Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Padres – 04/20/11

Game Eighteen: Cubs (9-8) vs. Padres (7-10)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

James Russell (1-0, 6.30/1.80) vs. Aaron Harang (3-0, 1.50/0.94)

Final from Game One: Cubs 2 Padres 1 – 11 innings

Cubs beat the Padres in game one 2-1 on walk-off home run by Reed Johnson. Matt Garza’s line: 0 R, 6 H (all 1B), 3 BB, 9 K in 6 IP, 114 pitches, 70 strikes. Carlos Marmol blew his second save of the season, both starts by Matt Garza.

Game two is another ‘Bullpen Day‘ for the Chicago Cubs.

Mike Quade decided to shift James Russell and the pen to the second game of the day-night doubleheader. Russell was originally scheduled to start the middle game of the series last night.

James Russell will make his second big league start in search of better results than his first one. Russell was put on a very low pitch limit and could not complete two innings of work. Reports have suggested Russell’s pitch count for Tuesday could be in the mid 70s.

Jeff Samardzija was expected to follow Russell but he threw two innings in game one and picked up the win. Mike Quade said that Kerry Wood will serve as the team’s closer in game two. Starlin Castro will hit third in game two.

The Cubs have struggled over the years scoring runs off Aaron Harang. The former Reds’ ace has found his ‘Fountain of Youth’ in the form of PETCO Park. Harang has been outstanding over his first three starts. The key to beating Harang has always been to get to him early. If the Cubs walk to the plate swinging it could be a very quick and disappointing game.

Tuesday was Tyler Colvin bobblehead day but with the rainout, the promotion was postponed to Wednesday’s nightcap. Colvin was in Tuesday’s starting lineup, hitting seventh in right field.

The second game of the twin bill begins with James Russell

James Russell will make his second big league start this evening. Russell struggled his last time out in Houston and reached his pitch count limit in the second inning after giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Russell needs to give his team a deeper outing … and do his best to retire right-handed hitters. Jeff Samardzija is slated to follow Russell once again.

Russell will face the Padres for the third time in his short career. Russell does not have a record against the Friars and has allowed two runs on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings (13.50 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP).

Chris Denorfia (1-for-1 with a triple), Chase Headley (1-for-2 with a double) and Ryan Ludwick (0-for-2) are the only Padres that have faced James Russell.

The Reds sent Aaron Harang packing over the winter and the Padres are reaping the reward. Aaron Harang has not pitched this well since the 2007 season and might have found himself a home in San Diego … which is rather ironic considering it was an extra inning game in San Diego in May of 2008 that seemed to derail his career.

Harang has not allowed more than one earned run in each of his first three starts. Harang is throwing strikes (16 strikeouts to five walks in 18 innings) and has not served up a longball this season.

Tonight will be Harang’s 25th career start against the Cubs … 10-8 in 24 starts with a 4.51 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP (1-0 in two starts last season with a 3.29 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP). The last time he faced the Cubs was May 8 of last year. Harang dominated the Cubs to the tune of two runs on seven hits with a walk and a season-high nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. The Reds embarrassed the Cubs 14-2 at Great American Ballpark.

Aaron Harang is 5-3 in 12 career starts at Wrigley with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Aaron Harang

  • Marlon Byrd – 5-for-12 with a home run and a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-7
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 8-for-21 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 1-for-4
  • Aramis Ramirez – 16-for-55 with a double, a triple, 4 home runs and 2 walks
  • Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-37 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 5-for-20 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
  • Carlos Zambrano – 3-for-17 with a double and a home run

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s game two lineup:

    Fukudome – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Soto – C
    Johnson – CF
    Russell – P

  • Neil

    Good start for Russell

    • Aaron

      Neil, over under on amount of runs the Cubs score…

      I’ll say 1

      How about you?

