Game Thirty-Four: Cubs (16-17) vs. Phillies (16-19)
Game Time – 2:45pm C.T. FOX TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Angel Guzman (0-0, 2.19/0.80) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.33/1.46)
There are a few elite players in baseball that can step up and play their best when the game matters the most. Today the Cubs face a pitcher they have had no success against in the past on national television with a struggling offense while starting the day a game under .500 and Angel Guzman is scheduled to make his second start of the season, still in search of his first big league victory….no pressure at all for Lou Piniella’s team. Angel Guzman pitched very well in his first start of the season against the Nationals last Sunday, left the game with his team ahead 2-1 and in line for his first career victory. The bullpen blew the lead but the Cubs won the game. With Garcia on the mound, today figures to be another low scoring game, so the Cubs’ success will hinge on Guzman’s ability to build on his last start. His last outing against the Nationals was his longest of the season for either Iowa or Chicago and anytime a team can receive 5 strong innings from their 5th starter they must consider that a success. Unfortunately the only two walks Guzman allowed figured in the lone run the Nationals scored off of him. The Cubs are seeing first hand (and have seen for quite a while now) what additional base runners can mean to a team, they just have to figure out how to be more on the receiving end.
Guzman will face the Phillies for the third time and his second career start. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief last September in Philadelphia and received a no decision last August in Wrigley. Guzman’s 6-inning outing against the Phillies was he best start of the season and the longest of his young career. He allowed just 1 run on 4 hits (a home run by Ryan Howard), tied a career high with 8 strikeouts (June 16th against the Tigers he struck out 8) and walked 3. Guzman has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher in the big leagues….it’s just time for him to believe he does.
Shane Victorino has had the most success (2-3) against Guzman than any other member of the Phillies in limited appearances. Pat Burrell and Chase Utley are a combined 0-6 with a walk.
Freddy Garcia’s career in Philadelphia has not gotten off to the way he hoped. He started the season on the DL with biceps tendonitis and recently cracked his shin on a maintenance cart while shagging balls during batting. After being traded last winter from the White Sox his performance on the field has not been what the Phillies were hoping for either. He has pitched past the 5th inning only one time while posting his only victory of the season in Cincinnati on April 22nd. In his last outing against the Diamondbacks in Arizona he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings of work while throwing only 70 pitches, 43 for strikes with no walks. Garcia received a no decision but his outing was clearly his best of the year.
Maybe the Cubs new manager can shed some light in the clubhouse on how to beat one of his former players. Freddy Garcia dominated the Cubs while a member of the White Sox….4-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 4 career starts. In 30 innings he has allowed 3 runs on just 21 hits while striking out 21 and walking just 4.
- Cliff Floyd – 2-4, 2 home runs
- Jacque Jones – 8-39, a double, 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-9
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-18, a triple and 2 RBI’s
- Daryle Ward – 1-3, a home run
With Lee a career 0-5 against Garcia, today might be a good day to give Derrek Lee a well-deserved day off. Piniella stated this past week that he was going to start giving spot starts to his bench players.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….