Game Forty-Four: Cubs (18-25) vs. Marlins (11-31)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Dolphins Stadium, Miami
Sean Marshall (3-1, 4.26) vs. Ricky Nolasco (2-1, 3.43)
The Cubs left the Southside of Chicago on Sunday with their biggest victory in 25 games and played one of their most complete games of the season. The Cubs showed there is still a pulse on this team, now they must prove to themselves that they can win on a daily basis….not just once every now and then. Sean Marshall had the best start of any Cubs pitcher this season his last start against the Nationals. Marshall threw six innings of shutout ball, allowing 4 walks and only 1 hit. The Cubs are 5-1 in games that Marshall has started and he has pitched beyond his experience all season. Marshall is facing a former Cub farm hand tonight in Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco went to Florida back in December, along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto, for Juan Pierre. Pierre has been a disappointment to this point for the Cubs and Nolasco has stepped into the starting rotation for an injured Sergio Mitre. Mitre was place on the 15-day DL back on May 13th with right shoulder inflammation and Renyel Pinto was recalled from AAA Albuquerque on May 14th taking the place of Jason Vargas.
Nolasco earned his first career Major League victory back on April 26th in Chicago against the Cubs (Angel Guzman’s Major League debut). Nolasco struck out 4 and allowed just 1 hit in 2 innings of work in relief of Scott Olsen (Olsen is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game). This will be Nolasco’s second start of the season and in his first start on May 17th against the Braves, Nolasco gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, walked 3 and struck out 2 in 3 2/3 innings of work….he received a no decision in the ballgame.
Although the Cubs did not score but one run in the first two games of the series against the White Sox. they were able to break through on Sunday with a 7 run, 10 hit performance. Nolasco is young and inexperienced….a good recipe for walks and wild pitches, but in 21 innings of work this season he has only allowed 9 walks. Patience is still the key for the Cubs against the rookie….the Cubs must be patient, take pitches and allow him to beat himself.
Aramis Ramirez had a great game on Sunday with the two home runs and he and Juan Pierre look like they might be getting ready to turn the corner on their horrible starts. Pierre has quietly hit safely in 5 of the last 6 games (8-28/.286), including 3 straight. Pierre has scored 4 runs and the Cubs are 3-3 in those 6 games. Ramirez is 6-17 with a .353 average over the last 6 games with 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s (a quarter of his season totals in just 6 games) and with the tear Jacque Jones has been on (6-19/.316/1/2) the Cubs just need to string together hits….sprinkle in some walks and they might just win more than one in a row.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….