Game Fifty-Eight: Cubs (23-34) vs. Astros (28-31)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T. WGN TV/ESPN, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Sean Marshall (3-3, 4.80) vs. Chris Sampson (0-0, 5.06)
Sean Marshall looks to give the Cubs their third consecutive series win today against the Astros and another rookie starter….right handed pitcher Chris Sampson. Sampson is scheduled to make his first career start after the Astros put Roy Oswalt on the 15-day DL on Tuesday afternoon. Marshall held the Cardinals to just 2 runs on 8 hits in 6 1/3 innings last Friday in St. Louis and not allow the Cards to score until the 6th inning. Marshall only walked 1 and struck out 4 but until that start he had pitched better at Wrigley than on the road. Marshall is 1-2 with a 7.67 ERA in 6 games away from the Friendly Confines and opponents are hitting .296 against Marshall in their house while at Wrigley opponents are hitting only .168 against him. Marshall has held lefties to a .200 batting average and righties are hitting .241 against him. Although his numbers do not reflect it Marshall has only had 2 bad starts out of the 11 he has made. In those 2 starts (May 11th vs. the Giants and May 22nd against the Marlins) he allowed 16 runs all earned on 16 hits, walked 9 and only struck out 4 in 7 innings. In his other 9 starts he allowed 16 runs on 35 hits, walked 18 and struck out 36 in 55 innings of work and in those games pitched into at least the 6th inning in 6 of those starts, while not making it out of the 4th in the two forgettable outings….clearly a different pitcher.
The Cubs offense and defense must support their young starter and must put runners on base against the Astros rookie, Chris Sampson. Sampson has only one other big league appearance, last Friday against the Reds in relief of Wandy Rodriguez. In 5 1/3 innings of work, Sampson allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, struck out 4, walked 1 and gave up a home run to Brandon Phillips. The Cubs traditionally do not play and or hit well in these type of games but they must get innings from Sean Marshall and give their bullpen a rest with the 4-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park starting on Thursday.
Juan Pierre has to start hitting and Dusty should put Ronny Cedeno back in the 8th spot where he has hit well for the past 10 games. Tony Womack should be back in the lineup and he and Pierre must be a distraction on the base paths that will help lead to mistakes by the young right-hander. The Cubs have played better over the last 8 games but did take a small step back on Tuesday.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….