Game Sixty-Eight: Cubs (43-24) vs. Blue Jays (34-34)
Game Time – 6:07pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 179
Location – Rogers Centre, Toronto
Sean Gallagher (3-2, 4.42/1.31) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-6, 4.98/1.50)
Lou Piniella’s crew begins the Interleague portion of their schedule with the first of three against the Blue Jays. The Cubs will play 15 straight games against the American League from now until the 29th of June. The Cubs will travel to Tampa after a brief stop in Cooperstown on Monday before returning home to face the White Sox and Orioles. The Cubs conclude Interleague play with three on the South Side in the last weekend of the month.
The Cubs are 78-79 in Interleague play and posted an 8-4 record against the American League last season.
Sean Gallagher will open the series tonight against a very good Blue Jays’ team that features several familiar faces. While both Reed Johnson and Ted Lilly (Lilly is slated to take the hill on Sunday) will face their former organization for the first time since departing either by being released or by free agency, the Cubs will get their first look at both David Eckstein and Scott Rolen in a different uniform along with former Marlin, A.J. Burnett and former Brewer, Lyle Overbay. Sean Gallagher turned in a decent outing against the Dodgers last Friday in LA, he was just out pitched by Hiroki Kuroda. Gallagher allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 5 innings with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks. Gallagher has yet to post a win on the road this year and is 0-2 in 4 games, 2 starts, with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
Tonight will be Gallagher’s first start against the Blue Jays and if he can throw strikes, he will have a shot at picking up his first road win.
The Blue Jays are a .500 team (34-34, 3rd place in the AL East, 7 1/2 back of the Red Sox) because of their offense, not their pitching. If Gallagher can do his job, the offense will have opportunities against Burnett.
A.J. Burnett signed a big contract to pitch for the Blue Jays before the 2006 season and his act is apparently getting a little old in Toronto. Burnett was pulled in the 5th inning in his last start against the Orioles and left the field to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Burnett has struggled at the Rogers Centre this season (2-3 in 6 games, 5 starts, with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.15 WHIP….opponents are hitting .356 against him) and has not posted a win since May 22nd.
Burnett did hold the Angels offense to just 2 runs on 3 hits in 8 innings on June 1st, the Blue Jays lost 4-3.
Burnett has not lost to the Cubs in 3 career starts. He is 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. The last time he faced the Cubs was on June 15, 2006 at Wrigley. The Cubs plated 5 runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings….the Cubs and Greg Maddux lost 15-5 to the Marlins. Neifi Perez, Jason Dubois, Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Jeromy Burnitz, Jose Macias and Todd Hollandsworth were on the field that day at Wrigley.
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-10
- Jim Edmonds – 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and 12 walks
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-6
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-10
With Roy Halladay and Jesse Litsch starting Saturday and Sunday, the Cubs need to pickup a win tonight.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….