Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 04/13/11

Game Twelve: Cubs (5-6) vs. Astros (3-8)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 5.25/1.50) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-1, 6.55/1.64)

The Cubs need for Carlos Zambrano to step up tonight and put together his best outing of the young season. Z has been okay over his first two starts but after Tuesday’s debacle, a long, effective outing from Zambrano would go a long way into Thursday’s off day.

Before the season began many felt the Cubs rotation would be one of the strengths of the team … and 11 games in, it has not been. Q’s rotation has not posted a quality start (at least six innings with no more than three earned runs allowed) since Randy Wells on April 4.

With the uncertainty behind the top three in the rotation, it is time for Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster to give a little stability to a staff in need of quality innings.

Following Tuesday’s game, Mike Quade said he’s not sure who will take the ball when the fifth spot in the rotation comes back around on either Monday or Tuesday against the Padres at Wrigley. The recently signed Ramon Ortiz could be an option.

Quade mentioned Tuesday he’s toying with the idea of starting Jeff Baker at first base tonight against the lefty, Wandy Rodriguez. Carlos Pena is struggling, Baker hits southpaws and Quade likes what he’s seen from Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney at the top of the lineup. Reed Johnson is expected to start tonight in right field.

The Cubs must start hitting the baseball with runners on base … but tonight it all begins with Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano is coming off his first win of the season. Z was not that good and not that bad against the Brewers, he did just enough to pick up a win. Zambrano allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts to Milwaukee.

Zambrano has been decent in his first two outings of the year but his teammates need a little more from him tonight.

Big Z is 14-8 in 31 career games, 29 starts, versus the Astros with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP … 8-4 in 17 games, 15 starts, at Minute Maid with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. Z was 1-1 against Carlos Lee and company in two starts last year with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Michael Bourn – 6-for-16 with a double and 5 walks
  • Bill Hall – 8-for-41 with 2 doubles, 2 triples and 6 walks
  • Joe Inglett – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Carlos Lee – 22-for-58 with 6 doubles, five home runs and seven walks
  • Hunter Pence – 5-for-25 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
  • Humberto Quintero – 1-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Wandy Rodriguez – 1-for-4
  • Angel Sanchez – 0-for-3
  • Brett Wallace – 1-for-3 with a double

Wandy Rodriguez has been very bad and very good in his two starts this season. The Phillies torched Wandy in his first start of the season (seven runs on nine hits in four innings with a walk and five strikeouts) then Rodriguez held the Marlins to one run on eight hits in seven innings with no walks and two strikeouts.

Rodriguez has been very good at home throughout his career, which does not bode well for the Cubs tonight.

Rodriguez struggled early his career against the Cubs but has dominated them in recent seasons. In 16 starts, Rodriguez is 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … last year, 1-0 in three starts with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 5-for-11 with 3 doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-3
  • Marlon Byrd – 5-for-22 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-6 with a home run
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a triple
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-20 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-34 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-26 with 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 5-for-14 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Carlos Zambrano – 2-for-9 with a double and a home run

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …


  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Baker – 1B
    Soto – C
    Soriano – LF
    Colvin – RF
    Zambrano – P

  • paulcatanese

    Rough two nights for the Cubs. Still trying to figure out where the Astros are supposed to be worse than the Cubs. Judging by the first two games that were close (1st one) I really don’t know that can be And the same could be said for the Pirates. Unless te Cubs get off the stick,they very well could find themselves behind both. As everyone knows this is the easy part of their schedule and they certainly not taken advantage of that. So far the Pena experiment has not worked out, and the book is still out on Garza,granted the defense has hurt tremendously to this junction, and with the lack of speed and total disregard of fundementals (something that Quade had supposedly stressed even before ST) I do not envision the future to be bright at all. Ricketts must take control over JH,and JH must take control over Quade and get things on the right track. Have some vision gentlemen, and do the right thing, or the stands will become vacant sooner than later.

