Game Four: Cubs (1-2) vs. Diamondbacks (1-1)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Joe Saunders (0-0, -.–/-.–)
To say the first series of the season did not go as planned would be an understatement. Q’s squad dropped two of three to the Pirates and showed many of the flaws that many thought the team had shortly after Jim Hendry assembled the roster. The Cubs now have the chore of facing an organization they have struggled mightily against over the years.
The Cubs won six of the seven meetings against Arizona last year, in large part due to the D-Backs horrible bullpen. The Cubs and D-Backs play seven times between today and May 1. If the Cubs cannot take care of business against Arizona, they could find themselves in a big hole by May 2.
Kosuke Fukudome was expected back in the leadoff spot this afternoon with Starlin Castro back in the two-hole in front of Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez … but with Joe Saunders going for Arizona, look for Jeff Baker to lead off and play second base against the southpaw.
After a record 84-degree day in Colorado on Saturday, the finale of the three-game set between the Diamondbacks and Rockies was postponed Sunday due to snow. Joe Saunders was scheduled to start the third game of the series and was pushed to today against the Cubs. As of this writing, Kirk Gibson had not announced his two other starters for the series in Chicago. Barry Enright and Armando Galarraga were originally scheduled to pitch the first two games … with Ian Kennedy taking the ball on Wednesday. Randy Wells will make his first start of the season after a solid spring. Wells began camp having to earn a spot in the rotation, and he did just that by putting up the best spring among the Cubs starters.
Wells is coming off an inconsistent season. He posted an 8-14 record in 32 starts a year ago with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Wells seemingly had one bad inning per start but actually pitched better than most remember. Wells posted a 4-8 record in 18 starts at Wrigley last year with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
Today will be Wells’ third career start against the D-Backs. He is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Arizona pounded Wells to the tune of five runs on eight hits in six innings last season (7.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP) but Wells still posted a win in large part to the D-Backs very bad bullpen.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Randy Wells
- Kelly Johnson – 0-for-6
- Miguel Montero – 0-for-3
- Justin Upton – 1-for-3 with a double
- Chris Young – 0-for-3
Joe Saunders came over the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Angels last season. Saunders struggled with the D-Backs (3-7 in 13 starts with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP) and had to earn a spot in Kirk Gibson’s rotation this spring. Saunders picked up a spring win against the Cubs and Matt Garza in the final game of the Cactus League.
Saunders will make his second career start against the Cubs. The Cubs pounded Saunders last June 20 at Wrigley … and knocked him out of the game in the third. Lou’s crew scored eight runs, five earned, on nine hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Saunders
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-3 with a double
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-21 with 2 home runs
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 4-for-17 with 3 doubles and a triple
- Carlos Pena – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-2
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-1 with a home run
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