Gorzelanny pumped for start at Wrigley

Gorzelanny pumped for start at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Many times when he was with the Pirates, Tom Gorzelanny would walk back to the clubhouse after a defeat and hear the fans singing, "Go, Cubs, Go," like they do after every Cubs victory.

"You hear that song and everyone screaming that song, and it's not a fun thing," Gorzelanny said. "But it's going to be a lot more fun being on the home side."

Gorzelanny will have a chance to hear the song in a new light Saturday, when he makes his first start at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs. He will be pitching against Pittsburgh, which dealt him to Chicago on July 30.

Since then, Gorzelanny has made two starts on the road, with drastically different results.

After beating the Reds on Aug. 4, Gorzelanny was shaky against Colorado six days later. He took a line drive off his right foot, which was bruised, but he has improved steadily since, and Gorzelanny proclaimed himself ready.

"We need him to go," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's walking around much better now. It'll be a challenge for him against his old team."

Gorzelanny also believes that will be the case, even though the Pirates had lost 10 of 11 coming into the series.

"It's never a piece of cake with them," Gorzelanny said of his former club. "When I was there we always thought a lot of teams thought that about the Pirates, that they could just come in and sweep us, but there are some good players out there and they play hard. It's not going to be easy."

Gorzelanny, a Marist High School graduate who grew up a White Sox fan in Evergreen Park, Ill., does not think he will be nervous when he makes his Cubs debut at Wrigley Field. After all, he has pitched there as a visitor six times, including five starts.

Gorzelanny said the first time he pitched at Wrigley, he gave out about 40 tickets to friends and family. But he doesn't want to "play for free," so this time, he won't give too many away.

Gorzelanny's immediate family will be there, but what about his extended family?

"I told them, 'I'd like you to be here, but go to Ticketmaster or something,'" Gorzelanny said.

Pitching matchup
CHC: LHP Tom Gorzelanny (4-2, 6.23 ERA)
Gorzelanny had a strong first outing for the Cubs after a July 30 trade from Pittsburgh, pitching 7 1/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball against the Reds. His second time out couldn't have been much different, as he was touched for six runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings. He left the game after suffering a contusion on his right foot when it was struck by a hard-hit ball in the second inning, but X-rays showed no fracture.

PIT: LHP Zach Duke (9-10, 3.40 ERA)
In his fourth go at getting his 10th win of the year, Duke was denied the victory by his own defense and bullpen. Duke left his last start after 7 1/3 innings, having given up two runs, one earned. He left on a runner, who would eventually score, charging Duke with two earned runs allowed in the start. He has pitched at least six innings in 16 of his past 17 starts. Duke is 3-3 with a 3.19 ERA in six career starts at Wrigley Field.

Tidbits
The Cubs are 25-17 with Aramis Ramirez starting at third base and 34-38 without him. ... Catcher Koyie Hill had never hit a triple in the Major Leagues until July 26, and then he hit his second one in 19 games Friday. ... Outfielder Kyler Burke had a big game for Class A Peoria on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with two home runs. Burke, a former first-round Draft pick of San Diego acquired by the Cubs as part of a trade for Michael Barrett two years ago, is hitting .305 with an .882 OPS for the Chiefs this season. ... South Korean shortstop Hak-Ju Lee continued his hot hitting for Class A Boise with two hits, a home run and three RBIs on Thursday. Lee is hitting .314 with an .808 OPS this season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN

On radio
• WGN 720

Up next
• Sunday: Cubs (Rich Harden, 7-7, 4.30) vs. Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf, 10-8, 4.30), 1:20 p.m. CT
• Monday: Cubs (Ted Lilly, 9-7, 3.59) at Padres (Kevin Correia, 8-9, 4.51), 9:05 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 6-6, 4.23) at Padres (Cesar Carrillo, 0-1, 30.86), 9:05 p.m. CT

Andrew Simon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.