  • paulcatanese

    What ever happened to pitching every fourth day? The pitchers today only go five to six innings and are on a pitch count, are they that out of condition that they need to go every fifth day? How about a spot starter every so often and go the every fourth day. Bring back the “Spahn and Sain,and a day of rain”. They could not be worse than they are now as far as freshness goes.

    • SuzyS

      Paul, We don’t have Spahn and Sain….Actually, with the exception of the disturbing injury to Cashner…the season is going just about the way I thought it would. While the old 4 man rotation should work…there are plenty of reasons why it never happen again….
      1) Players Association
      2)Accepted practices of the competition….people scream bloody blue murder against a management we already consider fairly inept….
      3)Why not bring back the College of Coaches???? It might work just about as well as a 4 man rotation.
      4)Imagine the pure stat heads with the pitch counts of a 4 man rotation???
      Dusty Baker would be relieved….there would be someone else to blame for
      overworking pitchers.

      Pena has never been a .300 hitter….and may not even approach .250
      again…Hendry probably knew this when he signed him…This season,
      which is really about surviving all the mistakes of Hendry’s past, will be hard to stomach….but will be successful if we can identify and develop
      3 or 4 legitimate MLB players from our system….for future campaigns.

      While I thought Hendry overspent on Pena by 5-7 million, I don’t really
      mind him as a stopgap for a year. BUT, he is what he is….A mendoza
      line player.

      On the other hand, IMHO, I hated the Garza trade….we gave up one or 2 pieces more than we needed to….for basically a pitcher not as talented as Ted Lilly.

      I get the feeling that Hendry is now mailing it in….Like Pinella did last year.

      I still believe the best thing for this organization is a less than 70 win season….good changes might actually happen.

      • paulcatanese

        Suzy,you dont know Spahn and Sain? then you must be very young. I was using those two as an analogy only. I liked it a lot better when pitchers were more a part of the whole game and not on the pitch count that they are now .That was a very good post you put up.

    • Cheryl

      Wasn’t there a pitcher that said pitchers are more prone to be hurt pitching every five or six days as a starter then on the old four dya routine? Seems like I read that somewhere.

      • paulcatanese

        I don’t remember who said it,but I do remember that pitchers sometimes pitched the very next day. The thought process was that within the 24 hour period that the arm would not stiffen up to the point of damage. Also remember pitchers in the first game of a doubleheader pitching in the second game, but that was berfore all of the medical people said it ws not a good idea. I believe Aaron would have the correct medical name of the type of Doctor involved, seems to me it was something like kinetics or like that.

        • studio179

          Also remember pitchers in the first game of a doubleheader pitching in the second game, but that was berfore all of the medical people said it ws not a good idea. I believe Aaron would have the correct medical name of the type of Doctor involved, seems to me it was something like kinetics or like that.”

          Your comments are interesting. Could you please expand. Please share who says pitching back to back games at any level is a good idea. I never heard that approach as being the right one for pitchers.

          Thanks for your input.

    • Tony_Hall

      Paul – I can go the other way, though, and do a 6 man rotation. SP – Pitch once a week. No more 100 pitch, pitch counts, more like 120.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, thats fine with me, better yet hope these guys could go nine innings in 85-90 pitches.

      • studio179

        No offense or disrespect, but that idea has been floated for years. It does not hold up. Otherwise, teams would do it. No one does it.

  • Tom U

    Ramon Ortiz looks like he will be on schedule to take the fifth starter spot in the rotation, the next time it comes up. He pitched on Monday for Iowa and went 5.2 innings with 2 earned runs, 7 strikeouts, and 3 walks. He was cruising until the 6th inning, then gave up a single and homer for his 2 earned runs.

  • Dorasaga

    Neil, I don’t think the rookie Chris Johnson was “22-for-58 with 6 doubles, five home runs and seven walks.”

    Yahoo says Johnson had 3 at bats, 1 hit, 1 RBI, and 1 K against Z.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you for catching … oops. Should have been Carlos Lee. I corrected.