      • Neil

        Unless something changes I agree

        • Aaron

          ….starting to think I’m taking the under on that one…I smell shutout

        • Neil

          Let it be known I like salt with my crow. I’m glad I was wrong

          • Aaron

            me too….too bad I wasn’t wrong on the outcome though

      • Matt

        I’ll take 3

  • Matt

    Thank god shark was pitching against the padres and not a high powered offense….

  • The Maven

    Cubs hitters aren’t giving Russell much help.

    • paulcatanese

      I dont like to say it ,but the Cub hitters aren’t giving anyone help.And when they do hit they dont know how to run the bases.

  • Schelling00

    James Russell blows

    • Neil

      Russell is not a starter, he’s a LOOGY. The Cubs have not put him in position to succeed.

      • Aaron

        same old story you and I always talk about…setting players up to fail. Goes back to the OF situation in 2007, using Fontenot as an everyday player, putting Theriot at SS, though he lacked the range, then putting him at 2B in the middle of the season without even giving him a look there in Spring Training, putting Fox at 3B, though he didn’t have time at AAA there, the shuttling of Samardzija to and from the rotation, making Koyie Hill the everyday catcher after Soto’s injury last year, making Fukudome a CF, putting Byrd in the 3 hole….it’s an INCREDIBLY loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong list, and yet they never seem to learn from them, do they?

  • GaryLeeT

    So Russell was absolutely the best option in the entire Cub’s organization? Not one single minor league pitcher could have done a better job?

    • Aaron

      In all fairness to him, as Neil mentioned above, the Cubs set him up for failure. Furthermore, this offense couldn’t score a run if their lives depended on it right now. The Cubs have scored 3 runs in 3 games right now. And judging by what I just saw in game 1, as well as the awful start offensively in game 2…I don’t foresee that changing one bit.

      The sad thing is, the Cubs are playing against a very bad offensive team, and while Garza, Marshall, and Samardzija got out of difficult jams…..keep in mind that if they were playing just a league average offensive team, these games wouldn’t even be close….they likely would’ve lost game 1 something like 8-1

    • Neil

      On the 40-man roster, yep.

      • GaryLeeT

        They can’t add to the roster when someone goes on the DL?

        • Neil

          Right now they have two empty spots on the 40-man roster. A pitcher like Trey McNutt, who is not on the 40-man, would have to be added in order for him to be called up. Once a player is added to the 40-man not only does their arbitration clock begin but they have only three minor league option years.

          The Cubs have pitching coming but from the Double-A level down. It hurts that Jay Jackson is not healthy.

        • Neil

          I did not answer your question. They cannot add to the 40-man when someone goes on the 15-day DL but they can if a player is placed on the 60-day DL. A player can be called up and added to the active 25-man roster if another player is placed on the DL.

          • GaryLeeT

            Got it. Thanks.

  • Brian

    I know I am an optimist, but as I sure the interwebs while watching the game, it says the Cubs are in first place.

    The NL Central is pretty daunting isn’t it? WOW.

    The Cards did win the World Series with 83 wins in 2006. As problematic as the Cubs’ issues are, they sure aren’t out of it.

    And to be fair, though I am not a Hendry supporter, you can tear apart many other rosters around the league in similar fashion as people do to the Cubs.

    • Tony_Hall

      Schedule the parade!!

      This team is the epitome of 500…says so here –

      RT @jaysonst #Cubs are still the ultimate .500 team. They’ve now been 1-1,2-2,3-3,4-4,5-5,6-6,7-7,8-8 & 9-9 this year #AsErniesaysletssplit2 about 6 hours ago

      Yes the Cardinals got hot at the right time and won with 83 wins, they also had Larussa, pushing the buttons.

      This team can make a run in this division (barring the Reds pulling away), if 83 wins will win the division, but they need to make better decisions and soon.

      Marlon Byrd in the 3 hole?

      Russell may be better as a situational lefty. How do you go from spot starter to may be best suited for situational lefty? Your spot starter (if you don’t go to the minors) should be your long man, not the guy who will be your situational lefty.

