Game One Hundred Twenty-Five: Cubs (64-60) vs. Giants (55-71)
Game Time – 9:15pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 178
Location – AT & T Park, San Francisco
Rich Hill (7-7, 3.73/1.19) vs. Barry Zito (9-11, 4.88/1.47)
It does not get any easier for Lou Piniella’s crew tonight. The Cubs are getting the best of the Giants rotation in this 3-game series and tonight it is last off-season’s prized free-agent pitcher….Barry Zito. The Cubs have struggled this season against Southpaws, especially good ones. While they showed signs of figuring out lefties last week, it will be a lot more difficult for the offense tonight. But, as always, it all starts with Rich Hill. Rich Hill is coming off his best start of the second half. He threw a gem his last time out against the Cardinals. The Cubs very talented lefty held the Cardinals to just 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings of work with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks. In his last 4 starts Hill is 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA but if you remove his horrible outing in Colorado (7 runs on 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings) he is 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA. Hill has done a better job with throwing strikes and staying focused while he is on the mound. In his last 49 1/3 innings Hill has 45 strikeouts and 19 walks….little bit better than 2:1 ratio.
Hill beat the Giants on July 16th at Wrigley (2 runs on 4 hits in 8 innings with 3 k’s and 2 walks) and will face the pitcher he is compared quite often to tonight. Hill is 2-1 in 4 career starts against the Giants with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (10 runs on 22 hits in 27 innings with 3 home runs, 18 k’s and 8 walks). And is 0-1 at AT & T Park with a 7.50 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP….he lost his only other start in San Francisco last year on May 9th before he was sent back to Triple-A later in the month.
- Pedro Feliz – 3-11, with 2 home runs and 2 RBI’s
- Omar Vizquel – 4-12
- Barry Bonds – 0-2 with a walk
The Cubs will get another shot at Barry Zito tonight. Zito dominated the Cubs the last time he faced them in Wrigley on July 17th (his only win in the month of July, 1-2 with a 7.82 ERA in 5 starts), he held the Cubs to 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits in 7 innings with 8 strikeouts and no walks (the 8 strikeouts set a season high and the no walks is the only time this season Zito has not given up a free pass). Zito is coming off his best start of the season. He threw 7 innings worth of shutout ball in Florida and allowed just 1 hit while striking out 8 and walking 2. Zito is 2-1 in his last 5 games (4 starts, he made his first career relief appearance against the Padres on August 5th, 1 inning of perfect relief) with a 2.92 ERA….8 runs on 20 hits in 24 2/3 innings with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks with 4 home runs allowed.
Zito is 3-4 in 11 starts at home this season with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Lou Piniella might think about inserting a few lefties in the starting lineup tonight. Right-handers are hitting .246 against Zito with a .328 OBP and 16 home runs while lefties are hitting .272 with a .353 OBP and 6 home runs this season.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….