      • Dorasaga

        No problem.

    • SuzyS

      Dorasaga, Remember, they did salvage the Titanic after all the losses were in.

      April 14, 1912 RIP

      Like a bat out of hell, Paul Revere took a ride on April 18th, 1775…and no,
      I don’t think he raised Billy Goats….But the inception of Cubs Baseball
      might have been on hus mind.

      • Dorasaga

        You reminded me that the Cubs need a Pony Express: send Jim Hendry home.

        Again, I don’t dislike this guy. He’s mediocre. There are worse GMs out there. And again, it’s not just Jimmy’s fault for steering this boat towards the berg, for baseball management is more than not a group decision. He’s just not good enough for Chicago. Time to Change.

        • The Maven

          Well said Dorasaga. That’s something I said in my article on the Community Blog about the 2003 Cubs. Hendry is not the GM the third largest market in baseball needs. He would do fine in a bottom third organization.

          Incidentally, Tom U wrote an article on the Community Blog about the Black Sox and modern players. It’s a good read.

          • Tom U

            Thanks Maven

        • Ripsnorter1

          Too expensive to send Jim Hendry home on the Pony Express. The Pony Express charged $5 PER OUNCE in its single year of operation. Jim Hendry weights too many ounces. He’s in the Carlos Silva category.

          Susy doesn’t mind Carlos Pena for a year? Quade must have been reading our posts today as he finally sat him vs. a LHP. Hitting .091 might be a reason.

  • Tony_Hall

    Big blast for Soriano!

    Now he is on pace for 54 Home Runs this Year!

  • not a hater

    That Sori guy sure sucks!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    SO-RI-A-NO (Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap) !!!

    First multi-run homer of the year for Sori

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Weaver/51208629 Matt Weaver

    Wow!?! I had given up on that at bat.

    Soriano at 0-2 to a guy he’d struck out to eight times? What’s one more.

    I’m glad Al didn’t give up. Fun first inning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Weaver/51208629 Matt Weaver

    Ahhh! I’ve missed that!

  • Tony_Hall

    I love when a player does something good, people bash the people who think that player should be gone. When a player does something bad, the people who think that player should be gone, bash the people who like him.

    Just because I, or anyone else, wants a player gone, doesn’t mean we don’t think that player will EVER do any good.

    I think Soriano will hit 24-28 HR’s this year, if he stays healthy. One or two of his old “hot streaks” and he could, hit 30.

    He has to hit them sometime, and I love it when he does. But it doesn’t change my opinion of him, when he does hit a HR, since I think he will hit 24-28 of them.

    • Cheryl

      Tony, I agree. But I think Soriano would be much better off as a designated hitter on an American League team.

      • Tony_Hall

        Absolutely!

    • not a hater

      Tony

      If your talking to me, My comment was ment to be sarcastic!!!!
      But in no way was it directed at you. Look at the times posted almost simultaneously.

      • Tony_Hall

        Actually, it was not directed at you, more just a general statement. I used the example of Soriano, because of recent posts over the last few days.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,I admit I have been one of those that said Soriono is bad on defense,but tonight, I also think he should get the gold glove award ( for him that is ) ranging far to his left to catch that ball almost at the wall and then going into the left field corner and picking the ball up and throwing a strike to Castro who relayed a perfect throw to the plate. That was just the way one would draw it up. Great glove game for him,don’t get to say that very often.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent relay by Castro

    • paulcatanese

      I guess!! He continues to impress.

  • xaxinho

    Man, Soriano’s legs are really gone. He cannot run anymore. He almost gave them the first run. He needs a full “Lydiard’s running training”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

    is this iowa cubs

  • Serothis

    Once again the cubs demonstrate one of their long held skills. Loading the bases with no outs and still not being able to score…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brett Jackson singled to lead off the bottom of the 5th. He’s now 3-for-3 tonight and batting .500 this season in 6 games

    • Tom U

      Let the “Brett Watch” begin. Last season, Starlin Castro was promoted from AA after only 109 AB’s, in which he hit .378. Jackson has had 22 AB’s so far.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Weaver/51208629 Matt Weaver

        We had a hole in the middle infield last year. Who gets less playing time? You don’t bring him up unless you plan to play him, right?

