Game Fifty-Nine: Cubs (26-32) vs. Braves (33-28)
Game Time – 6:35pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net (Cubs) / TBS (Braves), WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta
Sean Marshall (1-2, 2.25/1.05) vs. Lance Cormier (0-1, 18.00/2.50)
After losing a season worst six in a row, the Cubs have played much better of late and are in search of their third straight win tonight at The Ted. Tonight will feature another rematch from last weekend’s series at Wrigley. Sean Marshall has pitched extremely well since his call up and is coming off the best start of his young career. The Cubs will be without the services of Aramis Ramirez this weekend with “a severe case of patella tendonitis” and he will be reexamined on Monday. Lou Piniella did mention that Ramirez will rejoin the Cubs in Atlanta today and could be used as a pinch hitter and he will not be placed on the DL. Sean Marshall has cemented himself into the 5th spot of Piniella’s rotation. After allowing just 4 earned runs in his first two starts (13 1/3 innings), Marshall gave up just 1 last Sunday in 6 2/3 innings against the Braves on 6 hits while striking out 8 and walking just 1. Marshall is throwing strikes, keeping the ball down and has cut down on his walks from last season. In 20 innings this season, Marshall has struck out 22 while walking 5.
Lance Cormier made his first start of the season last Sunday against the Cubs and will have a lot to prove to Bobby Cox tonight. The Cubs lit up Cormier and took out all of their frustrations from the previous two games. The Cubs hit 3 home runs, a grand slam by Mark DeRosa in the 1st inning and two solo shots, one by Derrek Lee and the other by Alfonso Soriano. In 4 innings, Cormier gave up 8 runs, all earned, on 9 hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Before last Sunday, Cormier had never lost to the Cubs and was 2-0 in 3 career games (1 start) with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. The Cubs need to get on him early and not allow him to settle in on the mound. While Chuck James had a good outing on Thursday, the Braves defense robbed the Cubs of several extra base hits, on Friday night those same hits must find green.
The Braves are 12-16 against lefties this season.
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