Game Fifty: Cubs (22-27) vs. Pirates (23-26)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (1-0, 1.50/1.67) vs. Paul Maholm (1-7, 3.65/1.30)
The Pirates took game one of the battle for fifth place in the NL Central and it will be up to Randy Wells, and the Cubs offense, to pull out a win against the ‘Mighty Pirates‘. The Cubs are just 1-3 versus the Bucs this year with all four games being played at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs talked about getting back to .500 during this homestand. To reach that goal they must win the remaining five games.
The Cubs have not officially announced the roster move but reportedly Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Iowa following Friday’s game. Randy Wells will be activated and make just his second start of the season.
With Coleman now a part of Bill Dancy’s rotation, the newly acquired Rodrigo Lopez will make the start Monday against the Astros … the ninth different starter Mike Quade has used this season. Matt Garza is slated to come off the DL next weekend and that should push Lopez to the pen.
Mike Quade is hoping both Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson will be able to start this afternoon against Paul Maholm. Luis Montanez should receive his second start as well.
In other news … Geovany Soto made his first rehab start Friday night with the Tennessee Smokies. Soto played five innings of the first game of a doubleheader and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Soto was expected to remain with the Smokies on Saturday and play six to seven innings. Soto will catch Trey McNutt on Saturday night at Smokies Park. If all goes well, the plan is for Soto to rejoin the Cubs on Sunday.
Brett Jackson will rejoin the Smokies on Monday after his rehab in Mesa is complete. Jackson and Jae-Hoon Ha, who will remain with Tennessee when Jackson is activated, figure to give Brian Harper a very fast and athletic outfield. Oneri Fleita told Bruce Levine that Jackson could be ready for the big leagues soon.
This afternoon it all starts with Randy Wells … Randy Wells has been on the DL since April 8 with a right forearm strain. Wells put together a very good start in his first, and only, outing of the season. Back on April 4 Wells beat the D’Backs 4-1 … he allowed one run on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts in six innings of work, a quality start.
Wells figures to be on a pitch count in the 80s this afternoon. The last thing the Cubs need to happen is for Wells to make a trip back to the DL. Wells made two rehab stops on his way back to the big leagues but has not built up his pitch count yet.
Randy Wells is 2-1 in five career starts versus the ‘Mighty Pirates’ with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP … last season, 0-1 in three starts with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Randy Wells
- Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-8
- Matt Diaz – 0-for-3
- Ryan Doumit – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Garrett Jones – 4-for-13 with a double
- Paul Maholm – 1-for-2
- Andrew McCutchen – 6-for-11 with a double, a triple and a walk
- Xavier Paul – 0-for-3
- Chris Snyder – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Jose Tabata – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Neil Walker – 2-for-3
The Cubs will get another shot at Paul Maholm. Maholm tossed 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Cubs back on April 2. The Cubs came back and won the game 5-3 but Maholm made the Cubs offense look foolish again.
Maholm is coming off a tough luck loss to the Tigers. Maholm allowed only two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts … but the Pirates did not score a single run and lost the game 2-0.
The Pirates have won only one of Maholm starts (1-9) and that was back on April 25 against the Nationals. The Pirates might be scoring a lot of runs for Kevin Correia but they struggle scoring runs on days Paul Maholm takes the ball.
Paul Maholm is without a doubt the best 1-7 pitcher in the big leagues. Maholm is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
Today will be Maholm’s 15th career start against the Cubs. The southpaw is 7-2 in the first 14 with a 5.89 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP … last season, 3-1 in four starts with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Paul Maholm
- Jeff Baker – 7-for-14 with four doubles
- Starlin Castro – 5-for-11 with 2 doubles
- Blake DeWitt – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-4
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 7-for-11 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-32 with 2 doubles, 2 home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-31 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and 4 walks
- Randy Wells – 0-for-2
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