        • Tony_Hall

          Brett Jackson will be up, just like Castro in late May/June. He will take over the starting CF job. It is his job when they determine he is ready, or, as the business of baseball dictates, once he won’t be a Super 2 after the 2103 season. That’s just good business, especially when the team is going nowhere this year.

          The chips will fall where they may, for Byrd, Colvin and Fukudome.

      • John_CC

        As long as Marlon is hitting .300 Jackson has no place on the roster. I’m not saying that it’s right, but it’s a fact. Unless of course it means giving up on Colvin and moving Byrd to RF. Again, not what I’d like, but Jackson is not going to come up and ride the pine, and Byrd isn’t going to ride it while hitting .300.

        I’m betting August, when this team is 10 below .500 and Byrd can be traded, then the new era really begins.

        • Matt

          Ya there a spot just not a starting spot u can always send reed down

          • John_CC

            He will not be brought up to the 5th OF…no way…that would be more dumber than usual.

          • Matt

            Haha true but I mean put him in right he could rake fuku job with ease if he can play which I’m sure he could.

      • Tom U

        It’s fun to think about, though.

      • Aaron

        I actually think it’s quite feasible that they might send Colvin down to figure things out at AAA. He’s had plenty of ABs, and is batting just .167 with a .265 OBP. I doubt they’ll have much patience with him unless he starts getting a power surge.

        Who else would they release/trade/send down for him? They can’t trade/release Soriano, won’t trade/release Byrd (because he’s hitting well…even though he isn’t a good 3 hole hitter in my opinion). They won’t trade/release Fukudome at this point, though they might decide to eat his salary in June or July if he has another swoon given the fact he’s in the last year of his deal. That leaves Johnson as the only other guy to be traded/released, and there’s absolutely no way I see Hendry doing that since he’s a “good leader” supposedly.

        That means Colvin is the likeliest to be sent down. The only other possibility I see is if the Cubs decide they could do with just Baker as a back-up IF (NOT likely), and send DeWitt down.

        I hope Jackson could pull a Castro, but I firmly believe he’s blocked until September at least, and even then (as we saw last year), it’s doubtful they’d even call him up or play him for that matter if they did.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good catch by Jeff Baker

  • Roland

    Roland is liking the game so far!

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Great play by Castro.

  • Serothis

    BIG Z!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Neil:

    I had a feeling Z would hit a bomb, albeit off Wandy.

  • GaryLeeT

    Look at Castro chomping away at that gum. Geez, Red Bull much? Although, I’ll take that over the Black Beauties, and tobacco of the days past. I wonder if he is chewing a Wrigley gum?

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    The CCO scoreboard is on a 10 second delay. Not bad.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      Hola hermano!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Big Z with a BIG hit!

    • studio179

      Yep. 22 career big hits.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Huh?

  • GaryLeeT

    The Cubs are going to regret choking away that bases loaded, and nobody out situation.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Z’s getting upset. It has been a long inning.

  • Serothis

    good lord…barney needs to learn to back off those kinds of balls and let colvin take it. especially with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

    • paulcatanese

      I think that play was in Colvins territory and he should have taken it. I think I would say this in Barneys defense. When I was playing the infield I always reminded te outfielder behind me that I was going to keep after the ball until I heard him call m off. The mis-comunication I would say was on Colvin not on Barney,, as he correctly continued after the ball. He is blind as to where the outfielder is until the outfielder calls him off.

  • studio179

    Yikes! Colvin and Barney miscommunication…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    This got ugly in a hurry! 6-5 and if not for a bad baserunning play by Wallace this game would be tied.

