Game One Hundred Thirty-Six: Cubs (68-67) vs. Pirates (54-81)
Game Time – 11:35am C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Ted Lilly (10-8, 3.17/1.08) vs. Daniel McCutchen (0-0, 4.50/1.17)
Happy Labor Day from the CCO … It’s the unofficial end of summer as another disappointing season on the North Side of Chicago is coming to a conclusion… so many expectations and not many results.
Lou Piniella’s crew enters play today just a game above the .500. If they are not careful they could spend the off day on Thursday either at or below the .500 mark. The Cubs have seven games remaining against the Bucs and have won six of the first eight against Pittsburgh this year.
The Pirates ended a nine-game losing streak on Sunday with a win in the ninth inning against the Cardinals. They are one loss away from their 17th straight losing season, which would be the longest in Major League history. The Pirates have a young and exciting team, as well as a re-stocked farm system, the foreseeable future is a very bright one for the Battlin’ Bucs.
The Cubs could see Kevin Hart in the finale of the series on Wednesday. Zach Duke is slated to start Tuesday night with Hart getting the ball in game three. After he was traded, Hart said he was looking forward to sticking it to the Cubs when he faced them down the road.
Jeff Stevens is expected to re-join the Cubs this afternoon … that would leave Jeff Samardzija as the only other expected call-up for the Cubs this September.
It’s Labor Day, the Cubs are playing for pride and it all begins with Ted Lilly. Ted Lilly is coming off his first win since July 11, an impressive eight-inning shutout performance against the Houston Astros. Lilly allowed just four hits without a walk in a nearly perfect outing. The Cubs defense stepped up behind him and made several plays that allowed Lilly to combine with Carlos Marmol on the Cubs’ fourth shutout of the season.
For as good as Lilly has been this season, he has struggled on the road. Lilly is 3-7 in 12 games outside of Wrigley with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … at Wrigley, 7-1 in 11 starts with a 1.72 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.
‘The Bulldog‘ is under contract with the Cubs for one more season (2010) and with every outing he is making the case to be on the mound for the opener next year.
Ted Lilly is 1-1 in his last four starts with a 1.32 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP.
This afternoon is Ted Lilly’s second start of the year against the Pirates. He is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Ross Ohlendorf shutout the Cubs and Ted Lilly … one of four losses Lilly has notched this year due to no run support.
Lilly is 3-1 in eight career starts, 10 games, versus the Pirates with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
- Ryan Doumit – 5-for-13 with a double and a walk
- Andy LaRoche – 1-for-7 with 2 walks
- Andrew McCutchen – 0-for-4
- Lastings Milledge – 1-for-5
- Brandon Moss – 4-for-6 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Steven Pearce – 2-for-4 with a double
- Ramon Vazquez – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
- Delwyn Young – 0-for-4
The Cubs will face rookie right-hander Daniel McCutchen for the first time this afternoon. McCutchen will make only his second big league start and is one of the excellent young arms in the Pirates system.
Daniel McCutchen was the 13th round pick of the Yankees back in 2006 and came to Pittsburgh in the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte deal last summer. Baseball America ranked McCutchen the ninth best prospect in the Pirates system before the start of the season.
McCutchen does not issue a lot of walks and has very good command. McCutchen throws three pitches … fastball, changeup and hard curveball that can look like a slider. McCutchen’s fastball is consistently in the lower 90s reaching into the mid-90s at times.
Daniel McCutchen made his big league debut on August 31 against the Reds. He received a no decision in a 4-3 loss to Dusty Baker’s re-vamped lineup. McCutchen allowed three runs on five hits in six innings with two walks and five strikeouts. McCutchen’s reputation in the minors was that of a fly ball pitcher prone to give up a lot of home runs, in his first start Drew Stubbs went deep on him to start the game.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….