Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Red Sox – 06/17/12

Game Sixty-Six: Cubs (22-43) vs. Red Sox (32-33)
Game Time – 7:00pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91/1.33) vs. Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.04/1.23)

Happy Father’s Day from the CCO! Even with Saturday night’s loss, the Cubs have a chance to win a series for the first time since sweeping the Padres at the end of May. In order to accomplish the feat they will have to win a game started by a left-hander (3-14) and the key will be showing the same patience they did in Friday’s win over Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Cubs’ old friend, Josh Beckett, was scheduled to start tonight’s finale but was scratched Friday afternoon then placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday with a shoulder injury. The Cubs will first face lefty Franklin Morales then the Sox pen in what is being labeled a ‘bullpen day‘ for Boston. Morales is hoping to go as long as possible in his first start of the season.

In other newsGeovany Soto was expected to be activated from the DL for the start of the three-game series with the White Sox but Soto’s return could be delayed. Due to rain in Des Moines on both Friday and Saturday, Soto was scratched from the lineup to field conditions. The Cubs did not want to risk further injury or delay and did not allow Soto to play. Multiple reports said that the Cubs wanted Soto to catch at least one full game (nine innings) before they brought him back from the DL. Soto caught only seven innings on Thursday.

Speaking of catchers, Koyie Hill cleared waivers Saturday and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Hill has not accepted the assignment yet.

In a battle of southpaws, tonight all starts with Paul Maholm

Paul Maholm is coming off his best start in well over a month. Maholm held the Tigers to two runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six-plus innings. Maholm did not allow a run to score while he was on the mound and set a season-high in strikeouts with seven. Maholm received a no-decision after Casey Coleman blew the three run lead. The Cubs ended up winning the game, the first started by Maholm since May 9.

Maholm struggled in his starts leading up to his last outing but still managed to post a 2-1 record in five May starts with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Maholm is in need on another good outing. While he may be 0-2 in his last three starts with a 5.87 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP (teams hitting .339 against him), Maholm has struck out 14 and walked just four in his last 15 1/3 innings.

Paul Maholm is 3-2 in six starts at Wrigley this season with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP (on the road, 1-3 in six starts with a 6.16 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP) and will face the Red Sox for the second time in his career tonight.

Maholm posted a win in his only start against the Red Sox. Maholm allowed one run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts last June 24 in Pittsburgh.

Red Sox Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Adrian Gonzalez – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Franklin Morales – 0-for-1
  • Dustin Pedroia – 1-for-3
  • Scott Podsednik – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Nick Punto – 0-for-7 with two walks
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Kevin Youkilis – 0-for-1 with two walks

Franklin Morales last pitched eight days ago and threw three perfect innings against the Nationals. Morales struck out three and has not allowed a run in his last 7 1/3 innings. Morales kept the Blue Jays off the board for 4 1/3 innings the outing before (June 3). The veteran southpaw has been serving as Bobby Valentine’s long-man but if the Cubs can show any patience they could get into a very questionable bullpen.

Morales has been lights out on the road. In nine games, 11 innings, Morales has allowed one run on eight hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts.

Tonight will be Franklin Morales’ second career start against the Cubs. Morales does not have a record in four games, one start, against the Cubs (3.09 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP).

Cubs Career Numbers against Franklin Morales

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-4
  • Paul Maholm – 0-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3

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