Game Thirty-Three: Cubs (18-14) vs. Padres (13-20)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (4-2, 3.11/1.01) vs. Chris Young (2-1, 4.76/1.44)
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to make it three in a row tonight against the second best pitcher in the Padres’ rotation. After inconsistent play and more than their fare share of injuries, the Cubs enter play tonight in third place in a very tight NL Central, a game and a half behind the St. Louis Cardinals (Reds and Brewers are both a game back and tied for second).
Ted Lilly has been very good at Wrigley this season and must continue to limit his free passes…which has been one of the keys to his success this year. Lilly struggled with his command in his last start and it was revealed after his win against the Astros that he was battling elbow tightness. According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs limited Lilly’s outing to six innings and 88 pitches as a precaution and they are viewing it as “nothing more than a cool-weather April twinge.” Lilly said he was fine after his last start.
Ryan Freel expected to be in the starting lineup tonight at third base. The Cubs are apparently set to use Freel and Mike Fontenot at the hot corner until Aramis Ramirez returns. If that is the case, Aaron Miles and Bobby Scales must step up their offensive production while Ramirez is on the DL.
Chris Young will make his first start at Wrigley since June 16, 2007. The Padres beat Carlos Zambrano 1-0 that Saturday afternoon. Big Z tossed a complete game but was beat in the top of the ninth on a home run by Russell Branyan.
Young pitched only three complete innings and was ejected in the fourth inning after hitting Derrek Lee in apparent retaliation over a celebration the day before by Alfonso Soriano. After Young hit Lee, he reportedly said a few not-very-nice-words that Derrek Lee took exception to…both players threw punches, the benches cleared and Jake Peavy, Gerald Perry, Lee and Young were ejected. For the record, Zambrano tossed seven innings of no-hit ball before eventually losing the game.
But that was then…and tonight it all starts with Ted Lilly. Ted Lilly is coming off a rough start against the Astros but still picked up the win. The Cubs are 4-2 in Lilly’s first six starts and despite not being right he still posted a quality start. Lilly surrendered two runs on four hits (a two-run homer by Miguel Tejada) in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
Lilly has pitched much better at home (2-1 in three starts with only one earned run and two walks in 21 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts… a 0.42 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP) than on the road (2-1 in three starts with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 16 innings).
Tonight will be Lilly’s sixth career start against the Padres. He is 4-1 in six games, five starts, with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP…last year, 1-1 in two starts with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 0-for-3
- Chris Burke – 4-for-15 with a double and a triple
- David Eckstein – 5-for-34 with a double and two walks
- Jody Gerut – 3-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Brian Giles – 2-for-9 with 2 doubles and 3 walks
- Edgar Gonzalez – 1-for-5 with a double
- Adrian Gonzalez – 1-for-9 with a triple and a walk
- Scott Hairston – 4-for-11 with 2 home runs
- Chase Headley – 0-for-3
Chris Young missed a majority of the 2008 season following getting hit in the face on a come backer off the bat of Albert Pujols on May 21. Young finished the season and was adequate for obvious reasons and started this season out on a down note…but unfortunately for the Cubs’ offense, Young has been lights out in his last two starts.
Young has received two no decisions (Dodgers and Diamondbacks) but has allowed only four runs on 11 hits with 11 strikeouts and six walks in his last 13 innings (2.77 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP). Young has benefited somewhat from pitching at PETCO this season and is 2-0 in three home starts with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, while on the road…0-1 in four starts with a 6.97 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.
The Padres number two starter has dominated the Cubs in the past but has only one win in four starts to show for it. The Cubs have scored only seven runs, six earned, on 17 hits in 23 2/3 innings with nine walks…and 19 strikeouts. At Wrigley, Young has two no decisions in two starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-1
- Ryan Freel – 1-for-3 with a double
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-1
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-2
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-5
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-11 with a double, a triple and a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….