Sunday, July 03, 2005

Preview of Sunday's Games (7/3)

Nationals @ Chicago Cubs
Game Time: 2:20 p.m.
Location: Wrigley Field

WAS: 49-31 (1st in NL East, 5.5 ahead of Atlanta)
CHC: 43-36 (2nd in NL Central, 9.5 behind St. Louis)

Pitching Match-up
WAS: Ryan Drese (6-7, 5.68 ERA) Throws Right
CHC: Carlos Zambrano (5-4, 3.93 ERA) Throws Right

The Nationals go for their 50th win of the season, their sixth straight, and a three game sweep of the Chicago Cubs today.

For Washington, Ryan Drese looks for a second straight quality start this afternoon, something he as not accomplished all season. He has had two wins for the Nats since being claimed off waivers from Texas, but sandwiched between those wins was an eight hit, five run performance in which he lasted only three innings. In the two wins, he has pitched a total of 16 innings and gave up only one run.

The Cubs will go with Carlos Zambrano, who is coming off an eight inning, three hit performance against Milwaukee on June 28.

ESPN's Baseball Tonight reported that the fastest team in franchise history to make it to 50 wins was the Expos who reached the mark on June 6, 1994. That, of course, was the team that was in first when the strike canceled the playoffs.

Cleveland Indians @ Orioles
Game Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

CLE: 43-36 (3rd in AL Central, 11 behind Chicago)
BAL: 43-36 (2nd in AL East, 2.5 behind Boston, 3.5 ahead of New York)

Pitching Match-up
CLE: Cliff Lee (8-3, 3.56 ERA) Throws Left
BAL: Sidney Ponson (7-5, 5.35 ERA) Throws Right

The Orioles look for a series split when they face Cleveland this evening, which would also give the O's consecutive wins for the first time in two weeks.

The Orioles send Sidney Ponson to the mound, who struggled early in his last outing, giving up four runs before settling down to handcuff the Yankees for the rest of the game. That was the game in which Brian Roberts hit a 10th inning walkoff homer to win, 5-4. Ponson has never beat Cleveland, going 0-6 against them in 10 starts.

The Indians turn to lefthander Cliff Lee, who has had an excellent season but got blown up by the Boston Red Sox in his last start to the tune of five runs in 5.1 innings.

Melvin Mora will be back in the lineup for the Orioles -- one day earlier than had been thought as recently as yesterday -- which the O's hope will prove to be a spark for their offense. Baltimore went 2-8 in Mora's absence.

AP reported on July 1 that the Orioles sent rookie Hayden Penn (2-2, 6.75 ERA) to the minors and will go with a four pitcher rotation until the All-Star break, when they hope Erik Bedard will return.

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