Game One Hundred Five: Cubs (60-44) vs. Marlins (55-48)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast Sports Net – TBS Sunday Afternoon Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (6-6, 4.44/1.41) vs. Rick VandenHurk (1-1, 6.10/1.94)
There are no two ways about it, Lou Piniella’s crew needs to win a ballgame. Put the standings aside, this team just must start building back a little of the confidence they have lost over the past three weeks. After back-to-back one-run losses to the Marlins (1-12 in last 13 games against the Fish), the Cubs are in need of a victory in order to avoid their first three game losing streak of the season at home. The loss on Saturday, coupled with wins by the Brewers and Cardinals, allowed both teams to gain a game in the standings. For the first time since May 26th the Cubs are no longer in sole possession of first place in the central, they enter play today tied atop the division with Milwaukee….and regardless of the standings, the Cubs must return to their winning ways once again. And it all starts with Jason Marquis.
The Cubs are struggling right now and have lost 6 of 9 since the break and the team must start stringing together hits….and start catching a few breaks as well. Jason Marquis has been given the task of ending his team’s brief 4-game homestand with a .500 record. Lou Piniella has dipped into his bullpen frequently the last two games and a solid quality start from Marquis has to be a priority for the veteran right-hander. With Sean Marshall tossing 3 innings on Saturday, Chad Gaudin throwing 2 and Jon Lieber on the DL, Piniella is down to one inning specialists and ineffectiveness by Marquis could equal to a long, frustrating afternoon on the North Side.
After near perfect outings against the Giants on July 1st and July 11th, Marquis was not as sharp in his last outing against the Diamondbacks. Marquis pitched well enough to win but departed after 6 innings with his team down 3-1. The Diamondbacks blew the game open in the last two innings and the Cubs lost 9-2. Marquis allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and put his team in position to win a game on the road….but the offense could not figure out Yusmeiro Petit.
Marquis is 3-3 in 9 starts at Wrigley this season with a 5.44 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. His last win at home came against the White Sox on June 21st.
Marquis is 4-5 in 10 career starts, 17 games, versus the Marlins with a 6.88 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP….last season, 0-2 in 2 starts with a 7.20 ERA and a 2.20 WHIP. The Marlins hit an unbelievable .378 against him in 10 innings.
- Jorge Cantu – 1-for-1
- Luis Gonzalez – 5-for-22 with a double and a home run
- Wes Helms – 3-for-11
- Jeremy Hermida – 3-for-8 with a home run
- Hanley Ramirez – 4-for-9 with 2 doubles
- Dan Uggla – 1-for-5
- Josh Willingham – 2-for-5 with a double
The Cubs will get their first look at another young arm in the Marlins’ system. Rick VandenHurk will make just his 4th start of the season after posting a 4-6 record in 18 games, 17 starts, a year ago with a 6.83 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. The 6’5″ right hander won his last start after throwing 5 innings of shutout ball against the Atlanta Braves. VandenHurk did walk 5 batters but struck out 7 and in 10 1/3 innings (3 starts) he has walked 8 and struck out 14 this season.
Today will be VandenHurk’s first appearance on the road this season and the Cubs must make him work. To say VandenHurk is inconsistent would be an understatement, but like any big league pitcher, if a team swings early and often….he will gain confidence as the game wears on.
Jim Edmonds is the only Cub (active or inactive) that has faced VandenHurk. He is 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout in only 1 official at bat.
Finally…. Former Cub, Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage will be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame later today in Cooperstown. Congratulations to the Goose….the most dominating, intimidating reliever this writer ever saw take the mound. After today the campaign to have Ron Santo voted in by the Veteran’s Committee for next year should begin. Forget the fact he was a Cub, Santo’s numbers warrant alone him being in the Hall of Fame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….