Game Seventy-Eight: Cubs (34-43) vs. Pirates (26-51)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.41/1.36) vs. Brad Lincoln (0-2, 6.00/1.54)
Can the Chicago Cubs win two games in a row? It has been close to two weeks (June 16-June 17) since Lou Piniella’s crew won back-to-back games … the last time the Cubs won three in a row was back in May. And if the Cubs are serious about getting back to the mediocre mark they must start with a win today against the Pirates.
Tom Gorzelanny will make his first start since May 26 this afternoon. Gorzelanny is stepping in for Carlos Zambrano, who was placed on the restricted list Tuesday. Gorzelanny figures to be in the rotation for the remainder of the season, unless he is traded.
The Cubs enter play on the last day of the month with a 10-15 record in need of another win … and it will not be easy for the offense once again. The Cubs will face the Pirates top pitching prospect, Brad Lincoln, who is searching for his first big league win.
Counting this afternoon, the Cubs have only four games left this season with the Pirates. It is time the Cubs remember what it is like to beat the Battlin’ Bucs on a regular basis. Dating back to 2009, the Cubs are 3-10 versus Pittsburgh in their last 13 games.
Update on John Grabow … the Cubs indicated Tuesday that Grabow could be out for a month after re-injuring his knee Monday night.
Today it all begins with Tom Gorzelanny … Tom Gorzelanny will make his first start since May 26 this afternoon. Gorzelanny did a good job during his month in the pen and even picked up his first career save … and a hold. Gorzelanny made six appearances as a reliever. Gorzelanny did not receive a decision and notched a 1.42 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP (two runs, one earned, on three hits in six innings with six walks and seven strikeouts).
Gorzelanny was solid in the rotation before getting bumped to the pen in favor of Carlos Zambrano. Gorzelanny posted a 2-5 record with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in nine starts.
Gorzelanny struggled against his former team on May 14. The Cubs’ other southpaw gave the Pirates five runs on nine hits in five inning of work. Gorzelanny walked a season high four batters and struck out seven. The Cubs lost the game 10-6 and Gorzelanny received a no-decision after leaving with the lead. Garrett Jones took Carlos Zambrano deep in the eighth … a three-run shot.
The soon-to-be 28-year old lefty is 1-0 in two career starts, three games, against the Bucs with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Tom Gorzelanny
- Ronny Cedeno – 4-for-16 with a double and 2 walks
- Ryan Church – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Ryan Doumit – 1-for-4 with a walk
- Garrett Jones – 2-for-6
- Andy LaRoche – 1-for-3 with a double
- Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-5
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-8 with a double and 3 walks
The Cubs will get their first look at the Pirates top pitching prospect this afternoon. Brad Lincoln was ranked as the Pirates fourth best overall prospect by Baseball America prior to this season. The Pirates took Lincoln in the first round (fourth overall pick) in the 2006 draft.
Lincoln turned 25 last month (May 25) and his career has been derailed by arm problems. Lincoln had Tommy John Surgery in 2007 and spent 2008 recovering from the procedure. Lincoln pitched in XM Radio’s Futures game last year and put together a good season.
Lincoln has two plus pitches, a low 90s fastball that can reach the mid 90s with late life. Lincoln also throws a curveball that breaks “big and late”.
Lincoln will make his fifth career big league start this afternoon … and is still searching for his first win. Lincoln made his Major League debut a day after Stephen Strasburg against the Nationals in D.C. Adam Dunn and company put up five runs on seven hits in six innings.
The A’s pounded out five runs, three earned, on eight hits against Lincoln in his last outing. Lincoln tossed six innings again (all four of his big league starts have been six innings), walked two and struck out only one. In 24 innings this season, teams have walked (8) as many times as they’ve struck out (8).
The Cubs must be patient the first time through the lineup and see what the rookie has to offer. Early swings will cost the Cubs another ballgame against the Pirates.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …