Game Forty-Seven: Cubs (21-25) vs. Mets (22-25)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Casey Coleman (2-3, 6.03/1.89) vs. Dillon Gee (3-0, 3.44/1.26)
Weather permitting … the Cubs will shoot for back-to-back wins at Wrigley for the first time since April 18 and April 20 against the Padres.
The Cubs must start winning games at Wrigley on a consistent basis. After posting a 35-46 record at home last season, the Cubs won their 10th home game of the year Tuesday (10-13). In order for the Cubs to get back to .500, the ‘W’ flag has to start flying more than just once every three or four games.
Reed Johnson is expected to receive a majority of the playing time while Marlon Byrd is on the disabled list. Mike Quade asked Kosuke Fukudome to take reps in center Tuesday just to give him a little more depth. Tony Campana was inserted in center Tuesday night after pinch running for Alfonso Soriano late in the game. Quade shifted Johnson to left to improve the Cubs defense.
Jeff Baker is listed as day-to-day after straining his left groin Sunday night in Boston. Quade could use Baker as a pinch hitter but he is not expected to start for the next couple of days. The Cubs will decide by the weekend if Baker should go on the disabled list.
The Cubs will play their 10th straight night game for the first time in the history of the organization … and tonight it all begins with Casey Coleman. Casey Coleman could be making one of his last big league starts for a while tonight. Randy Wells will be activated over the weekend and Matt Garza is expected to return during the Cardinals series next week (June 3 – June 5), which will likely cause Coleman to be sent down to Triple-A Iowa to get in his work. Coleman needs to take a breathier and time for his hand to heal (planter’s wart on right index finger) before trying to regain the control that as left him this season.
Coleman is coming off a win against the Marlins. Coleman tossed 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball and struck out a career-high seven batters. Coleman also tied a career-high with five walks (once in 2011, once in 2010). Coleman does not have the “stuff” to fall behind batters and his 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio (25 strikeouts, 25 walks in 34 1/3 innings) will not cut it at the big league level.
Casey has not posted a win a Wrigley yet this season (0-2 in three starts with a 9.69 ERA and a 2.31 WHIP) and like most of his teammates, Coleman struggles in his home ballpark (1-3 in eight career games, six starts, at Wrigley with a 7.82 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP, 5-2 in 11 games, nine starts, on the road with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP).
Coleman will be facing the New York Mets for the first time in his career. Willie Harris (0-for-2 with a walk) is the only Met that has faced Casey Coleman.
The Mets could not be happier with what they’ve received out of their 24-year old right-hander this season. Dillon Gee, the 21st round pick of the Mets in ’07, is undefeated in his five starts this year after posted a 2-2 record in five starts a year ago with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Baseball America ranked Gee the Mets’ 16th best prospect prior to this season. Gee is a soft-tossing righty (88-91 MPH) with a solid sinker and very good command, the kind of pitcher that traditionally gives the Cubs a lot of problems.
Gee is coming off an impressive performance against the Nationals. He held Jim Riggleman’s team scoreless for 7 2/3 innings and allowed only two hits while walking three and striking out three. In each of his five starts Gee has yet to allow more than four earned runs and in four of the five he held his opponent to two earned runs or less.
For as good as Gee has been, he’s struggled outside of Citi Field (1-0 in three games, two starts, with a 6.57 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP).
Tonight will be Dillon Gee’s first career start and appearance against the Chicago Cubs … and no one on Mike Quade’s roster has faced Gee in their career.
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