      And yes, other rosters are a mess as well, but for alot less money spent. No one has assembled, this much of a mess, and spent so much money doing it. And to think some of it, got cleaned in the last year.

      Bring up Brett Jackson, and I think this team has a chance to get above 500, and oh yeah, stop starting your situational lefty.

  • GaryLeeT

    Reed got screwed by that call.

    • paulcatanese

      If you are refering to being thrown out at third base he was stupid to try it, runs down and he makes the second out at third, not smart at all. Then earlier he gets thrown out trying to steal and dosent even reach second base he should be aware Lou Brock retired years ago. That third base attempt took the Cubs out of at least one run.

  • Neil

    Reed with a nice RBI double … and a not so smart decision on the bases

    • paulcatanese

      You are right, it should cost him a few $$.Safe or out the play was to stop at second base.

  • Neil

    Good job by Barney

  • Neil

    Castro would have tied the game …

  • GaryLeeT

    I hate losses, but they are a lot easier to stomach when the Cubs don’t go down without a fight, like they did in the 5th.

  • Agustin_Rexach

    Neil, I hope you had a chance to shower in-between games! Lol.

    Does Marlon have to swing at every pitch ? Did he changed personality with Soriano??? Damn, he looks desperate.

  • Tom U

    Brett Jackson and DJ LeMahieu homer in the sixth inning and Tennessee goes up 6-2 on Carolina.

    • Neil

      Excellent. Thanks for posting Tom.

    • Tony_Hall

      Tom – Good timing, right after a post about Byrd looking desperate. Maybe Marlon has the CCO on his twitter feed, and is seeing how good Jackson is doing.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I hope we can pull this one out. Russell is not a starter. I hope they do not try to give him another start. Why should we burn up the bullpen and start the game with almost no chance of winning?

  • Tom U

    Clevenger with a solo shot in the eighth inning.

  • The Maven

    A Blake DeWitt hit?!

  • Tom U

    Brett Jackson now a single away from the cycle.

    • Neil

      Jackson is really pushing …

      • Tom U

        As hot as Jackson is, the hottest hitter in the system may be Jae-Hoon Ha. Ha has had (how’s that for alliteration!) 2 hits tonight to raise his average to .421.

        If Jackson gets tapped by the big league club, Ha may replace him at AA.

  • Neil

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

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 5-4 to Padres in Game 2. Alfonso Soriano 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; Reed Johnson 3-for-4, 2B, RBI; James Russell’s line: 4 R, 7 H (3 HR), BB in 4 IP

    It was nice not to see them quit after being down 4-0 early.

    • Agustin

      Still in first place though and deep into the season! It sounds better than fourth or fith…..

      • Tony_Hall

        Tied for 1st with 4 teams at 9-9. And since when is any part of April, deep into the season. Do you not remember all of the Cubs June swoon’s? I sure do. IF, JH could make the right moves, to get Jackson in this lineup, and not let your manager go with your situational lefty for spot starts, stop batting Byrd 3rd, cut some of the dead weight on this roster, then just maybe this team could win more than 81 games. And maybe that will be enough to win this division.

  • Neil

    During post-game press conference, Mike Quade acknowledged that James Russell is probably better suited as a situational lefty out of the bullpen than a starter.

    • Aaron

      ……and he started him 2 games…………..shocking that he got the job in the first place, isn’t it?

    • Serothis

      /facepalm…..I hope he’s not JUST figuring this out.

  • paulcatanese

    During the post game interview Quade acknowledged that Russell is PROBABLY better suited as a situational pitcher rather than a starter? What team has he been watching? He set that kid up to fail as I believe Aaron commented on, and I agree,how stupid can a manager be? Just blow a few ballgames until he gets the feel of his team? He needs to get a grip on whats going on.

  • Matt

    I really hate fuku in the Lead off spot why dont we call up Brett Jackson already I’m sure he can play right!

    • Neil

      Matt, if/when Brett Jackson is called up he will be in center … and that’s where he should be on this team.