  • Serothis

    can we have just one comfortable win?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Z threw 33 pitches in 2/3 of an inning.

  • studio179

    Come on Mateo! Good job.

    Z showed up Quade a bit during the pitching change.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      really? did not see that…but I did saw him tell Soto something.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Can’t get a quality start for nothing!

    And no, I don’t want Russ Ortiz to try.

  • John_CC

    And now to the coach managers: send Z back out at 99 pitches after a good beating or go to the faithless bullpen? I’m glad I’m not Quade (or Pinella before him). These are no-win situations…and I’m afraid, unless the offense can step up and get 3 runs back, a no-win game.

  • Mark

    What a freaking joke! This makes me laugh. 5 runs in the 1st, bases loaded nobody out and Soriano up, we get nothing. Now Big Z blows it and puts the tying run on with a walk for another guy to blow his game. Oh, pop out. I’ll bet Big Z get a no decision and we won’t score another run. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE DAMN TIME for the past 3 years with these same guys.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Good thing Mateo has closer stuff. The guy is going to be an excellent setup man.

    Now please don’t run Kerry Wood out there to give up a two run shot. Let Mateo pitch another inning.

    • John_CC

      Woody is fine, his whip is under 1. what do you want?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Worried about him giving up the long ball with the game on the line.

        Didn’t pitch well in Cleveland. In NY, his bacon removed from fire by one Mariano Rivera. Was afraid the gofer ball was still in his arsenal.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I can tell you right now: this is it for the Cubs scoring tonight. That Astro bullpen can really shut the door–on the Cubs.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    What an arm!

    • Ripsnorter1

      What are you referring to?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Castro’s first throw in the seventh

  • Matt

    Wow how many times have we seen sori do that!

    • paulcatanese

      There four great throws tonight, first Soriono from the left field corner to Castro and his throw to the plate. Castro on that force at second and then the power throw from the hole by Castro,all were great to watch.

  • Mark

    OH NO….Kerry Wood!

  • Serothis

    that’s back to back flyouts on the warning track…..

  • Ripsnorter1

    Colvin 0-4 with 3 K’s tonight. I hoped for a little more. Worried about this guy.

  • Serothis

    the dynamic duo strike again!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro and Barney come through

  • John_CC

    Look at that! I didn’t think they had it in them to score 3 (so far) in the 9th. Good to see the offense keep hitting the entire game!

  • John G

    I think Q should sit Marmol for now and bring in Grabow. That way he can bring Marmol in late in a save situation.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      lol

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      John G:

      Are you John Grabow?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 9-5 Wednesday night. Z’s line: 5 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 4 Ks in 5.2 IP. Soriano and Z w/ HRs; Castro & Barney a combined 5-for-9, BB, 2 R, RBI, 2B, SB

  • Aaron

    good win tonight….especially since they tacked on the runs. I watched the replay on my DVR, and the Cubs have to fix their offense. Plain and simple. Soriano hit a 3 run blast, but he also grounded into a DP with the bases loaded, no outs. WOW!!! And a 3rd to home to first double play nonetheless. It could’ve been a triple play if he just would’ve stepped to his right one step and got the bag. The Cubs had a very other chances in the middle innings to score, and couldn’t get it done until late in the game when they tacked on 3.

    It was also troubling to see yet another front line starter get torched. It’s bad enough that the Cubs offense might be the worst in all of baseball….but to have your 1-3 starters get lit up every time is a VERY bad development. Dempster, Z, and Garza have been dreadful to start the season. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Colorado this weekend. My guess is that the Rockies jump ALL over Garza, and torch Coleman and whomever starts Sunday. I wouldn’t be shocked in the least to see the Rockies score 30+runs in that series given all of their left-handed pop in the lineup, and the fact that Tulo is on a tear recently.

    Here’s hoping the Cubs can use this game tonight as a spring board to better offensive output. If they don’t score more than 5 runs/game in Colorado, they’re doomed…just watch