Game Five: Cubs (1-3) vs. Phillies (2-2)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00/1.00/3.12) vs. Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40/2.40/5.92)
The Cubs will try to put a win on the board this afternoon behind Jeff Samardzija and do something a Cubs’ team has never done, beat Cliff Lee.
The Cubs had a rough game on Friday. After a good start, the bats went quiet and the team did not manage a hit over the last six innings. And it will not get any easier today with one of the best southpaws in the game on the hill for the Phillies.
Rick Renteria will run out his right-handed lineup this afternoon with Cliff Lee on the hill. Lee held right handed batters to a .239/.261/.383 line a year ago while lefties hit .210/.270/.244 against him in a third of the at bats. Mike Olt should make his first start at Wrigley Field with Junior Lake in left and Justin Ruggiano in right field.
So while the Cubs’ offense has struggled in four games, the other teams aren’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball. According to High Heat Stats, entering play on Friday the 8.08 hits per team game average is the lowest since 1968.
This afternoon all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija makes his second start of the season this afternoon. Samardzija was excellent in Pittsburgh on Opening Day during his seven-inning shutout performance. Samardzija gave up five hits with two walks and only three strikeouts. Samardzija was extremely efficient (89 pitches, 54 strikes), plus the Cubs defense stepped up behind him and made plays.
Samardzija was not very good at Wrigley last year after posting a 4-4 record in 12 home starts with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP at home during the 2012 season. Samardzija went 3-5 in 17 starts at Wrigley last season with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Samardzija has shown he can be successful at Wrigley and still has time to show he can pitch at the old ballyard.
The Phillies had Samardzija’s number last year. Samardzija’s worst outing of the season came in Philly on August 8 when he allowed nine runs on 11 hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. The Phillies then scored five runs on eight hits with a walk against Samardzija at Wrigley on August 8. Samardzija was 0-1 in two starts against the Phillies last year with a 12.60 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP. The Phillies hit .396 against him as a team so there should be a line at the bat rack for today’s game.
For his career, Jeff Samardzija is 1-3 in nine games, three starts, against Philly with a 10.80 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.
Phillies Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Chase Utley: 4-for-13 with three doubles and one triple
- Jimmy Rollins: 2-for-10 with one double and one walk
- Carlos Ruiz: 2-for-7 with one walk
- Domonic Brown: 1-for-6
- John Mayberry Jr.: 1-for-5
- Ryan Howard: 1-for-3 with one triple and one walk
- Wil Nieves: 1-for-3
- Marlon Byrd: 0-for-3
- Ben Revere: 1-for-3
- Cody Asche: 2-for-2 with one double
It’s not too often a Major League starting pitcher gives up eight runs on 11 hits in five innings and picks up a win, but that is exactly what Cliff Lee did on Opening Day. Lee was the beneficiary of a huge day from the Phillies offense. The Phillies won the game 14-10 in a start that Cliff Lee has forgotten by now.
Cliff Lee remains one of the best pitchers in the game. Lee was 14-8 in 31 starts for the Phillies a year ago with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP … and he’s owned the Cubs during his career.
Cliff Lee is 4-0 in seven career starts against the Cubs with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP (48 hits with 14 walks and 42 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings). And Lee is 1-0 in four starts at Wrigley with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.
The Cubs offense will not get any breaks … they’ll have to learn how to make them.
Cubs Numbers against Cliff Lee
- Starlin Castro: 3-for-12 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Emilio Bonifacio: 1-for-10 with one walk
- Justin Ruggiano: 4-for-10 with three doubles and one walk
- Darwin Barney: 3-for-6 with one double and one walk
- Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-4
- Welington Castillo: 2-for-3
- Junior Lake: 2-for-3
- Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Ryan Sweeney: 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …