Game Twenty-Nine: Cubs (17-11) vs. Cardinals (18-11)
Game Time – 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Rich Hill (1-0, 3.79/1.42) vs. Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.79/1.01)
The Cubs open a 6-game road trip tonight with the first of three against their archrival the St. Louis Cardinals. Tony La Russa has his team in first place in the central division, a half game ahead of the Cubs, after the first month of the season. The Cardinals were counted out by many before the year started….and many of the experts, despite setting a franchise record for wins in April, still feel the Cardinals will not be able to keep up the pace throughout the season.
The Cardinals are benefiting from great pitching and the Cubs offense will have the challenge this weekend of figuring out what other teams were not able to in the first month. While Tony La Russa will send the trio of Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer to the mound, Lou Piniella will send three pitchers that need to step up for their team….Rich Hill, Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis. The Cardinals’ trio posted a 8-2 record in April with a 3.11 ERA (38 earned in 110 innings) while the Cubs’ trio sported a 3-5 record with a 5.08 ERA (44 earned in 78 innings).
Lou Piniella should have his team more than ready to play tonight after yesterday’s meltdown but it will be interesting to see if Lou’s lineup tinking continues tonight. Rich Hill’s last turn in the rotation was skipped and he should be well rested for his start tonight against the Cardinals. Lou Piniella said he did not want Hill facing a Brewers’ lineup that hits southpaws rather well and instead he will start the first game of the series, and the road trip. Tonight is a big game, not only for the Cubs….but for Rich Hill. Lou Piniella needs to see a solid outing from his young left-hander, Hill has all of the tools, but has not shown the ability to throw strikes on a consistent basis this year.
Rich Hill is not a fifth starter in a Major League rotation….unfortunately because of his poor performance, he has been relegated to that role.
Rich Hill has not pitched since April 23rd in Colorado when he turned in a decent outing in a 7-6 Cubs’ win. Hill allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 5 innings with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. The most concerning stat for Rich Hill in his first 4 starts….14 walks and 14 strikeouts in 19 innings.
Hill is 1-0 in 4 career games, 3 starts, against the Cardinals with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. His start against the Cardinals on July 27, 2006 at Wrigley started the turnaround in his career, hopefully tonight will provide the same result.
- Chris Duncan – 2-for-6
- Troy Glaus – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Cesar Izturis – 0-for-1
- Yadier Molina – 0-for-4
- Albert Pujols – 2-for-8 with a home run
With Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder on the DL for the majority of the past two seasons, Adam Wainwright has become Tony La Russa’s number one pitcher. Wainwright, like the rest of Dave Duncan’s well-coached staff, out performed expectations in the first month of the season. Wainwright has completed at least 7 innings in each first 5 starts and is coming off a complete game victory against the Astros. Wainwright allowed only 3 runs on 5 hits (all solo home runs) with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. Many experts have voiced their concern about Wainwright being overworked in the first month of the season, but he has yet to show signs of any wear and tear.
At Busch Stadium this season, Wainwright is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP while holding opponents to a .200 batting average.
Wainwright has never beaten the Cubs in 13 career appearances, 4 starts. He is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP….and the Cubs have hit him to the tune of a .333 batting average. After a rough start to his career against his team’s biggest rival, Wainwright started to figure them out. In his last start of 2007 against the Cubs (September 14th) he allowed only 2 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings. The Cubs won the game 5-3 (the Cubs won 3 of 4 from the Cardinals in St. Louis that weekend) but Wainwright turned in, by far, his best effort in his young career against the Cubs.
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-6
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-4
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-11 with a double
- Felix Pie – 1-for-3
- Aramis Ramirez – 7-for-18 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-8 with a double, a triple and 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 6-for-13 with 2 doubles
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….