Game One Hundred Forty-Six: Cubs (87-58) vs. Cardinals (78-67)
Game Time – 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Rich Harden (9-2, 1.99/1.05 – 4-1, 2.02/1.00) vs. Todd Wellemeyer (12-6, 3.74/1.22)
Updated – 5:10pm C.T. – Both the Friday and Saturday Games in Houston have been postponed according to multiple reports. There has not been a decision made on Sunday’s game or when the two games will be made up.
Updated – 6:44pm C.T. – Jim Hendry stated on the Cubs pre-game show that the MLB office will have a neutral site worked out by Friday if the storm stays on its current path. They are hoping to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday in Houston and use Monday’s off day for the third game of the series. Hendry mentioned several times the game of baseball takes a backseat to the weather hitting the area. The Cubs will workout on Saturday at Wrigley and will fly out to a city on Saturday night. With using Monday as a make-up day, the Cubs last off day of the season will be Saturday.
As the Cubs prepare to play the Cardinals for the last time in St. Louis this season, the Brewers open up a 4-game series in Philadelphia and the Astros will finish their 4-game series against the Pirates in Houston. The Cubs-Astros game on Friday could be moved up from a 7:05pm C.T. start time to 1:00pm C.T. because of Hurricane Ike. Another scenario that has been reported is the Cubs and Astros playing the weekend series at Busch Stadium with the Cardinals on the road in Pittsburgh….stay tuned.
Rich Harden will make his first start since August 29th, 13 long days and a lot of struggles for the Cubs. Tonight, like the remaining 17 games, is an important game. The Cubs need a solid outing from Rich Harden in the rubber game of the series against Todd Wellemeyer….and to win back-to-back games for the first time since August 28th and August 29th. Rich Harden gave the Cubs rotation a big lift when he came over from Oakland back in July and between his absence, the struggles and the injury to Carlos Zambrano, the rotation could use another ‘pick-me-up‘ starting tonight. Harden has shown how dominant he can be when healthy and this is a big start for both him and the Cubs.
The last time Harden took the mound he struggled with his command and velocity. Harden received a no decision and the Cubs won on a home run in the 7th inning by Alfonso Soriano. Harden struck out 5 but walked 4 and quickly ran up his pitch count. Harden was nasty in his start before against the Nationals and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in 7 strong innings without a walk….1 run on 2 hits.
Harden was 3-0 in 5 starts in August with a 1.82 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP while holding batters to a .163 batting average. At night this season, when Harden likes to pitch, he is 6-1 in 11 starts with a 1.45 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a .157 OBA.
Harden must keep the ball down and not give the Cardinals power hitters a chance to score runs with one swing of the bat. He has allowed 6 home runs since coming to the Cubs but also has 75 strikeouts in just 49 innings.
Harden is 0-1 in 1 career start against the Cardinals with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP….a 6-2 loss in St. Louis on June 16, 2004. Edgar Renteria and Reggie Sanders did most of the damage.
- Adam Kennedy – 7-for-22 with 3 walks
- Jason LaRue – 0-for-2
- Felipe Lopez – 1-for-3 with a double
- Yadier Molina – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
- Josh Phelps – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk
- Albert Pujols – 0-for-3
The Cubs will get another shot at Todd Wellemeyer tonight. The former Cub has put together an excellent season in the Cardinals’ rotation. Wellemeyer is coming off a solid outing against the Marlins and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in season-high 8 innings of work with 7 strikeouts and a walk.
Wellemeyer was 3-2 in 6 starts last month with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP while allowing just a .213 OBA. At Busch Stadium this season, 8-5 in 15 games with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP….nearly two more runs per 9 innings allowed at home compared to on the road (2.87 with a 1.03 WHIP).
Tonight will be Wellemeyer’s fourth start of the season against the Cubs. He is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in the first three games….a 5-3 victory over the Cubs on May 4th, a 7-1 loss on July 6th in St. Louis and a 12-3 win against Carlos Zambrano on August 9th at Wrigley.
- Mark DeRosa – 3-for-7 with a home run
- Jim Edmonds – 0-for-7
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-4 with a double
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-4
- Reed Johnson – 4-for-10 with a double
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-9
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-6 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-7
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-7 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-7 with 2 walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….