In recent years, the Cubs have not had many postponements on the road. The reason for this should be fairly easy to figure out: they play anywhere from 15-18 games a year in domed stadiums (Houston, Milwaukee, Arizona) and nine or ten more in California, where rainouts are rare. That's 24-28 games, about 1/3 of the road schedule, played in cities where they are almost guaranteed to play.
The last road postponements before the June 4 game in Atlanta that is being made up tonight -- and I use the plural for a good reason -- were September 3, 4 and 5, 2004, in Miami against the Marlins, due to Hurricane Frances. One of those games was played September 10 in Chicago as part of a doubleheader, and the other two were played as another doubleheader in Miami on September 20. (The Marlins then had two more games against the Expos in Miami postponed the following week because of another hurricane, Ivan, and since they were already in Chicago, played two games vs. the Expos at the Cell.)
While there is a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the Atlanta area tonight, that's not atypical for this time of year and they'll do their best to get the game in, although the Cubs have to fly out to Detroit right after it is over.And that's when the Cubs begin their six-game interleague road swing. Here are Lou's lineup plans:
His plan is to use Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir in the DH role or at first base or in the outfield if Milton Bradley or Derrek Lee takes the DH spot.
Piniella plans to rest Ryan Theriot and possibly Bradley and Alfonso Soriano against the Braves.
Bradley is most familiar with the DH role, having done it with the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers. Last season with the Rangers, Bradley was the DH in 106 of his 126 games.
Soriano has played in 63 of the Cubs' 66 games but continues to slump at the plate, going 5-for-35 (.143) on the homestand. He has been bothered almost all season by a sore left knee.
In fact, that's exactly what Lou has done tonight. Lineup via Twittermyer:
Theriot, ss; Fukudome, cf; Fox, lf; Lee, 1b; Hoffpauir, rf; Soto, c; Fontenot, 3b; Blanco, 2b; Dempster, p
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Ryan Dempster||4-4||14||14||0||0||0||0||87.1||77||42||38||10||35||72||3.92||1.28|
|2009 - Javier Vazquez||4-6||14||14||1||0||0||0||92.1||75||38||35||10||18||112||3.41||1.01|
Derrek Lee is hot right now and so facing Javier Vazquez is excellent news. D-Lee pounds him -- 20-for-50 (.400) with seven doubles, three HR and 16 RBI. Other Cubs, not so much, except Alfonso Soriano has also homered off him. Career-wise, Vazquez has been hit pretty hard by Cubs teams -- 3-4 in 16 lifetime starts with a 5.17 ERA. He throws strikes -- is tied for the NL lead in K's with Tim Lincecum -- and doesn't walk people (only 18) so this game should, at least, move along.
Ryan Dempster had been pretty good about limiting his walks this year, until his last outing vs. the White Sox where he walked six. His career numbers vs. Atlanta are poor -- a 5.31 ERA in 25 appearances (14 starts). A lot of that was from his time in the NL East with the Marlins, when Atlanta hammered him several times. He does pretty well vs. current Braves; only Chipper Jones and Nate McLouth have homered off him. His last start vs. the Braves was an excellent one: a complete-game win on June 11, 2008, with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
Today is a cable-only event: SportSouth in the Atlanta area, CSN Chicago for us locals, and on Extra Innings. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
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