Game Fifty-Five: Cubs (22-32) vs. Cardinals (34-21)
Game Time – 1:15pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Greg Maddux (6-4, 4.32) vs. Jason Marquis (7-4, 4.75)
Kerry Wood was expected to make the start today in the finale of the series against the Cardinals but he is experiencing stiffness in his shoulder and has been moved back to Tuesday in Houston. Wood will throw a bullpen session today in St. Louis before the Cubs will know for sure if he can go against the Astros. Both Greg Maddux and Carlos Zambrano have been moved up a day and Maddux will pitch today in St. Louis against Jason Marquis….a rematch from a game on April 23rd that Maddux and the Cubs won 7-3. Other news from Saturday night was Prior’s second rehab went well and if you missed it, scroll down….there is a full report. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday morning, Wade Miller has experienced a set back. Scott Williamson was placed on the 15-Day DL and the Cubs called up Carlos Marmol from West Tenn to take his place in the bullpen. The Cubs and Greg Maddux have to be glad May is behind them, Maddux had a horrible month but finished it well in his last start against the Reds. Maddux was 1-4 with a 7.29 ERA in May after an April that had everyone wondering where his fountain of youth was hidden. Maddux had only 2 good outings out of 6, but what matters most is the last one against the Reds. Maddux threw 5 2/3 innings of Maddux-like ball before he left in the 6th with stiffness in his back due to the 61-minute rain delay. Maddux only gave up 3 runs on 7 hits to that potent Reds offense and most importantly the Cubs won the game.
Maddux is 2-0 this season against the Cardinals and in 13 1/3 innings of work has only given up 1 earned run on 9 hits. The Cubs need another great performance from Maddux on Sunday plus the entire team must keep the intensity level that they played with in the first 2 games of the series. It will be easy for the “play to the opponent’s level” to creep into their minds today with the news that Albert Pujols could be out for at least a month with a strained right oblique muscle. The Cubs have not swept an opponent since Opening Weekend against the Cardinals and have had opportunities to do so. The Cubs are getting healthy and Phil Nevin’s homerun on Saturday was the difference in the game. The Cubs MUST develop a winning attitude and that must begin today.
The offense has been hitting but they need to work on getting those runners in when they are in scoring position. The Cubs scored 7 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits in 6 innings against Marquis but he has won his last 4 starts and pitched into at least the 7th inning in each of those starts allowing only 1 run twice, 3 runs once and 5 runs against the Giants….control problems have been the downfall for Marquis this season and in 72 innings he has walked 26 while striking out only 27.
If the Cubs are patient and opportunistic they could come away with the “S” word today in St. Louis….let’s all hope because 9 games under .500 sounds a lot better than 11.
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