Game Forty-Five: Cubs (20-24) vs. Red Sox (24-21)
Game Time – 7:09pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 84, 89, 175, 184
Location – Fenway Park, Boston
James Russell (1-4, 6.26/1.57) vs. Tim Wakefield (0-1, 5.40/1.37)
The Cubs difficult seven-game, seven-day, three-city road trip comes to an end tonight in Boston. Q’s squad has played very good as well as very bad over the past week but with a win tonight they would finish the trip with a 4-3 record.
The Cubs M.A.S.H. unit will be without Marlon Byrd in the finale after Alfredo Aceves hit him in the head in the second inning of Saturday’s game. Byrd was held overnight in a Boston hospital for observation.
Tonight is another ‘Bullpen Day‘ for the Chicago Cubs in the wake of having to scratch Matt Garza from the finale against the Red Sox. Garza complained of soreness in his elbow following Thursday’s side session in Miami. Garza revealed he’s been dealing with tightness in his elbow over his last few starts and is not concerned but the Cubs have decided to skip his start. Team physicians will examine Garza on Monday and the Cubs’ right-hander could undergo an MRI at that time.
Prior to Friday’s opener against the Sox, Mike Quade talked about Welington Castillo starting one of the games in Boston. With tonight becoming a ‘Bullpen Day‘ it is highly unlikely that Quade will start Castillo tonight instead of Koyie Hill.
With all of the injuries surrounding the Cubs, all eyes will be on the Iowa Cubs Sunday afternoon. Randy Wells was scheduled to make his second rehab start Sunday and could return to Q’s rotation during the Pirates series next weekend at Wrigley.
The Cubs will see there fare share of knuckleballers over the next week … Tim Wakefield tonight and the Mets’ R.A. Dickey on Thursday.
The Cubs are 0-6 on Sundays this season and have had a chance to win a series in each one of those games. The Cubs have actually lost eight straight on Sunday dating back to September 19, 2010 in Florida (The Tyler Colvin Game). The Cubs are 1-11 in the last 12 played on Sunday dating back to Lou Piniella’s final game on August 22, 2010
The Cubs have one win in the Mike Quade Era on Sunday … and it will not get any easier this afternoon.
Tonight it all starts with James Russell … The Cubs decided Saturday night that James Russell is once again their best option to fill in for an injured starter. Russell has struggled mightily in a starter’s role and will be asked to record outs two days after throwing three innings out of the pen.
Russell was the Cubs’ lone pitching highlight in Friday night’s debacle. Russell tossed three innings of shutout ball in relief of Scott Maine. Russell surrendered only two hits, struck out one and did not issue a free pass (one inherited runner scored). Russell has been very good since returning to the pen and has not allowed a run in his last five outings (5 1/3 innings).
James Russell will make his fifth start tonight. He is 0-4 as a starter with a 10.05 ERA and a 2.02 WHIP … as a reliever, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP.
Russell has faced the Sox only once in his career … Friday night.
Mike Cameron (0-for-1), Carl Crawford (0-for-1), Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-1), Adrian Gonzalez (0-for-2), Jed Lowrie (0-for-1), David Ortiz (0-for-1), Dustin Pedroia (0-for-1), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-for-1) and Kevin Youkilis (1-for-1 with a double) each had at bats against Russell on Friday night.
The Cubs will get their first look at Tim Wakefield since June 12, 2005. The knucklerballer dominated the Cubs at Wrigley in the finale of the three-game series, also a Sunday night game on the four-letter network.
Tim Wakefield last started a game on May 6 against the Twins. Wakefield took the loss and did not complete five innings of work. Wakefield allowed eight runs, six earned, on nine hits with four walks and a strikeout in 4 1/3 innings.
Tonight will be Wakefield’s third start of the season. The veteran right-hander is 0-1 as a starter this year with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
Tim Wakefield is 3-1 in six career games, five starts, versus the Cubs with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Tim Wakefield
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-8 with 2 doubles
- Blake DeWitt – 1-for-3 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-18 with a double and 2 walks
- Carlos Pena – 8-for-37 with a double, 2 home runs and 8 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 11-for-36 with a double, 4 home runs and 3 walks
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