Game One Hundred Fifty-Five: Cubs (81-73) vs. Pirates (66-88)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Hill (9-8, 4.01/1.22) vs. Zach Duke (3-7, 5.70/1.75)
Only 8 games left…. Another day and another lefty. The Cubs improved to 17-22 against southpaws on Friday and will face another young left hander that has dominated them in the past. The Cubs will need the “good” Rich Hill to show up today while the offense must make Zach Duke work and get into the Pirates bullpen as soon as possible. While the bats must do their job once again, it all starts with Rich Hill. Lou Piniella needs a quality start today from Rich Hill. The Cubs’ bullpen was depleted on Friday and anything short of a 6-inning performance from Hill could end up being very costly for his team.
After a solid July (1-1 with a 3.96 ERA in 4 games) and a good August (2-1 with a 3.99 ERA in 6 games), Hill has struggled of late and is coming off one of his worst outings of the year. Hill is 1-1 in his last 4 starts with a 6.35 ERA that includes a loss in Pittsburgh on September 7th. Hill gave up 6 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings. In his last start against the Reds, Hill gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 4 2/3 innings and appeared to hit a wall in the 5th inning after starting very strong. Hill pitched a gem in Houston on the 12th and must repeat that performance today against the Pirates.
Hill is throwing strikes, in his last 22 2/3 innings he has struck out 21 and walked only 9 but he has surrendered 25 hits as well. The Pirates can, and will, take advantage of Hill if he allows them to. Hill is 0-1 in 2 starts against the Pirates this year with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. The Pirates are hitting .288 against him.
The Cubs will get their second look of the season at Zach Duke. Duke has owned the Cubs in his short career and today will be another challenge for Piniella’s offense. Duke will make his first start since June 28th. He was sidelined with elbow tendonitis.
Duke was 1-2 in 6 starts in June with a 6.21 ERA. He pitched out of the pen on September 15th in Houston. Duke threw strikes and gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits in 3 innings. The Cubs must make him work today and get into hitter’s counts like they did against Paul Maholm on Friday. If they allow Duke to get comfortable, it will be a very long afternoon.
The Cubs managed 2 runs on 8 hits in 6 2/3 innings against Duke back on April 30th. Duke is 4-1 in 7 career starts against the Cubs with a 1.57 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
- Ronny Cedeno – 7-16 with a RBI
- Derrek Lee – 5-17 with 2 doubles
- Matt Murton – 9-20 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 5-18 with 4 doubles and a RBI
- Alfonso Soriano – 9-14 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….