaRoche – 1-for-4 with 4 walks
  • Andrew McCutchen – 5-for-8 with a double and a walk
  • Lastings Milledge – 1-for-4 with a double
  • Neil Walker – 2-for-3
  • Delwyn Young – 1-for-3

Paul Maholm is coming off a horrible outing and has lost his last three starts. Maholm has given up nine earned runs on 14 hits in his last two starts (7 2/3 innings) with six walks and five strikeouts (10.57 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP). The Rangers knocked him out in the first innings after seven runs, five earned, on seven hits with four walks … and no strikeouts.

The 28-year old southpaw is 1-2 in his last four outings with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP.

Maholm has been good in stretches this season and is 1-2 in eight road starts with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP.

Tonight will be Maholm’s third start of the year against the Cubs. He is 2-0 in the first two with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. For his career, Maholm 6-1 in 11 starts versus the Cubs with a 6.29 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP … at Wrigley, 4-1 in seven starts with a 7.30 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-7 with 2 doubles
  • Marlon Byrd – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-2
  • Mike Fontenot – 1-for-4
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-4
  • Derrek Lee – 9-for-27 with 4 doubles and 2 walks
  • Xavier Nady – 2-for-10 with a double and 2 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 9-for-26 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-24 with a double, 4 home runs and 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 5-for-12 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Ryan Theriot – 9-for-25 with 5 doubles and 4 walks

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