Game Seventy-Seven: Cubs (33-43) vs. Pirates (26-50)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (2-6, 3.28/1.07) vs. Jeff Karstens (2-2, 4.60/1.43)
The Chicago Cubs enter play tonight 10 games under the .500 mark and closer to the Pirates in the standings than the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs can try to spin it any way they like, but the season they say it not over … is at best, hanging on by a thread.
It may be “only” June 29 but Lou Piniella’s crew have shown no signs of a team that can do anything consistently expect play really bad baseball.
Jeff Stevens will be recalled from Triple-A Iowa today … along with another young arm. The Cubs will place Carlos Zambrano on the restricted list to make room for Stevens. The other move will involve John Grabow.
John Grabow left in the seventh inning Monday night with a left knee sprain. Grabow stumbled on 1-1 pitch to Paul Maholm that missed. Mark O’Neal and Lou Piniella came out and Grabow left.
Will James Russell make his return to the big leagues?
The Cubs lost another one-run game Monday night and have played a Major League leading 29 one-run games. The Cubs are just 11-18 in those games.
Daniel McCutchen was originally scheduled to take the hill. But John Russell decided to give Jeff Karstens the ball. Karstens has had a lot of success against the Cubs, like the rest of the Pirates staff.
Tonight it begins with Ted Lilly … Ted Lilly rebounded nicely in his last start against the Mariners but picked up a no decision. The Cubs won the finale in Seattle in 13 innings on a single by Marlon Byrd. Lilly lasted only six innings due to a 35-pitch fourth inning. Lilly allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Even with being shelled by the Angels on June 19, Lilly is 1-2 in his last five starts with a 2.83 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Lilly has struck out 30 and walked only eight in his last 35 innings.
Tonight will be Ted Lilly’s fourth start of the year against the Bucs … 0-2 in three starts with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
Lilly has struggled during his four years in Chicago against the Pirates. He is 4-4 in 13 career starts, 15 games, with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Ted Lilly
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-11 with a walk
- Ryan Church – 1-for-9 with a home run
- Bobby Crosby – 7-for-24 with 4 doubles and a walk
- Ryan Doumit – 6-for-24 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Jason Jaramillo – 1-for-3 with a double
- Garrett Jones – 4-for-12 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Jeff Karstens – 1-for-3
- Andy LaRoche – 4-for-21 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-17 with a double and 4 walks
- Lastings Milledge – 5-for-16 with 2 doubles and 3 walks
- Neil Walker – 1-for-4 with a home run
- Delwyn Young – 0-for-5 with a walk
Jeff Karstens has done a good job since returning to the Pirates’ rotation on June 1. Karstens held the Cubs to two runs on six hits in six innings and has pitched well since.
Karstens is 1-1 in his last five starts with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … on the road this season, 0-2 in eight games, five starts, with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP.
Look for Lou to load his lineup tonight with lefties. Karstens has held right-handed hitters to a .226 average with only six walks and 23 strikeouts. Lefties are hitting .382 against him with nine walks and nine strikeouts.
Karstens made his Pirates’ debut against the Cubs in 2008 and is 2-1 in five career games, four starts, with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Karstens
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-8 with a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6 with a triple and 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 2-for-6
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-7 with a walk
- Ted Lilly – 0-for-3
- Xavier Nady – 3-for-3 with a double and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-5 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-8
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-4
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-3 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …