Game Fifty: Cubs (18-31) vs. Reds (28-22)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Kerry Wood (0-1, 6.30) vs. Elizardo Ramirez (2-3, 3.72)
With Derrek Lee and Mark Prior Updates, Roster Moves….Cubs Recall David Aardsma and Option Jae Kuk Ryu back to Iowa, plus Glendon Rusch Back to the Starting Rotation?
Happy Memorial Day to everyone and “Thank You” to all the vets out there that have helped make this country what it is. Kerry Wood takes the mound to today against the high powered, patient Reds’ offense and looks to end the Cubs current 6-game losing streak. Wood pitched well enough to win his last time out against the Marlins on May 23rd, Wood only allowed 3 runs on 2 hits, but it was the 5 walks and lack of control that led to him throwing 86 pitches….he was not sharp but he did his job and if not for the first blown save of the week, he would have earned his first victory of the season. Wood is 12-4 with a 3.06 ERA with 168 strikeouts in 22 career games against the Reds, but last season he was 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in 4 games, 2 starts. The Cubs are 2-3 against the Reds this season and in the 5 games the Reds have hit 14 home runs, if Kerry Wood and the Cubs want to win this game, they have to keep the Reds in the park and if the wind is blowing out today, which is projected, it could be a long afternoon. Adam Dunn has 5 career home runs against Wood with a .290 average.
Elizardo Ramirez will make his first career start against the Cubs and he has been one of the surprises out of Cincinnati this season….along with Bronson Arroyo. In his 5 starts this season he has only allowed more than 3 runs once, a loss on May 5th in Arizona, he throws strikes and has only walked 11 in 6 starts while striking out 21 in 29 innings of work. Today’s start for Ramirez will mark a career high in games pitched in a single season at the Major League level….which usually does not work out well for the free-swinging Cubs.
The Cubs offense was impressive on Sunday with their “station-to-station” approach. Of their 16 hits, only 3 were for extra bases….doubles by Juan Pierre and Ronny Cedeno and a triple by Neifi Perez. Tony Womack has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs the past 2 games and a start against the team that cut him earlier in the season could be very good fuel to the fire. Good execution and no extra outs are the keys to today’s game. If the Reds go yard make it a solo trip….
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….
Roster Moves – On Monday morning, the Cubs optioned Jae Kuk Ryu back to AAA Iowa and recalled David Aardsma from AAA Iowa. Aardsma is 1-0 with a 10.50 ERA in 4 games with the Cubs this season. In 6 innings of work he has allowed 7 runs on 7 hits, walked 9 and struckout 5.
Derrek Lee – Reports out of Chicago on Monday morning are stating that Lee is expected to have his cast removed this week and once the cast is removed he will begin a two-week rehab program. By my math that could put him back in the line-up as early as June 10th against the Reds in Cincinnati, but more than likely it will be June 17th against the Detroit Tigers.
According to a report in Monday morning’s Chicago Sun-Times with Sunday’s 9 strikeout performance in relief of Jae Kuk Ryu, Glendon Rusch has earned a spot back in the starting rotation the next time the Cubs need a 5th starter, which will be next weekend against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Rusch has had a good month in relief, but apparently the 13 home runs and 17 walks in 37 innings of work is being ignored.
Mark Prior – Prior is scheduled for his first of 3 rehab stints today at 5:00pm C.T. against the Kane County Cougars in Peoria for the Chiefs at O’Brien Field. Here is the link to listen to the game and the full story from the Peoria Chiefs website.