Game Fifty-Three: Cubs (20-32) vs. Cardinals (34-19)
Game Time – 7:10pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Sean Marshall (3-3, 5.03) vs. Sidney Ponson (4-0, 2.92)
Let it begin….tonight is the first of ten road games against the Central Division and the fourth of seventeen straight against the Central before interleague play resumes on June 16….the Cubs do not play a game out of the Central Division in the month of June….American League included. If the Cubs have any thoughts of salvaging this season….they must start tonight against the Cardinals.
Before play begins the Cubs find themselves 12 games under .500, 13 1/2 back of the Cardinals and 2 in the loss column ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates for last place in the division. The Cubs had a horrible May (7-22) after a winning April (13-10), but they are 12-10 this season against the other teams in the Central. Tonight is a rematch of the series finale in Wrigley on April 9th and although Sean Marshall did not beat Sidney Ponson, the Cubs did win the game….that was Sean Marshall’s Major League debut. Sean Marshall was 1-3 in May and the rookie was very inconsistent. In four of his six starts he held the opponent to 2 runs or less but in his other 2 starts the opposing teams tallied 16 runs on 16 hits and 9 walks. After a very impressive month of April, Marshall’s control was a big problem in May and he allowed almost 3 times as many walks as the month before (19-7). Like the rest of the team, Marshall is a different pitcher on the road than at the Friendly Confines. The Cubs are 12-14 at Wrigley this season and 8-18 on the road and Marshall is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA at home an 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA away from Chicago and the opposing team is hitting .289 off of Marshall in their house.
The Cubs might be facing the Cardinals at the right time. Jim Edmonds has missed the last 5 games and the Cardinals are expected to put him on the DL today with a sports hernia, Edmonds could miss the rest of the season. The Cardinals have already put Chris Carpenter on the 15-day DL, but they still have Albert Pujols who has put the entire team on his back….all the way to the top of the division.
Sidney Ponson was just activated from the DL on May 27 and this will be his second game back. Ponson has been very effective for the Cardinals and has not lost in a game in 7 starts this season. Ponson held the Cubs to 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings of work on April 9th and only 1 run on 6 hits on April 22nd in St. Louis, the Cubs have only walked 4 times against him in 2 games….Ponson is 1-0 this season against the Cubs.
Although it is only June 2nd, the Cubs are running out of tomorrows. They played better in their last 6 games and were in position to win every one of those games, although they only won 2 of them. Tonight should feature the debut of Phil Nevin in a Cubs uniform, let’s just hope Neifi never crosses those lines.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….