Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 04/24/11

Game Twenty-One: Cubs (10-10) vs. Dodgers (11-11)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, TBS – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.21/1.25) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 3.33/1.19)

Happy Easter from the CCO!

The Cubs enter play this afternoon for a chance to win a series … and move a game over .500. For the fourth Sunday in a row the Cubs have put themselves in position to win a series, in fact, Q’s squad has had a lead (or leads) in each of the three games (0-3) but figured out a way to lose it late … and in turn lose the series. If the Cubs want to leave the mediocre mark behind they must figure out a way to close out series with wins, especially on Sunday.

There are no two ways about it. Mike Quade needs another solid outing from Carlos Zambrano this afternoon. The bullpen is overworked, with the exception of Kerry Wood, and with another ‘Bullpen Day‘ scheduled for Tuesday, plus the Cubs are at the beginning of 13 in a row without a day off (May 5), Q’s veteran starters must start putting together quality starts … and first up is Carlos Zambrano.

In other news … The Cubs all but announced James Russell will make his third big league start Tuesday against the Rockies. After the Cubs acknowledged that Russell is probably better suited as a situational reliever, they have decided to give him another shot in the rotation. The only change is Russell will be treated as a starter this time around and will throw a side session prior to work on his changeup prior to Tuesday.

Today it all starts with Carlos Zambrano

It would be hard to ask Carlos Zambrano to pitch better than he did in his last outing against the Padres. Z took advantage of the weather and a weak hitting team and posted his first 10-strikeout performance since his no hitter in 2008. Z tossed eight innings of shutout ball and allowed just three hits and one walk. Z took a no-decision because the Cubs offense isn’t any better than the Friars’.

Zambrano has been very good this season … but Z’s best stat line is, the Cubs are 4-0 in his first four starts.

Z will make the ninth start of his career against the Dodgers this afternoon. Zambrano is 2-3 in the first eight (12 appearances) with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Z did not face the Dodgers in 2010 or 2009. The last time he saw a Dodgers team was in the 2008 post-season.

Dodgers Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Rod Barajas – 0-for-3
  • Jamey Carroll – 0-for-6
  • Andre Ethier – 6-for-13 with a double and a walk
  • Tony Gwynn, Jr. – 5-for-12 with a double and a walk
  • Matt Kemp – 3-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • James Loney – 3-for-11 with a walk
  • Aaron Miles – 8-for-31 with a double and 2 walks
  • Marcus Thames – 0-for-3
  • Juan Uribe – 6-for-28 with a double, a home run and 2 walks

The Cubs will get another their third shot at Hiroki Kuroda. While the Cubs are 1-1 in the first two games against Kuroda, hopefully the third time will be a charm. ‘Mr. Complete Game‘ as he was known in Japan has shutdown the Cubs offense in his first two appearances. The Cubs have managed only one earned run (two runs) in 15 1/3 innings with 11 hits and three walks while being struck out 14 times (0.59 Era and a 0.91 WHIP).

Kuroda has been very good for Don Mattingly this season … and has not allowed a run outside of Dodger Stadium this year (one start at PETCO Park, 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball).

Q’s offense must be patience against Kuroda this afternoon … something they have not done in the past.

Cubs Career Numbers against Hiroki Kuroda

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-4 with a triple
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3 with a triple
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-6
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-7 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-3 with a double

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • Calicub

      Doug davis. Oh doug davis! Where art thou Doug Davis? Or even todd freakin wellemyer? Why do they keep going with russel? Third times the charm?
      No more wasted starts wasted games wasted bullpen effort please.

      An 11-10 record would be nice.

      But in ten games the cubs are gonna be 15-15
      Woohooo

      • Calicub

        Also I think it is time for a couple name for darwin and castro. W had the cajun connection but they deserve something way more badass.

        The lean mean lead-off team?
        No too generic

        • Calicub

          Baby bombers?

        • Jonas

          STAR-BAR

        • paulcatanese

          Good idea, I kind of like what Neil prefaced the last blog with…”Double Trouble” has a nice ring to it. I can hear the announcer now “Here comes Double Trouble” I vote for that one. But there must be a million of them and look forward to what people come up with. But picture this, a billboard around Chicago with both pictures of them with the caption, “Castro and Barney,,, Double Trouble” Neil posts a lot of clever ones,but I think this one hits the nail on the head. “Neil the Nail has done it again”.

          • Dorasaga

            Neil the Nail Presents To Chicago: Castro-Barney, “Double Trouble!”

