Game Sixty-One: Cubs (20-40) vs. Tigers (28-32)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10/1.35) vs. Max Scherzer (5-4, 5.88/1.59)
After a much-needed day off, the Cubs open a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three against the Detroit Tigers. The homestand concludes Sunday night with the last of three against the Boston Red Sox.
The Tigers are coming off a series win against the Reds. The Tigers took two of three from Dusty’s bunch in Cincinnati over the weekend and enter play tonight in third place in the AL Central, five games back of the first place White Sox.
The Cubs have played better at Wrigley (12-15) than on the road (8-25) and will face a very good, but underachieving Tigers’ team that is 13-16 outside of their home park.
The Cubs’ offense will not get a breather during the season. Rick Porcello faces Matt Garza Wednesday night and Justin Verlander will take on Travis Wood in the finale on Thursday afternoon.
One player that will be glad to be back at Wrigley is Prince Fielder. In 49 games at the old ballpark, Fielder has put together a .298/.424/.579/1.003 line with 15 doubles, one triple and 11 home runs.
In other news … Pat Hughes has the next couple of days off. Hughes will return to the booth for Thursday’s finale with the Tigers. As he signed off Sunday, Hughes said that everything is okay that the next two days are planned time off.
Tonight it all begins with Paul Maholm … Not only does Paul Maholm need a good outing tonight, the Cubs also need for Maholm to revert back to his four-game form from the end of April through early May. Maholm has more than struggled of late and has not put together a good start since beating the Braves on May 9. Maholm lasted just four innings in his last start (four runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts) in Milwaukee. The Brewers scored all four runs in the fourth after Maholm started missing his spots and elevating the ball. Maholm did not like being lifted that early and said as much after the game.
After posting a 2-1 record in five May starts (3.56 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP), Maholm is 0-2 in his last two outings with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP (eight runs on 14 hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings).
Maholm has pitched rather well at Wrigley (3-2 in five starts with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP) and will make his first start at home since May 20 tonight.
Paul Maholm is 0-1 in two career starts against the Tigers with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP. Maholm held the Tigers to two runs on six hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings last May. Maholm took the loss.
Tigers Career Numbers against Paul Maholm
- Brennan Boesch – 2-for-3
- Miguel Cabrera – 3-for-10 with a double
- Prince Fielder – 6-for-48 with two walks
- Austin Jackson – 0-for-6
- Gerald Laird – 0-for-2
- Ryan Rayburn – 0-for-4 with two walks
- Delmon Young – 2-for-3
Max Scherzer has been one thing for the Tigers this season … inconsistent. Scherzer has great stuff and will seemingly put things together just to fall apart again in his next outing. Scherzer was a miserable 1-3 in his first five start with a 7.77 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP then posted a 4-0 record in six starts in May with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. The Indians pounded Scherzer in his last outing to the tune of eight runs, five earned, on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Scherzer is 4-2 in seven starts on the road this season with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
Max Scherzer has faced the Cubs once in his career, back in 2008 at Wrigley in a Diamondbacks uniform. Scherzer received a no decision after allowing one unearned run on five hits in six innings with a walk and six strikeouts.
Cubs Career Numbers against Max Scherzer
- David DeJesus – 4-for-14 with a double and a home run
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3
- Ian Stewart – 2-for-9 with a triple, a home run and a walk
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