Game Sixty: Cubs (27-32) vs. Braves (33-29)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta
Jason Marquis (5-2, 2.84/1.16) vs. Tim Hudson (6-4, 3.09/1.12)
The Cubs are without question playing their best baseball of the season but tonight the bats must keep hot against the best pitcher they have seen in well over a week. While Jason Marquis kept his team in the game last Monday against the Brewers, he has not pitched well in his last two starts and he must throw strikes against the Braves. The Brewers aggressiveness at the plate bailed out Marquis on several occasions and with the exception of Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur, the Braves have a much more disciplined lineup than the one in Milwaukee and is not opposed to taking a walk. Marquis has never beaten the team that drafted him with a career ERA in the double digits but he has pitched extremely well against one of his former teams this season and seems to be out to prove to everyone he is a better pitcher than he has shown in the past.
The Cubs will be without the services of Aramis Ramirez and Cliff Floyd and while the offense has been jump-started by Alfonso Soriano and Felix Pie of late, someone else will have to step up tonight if the Cubs are to stay on the winning track. After winning five straight starts from April 16th – May 9th, Jason Marquis has not posted a win in exactly a month and in his last 5 starts he has allowed 16 runs, 15 earned, on 32 hits in 28 1/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and 13 walks but he has kept the ball down (44 groundball outs to 26 fly ball outs).
Jason Marquis was drafted in the 1st round (35th overall pick) by the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and was traded to the Cardinals in December of 2003 along with Adam Wainwright and Ray King for Eli Marrero and J.D. Drew. In 3 career starts against the Braves, Marquis is 0-2 with a 14.40 ERA and a 2.20 WHIP while the Braves have recorded 29 hits in 15 innings (.403 batting average).
- Andruw Jones – 7-10, with a double, 4 home runs and 11 RBI’s
- Edgar Renteria – 2-7, with 3 RBI’s
- Scott Thorman – 2-3, with a double
The Braves are 12-17 against left-handed starters this season, they love hitting right-handed pitching and will look like a different team when they hit the field tonight.
After posting a 3-0 record with a 1.40 ERA in 6 starts in April, Tim Hudson pitched .500-ball in May (3-3) and gave up 3 runs more per 9 innings (4.35). Hudson has not recovered since his start in Boston on May 20th where he gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 2/3 innings and was the only time this season he has not struck out a single batter. His last time out against the Marlins he gave up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits in 6 innings of work.
Lou Piniella not having the services of Cliff Floyd today will mean Jacque Jones will have to step up and hit the ball the way he did last season for the Cubs. This season teams have hit .237 with a .288 OBP against Hudson, but lefties are hitting .263 with a .319 OBO while righties are hitting .208 with a .289 OBP. Mike Fontenot has been called up to give Piniella some depth on his bench and could be a better option than Cesar Izturis in the starting lineup.
Tim Hudson has never lost to the Cubs and is 2-0 in 3 career starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Last season, Hudson was 1-0 in 2 starts with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and his first victory over the Cubs came in 2005 while in his first season with the Braves.
- Michael Barrett – 4-10
- Jacque Jones – 11-34, with a double, 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s
- Cesar Izturis – 2-7
- Derrek Lee – 2-8, with a home run and 2 RBI’s
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-34, with a double, 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….