Struggling Pitchers Meet

Jason Marquis hasn't won in more than a month. Jeff Weaver wishes he was having even that kind of success this season.

The struggling pitchers, both members of last year's World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals club, will be on the mound Thursday afternoon when the Chicago Cubs finish a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field.

Oddsmakers have made Chicago -155 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at NL total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 71% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -155 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Marquis (5-3, 3.01 ERA) was arguably the Cubs' best starter earlier this season, going 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his first seven starts. He hasn't been nearly as effective lately, however, struggling to an 0-2 record and 5.10 ERA in his past six outings.

The right-hander, who hasn't won since May 9, lasted a season-low 1 2-3 innings Saturday in a 9-5 loss at Atlanta, giving up six runs, four hits and three walks.

After winning the 2006 World Series clincher with the Cardinals, Weaver (0-6, 12.46) is in the midst of an awful season for Seattle.

He spent nearly a month on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis after losing his first six outings, getting activated in time to start against the Padres on Saturday.

The right-hander lasted only four innings in that game before leaving with stiffness in his lower back. He did, however, limit San Diego to two runs - one earned - on two hits while retiring the final 11 batters he faced.

"It was a positive outing and we'll continue to move on from here," Weaver said. "Baby steps. We'll get back in the swing of things shortly."

Weaver is 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.

Sean Marshall pitched eight strong innings and Mike Fontenot delivered a two-run single Wednesday, as the Cubs (29-35) snapped the Mariners' season-high five-game win streak with a 3-2 victory.

Winning a close game was particularly important for Chicago, which improved to 5-13 - still the worst record in the majors - in one-run games.

Fontenot's hit came with the bases loaded, another area where the Cubs have struggled. They were 0-for-5 with the bases full in Tuesday's loss, and entered Wednesday batting an NL-worst .203 in that situation.

Fontenot, called up from the minors on Saturday, is batting .429 (9-for-21) in seven games this season with the major league club.

"I'm trying to stay with the same approach, I'm not trying to change anything," Fontenot said on the Cubs' official Web site. "Maybe I need to be a little more selective, I've swung at a few pitches up in the zone. But I've been swinging the bat pretty well."

After winning five straight road games in their final at-bat, the Mariners went quietly in the ninth inning Wednesday against Ryan Dempster and suffered the first loss of their current trip.

Seattle (35-27) lost for only the second time in 11 games overall and dropped to 18-14 on the road.

It was difficult day all around for the Mariners. Second baseman Jose Lopez found out in the afternoon that his 28-year-old brother had died.

Lopez said a motorcycle was involved in his brother's death but didn't reveal specifics.

His father told him to play, so he did.

"He was a good man,'' said Lopez, with tears welling in his eyes.

Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Suzuki, who hit in 25 straight earlier this season, is batting .405 (17-for-42) with seven RBIs during the current run.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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