Game One Hundred Fifty-Five: Cubs (81-73) vs. Giants (82-73)
Game Time – 3:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 175
Location – AT & T Park, San Francisco
Randy Wells (11-9, 3.00/1.27) vs. Matt Cain (13-7, 2.99/1.20)
The road portion of the Cubs’ 2009 schedule comes to an end this afternoon. One of the reasons for the Cubs playing out the string is their struggle away from Wrigley Field. While the Cubs are 14 games over .500 (44-30) with seven left to play at the Friendly Confines, on the road Lou Piniella’s crew has posted a 37-43 record … and the best they can hope for is to finish the year five games under the breakeven point.
Saturday’s win gave the Cubs a 4-1 record in the season series against the Giants. And for the Cubs to pull off a rare four-game sweep on the road they will have to beat one of the best young pitchers in the National League.
Derrek Lee is expected to be held out of the lineup once again this afternoon. Lee aggravated his sore neck stealing second base in the ninth inning on Thursday night … then was tapped on the top of the head by Angel Guzman congratulating Lee for scoring on Jeff Baker’s go ahead two run homer. Reports on Saturday night indicated Lee could return on Tuesday when the Cubs open their final homestand of the year.
Kevin Gregg’s season could be in jeopardy … as well as his Cubs’ career. Gregg is a free agent at the end of the year and reportedly the Cubs will not try and re-sign the much-maligned reliever. Gregg is dealing with inflammation in his rib cage. Gregg is expected to throw today and how he feels after his session will determine if Gregg will be available for the final seven games of the season.
Today it all starts with Randy Wells and just winning a ballgame. Randy Wells will make one more starts this year follwing today’s outing. Before posting his first win in three weeks, Wells began showing signs of fatigue in his starts against the Reds and the Brewers at Wrigley. But in his last start at Miller Park, Wells was sharp once again. He gave up his fare share of hits (seven) but did not issue any walks in six innings of work. The Cubs offense gave him a lot of early run support, which allowed him to relax and pick up his eleventh win of the year.
Randy Wells figures to be in the Cubs’ plans next season as their fourth or fifth starter. With that said, it is rather surprising the Cubs are still allowing him to pitch after already topping a career-high in innings pitched.
Wells is 5-4 in 12 road starts this season with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In his last five starts, Wells is 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.
This afternoon will be Randy Wells’ first career game against the San Francisco Giants.
On just about any other team in baseball Matt Cain would receive a lot more recognition than he does. Cain is an excellent pitcher but with Tim Lincecum as his teammate, coupled with playing on the West Coast, Cain gets lost in many of the conversations centered on the best pitchers in the game.
Cain is 6-4 in 16 starts at AT & T Park this season with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
After a tremendous first half (10-2 in 18 starts with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP), Cain has struggled a little since the break (3-5 in 13 starts with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP) … and has been horrible in September.
Matt Cain is 1-3 in his last four starts with a 7.17 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
The Cubs have struggled mightily in the past against Matt Cain. The soon-to-be 25-year old righty is 4-2 in seven career starts (with a complete game) versus the Cubs with a 2.81 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. The Cubs have been very aggressive against Matt Cain in the past and must change their approach this afternoon.
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-5
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-8 with a double and 3 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-5
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-1 with a double and a walk
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 4-for-15 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-10 with a double and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-6
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-10 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….