Game Ninety-Two: Cubs (41-50) vs. Phillies (47-42)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (4-7, 4.61/1.40) vs. Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.78/1.33)
Can the Chicago Cubs win three games in a row? Lou Piniella’s crew has looked like a different team in the first two games back from the break. But they will face a much-better pitcher this afternoon in Cole Hamels. In order for the Cubs to take game three, they will have to capitalize on every opportunity while not giving the Phillies in extra opportunities.
If the Cubs can pick up the win this afternoon it will be the first time since May 16 – May 18 (Pirates and Rockies) that the Cubs won three in a row at Wrigley Field … and a win this afternoon would guarantee the Cubs the season series over the Phillies. Lou’s crew has won three of the first four against the defending NL Champs. The last time a Cubs team won the season series against the Phillies was back in 2001 … and the last time they won a series versus the Phillies at Wrigley as in 2004.
Aramis Ramirez continued hitting the cover off the ball on Friday … and his recent hot streak has put him just one homer shy of 200 in a Cubs’ uniform.
From the Rumor Mill
Add the Phillies to the small list of teams that have had conversations with the Cubs about Ryan Theriot. The Tigers and the Rockies have also shown interest according to Bruce Levine.
Derrek Lee basically shot down the report from Ken Rosenthal Friday afternoon. Rosenthal recently reported that Lee told friends he would waive his no-trade clause in order to go to a contending team. Lee told Paul Sullivan that he doubts his friends would know who Ken Rosenthal is.
The Mets, Dodgers, Twins and Tigers are still interested in acquiring Ted Lilly according to Bruce Levine … but according to Jon Heyman (MLB Network) the Mets “are mixed” on trading for Lilly.
Today it all starts with Randy Wells … and just winning a ballgame. After struggling for two months, Randy Wells has shown flashes of his rookie season in his last two outings. Wells is coming off a loss to the Dodgers, but he made only one mistake in seven innings … a two-run homer by Rafael Furcal. Wells looked confident, found a rhythm and did not serve up the homer until the bottom of the seventh.
Randy Wells is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP after posting a 0-3 record in five June starts with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. Wells has thrown strikes and his defense has played well behind him … the key to a pitcher that throws to contact, work fast and keep his team in the game. Wells has walked only two batters while striking out 12 in his last 14 2/3 innings.
Wells is 2-3 in his nine home starts this season with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
Today will be Randy Wells’ first career start and appearance versus the Phillies.
Ben Francisco (1-for-3) and Brian Schneider (2-for-3) are the only two Phillies that have faced Randy Wells.
The Cubs will get their first look of the season at Cole Hamels … a pitcher that has dominated them in his career. Hamels is 3-1 in five career starts versus the Cubs with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (1-1 at Wrigley in three starts with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP).
After a rough start to the season (2-2 in first five starts with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP), Hamels has been very, very good of late. Hamels is 1-1 in his last three games with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP … since May 21, Hamels has allowed more than three earned runs only once.
For as good as Hamels has been, he has continued to struggle on the road. His last victory outside of Philly came against the Red Sox in Boston back on June 13 … he is 3-4 in eight road starts with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
Lou’s offense must make him work this afternoon … a trait the Cubs have not shown in a year and a half.
Cubs Career Numbers against Cole Hamels
- Marlon Byrd – 0-for-5
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-2
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-14 with a triple and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-26 with a double, 3 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-6
- Ryan Theriot – 5-for-14 with a double, a home run and 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 …