Game Forty-Eight: Cubs (22-25) vs. Dodgers (26-20)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (1-4, 4.30/1.22) vs. John Ely (3-1, 3.41/1.04)
Can the Chicago Cubs get back on track this afternoon? After dropping the second game of the series, Lou Piniella’s crew will look to win the rubber game behind Ted Lilly. The Cubs will need Lilly to be on top of his game while the offense tries to figure out John Ely.
John Ely grew up a White Sox fan and was drafted by his favorite team in 2007. Ely was one of two pitchers dealt from the South Side to L.A. for Juan Pierre.
Ted Lilly should face his old buddy this afternoon. Reed Johnson is 1-for-3 with a double in his career against Lilly.
Aramis Ramirez is expected to be out of the starting lineup once again this afternoon. Jim Hendry mentioned Wednesday that Ramirez should be available off the bench for the finale against the Dodgers. But if Ramirez is not able to play Thursday, the Cubs might have to look at putting him on the DL before the weekend.
Lou Piniella must let go of his lefty-righty match-up philosophy today and load his lineup with as many right-handed hitters as possible. Lefties are hitting just .216 against John Ely (0.90 WHIP), while right-handers have managed a .257 average (1.15 WHIP) … 19 of Ely’s 28 strikeouts have come against southpaws.
Starlin Castro should be back in the second spot of Lou’s lineup this afternoon … while the impatient Ryan Theriot should be dropped down in the order, a move Piniella has thought about making. Theriot is not getting on base and entered Wednesday game with a .250 average in May with a .267 OBP. Theriot is showing little to no patience at the plate … the last time Theriot took a free pass was on May 1.
Today it all starts with Ted Lilly … and just winning a ballgame. Ted Lilly is coming off another loss but a solid start against the Rangers. Lilly allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Lilly did his job but the Cubs offense did not. They managed only one run in the loss.
The Cubs are 2-4 in Lilly’s six starts this season.
‘The Bulldog‘ has really struggled at Wrigley this season. Lilly is 0-2 in his first three home starts with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … Lilly posted an 8-2 record at home a year ago with a 1.87 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.
Ted Lilly is 3-1 in five career starts, six games, against the organization that drafted him in 23rd round back in 1996. Lilly has allowed 14 earned runs on 29 hits in 32 innings to the Dodgers (3.94 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP).
The Cubs need Lilly to put together his best outing of the season this afternoon.
Dodgers’ Career Numbers against Ted Lilly
- Garrett Anderson – 3-for-22 with a double and a walk
- Ronnie Belliard – 2-for-9 with a double and 3 walks
- Casey Blake – 6-for-25 with a double, 2 home runs and 4 walks
- Jamey Carroll – 4-for-13 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Rafael Furcal – 2-for-11 with a home run
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-3 with a double
- Matt Kemp – 3-for-7 with 2 home runs
- James Loney – 0-for-6
- Russell Martin – 2-for-4
- Manny Ramirez – 11-for-45 with 3 doubles, 4 home runs and 4 walks
The Harvey, Illinois native was the third round pick of the White Sox in the 2007 draft. John Ely was one of the two PTBNL in the Juan Pierre trade last winter (Jon Link, RHP) and many are calling Ned Colletti a genius for making the swap.
Colletti was chastised at the time for moving Pierre to the Sox for an underachieving minor league pitcher. John Ely posted a 10-12 record in High-A in 2008 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP but was 14-2 with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in Double-A in 2009. Pierre became a fan favorite in L.A. after he filled in for Manny Ramirez during his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Ely began the year in Triple-A and has made the most of his promotion to the big leagues.
John Ely has won his last three outings (3-0 last four starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP) and the Dodgers are 4-1 in his five starts.
Ely is very aggressive and challenges the hitters. In 31 2/3 innings he has walked only four batters. His philosophy is, he would rather be beaten than give it away. Some have even credited Ely’s approach with turning around Chad Billingsley’s season.
The 24-year old right-handed pitcher is 1-1 in two road starts this season with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
Today will be Ely’s first career appearance against the Chicago Cubs … no one on the Cubs’ active roster has faced him yet.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …