Game Eighty: Cubs (39-40) vs. Brewers (47-33)
Game Time – 1:20 C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (5-4, 3.46/1.25) vs. Dave Bush (6-6, 5.06/1.33)
Updated – 11:04am C.T. – According to a report on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, the Cubs have placed Rocky Cherry on the 15-day DL. The roster move to replace Cherry has not been announced but with Cherry put on the DL the Cubs would have the option of recalling Billy Petrick.
Updated – 11:39am C.T. – Cherry was placed on the DL with a strain in his right arm according to Bruce Levine and Billy Petrick was recalled and will be available out of the pen today.
Today is a big game for the Cubs, not only because they are facing the Brewers, with a win, they would be back at the .500 mark heading into the midway point of the season on Monday. Believe it or not, the Cubs have all but completed the first half of the season. After a losing April (10-14) and May (12-15) they posted a winning record in June (17-11), so much for the annual “June-swoon” but the next 8 games leading up to the All-Star break will have a big impact in the final outcome, especially with Derrek Lee’s suspension hanging over the Cubs’ head. A good finish to the first half is a must if Lou Piniella’s crew has thoughts of playing meaningful games in August and September. A lot is riding on the right arm of Jason Marquis today. The bullpen is spent and another short start is not an option. Piniella is working with a shortened pen as it is and several reports out of Chicago on Saturday night mentioned Piniella will have only 11 pitchers to work with until either Jacque Jones is traded or Ryan Dempster comes off the DL. The inability to move Jones has really begun to affect this team. Jones has slipped all the way down to Piniella’s 5th outfield option, yet Jim Hendry cannot move the albatross that is Jacque Jones’ contract, with many pointing to the pending sale of the team as the reason.
Marquis has to give his skipper innings and quality ones at that. He is coming off a solid start against the Rockies and should have picked up the win. The bullpen gave up 6 runs in the 9th, but Alfonso Soriano won the game in the bottom of the inning….remember that game? Marquis gave up 3 runs in 7 hits in 5 2/3 innings, kept the ball down, and gave up only 2 walks and struck out 5. It might be asking a lot for Marquis to pitch into the 7th inning, he has not completed 6 innings in any start since May 24th. Marquis is a competitor and from all accounts wants to win; today is a good day to show his teammates that is the case.
The Cubs have beaten Dave Bush twice this season, both times in Miller Park. The Cubs have scored 10 runs on 15 hits in 12 innings and Bush has struck out 10 and walked just 2. The Cubs handed Bush is last lost on June 4th and since then he is 3-0 with his last win coming out of the pen against the Astros on June 27th.
The Cubs offense continued to score runs on Saturday, but the Brewers offense was a well-oiled machine. The Brewers have scored 9 runs in the 1st inning the last two games and a quick 1-2-3 opening frame would be a good way to start the last Sunday at Wrigley of the first half.
The All-Star selection show is on TBS this afternoon at 2:00pm C.T. Also, the Cubs are still running their planned promotion/giveaway at the Friendly Confines today….it is Michael Barrett Bobblehead day, to the first 10,000 fans through the gates.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….