Game Fifty-Seven: Cubs (35-21) vs. Rockies (20-36)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Sean Gallagher (2-1, 4.50/1.38) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-5, 5.37/1.70)
A year ago today, the Cubs began play against the Braves with a 22-29 record. Henry Blanco was placed on the 15-day DL and Koyie Hill was called up to take his place on the roster. The Cubs poor defense led to an early deficit and at the conclusion of the 5th inning Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett exchanged words….then punches. The Cubs lost the game and appeared to hit a new low on the season. The next day, Angel Pagan was called out at 3rd base, Mount Lou erupted and the turnaround began. What a difference a year makes….
The Cubs enter play today with the best record in baseball and reportedly with great chemistry within the clubhouse. Lou Piniella’s crew is playing good ball right now and have a chance to not only sweep the Rockies in a 4-game series but to finish a 7-game homestand with a perfect record. This is a big game for the Cubs today. Not only would a win help the confidence of a young pitcher….but it would put another victory under their belt before hitting the road for basically the next month.
Micah Hoffpauir is expected to give Derrek Lee a breather and Piniella indicated Carlos Marmol would not be available for today’s game. This is also the last Cubs-Rockies game of the 2008 season. Sean Gallagher is coming off the best outing of his young career. The Cubs 22-year old right-hander held the Dodgers to 1 run on 4 hits in 7 innings last Tuesday night at Wrigley. Gallagher threw to contact on a very cold night at Wrigley and many of the balls the Dodgers were able to elevate were knocked down by the wind. Gallagher must continue to throw strikes and continue working on his out pitch today against the Rockies. Clint Hurdle’s team has shown the past two games they will take advantage of poor pitching.
Gallagher is 2-0 in 3 games at Wrigley this season with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP while holding opponents to a .213 batting average.
Today will be Gallagher’s second career appearance against the Rockies. He pitched two thirds of inning in relief last August in Denver….and for lack of a better word, was rocked. The Cubs lost the game 15-2 (Rich Hill started and gave up 7 runs on 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings) and Gallagher allowed 4 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks and a strikeout.
No one on the Rockies active roster has a hit against Gallagher.
The Cubs will face Ubaldo Jimenez for the first time this season. The Rockies very talented right hander made his first big league start at Wrigley Field on October 1, 2006. The Cubs won the game 8-5 and Andy MacPhail resigned moments after Bobby Howry recorded the final out. Jimenez gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, in 6 2/3 innings with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Jimenez is coming off his worst start of the year after tossing his best game of the season against the Giants on May 21st. The Rockies lost to the Giants 3-2 but Jimenez threw 7 shutout innings and allowed only 3 hits with 2 walks and a strikeout. In his last outing, Jimenez gave up a season-high 7 runs on a season-high 10 hits to the Phillies in 4 innings with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Jimenez is 0-4 in 7 games outside of Coors Field this season with a 6.95 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP. He has given up 43 hits and 22 walks in 33 2/3 innings on the road. The Cubs must make him work and not allow him to get comfortable on the mound.
With the bases empty, opponents are hitting .266 against him. With runners on, opponents are hitting .311 with runners in scoring position, .407 and with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, .414.
Jimenez is 0-1 in 2 career starts against the Cubs with a 8.31 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP….the Cubs have hit a robust .316 against him.
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-2
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-3 with a double
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-2 with a triple
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-4 with a walk
One last stat…. Geovany Soto entered Saturday’s game with the best ERA among National League catchers at 3.61 ERA.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….