45-25 3.5 GMs up on Cardinals
The Week that Was:
- Game 1- The Cubs got to Tom Glavine early, knocking him out after the 3rd inning (he would go on the DL), for 4 runs. The Cubs scored 10 runs, getting RBIs from 6 players. Derrek Lee (14) and Geovany Soto hit HRs. All of this for Ted Lilly, who went 6.2 IP giving up 3 ER and striking out 8. The 3 runs all came in the first on a Greg Norton HR. Bob Howry would give up a couple runs later, but it wouldn't be enough for the Braves who lost 10-5.
- Game 2- This is a game that will be remembered for not the Cubs winning, but for them losing Alfonso Soriano for 6 weeks. Soriano broke his 4th metacarpal off a Jeff Bennet pitch in the 2nd. But the Cubs offense took it out on Bennett, scoring 7 ERs in 2 IP. Kosuke Fukudome (28), Ryan Theriot (18) and Jim Edmonds (15)all had RBIs, including a Kosuke Fukudome 3-run HR in the first, his 5th of his career. Ryan Dempster wouldn't need that much offense though, as he pitched a complete game, allowing only 2 runs and striking out 11. Cubs win 7-2
- Game 3- It was throwback day at Wrigley Field, both teams in their 1948 uniforms and the throwback WGN telecast. And it would be a good old-fashioned throwback pitcher's duel. Carlos Zambrano only made one mistake, a 2-run HR to Jeff Francoeur. He would go 7 innings, only giving up those 2 runs while striking out 3. The only Cubs offense was a Jim Edmonds sac fly until the 9th. And in the 9th Edmonds hit an opposite field basket HR to tie the game, his 2nd as a Cub., off of Blaine Boyer. Kerry Wood would go on to pitch 2 scoreless innings before he got the win, when the Cubs scored on a walk-off HBP by Reed Johnson. Cubs win 3-2 in 11
- Game 4- Another 3-2 close game, but this time it didn't go the Cubs way. The Cubs left 11 men on base, scoring only 2 off of A.J. Burnett. Sean Gallagher had a decent preformence, giving up only 2 HRs, for 3 ERs in 5 IP. Cubs lose 3-2
- Game 5- Going into this game you had to expect a great preformence by one of the pitchers. What you didn't expect was that the pitcher would be Jason Marquis, not Roy Halladay. Marquis went 7 innings of 1-hit baseball before giving up 3 straight hits in the 8th, which put Carlos Marmol in the game. The Cubs would score 6 runs, 3 off the bat of a Reed Johnson HR (3). Cubs win 6-2
- Game 6- Once again a former Blue Jay has a good game against his former team, this time it was Ted Lilly. Lilly threw 6 innings on 1 hit baseball. The Cubs would jump out to a 7-0 lead off of Jesse Litsch, a Aramis Ramirez 2-run HR (10) and 3 Derrek Lee RBIs (44). Then the bullpen gave some of the lead back. Scott Eyre, Niel Cotts and Kerry Wood all gave up a run or more. Eyre lost his streak of 33 consecutive apperance withough surrendering a run, a franchise record. It wasn't enough as the Cubs won 7-4
My Prediction: I was correct in Lou moving up Z, Lilly getting 2 wins and them sweeping the Braves. But wrong in them losing 2 out of 3 to the Jays.
The Week that will be:
The Cubs head to Tampa for what looks to be a tough series. The Rays are 40-29 (3rd best in AL) and 26-11 at home. The have the 2nd best defense, Fielding % wise, in baseball. They will be without their 2nd baseman and leadoff man Akanori Iwamura for the final two games of the series. Carlos Pena is expected to return the day after the Rays end their series with the Cubs
- Game 1- Ryan Dempster vs. Scott Kazmir. For as good as Ryan Dempster has been for the Cubs this season, Scott Kazmir has been better. He is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA .97 WHIP and he just happens to have given up 1 ER in 26.0 IP for a 4-0 record and .35 ERA. But he does happen to be coming off of a loss. Reed Johnson is 8-31 with 1 HR against him. Dempster will look to get his first road win, although he's been better on the road ERA-wise this season. No Ray has seen him more than 4 times.
- Game 2- Carlos Zambrano vs. Andy Sonnanstine. Sonnanstine has been the Rays worst starter this season, and has been worse at home (5.36 ERA). He doesn't walk many but gives up a lot of hits, 8 or more in 6 out of his last 7. He hasn't gotten a win since May 16th. There's not much to say about Z, even though he has been worse on the road this season. Gabe Gross is 2-9 against him, Cliff Floyd 2-7, but they have 9 combined BBs.
- Game 3- Sean Gallagher vs. James Shields. Shields returns from his suspension just in time to face the Cubs...great. He's been great at home this season (1.72 ERA). He's coming off of 2 straight bad loses, but the Rays have lost only 1 game he's started at home all season. Sean Gallagher continues to improve with every start, but is still worse on the road. No Ray has ever seen him.
The Cubs then return to the friendly confines to face the White Sox. The Cubs tooke 5 out of 6 against their crosstown rivals last season. The Sox are 38-31, 17-20 on the road, but they have lost 5 out of their last 6 games against teams with below .500 records. They have the best ERA in baseball. The White Sox could be without 1b Paul Konerko after he strained a muscle near his rib cage before Sunday's game.
- Game 4- Jason Marquis vs. Jon Danks. The Cubs have won 4 out of the last 5 of Marquis' starts and he hasn't given up more than 3 runs since May 13th. He's pretty bad at home (5.13 ERA) and Orlando Cabrera (8-20), Jim Thome (5-13 1 HR), Paul Konerko (3-7 1 HR) and Joe Crede (3-6 2 HRs) hit him well. Danks has a 1.72 ERA on the road this season and threw 6 scoreless innings last time out. No Cub has ever seen him.
- Game 5- Ted Lilly vs. Jose Contreras. Lilly will look to repeat his last 1-hitter. He's 4-2 at home and the Cubs have won his last 5 home starts. Toby Hall (9-22 1 HR), Nick Swisher (5-15 2 HRs) and Paul Konerko (6-21 3 HRs) hit him well. Contreas is coming off a beating against the Tigers and is a worse pitcher on the road. Aramis Ramirez (5-11 3 HRs) and Alfonso Soriano (unfortunatly) crush him.
- Game 6- Ryan Dempster vs. Javier Vasquez. The Cubs haven't lost a game Dempster has started at home all season. Orlando Cabrera (9-28) and A.J. Pierzynski (3-4 1 HR) hit him well. Vasquez has a 4.11 ERA on the road and a 4.63 ERA in night games. He's coming off of 2 straight bad starts. Derrek Lee (16-44 3 HRs), Mark DeRosa (6-19 1 HR) and Jim Edmonds (8-17 2 HRs) have hit him well.
Prediction: This is hard. The Cubs face some very hard pitching matchups so I'm going to have to say that they lose 2 out of 3 to the Rays, winning the middle game. Then they take 2 out of 3 from the White Sox, losing the 1st game. Derrek Lee hits 3 HRs.