|Game Time||Television||2006 Cubs||2006 Marlins||Series|
|8:05 EDT||Comcast||11-7||5-12||Cubs 1-0|
Scouting Report on Dontrelle Willis
While the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field might scare most pitchers, Willis has no problem there. He is 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA in four career appearances in Chicago. He logged both wins last season, including a 2-1 nail-biter in which he allowed six hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings. (MLB.com)
Many predicted it would be easier to hit Willis with each successive turn through the league, and that proved to be at least somewhat true. He began the year seeking to smooth out his herky-jerky delivery, but eventually realized that the added deception of his impossibly high leg kick was something he simply could not sacrifice. Willis still dominated lefties, but righthanders fared almost 40 points better against him in his second season. Part of the problem was Willis’ difficulties in improving his average changeup. He still relied almost exclusively on an 89-92 MPH fastball that he must locate to have success. His slider is a plus pitch, but he must get to two strikes for it to be most effective. He rarely throws the slider for strikes.
Willis is such a good hitter that Marlins manager Jack McKeon used him as a pinch-hitter nine times in 2004. He generates surprising bat speed and managed four extra-base hits with his take-no-prisoners plate approach. Willis has a decent pickoff move but could stand improvement in that area. Very athletic, he made numerous leaping plays on the mound and pounces on sacrifice bunts quickly enough to gun down lead runners. (Fox Sports)
Wind: 15 MPH in from CF
- Jerry Hairston will get the start at 2b in tonight and tomorrows game. There is no word on where he’ll bat in the lineup, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be the 8th spot as long as Barrett is catching. If Blanco is behind the plate, he may bat 7th. I say that because so far, Dusty seems to like the production from Cedeno in the 2nd spot. He’s laid down sac bunts and played pretty well. I’d like to see him steal a little more.
- No one beside Jerry Hairston and Michael Barrett have seen much of Dontrelle Willis. Hairston and Barrett each have at least 10 Ab’s in their career. Everyone else has very few. That could mean bad things for the first time through the lineup. Hopefully Juan Pierre has some success having seen a lot of Willis in the past and can impart that knowledge to the Cub hitters.
- Angel Guzman is scheduled to make his first big league start tomorrow in the series finale as long as his arm doesn’t fall off from now until game time.
- Friday the Cubs will celebrate Babe Ruth’s called shot by giving away 100 road 1932 Babe Ruth jerseys. It’s seems kind of stupid to give away jerseys from another team at your game, but whatever works, I guess.
- Augie Ojeda, who is playing SS at Round Rock had to pitch an inning of relief work the other day.
Player to watch
I look for Juan Pierre to have a couple of hits tonight off his buddy Dontrelle. He’s seen him before and should know what to expect.