Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight: Cubs (70-67) vs. Dodgers (73-65)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WGN TV/ESPN, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (13-7, 3.89/1.17) vs. Eric Stults (1-2, 4.23/1.41)
The Cubs will enter play tonight in need of a win. Only one game separates the Cubs from the 3rd place St. Louis Cardinals and they must figure out a way to salvage the last 2 games of this homestand….a 6-4 record sounds pretty good after the last two days. Lou Piniella’s crew is flat and pressing right now. They are not taking what the opposing pitcher is giving them and they are trying to pull everything. Ted Lilly will have to right his proverbial ship and the offense will have the tough task of putting runs on the board against a southpaw they have never faced before. The Cubs need to relax and forget what month it is and JUST PLAY BALL!!! Ted Lilly will get his second shot of the season against the team that drafted him. Lilly was the 23rd round pick of the Dodgers back in the 1996 draft. Lilly, like the rest of Lou Piniella’s staff, struggled in August. Lilly was 2-2 with a 5.05 ERA in 6 starts and has not posted a win since August 9th in Colorado.
In his last start against the Brewers, Lilly ran up his pitch count in the 1st inning and left after 5. He gave up 3 runs in 5 hits with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. Lilly has to keep the ball down tonight, he has been serving up the long ball of late. In his last 40 2/3 inning, Lilly has given up 10 home runs.
Lilly received a no-decision back in May at Dodger Stadium. He gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in 4 1/3 innings with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts, one of only two times this season Lilly has walked more than he struck out.
Lilly is 1-0 in 3 games, 2 starts, in his career against the Dodgers with a 6.57 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP.
David Wells was scheduled to start tonight’s game but the MLB front office decided this was the time he had to serve 7-game suspension he received earlier in the year when he was with the Padres. So the Cubs will get their first look at lefty, Eric Stults.
Stults was drafted in the 15th round by the Dodgers in 2002 and was not listed by Baseball America as one of the Dodgers top prospects at the beginning of this season. Stults will be making his 4th start of the season and his 8th appearance of the year. Stults is better as a starter (1-1, with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 3 games) than a reliever (0-1 with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in 4 games). Last season Stults was 1-0 in 6 games, 2 starts, with a 5.60 ERA.
Tonight will be Stults’ second road start of the year and he is coming off a loss at Shea Stadium. Stults gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 4 2/3 innings, he threw 98 pitches, 57 for strikes. Stults’ outing against the Mets was the first time he has given up more walks (5) than strikeouts (4). In his previous start against the Rockies, Stolts posted the win in dominant fashion against a high-powered offense….2 runs on 2 hits in 7 innings with 9 strikeouts and 1 walk.
Piniella should insert a couple of lefties along with Jacque Jones in the starting lineup. Stults holds right handers to a .250 average with a .333 OBP while lefies are hitting more than 50 points higher…. .304 with a .333 OBP and 2 of the 3 home runs he has allowed this season.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….