Game Ninety-One: Cubs (40-50) vs. Phillies (47-41)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ted Lilly (3-8, 4.08/1.15) vs. Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.41/1.51)
Can Lou Piniella’s crew win back-to-back games to start the second half? The Cubs’ offense put together another big night in Thursday’s win, but time and time again this season whenever the Cubs score a bunch of runs, the next game they struggle … and in recent weeks, have even been shutout.
Lou Piniella preached consistency before yesterday’s game and the Cubs have scored 51 runs in their last eight games, including the shutout Sunday in L.A. But they are 5-3 in those eight games and 6-4 in their last 10. While the players are saying all the right things until the reach the mediocre mark, well …
Could today be Ted Lilly’s last start as a Cub at Wrigley Field?
Not only could the Cubs use a win this afternoon … but more importantly the Cubs need Ted Lilly to have a good outing. Lilly is 0-2 in his last two starts with a 12.19 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP. The Dodgers and Reds hit Lilly to the tune of a .383 average and he’s served up five longballs in his last 10 1/3 innings.
Ted Lilly is viewed as the Cubs’ best trading chip but another bad outing could alter his value dramatically. The Mets are rumored to be the most interested in Lilly … and the Sun-Times mentioned three young pitchers the Cubs could acquire in return for Lilly. The Dodgers, Twins and Tigers are among the other teams interested in Theodore.
From the Rumor Mill
Ryan Theriot is garnering interest from the Tigers and Rockies according to Bruce Levine and George Ofman. As for Derrek Lee, there is talk he could waive his no trade clause and accept a trade to a team like the San Francisco Giants.
George Ofman (WGN Radio) mentioned Thursday night that Mike Fontenot is drawing interest from the Yankees. Ofman also reported the Padres and Rangers are interested in trading for Xavier Nady … and Jim Hendry is working on package deals with teams in order to move Kosuke Fukudome.
The non-waiver trade deadline is just 15 days away.
Today it all begins with Ted Lilly … and just winning a ballgame behind ‘The Bulldog‘. Ted Lilly is coming off his worst and shortest start of the season (seven runs, five earned on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings) and other than April 2008, Lilly could be in his worst stretch since signing with the Cubs.
Lilly has struggled since June 19 and other than two good outings against two bad teams, ‘The Bulldog’ has been lit up.
June 19 vs. Angels – (L) eight runs, six earned, on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings (three walks, seven strikeouts) – two home runs
June 24 in Seattle – (ND) one run on five hits in six innings (no walks and six strikeouts) – no home runs
June 29 vs. Pirates – (W) one run on six hits in seven innings (one walk and five strikeouts) – one home run
July 4 vs. Reds – (L) nine runs, all earned, on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings (no walks and three strikeouts out) – four home runs
July 9 in Los Angeles – (L) seven runs, five earned, on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings (two walks and one strikeouts) – one home run.
Ted Lilly is 1-3 in his last five starts with a 6.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP plus eight home runs (38 hits, six walks, 22 strikeouts and 22 earned runs in last 28 2/3 innings) … and all four of Lilly’s unearned runs were due to his two errors.
Lilly did not face the Phillies during the two-game series in Philly back in May. He is 1-4 in five career starts with a 6.43 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
Phillies Career Numbers against Ted Lilly
- Ben Francisco – 1-for-2 with a double
- Ryan Howard – 3-for-11 with a double and a home run
- Raul Ibanez – 3-for-14 with a home run and a walk
- Jimmy Rollins – 4-for-13 with 2 doubles
- Carlos Ruiz – 2-for-9 with a double and a home run
- Brian Schneider – 1-for-9 with a double
- Shane Victorino – 4-for-12 with a double
- Jayson Werth – 4-for-13 with a home run and 2 walks
The Cubs will get their second look of the season at Joe Blanton this afternoon … a pitcher every other team with the exception of the Cubs has seemed to figure out.
Blanton is coming off back-to-back bad outings against the Pirates and Reds (two no decisions with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP … 10 earned runs on 18 hits in 11 2/3 innings) and one of his best outings of the season came against the Cubs back on May 20 (three runs on five hits in seven innings with a walk and three strikeouts).
Joe Blanton has posted only one win on the road this season (1-3) in six starts with a 7.68 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Blanton has not posted a win since June 24 (Cleveland Indians) but the Phillies are 2-1 in his last three starts despite his poor pitching.
Blanton will make his fourth career start versus the Cubs tonight. Blanton has three no decisions while holding Lou’s offense to six runs, all earned, on 12 hits with six walks and 12 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings (2.75 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP) … Blanton has made one other start at Wrigley and faced his former teammate, Rich Harden, that afternoon (two runs on two hits in 5 2/3 innings with five walks and four strikeouts).
Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Blanton
- Marlon Byrd – 0-for-6
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-3
- Tyler Colvin – no official at bat – sacrifice fly
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-6
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-8 with a double
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-5
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-8 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-1
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-6
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-16 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-8 with a walk
Ryan Theriot and Randy Wells are hosting a benefit for the Children’s Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, August 4 at Joe’s Bar. The CCO was asked to pass along the info on the event. For those interested, click on this link to Ticketmaster.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …