Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 05/04/12

Game Twenty-Six: Cubs (9-16) vs. Dodgers (17-8)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/900
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Paul Maholm (2-2, 6.20/1.33) vs. Chad Billingsley (2-1, 2.64/0.95)

Updated 10:45am CDT Carlos Marmol Out as Cubs Closer Rafael Dolis and James Russell to Split Closer Duties Based on Matchups

Weather permittingDale Sveum’s team opens a six-game homestand today with the first of three against Matt Kemp and the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs showed a lot of improvement during their six-game trip and it will be interesting to see how they play today after Thursday’s debacle.

The Cubs split the six games against the Dodgers last season (3-3) but they will face a much-different Dodgers team over the next three days. Matt Kemp had an unbelievable start to the season (.411/.500/.856/1.356 with four doubles and 12 home runs in 25 games). Teams should stop pitching to him soon … will the Cubs be the first ones to pitch around Kemp for an entire series?

Speaking of hot hitters, Bryan LaHair should start the next three games. Don Mattingly announced Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang will follow Chad Billingsley this weekend. Dale Sveum should leave LaHair in the lineup against the Capuano on Saturday and let Jeff Baker fill in for Ian Stewart. The Cubs need to find out if LaHair can be an everyday option and not base their decision to sit LaHair against lefties on a small sample size.

Matt Garza will face Capuano (Saturday) and and Chris Volstad takes on Harang (Sunday) with Jeff Samardzija pitching the opener of the Braves series on Monday night.

If the Cubs have a lead in the ninth today … will it be Rafael Dolis? Will it be James Russell? Or will Dale Sveum play matchups?

Today all starts with Paul Maholm …

After just a miserable start to the season, Paul Maholm has posted back-to-back wins with two stellar starts. Maholm shutdown Dusty’s Bunch on April 21 and earned his first victory of the year. The Reds managed just one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings … then Maholm made just one mistake to the Phillies last Friday night. Philly scored only one run (a Ty Wigginton home run) on five hits without a walk and one strikeout in 6 1/3 innings.

Paul Maholm must make the right adjustments today or Matt Kemp and the Dodgers will have a field day at Wrigley.

Paul Maholm has never beaten the Dodgers. In eight career starts, Maholm is 0-5 with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP … last year, 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in one start (two runs on five hits in six innings with five walks and three strikeouts)

Dodgers Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Chad Billingsley – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Andre Ethier – 3-for-9 with a walk
  • Tony Gwynn, Jr. – 0-for-1
  • Jerry Hairston, Jr. – 5-for-18 with a double, two home runs and a walk
  • Matt Kemp – 4-for-12 with a double and two walks
  • James Loney – 1-for-7
  • Juan Rivera – 1-for-3
  • Juan Uribe – 3-for-19 with a triple and walk

The Cubs’ offense will have their hands full this afternoon with Chad Billingsley. Sveum’s team will avoid Clayton Kershaw over the next three games but they have to deal with underachieving right-hander today. Billingsley appears to be putting it all together this season.

Other than one start (April 22 against the Astros – nine runs, five earned, on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings), Chad Billingsley has been very, very good for Don Mattingly this year. Billingsley has not allowed more than two earned runs in his other four starts (four total earned runs in 27 1/3 innings) and is coming off a seven-inning gem against the Nationals. Billingsley held Davey Johnson’s team to one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.

Chad Billingsley has had the Cubs’ number throughout his career … both in the regular season and in the postseason. Billingsley will face the Cubs for the 11th time today. In 10 games, eight starts, Billingsley is 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, last season 1-0 in two starts with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. At Wrigley during the regular season, Billingsley owns a 2-2 mark in four starts with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chad Billingsley

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-7
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-1
  • Paul Maholm – 0-for-2
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-21 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-9 with two walks
  • Ian Stewart – 1-for-12 with a double and a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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