Los Angeles (76-67) at Chicago (57-87)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue Sep 12, 2006
  • TV: FSPT, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers look to solidify their hold on first place in the NL West when they send red-hot Derek Lowe to the mound against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

Lowe (14-8, 3.64 ERA) has won his last five decisions and is 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA over his last nine appearances—eight starts. He pitched eight innings in a 2-1 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday, allowing one unearned run and three hits.

“Anything you said about this game outside of talking about Derek Lowe’s performance would be secondary,” manager Grady Little said.

Lowe’s sinker has been at it most effective of late, as he induced 20 groundball outs against the Brewers. He’s relied heavily on the pitch as he’s held opponents to six earned runs in his last six starts.

“The bottom falls out of it,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “It just disappears. You just pound it into the ground.”

Lowe is 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs. He allowed one run and five hits in seven innings against them in a 2-1 win April 18, but didn’t get the decision.

The Dodgers (76-67) split a four-game series with the New York Mets over the weekend, taking Sunday’s finale 9-1. Starter Eric Stults allowed one run and two hits in six innings while Nomar Garciaparra went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer to lift Los Angeles.

Garciaparra is making his first trip back to Wrigley Field since he signed with the Dodgers after the 2005 season. The first baseman, who played third base and shortstop during his year-plus stint with the Cubs, batted .289 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 105 games for Chicago. He’s batting .309 with 17 homers and 80 RBIs in 106 games this season.

Los Angeles has a 1 1/2 -game lead in the NL West over San Diego, which begins a three-game series against Cincinnati on Tuesday.

With a victory Tuesday, Lowe would be the second Dodgers pitcher with 15 wins this season, matching Brad Penny.

The Cubs (57-87) will hand the ball to Sean Marshall (5-9, 5.27), who has struggled since coming off the disabled list at the beginning of September. The rookie left-hander, who missed more than a month with a strained left oblique, is winless in his last four starts with a 7.58 ERA. He failed to pitch six innings in any of those games.

Marshall lasted just four innings Thursday against Pittsburgh, allowing five runs and seven hits in a 7-5 loss.

In Marshall’s only start against the Dodgers on April 19, he limited them to two runs and two hits in five innings, but didn’t get the decision in Chicago’s 5-4 win.

Chicago avoided the first season series sweep by Atlanta in franchise history with an 8-3 win Monday. Derrek Lee homered twice and drove in four runs for the Cubs, whose eight runs were the most they’ve scored since a nine-run effort Aug. 30.

“We swung the bat as well as we have in a long time,” starter Rich Hill said.

Lee is 7-for-14 with a homer and six strikeouts against Lowe.

The Cubs are 5-19 over their last 24 games. They took two of three from the Dodgers in April.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe Tex vs. S. Marshall Cin
16-8 Record 6-9
3.63 ERA 5.59
123 K 77
55 BB 59
1.27 WHIP 1.52

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Sep 12