        • The Maven

          When Jackson is brought up, they can be called Boom-Boom-Pow!

          • Last_ginger

            id like to second that vote for Boom Boom Pow when Jackson comes up.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,its a good move to have Byrd down in the 6 spot,when moved down a few days ago he responded pretty well, thats where he needs to be 6 or even 7. He will be relaxed and swing a lot better.

  • Tom U

    The Cubs may call on Ramon Ortiz after Russel pitches in the fifth spot again. Ortiz went seven innings in his last outing at AAA and surrendered only two earned runs.

  • paulcatanese

    Back to business. Cannot figure the Cubs with another attempt with Russell. It would seem that if he does not do well this time it very well be his last apperance for a while. I suspect that management is setting Russell up as a scapegoat and is willing to sacrifice him as the guy who let the Cubs down. Not a good move by management at all and they should be ashamed of themselves, It’s a win win for them, Russell fails, and they can say, this guy just dosent have it,and if he succeeds,well they can say “see we knew he had it in him” just a bad move in all directions.

    • EqDoc

      Uhhh, I don’t think the Cubs management is smart enough to think like that… But I do agree that they should be ashamed of themselves, but just for the product they put on the field for the money they have spent…

  • paulcatanese

    Someone mentioned earlier that Castro does not have a hole in his swing and reminds him of Tony Gwynn, I agree but for one thing,Castro needs to put on another 75 lbs. Another tidbit, Castro would have another four hits with some of the catches that have been made off some screamers he sent out there. But I guess it evens out over the year. A little more weight ( not 75lbs ) and with his swing ( great bat speed ) and he will add some dingers.

  • Tony_Hall

    Can someone explain to me, any logical explanation for James Russell getting another start?

    Any JH supporter, any guy, who thinks Q is mastermind. Anyone please explain, how after his last start, his one manager called him a situational loogie, now the situation is starting.

    • paulcatanese

      No Tony,I cannot,but worse, the announcers on TBS said that Quade was pleased with the Cubs at .500, does that mean the Cubs are good? Or that the rest of the teams in the Central are Bad? The only logical explanation I can think of is Quade does simply NOT know what he is doing,has not and will not. He has totaly desroyed the pitching staff with his lack of knowledge of them.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Captain Obvious … not a good start for Z

    • EqDoc

      Over/under on Z having a complete breakdown in this game: 2.2 innings.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Every start Russell gets is just a game that the Cubs have thrown away before the game even starts. He isn’t even close to a major league starter.

    Having said that, who do we have that is better?
    NOT Doug Davis.
    NOT Russ Oritz.
    Wellemeyer is hurt.
    Gorzelanny was given away for free (imo).
    Silva was released. And he isn’t any better, either.

    Wells will be back soon. Hopefully, very soon.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Already 3-0, Z might have to take one for the team

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yeah. It would be a great idea. Let’s get Z hurt, so he misses starts, too.
      (I’m attacking Quade’s managerial skills).

      I really don’t like the way the pitching staff is being abused so early in the year. It could get very, very ugly.

      Face the facts: Dumpster has been awful in 2011.
      Well/Cashner hurt. Coleman has been awful. Garza has been inconsistent. And Z is pitching to contact these days. He has lost something on his pitches.

      70 wins could happen.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Rip, I was not saying to pitch Z until he was hurt. I am saying he might have to stay in and give up a lot of runs and hits. He only threw 20 pitches in the first inning. Can’t just take him out because he cannot get outs.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I knew that. That’s why I wrote “(I am attacking Quade’s managerial skills.)”

          The staff is going to be wrecked in another 13 games.

  • Tony_Hall

    So, the Dodgers have been struggling to score runs, a trip to a cold Wrigley Field, should have shut them down completely.

    Instead 20 runs in 2 games, and 3 runs before any outs in the 1st.

    • Dorasaga

      Tell me this is not Zambrano–gave up extra-base-hit to Aaron Miles??

      By the way, Tony, check your email. From Bill James X: Mother’s Day event is On!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Sands left early

    • Ripsnorter1

      Probably embarrassed. He was hitting .136 at game time.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Aaron Miles is tearing us up at the plate.

    • paulcatanese

      I know,I know, I threw up three times. Of all guys to have a career day (and for him it was a career day ) It had to be Miles.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Pena will soon be at the plate with men on base. I can’t wait!

    • paulcatanese

      Neither could the Dodgers.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Aram came through for THEM.

