36-21 2.5 GMs ahead of Cardinals
The Week that was:
- Game 1: Ryan Dempster pitches 7 IP, allows only 1 ER and Ks 3. Bob Howry and Kerry Wood close the door, Wood getting his 11th SV. Derrek Lee hits his 12th HR in the first, scoring Ryan Theriot. Aramis Ramirez gives the Cubs the lead in the 8th with a solo shot off of Scott Procter, his 9th. Cubs win 3-1
- Game 2: Another 7 IP, 1 ER 3 K preformence this time by Sean Gallagher, his best start of the season. Hiroki Kuroda kept the Cubs in check until the 7th, when they scored 2 unearned runs. Carlos Marmol struggled, walking 2 and throwing 28 pitches, but didn't allow a run. Kerry Wood came on for his 12th SV of the year. Cubs win 3-1
- Game 3: This is a game the Cubs shouldn't have won. Carlos Zambrano didn't have very sharp control, but he ended up going 8 giving up 1 ER. Jose Ascanio pitched a scoreless inning, his last before being sent back down to Iowa for Neil Cotts. Derek Lowe shut down the Cubs offense for 7 IP. But the Cubs were able to capitalize of the wildness of rusty close Takashi Saito with a Geovany Soto sac fly. Alfonso Soriano finished the game in the 10th, where following a Mike Fontenot double, he singled off of Chan Ho Park for the victory. Cubs win 2-1 in 10.
- Game 4: Cubs got off to an early 2-0 lead, which included Lee's 13th HR of the season. Then a combination of Jason Marquis, Cotts and Michael Wuertz gave up the lead. Marquis ended up going 5.1 IP with 3 ER. But the Cubs scored 2 in the 7th, and 3 in the 8th, including an Alfonso Soriano 2-run single. Marmol and Wood pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. Cubs win 8-4
- Game 5: Ted Lilly did not have his control on this day. With the wind blowing out, Lilly gave up 7 Rs (4 ER) in 3 IP. Lou even replaced Lee and Soto with Micah Hoffpauir and Henry Blanco because he figured the game was out of reach. But it wasn't. The Cubs ended up scoring 3 runs in the 6th, and 6 runs in the 7th to take the lead. Kosuke Fukudome (3), Henry Blanco (1), Mark DeRosa (5) and even Jim Edmonds hit HRs, Edmonds' first as a Cub. Eyre got the win (2-0), Marmol the H (16) and Wood the SV (13). Cubs win 10-9
- Game 6: Ryan Dempster didn't throw his best game (5 IP 3 ER 7 SO 4 BB) but the offense, lead by Soriano (his 12th HR and 3 RBIS) was plenty. Wuertz, Cotts and Howry all went scoreless and Marmol picked up his 3rd SV, despite surrendering a HR to Scott Podsednik
- Game 7: It wasn't Sean Gallagher's best start, but he was plenty effective. Despite surrendering 3 runs in 5.2 IP, he struck out 8, his career high. Soriano hit his 14th HR of the season, but the offensive star of the game was Jim Edmonds. Edmonds went 2-3 with a double, triple and 2 RBIs. Not too shaby for a guy I thought was completely done. He has altered his swing so he's getting more power. So now when he hits all those flyballs, they go over the outfielders heads instead of into their gloves. Wuertz was wild and failed to record an out. But Eyre, Howry and Wood finished the game without damage. Wood recorded his 14th SV. And Bob Howry is starting to locate well and build back up his velocity, which with him as an effective late inning option, Marmol should face less work.
My Prediction: Well I said 6-1, they went 7-0. I'll take being wrong on that. Aramis didn't have quite the week i predicted but still hit very well.
A little bit of history: This was the first sweep of a 7 game homestand since 1970, they've held leads in 23 straight games and had their largest comeback since 1989.
The Week that will be:
- Game 1 Cubs travel to Petco to face the Padres. The leagues best pitcher (highest VORP) Zambrano gets to pitch in the best pitchers park and against Cha Seung Baek. Baek is a spot start for Shawn Estes, who broke his hand falling down the stairs. Baek was traded from the Mariners earlier in the season, he has a 5.23 ERA in 31.0 IP with 1 start. Reed Johnson is 2-5 with an RBI against him. Zambrano is coming off of 2 straight very effective starts and had a 7 IP 3 ER start vs. the Padres earlier in the year. He hasn't given up a single run in his last 2 Petco starts and the only Padre hitter who has had any success against him is former Cub Jody Gerut (1-2 1 HR). Khalil Greene, Brian Giles, and Tad Iguchi are a combined 6-46 with 15 Ks against Z.
- Game 2 Jason Marquis vs. Wilfredo Ledezma Jason Marquis looks to win his first start agains a team not named the Pirates and he did suffer a loss against the Padres earlier in the year. He's 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA in the last 3 years in Petco. Iguchi and recently activated former Cub Michael Barrett hit him well. Ledezma is making his 5th start in relief of the injured Jake Peavy. He did have a 3 ER 1.2 IP outing in relief of Peavy earlier in the year. Soto has a HR in his only AB against him, and he has a 4.29 ERA in Petco this season
- Game 3 Ted Lilly vs Greg Maddux. Maddux is very tough at home (1.84 ERA) and the Padres have won the last 3 games he's started. The last game of his that they didn't win was a 4 R 11 H preformence on May 15th. Aramis Ramirez and Henry Blanco hit him well. Lilly is coming off of 2 straight mediocure games. Although he did have a 11 K win against the Padres earlier in the year. He's never had a start in Petco, but I'd imagion it's a park very well suited towards him. Iguchi has hit him well (4-12 2 HRs)
- Game 4 Ryan Dempster vs. Chad Billingsley. This is the first of 3 games that in LA fashion have the same script, different location (and hopefully same ending). Billingsley, despite the QS lost his outing against the Cubs. He has a 3.68 home ERA. Dempster, as previously noted, won his start against the Dodgers. Andre Either (4-8 1 HR) and Juan Pierre (5-9) hit him well.
- Game 5 Sean Gallagher vs. Hiroki Kuroda. Gallagher will look to continue to cement his spot in the rotation. 3 out of his last 4 starts have been good, including a very effective outing vs. the Dodgers (see above). Kuroda had a very nice outing, which turned out to be a loss, against the Cubs earlier this week. He has a 3.90 ERA at home.
- Game 6 Carlos Zambrano vs. Derek Lowe. Lowe has been much better at home this season (3.45 ERA as compared to a 5.40 ERA on the road). He had a very nice no decision against the Cubs last week, and Derrek Lee hits him well (10-25 1 HR). Zambrano will look to continue his dominance in Dodger Stadium (1-0 1.25 ERA in 3 starts). Russel Martin hits him well (5-9)
- Game 7 Jason Marquis vs. Brad Penny Marquis has one 8 IP 0 R preformence in Dodger Stadium in the last 3 years. Thankfully Andrew Jones is on the DL, because he absolutely murders him (9-12 5 HR 14 RBIs 2.833 OPS). Jeff Kent is the only healthy Dodger who hits him well (8-19). Penny has struggled this season (5.66 ERA) and has recorded a QS since April 26th. He has a 5.44 ERA at home Ramirez (9-23) and Lee (5-11 3 2b) hit him well. This is the Sunday night ESPN game
Prediction: 5-2 Cubs lose the final games of both series. Zambrano improves to 9-1, Dempster, Gallagher and Howry get the other 3 wins. Lee, Soriano and Ramirez all hit 2 HRs.