Series Preview: Cubs/Rangers

Those lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs, make their first ever regular season visit to Arlington beginning Tuesday night. Lone Star Dugout breaks down the pitching matchups this three game series has in store.

Cubs (31-37) at Rangers (26-43)

Tuesday, 7:35 PM: Sean Marshall (3-2, 2.12 ERA) vs. TEX: RHP Robinson Tejeda (5-7, 6.49 ERA)

Robinson Tejeda has yet to show very many signs of squelching whatever bugaboo it is he's somehow acquired on the mound. With a .323 average, left-handed batters continue to be a source of chaos when they're facing him. He also hasn't shown the ability to get out of an inning blemish-free when there's runners in scoring position. With 23 walks and 23 strikeouts over his last seven starts, it's become painfully obvious that his control has also vanished. After his latest poor outing, in which Tejeda allowed four runs on seven hits in just four innings, it has to make you wonder how much longer the Rangers can stomach watching him struggling mightily on the mound.

After a poor first season in the majors in 2006, the Sean Marshall of this year has been a real gem for the Chicago Cubs . He's posted quality starts in each of his first five games since being called up to the majors on May 22nd and would probably be undefeated if Chicago gave the lefty a little more run support. Unlike his counterpart on the hill tonight, he's been tough as nails when the opposition has runners in scoring position and has held batters to a .216 average. Marshall is coming off an outing against the Mariners last week in which he needed a swift 94 pitches to make it through eight innings of work to pick up the win.

Wednesday, 7:35 PM: Jason Marquis (5-3, 3.14) vs. Kameron Loe (2-6, 6.56)
After a bullpen session during a brief demotion to Triple-A, Kameron Loe was called back up last week and ended up the winner for only the second time this season. In the victory, he struck out seven, and was able to hold the Pirates scoreless over eight innings of work.. It was also encouraging to see Loe, usually not a stranger to the big inning, only allow two base runners the entire night. With Brandon McCarthy still on the shelf due to blister issues, Loe will get tonight's start and possibly one more to prove he's a changed man. If he is, the Rangers will definitely find a way to keep him in the starting rotation.

By looking at the record of Jason Marquis, you probably couldn't tell that he hasn't won a game since May 9th. But he's been finding ways to get into trouble spots during games and hasn't been able to rebound once he's there. Take for example his last start against the Mariners: Marquis made it through the first five innings giving up only one hit. Then in the sixth, he hit a batter, walked two, and served up a bases-clearing double to Raul Ibanez. Just like that, a beautifully looking outing turned into a hole he couldn't dig out of. Another problem area for him as of late has been walks: Marquis has issued eight free passes so far this month.

Thursday, 1:05 PM: Ted Lilly (5-4, 3.69) vs. Vicente Padilla (3-8, 6.57)
It was another wretched looking outing by a starting pitcher last week when Vicente Padilla was torched for six runs and 12 hits over five innings of work against the Reds. The only difference is - he won. Sammy Sosa's grand slam proved to be the boost the Rangers needed to avoid Padilla sending himself to another loss. With that victory, the Rangers "improved" to a record of 3-11 with Padilla on the hill. But sadly, the Reds really had no trouble at all hitting him hard. Home seems to be where the heart is for Padilla this season. His record there is below .500 at 2-3, but his earned run average in the home park sits at a much more respectable 3.93.

Coming into last week, Ted Lilly had allowed 17 runs pitched himself a very rotund 8.82 earned run average over his past three appearances. But then, just an inning into his outing against the Braves two weeks ago, Lilly was tossed in the first inning after hitting Edgar Renteria of the Braves. But Lilly followed up that early exit by limiting the Padres to one run over eight innings in his next start. The win was his first since May 18th, which is defiantly not a stat you should take too much stock into - Lilly's been a dynamo pitcher and a great free agent pickup for most of the year.

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