Game Eighty-Eight: Cubs (33-54) vs. Brewers (44-45)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee
Mark Prior (0-4, 7.71) vs. Doug Davis (5-5, 4.60)
Updated – 12:08pm C.T. Prior Scratched from Today’s Start – Glendon Rusch to Start Against Brewers
Can they make it three in a row? Can Prior win his first game of the season? How will the Cubs offense respond to another lefty? Questions, questions and more questions….but after the first half of the season the Cubs have had, what else should there be? The offense is coming around, the starting pitching has been dominating over the 6 games with a 2.80 ERA in 35 1/3 innings (11 earned runs) and the bullpen has been just as solid over the past 4 games with a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings (1 earned run). The Brewers offense is primed for a big game having scored only 5 runs in 3 games, can Prior keep the Brewers from having a breakout day….again another question. Prior has lost 4 games in a row to start the season and is 2-3 with a 4.38 ERA in his career against the Brewers. Prior is coming off of a seven strikeout performance against the Astros on the 4th of July but like Marmol, Prior has had one bad inning in each of his starts and has “hit a wall” in each of those. Prior was able to get through the 6th inning against the Astros but his error cost the Cubs 2 runs and the game. Prior started nibbling at the plate last season, trying to throw the perfect pitch and while he had little if any command in his first two starts of the season, his command has been much improved his last two starts but he seems to be nibbling again and that has led to 8 walks and only 16 strikeouts. A successful starting pitching must have at least a 3 to 1, strikeouts to walk ratio….not 2 to 1. Prior historically has the stuff to be dominating he just has not shown it in a long time….the last time he recorded a win was September 10, 2005.
Doug Davis missed his last start against the Cubs; former Cub Geremi Gonzalez took his place and beat the Cubs and Mark Prior 5-4. Prior allowed 5 runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings and the Cubs could not plate enough runs to comeback and win the game. Doug Davis has beaten the Cubs already this season on April 29th and he held the Cubs to just 1 run on 5 hits in 6 1/3 innings of work. After a rough start to the season (April 1-2, 6.39 and May 2-2, 4.89), Davis has settled down and pitched well for the Brewers. Davis has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in his last 6 starts and came within an out of throwing a complete game his last time out against the Reds. Davis will give up the free pass if the Cubs are patient enough to take them (55 walks in 105 2/3 innings) and they must plate those base runners that Davis is accustomed to having to deal with (105 hits).
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….
Update – Mark Prior was just scratched from Sunday’s start against the Brewers according to a report on Cubs.com. Prior will miss today’s start with a strained left oblique muscle. Glendon Rusch will start in Prior’s place. Rusch is 2-7 with a 8.19 ERA on the season and is 2-6 with a 9.09 ERA as a starter. Today’s game will end up being a rematch of the game the Brewers won on April 29th. Rusch gave up 7 runs on 6 hits in 2 2/3 innings, 4 home runs and 3 walks. That was the last game Rusch started until June 3rd against the Cardinals. Rusch has given up 18 home runs this season in 48 1/3 innings of work. This is the reason the Cubs MUST designate Rusch for assignment and keep Angel Guzman or another young pitcher at the Major League level. This could be a preview of Monday night’s home run derby in Pittsburgh.