Game Ninety-One: Cubs (35-55) vs. Mets (54-37)
Game Time – 5:05pm C.T. ESPN, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Sean Marshall (5-7, 4.80) vs. Orlando Hernandez (5-8, 5.12)
Can the Cubs take the series against an old foe? If so it will be largely due to the success on the mound by Sean Marshall. Marshall is coming off 7 innings of shut out ball his last time out against the Astros, Marshall beat Roy Oswalt and today he will have to beat another good pitcher with a storied past. The Cubs offense gets a chance to prove the offensive numbers they put up against Tom Glavine was not a fluke against El Duque, Orlando Hernandez. Sean Marshall has pitched extremely well this season for the Cubs but he must start throwing strikes (56% of his pitches were for strikes in his last 7 starts) on a regular basis. Marshall’s strikeout to walk ratio is alarming as well as his strike to ball ratio. In Marshall’s last 7 games he has walked 19 and struck out 23 in 40 innings of work allowing 21 runs during that span (4.73 ERA) on 46 hits. Opponents are hitting .255 against Marshall (.212 lefties, .262 righties) but at Wrigley opponents are hitting only .221 and at night .228. Marshall is 2-3 with a 3.54 ERA at home as well. Marshall has been a victim of bad defense and little to no run support this season. Marshall must throw strikes and give the Cubs another quality start this afternoon against the Mets.
Orlando Hernandez started the season with the Diamondbacks and was 2-4 with a 6.11 ERA in 9 games while in Arizona and is 3-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 8 games since being traded to the Mets on May 24th for Jorge Julio. After a solid career with the Yankees and a World Championship on the Southside last season, Hernandez has struggled this season for both of the teams he has pitched for. El Duque got off to a slow start with the D’Backs but as of late the numbers look a lot better. In his last 6 starts he has allowed more than 2 runs only once, a loss in Toronto on June 24th when he could not get out of the 2nd inning, and shut out the Pirates his last start in 7 innings. Hernandez gives up a lot of hits (95 in 91 1/3 innings) and long balls (14) but the Cubs must be patient against him….make him work and make him make mistakes, if the Cubs are overly aggressive against El Duque he will get into a rhythm and it will be a long afternoon for the Cubs offense.
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