Game Preview: Cubs (19-23) @ Rangers (24-18)
First things first:
Earlier this afternoon, the Cubs officially signed 36-year-old Bob Howry, demoted Justin Berg to Iowa, and designated David Patton for assignment.
Howry has been well analyzed here and elsewhere, but just in case you've missed it...
The now-ex-former-Cub appeared in 14 games for the Diamondbacks before his recent release, was scored upon in 8, and was cut loose by the D-Backs with an ERA of 10.67 and 6 home runs allowed in just 14 1/3 innings pitched. He was coming off a decent season last year in San Francisco, where he had a 3.39 ERA, a 2:1 K/BB ratio, and allowed fewer home runs in 63 IP (5) than he did in just a few weeks this season in Arizona. (Park effects at work, both ways, maybe?)
As for the game tonight...
The Cubs open the interleague portion of their 2010 schedule—which matches them with teams from the A.L West in addition to the home-and-home series with the White Sox—in Arlington, Texas against the AL West-leading Rangers. A coming home for Marlon Byrd and Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.
The teams have met six times before, with the Rangers winning four of the six.
Since interleague play began 13 years ago, the Cubs are 90-97 against AL clubs. They have not had a winning interleague record since '07.
Fukudome 9, Theriot 4, Lee 3, Soriano 7, Byrd 8, Fontenot 5, Nady DH, Soto 2, Castro 6
Aramis Ramirez sits again, and if I'm reading Baseball-Reference.com correctly, Soriano is hitting clean-up for the first time ever as a Cub.
Andrus 6, Young 5, Kinsler 4, Guerrero DH, Hamilton 8, Cruz 9, Murphy 7, Smoak 3, M. Ramirez 2
Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65) v. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68)
Lewis is winless in his last four starts, though mixed in there was a damn impressive ND against Cliff Lee and the Mariners, in which Lewis blanked Seattle for 9 innings in a game the Rangers ultimately won in 12 innings, 2-0. Overall, Lewis has gotten Cub-like support from his mates, who have scored just four runs for him in his last 27 innings pitched.
Lilly is coming off an ND against the Pirates (7IP, 6H, 3ER). He last pitched against the Rangers when the Cubs were in Texas back on June 21, 2007. In that game, Lilly spotted the Rangers a 5-0 lead but the Cubs came back to tie the game at 5-5 with a rally of their own. Lilly wound up with an ND and the Cubs wound up with a loss when Frank Catalanotto smacked a run-scoring, game-winning, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth against...
Among Cub regulars, only Marlon Byrd (4 AB's) and Alfonso Soriano (7 AB's) have ever faced Lewis. Soriano is 4-for-7 against him with three singles and a double, all when Fonsie was a Yankee.
The Rangers haven't seen much of Lilly either. Vlad Guerrero is 3-for-11 with 3K's (though 2 HR) against the Cub lefty and Ian Kinsler is just 2-for-9.
The Rangers have won six in a row at home and are 11-1 in Arlington in the month of May. The Cubs have lost 11 of the last 12 games they've played on AL fields.