Game Eighty-Three: Cubs (35-47) vs. Diamondbacks (32-50)
Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.14/1.37) vs. Ian Kennedy (3-6, 3.77/1.23)
Updated – 12:53pm CDT – Justin Berg Recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Jeff Stevens Optioned to Triple-A Iowa
Lou Piniella’s crew opens a seven-game road trip with the first of three against the D’Backs in Arizona. The Cubs enter play 12 games under .500 and are starring at a historically difficult trip. It is no secret the Cubs have played horrible ball over the years in Arizona and Los Angeles.
It could be poetic justice that the Cubs final trip of the first half takes them to Arizona and Los Angeles. If Jim Hendry decides to make a change in the dugout during the break, Lou Piniella’s last games as the Cubs manager could be against the teams that ended the Cubs seasons in both 2007 and 2008. Reports surfaced over the weekend that Jim Hendry will be with the team during the trip out west.
The Cubs will miss Dan Haren during the trip to their house of horrors … and Dontrelle Willis was designated for assignment Sunday by Arizona. The Cubs will face a winnable series against the D’Backs, who are playing better ball under new manager Kirk Gibson.
Kirk Gibson replaced A.J. Hinch and won his managerial debut Friday … but lost two of three to the Dodgers over the weekend.
The Cubs won three of four against Arizona at Wrigley earlier this season … Ian Kennedy posted the D’Backs only win of the series and will make his first start since June 26 this afternoon.
How much Derrek Lee will play over the next seven games will be a storyline to follow. Lee had trouble with his back during the Cubs trip to Seattle last month … and rumors have suggested that Lee has been in a lot of pain since. If Lee cannot go, look for Xavier Nady at first in what should be his last road trip with the Chicago Cubs.
Aramis Ramirez missed his second straight game Sunday and is listed as day-to-day. Ramirez said his thumb “felt really bad a couple of days ago” and he can’t put a timetable on his return. The Cubs should shut him down and keep him on the DL for as long as possible. Ramirez has hurt more than he’s helped this season. If Jeff Baker is on the block, showing his versatility could help get more than a PTBNL in return.
Today it all begins with Tom Gorzelanny … Tom Gorzelanny will make his second start today since returning to the pen. Gorzelanny pitched five innings of shutout ball against the Pirates in his last outing but Brad Lincoln shut down the Cubs offense and Lou’s crew lost 2-0. Gorzelanny walked three and struck out five and kept his team in the game.
Gorzelanny figures to remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season, unless he’s traded before the deadline in a couple of weeks. Gorzelanny has value but not as much as Ted Lilly.
Gorzelanny beat the D’Backs back on May 2 at Wrigley. He held a very good Arizona offense to two runs on six hits in seven innings. Gorzelanny walks three and set a new career high with 10 strikeouts.
The Cubs other southpaw in the rotation is 2-1 in five career starts versus the Diamondbacks with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … at Chase Field, Gorzelanny is 1-0 in one career start with a 2.57 Era and a 0.86 WHIP.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Tom Gorzelanny
- Tony Abreu – 2-for-7 with 2 doubles
- Stephen Drew – 6-for-15 with a walk
- Cole Gillespie – 1-for-3
- Augie Ojeda – 1-for-1
- Mark Reynolds – 2-for-12 with a home run
- Rusty Ryal – 2-for-5 with a double and a home run
- Chris Snyder – 0-for-9
- Justin Upton – 4-for-10 with a double, a triple, a home run and a walk
- Chris Young – 4-for-7 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
Ian Kennedy will make his first start since June 26 this afternoon. Kennedy struggled with his command and walked nine Tampa Bay Rays in 5 1/3 innings. Kennedy also struck out seven but took the loss. Kennedy allowed only two hits but four earned runs in a 5-3 loss.
Kennedy was not very good during Interleague play but dominated the Braves in his last National League starts. Kennedy threw seven innings of shutout ball against the Braves at Chase Field on June 9. Kennedy allowed only three hits but walked five.
Ian Kennedy did not post a win in June (0-3 in five starts) and allowed 19 runs, 16 earned, in 31 innings (4.65 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP).
The Cubs must be patient against Kennedy today … he will issue his fare share of free passes (32 walks in last 70 innings, 11 starts).
Kennedy is 2-2 in 10 home starts this season with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, teams are hitting just .201 against him in Arizona compared to a .268 clip on the road. This afternoon will be his second career outing against the Cubs (1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP).
Cubs Career Numbers against Ian Kennedy
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-3
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-2
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-4 with a home run
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-4
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-1
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-4
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-3
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …