Game Ninety: Cubs (36-53) vs. Marlins (44-46)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.71/1.36) vs. Josh Johnson (5-6, 4.28/1.43)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will shoot to get back in the win column tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. Even with Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs have still won 12 of 17 and will look to put an end to their four-game skid against the Fish.
The Marlins have pounded Cubs’ pitching this season while Miami’s staff has kept the Cubs in check. Ozzie Guillen’s team has outscored Dale Sveum’s team 28-11 over the first four matchups this season.
Jeff Samardzija will make his first start in 11 days tonight. Samardzija last pitched on July 7 and took the loss after being outpitched by Dillon Gee. The Cubs pushed Samardzija back as part of the plan to monitor his innings in the second half.
During a recent radio interview, Jeff Samardzija said his arm and his body feel good right now and he is looking forward to the second half of the season. Samardzija feels he made strides after the break a year ago and is looking for similar improvements this season. Samardzija acknowledged he will receive extra time in between starts when possible. Samardzija has discussed with the coaching staff about monitoring his innings but the team has not set an innings limit for him this season.
As the rumors continue to swirl around Wrigley, tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
After a topsy-turvy beginning of the year (2-1 in four starts in April with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP), Samardzija was about as good as it gets in May. Samardzija posted 3-2 record in six starts with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Following his outing against the Padres on May 29, Samardzija fell in love with his fastball again and it cost him.
Samardzija survived a horrible June (0-4 in five starts with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP) and posted a 1-1 record in his two starts prior to the break with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP … 15 strikeouts and three walks in 15 innings. Samardzija showed good command of his splitter and slider and those two pitches proved to be the difference.
Tonight will be Samardzija’s second start of the season against the Fish. Samardzija hit a wall on April 19 in Miami and left after recording just two outs in the fourth (five runs on eight hits with five walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings).
Jeff Samardzija owns a 2-1 mark in 11 career appearances, two starts, against Miami with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.
Marlins Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Emilio Bonifacio – 1-for-5 with two walks
- John Buck – 0-for-1
- Scott Cousins – 0-for-1
- Greg Dobbs – 1-for-3 with a double and a walk
- Brett Hayes – 2-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Omar Infante – 1-for-1 with a walk
- Austin Kearns – 1-for-1
- Carlos Lee – 4-for-9 with a home run and a walk
- Logan Morrison – 2-for-4 with three walks
- Hanley Ramirez – 5-for-9 with a double
- Jose Reyes – 0-for-6 with a walk
- Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-6
Many feel that Josh Johnson’s struggles this season is one of the big reasons the Marlins are near the cellar in the NL East. Josh Johnson, like a majority of his teammates, has been very inconsistent.
After going winless in April (0-3 in five starts with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP), Johnson was a perfect 3-0 in six starts in May with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … coincidentally the Marlins’ best month of the season. Statistically, June was Johnson’s best month (2-2 in five starts with a 1.87 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP) and he has struggled mightily in his last two outings to the tune of a 0-1 record with a 8.71 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP.
Johnson has struggled on the road this year (1-2 in seven starts with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP) and the Cubs’ offense must be patient against him tonight. Johnson has struggled with his command and is not missing many bats right now.
Josh Johnson faced the Cubs back on April 17. The Marlins won the game but Johnson did not receive a decision. Johnson allowed two runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in seven innings … and the Marlins won the game in the eighth after Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run shot off Rafael Dolis.
Josh Johnson is 0-1 in four career games, three starts, against the Cubs with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 0-1 in two games, one start, with a 8.53 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Josh Johnson
- Darwin Barney – 3-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-3
- Steve Clevenger – 1-for-3 with a double
- David DeJesus – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Bryan LaHair – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-16 with a double
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
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