    • paulcatanese

      Yeah Rip,and with no-one on he hits,and then gets picked at second when the play was right in front of him.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Solid single for Pena

    • EqDoc

      WOW! He hit a curve ball!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Was Pena’s hit a ground ball or a line drive? Or a bloop?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Line drive, squared up the ball

    • GaryLeeT

      liner to center

  • Brentcarmona

    Wow byrd…just wow. Swear its always an 0_2 count. Looked terrible on the ko

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    All three strikeouts (Ramirez, Byrd and Soriano) were on balls out of the strike zone. Gotta swing at strikes against Kuroda.

  • GaryLeeT

    Thanks Carols Zambrano, you have lifted the Cubs into first….first worst pitching staff in baseball.

  • RynoTiger

    i wish i could earn $10million to get a single every now and then.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Maybe you can. Ask Jim Clueless for a job.

  • Ripsnorter1

    3 IP, 7 k’s for Kuroda. OUCH!

  • RynoTiger

    the Cubs current record and standing really is quite something, in a positive perspective, if you keep the following facts in mind:

    *the Cubs have very little quality starting pitching
    *the Cubs are getting very little offensive production from C, 1B, 3B, CF, RF
    *the Cubs rookies and one veteran are leading the offensive way

    Just imagine if they could get everything going at the same time

  • Bryan

    I know there’s been mention of Sam Fuld’s wicked start in Tampa, but you just can’t help get appalled by the lack of talent assessment by Cubs leadership. Fuld just falls into the same platoon dilemma that Fox fell into, and now Colvin is experiencing. You have to play the youngsters on a consistent basis in order to gauge their true potential, and allow them to gain some sense of rhythm.

    I don’t know if Fuld can sustain this pace throughout the year, and hindsight is always wonderful, but the Garza trade is just another example of JH’s talent insight. What would the Cubs look like today with an outfield of Soriano, Jackson and Fuld, with an infield of Ramirez, Castro, Barney and Colvin. Certainly a lot more exciting, and athletic, than we’re seeing currently. But then again, when you see your pitching staff of Z, Dempster and Garza absolutely suck, what does it matter.

    All for $130m…root, root, root!

    • The Maven

      Don’t look now, but Kyle Farnsworth is leading the Rays with five saves.

    • diehardcubfan

      Amen!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    the party is over . . . .

    Sam Fuld:
    0-4
    4 k’s vs.Toronto’s Romero. (7 IP, 10 K, 5 H, 2 ER, L).

    SO sad.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Neil,
    Can you tell me the velocity of Z’s pitches today? Was in throwing his fastball in the 80’s again, like last year for Lou?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Low 90s

  • PeteM

    Wow this team is hard to watch

  • Ripsnorter1

    Berg shut them down. Good job.
    11 strikes in 14 pitches.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 7-3 to Dodgers Sunday afternoon. Carlos Zambrano’s line: 6 ER, 8 H, 4 Ks, 0 BB in 5 IP. Castro, Barney & Pena with RBI. Cubs 0-4 on Sunday in 2011

  • paulcatanese

    Who says Soriono cant play defense? Routine catch in the 8th, he had it all the way.

  • paulcatanese

    What is that? 1&1/2 hit every 10 times? Means he has to go a while for his next. By the way his last K right down the pipe, seriously serious bad stuff.

  • roughriider

    Anyone besides me notice that Castro isn’t hitting that well in the three spot ? Put him in the 1 and leave him alone. Put Fukadome 3 if you have to have someone in instead of Byrd. Also they bring up Dolis to start on Tuesday instead of Reed. He couldn’t do worse and might be a surprise.

    • diehardcubfan

      They should have stopped shuffling Castro around. Castro will probably have hot and cold spells. Let us just hope this is temporary.

      • paulcatanese

        I agree to a point cause he did hit the ball hard today. I woulld love to see him stay at leadoff but in reality he is their best hitter right now and they definatly need someone to drive in runs as not much is happening at the lower end of the order.

  • diehardcubfan

    I feel much better now that we continue to set historical records of mediocrity. Let’s hope we continue to set new records by making to 11-11.

  • diehardcubfan

    Will somebody please explain to me again why we signed Pena? Oh, it is was Jim Clueless idea!!

    • paulcatanese

      As I recall it was because of his golden glove to save Castro and Aram. And of course it was thought by JH and many that Pena would not repeat last year offenesivly.We all know how thats progressing,don’t we?