Game Seventy-Four: Cubs (34-39) vs. White Sox (29-41)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 181
Location – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago
Sean Marshall (3-2, 2.84/1.11) vs. Jose Contreras (5-7, 4.81/1.45)
The Crosstown Classic and Interleague play concludes today…. After a disappointing trip to Texas the Cubs came back to Chicago and won the first two games on the South Side and have a chance to sweep the White Sox for the first time at the Cell. There are several rumors surrounding Lou Piniella’s crew, most notably the future of Jacque Jones in a Cubs’ uniform. And if Piniella needed any more challenges he will be working with a shortened bullpen today. Ryan Dempster strained his rib cage on Friday and will likely be unavailable to pitch for the next couple of games. The Cubs have taken the first two games of this series not because of their offense but because of their pitching staff. The Cubs have held the White Sox to two runs in two games and if the Cubs are to take the third game of the series today, it will all start with Sean Marshall. A sweep of the White Sox would be a good way to start a very important week but most importantly 4 games under .500 sounds a lot better than 6. Several reports on Saturday stated the Cubs will move Jacque Jones sometime before Monday to make room for a 12th pitcher on the active roster and those reports resurfaced on Sunday morning. Jones has fallen way down on Piniella’s depth chart and a move will likely be more of one of addition by subtraction with the Cubs receiving the infamous PTBNL in return. There are also rumors surrounding Cesar Izturis leaving the North Side of Chicago….it should be a very interesting 24-48 hours for the Cubs and the Faithful.
Sean Marshall is coming off his worst start of the season. Marshall could not record an out in the 5th inning and for the first time did not give Lou Piniella a quality start. Marshall gave up 3 home runs to the Rangers in 4+ innings when he had surrendered 3 home runs in his previous 34 innings combined. Marshall will likely be paired with Koyie Hill today. Despite his last outing Marshall is 3-0 in June with a 2.92 ERA and still has a very respectable 17:6 strikeout to walk ratio.
Today will be the second start for Marshall against the White Sox. He lost his only previous outing and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings of work last June at Wrigley Field (6.00 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP).
Jose Contreras had a horrible start to the season (2-2, 5.68 ERA in April) and showed improvement in May (2-3, 3.51 ERA) but has regressed in June. Since May 28th he has posted a 1-3 record in 5 starts and has allowed 22 runs in 29 innings. In Contreras’ last two starts he has given up 10 earned runs on 15 hits in 10 innings and has walked (5) more than he has struck out (3).
Contreras has struggled at the Cell this season. He has posted a 3-3 record with a 6.03 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP but his lefty-righty splits must be very concerning for Ozzie Guillen. Lefties are hitting .302 with a .370 OBP while righties are hitting .226 with a .307 OBP and 4 of the 5 home runs Contreras has allowed have come from the left side of the plate.
Contreras is 1-1 in 3 career starts against the Cubs with a 4.79 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
- Cliff Floyd – 1-6, with a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 2-7, with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-7, with 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-4, with 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s
The White Sox have dropped 21 of 26 and 4 in a row and Kenny Williams addressed the Chicago media on Sunday morning stating changes are on the way for his club. The White Sox will be looking to salvage the last game of the series with a big statement.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….