Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rockies – 04/26/11

Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (10-12) vs. Rockies (15-7)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

James Russell (1-2, 8.00/1.89) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (3-0, 3.00/1.00)

Weather permitting … How will the Cubs respond to Monday’s ugly performance and losing two games in a row for the second time this season? The Cubs played one of their worst games Monday night in horrible conditions. But the bottom line is they did not get the job done while the other team did.

In order for the Cubs to avoid dropping three games below .500 they will need James Russell and the bullpen to step up and beat Jorge De La Rosa. The Cubs have never beaten De La Rosa and the ‘Bullpen Day‘ has been a very bad idea. The Cubs will have to play mistake free ball tonight and capitalize on every scoring opportunity in order to put one in the win column.

Aramis Ramirez is expected back in the lineup after Monday’s scheduled day off. Reed Johnson should get the start in right with Jeff Baker at either first or second base. With Starlin Castro committing four errors in two games, Quade could decide to give his shortstop the night off.

Tonight it all starts with James Russell

James Russell will make the third start of his big league career tonight. Russell has obviously struggled as a starter and is being misused by the team. After Russell’s last start, Mike Quade acknowledged that Russell is probably better suited as a situational lefty out of the pen, yet someone within the organization has decided Russell is the best option for the fifth starter’s spot with Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner on the DL.

However, for the first time Russell took part in a side session prior to tonight’s start and was supposed to work on his change-up with Mark Riggins. Maybe the Cubs treating him as a starter will payoff with at least a five-inning outing.

Russell is coming off his second loss of the season. The weak-hitting Padres offense took batting practice off the lefty for four-plus innings. The Padres scored four runs on seven hits with three of the hits leaving the park.

At this point, the Cubs need innings out of Russell and to try to keep the game close.

Tonight will be Russell’s sixth career appearance against the Rockies. Russell pitches 1 1/3 scoreless innings (two games) in the series in Colorado. In his last appearance, Russell faced one batter and retired Todd Helton to end the sixth inning.

Rockies Career Numbers against James Russell

  • Jorge De La Rosa – 1-for-1
  • Dexter Fowler – 0-for-1
  • Jason Giambi – 0-for-1
  • Carlos Gonzalez – 0-for-2
  • Todd Helton – 0-for-2
  • Jonathan Herrera – 1-for-1
  • Seth Smith – 0-for-4
  • Ryan Spilborghs – 0-for-1
  • Ian Stewart – 1-for-4
  • Troy Tulowitzki – 0-for-3

The Cubs have the tough task of trying to hand Jorge De La Rosa his first loss of the season. The talented lefty has found a home in Denver after unsuccessful stints in Milwaukee and Kansas City.

De La Rosa is coming off a win against in the Giants in which he held the defending Champs to two runs on four hits in seven innings. De La Rosa struck out six and walked just two. In 24 innings this season, De La Rosa has walked 10 and struck out 20.

The Cubs must be patient with De La Rosa tonight. If they start swinging early and often, De La Rosa’s domination of the Cubs will continue.

Tonight will be Jorge De La Rosa’s third career start against the Cubs. He is 3-0 in six career appearances, two starts, with a 1.74 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. De La Rosa’s has never started a game at Wrigley … or allowed an earned run (1-0 in four games, 6 1/3 innings, with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP).

Cubs Career Numbers against Jorge De La Rosa

  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-9 with a double and a triple
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-4
  • Tyler Colvin – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-4 with a double and 2 walks
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-1
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-7 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-5
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • James Russell – 0-for-1
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-10 with a home run
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-6 with a double, a home run and a walk

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time." - Betsy Smith

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • Rbmercer

      They need to leave Castro in the leadoff spot. When he’s in the 3 hole, he has been impatient and pull conscious. His approach has been great at leadoff.

      • GaryLeeT

        He did pull every ball last night, but I think that was a product of trying to do to much to make up for his errors. Castro can flat out hit, and do it anywhere in the order. He’s no Soriano.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree Gary, and thats the product of youth,later on in his career he will handle it differently (lets hope he dosen’t have to) It may have been a little of Barney’s ball hit out also and he just tried to muscle up. Thetwo of them must be pretty close by now and it would have been nice with back to back.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Forgetaboutit.

    With Russell starting, the party is over before it has begun.

    We do have a nice right handed hitting lineup.

  • paulcatanese

    Again the lack of intellegence is showing in the Cub managemet with the starting of Russell once again, can’t comprehend it, and Russell must be talking to himself at this point. Wish him luck. Agree with Rip,nice right handed lineup for the night. And for me glad Quade has Castro back out there, that has to be a boost of confidence for him. Would not have been a good move not to play him tonight.Whats that old saying “if you fall off the horse,get right back on”?

  • cc002600

    Well, I guess its pretty obvious that Colvin is now in doghouse.

    Typical Cubs….they will never give a young player a full chance to work out of a slump.

    (see Sam Fuld)

    • Bryan

      I agree wholeheartedly. Typical Cubs management treatment of youngsters when they fall into a rut. Might as well bring Piniella back….atleast he provided some comical relief.

    • paulcatanese

      To get a full chance to work out of a slump with the Cubs (1) you must be a vet (2) you must have a large paycheck(3) you must continualy be in a slump(4) you must be named Pena.

  • John_CC

    Pinella 2.0.

    Terrible pitcher handling, bad roster management, entrenched veterans…

    Have they given up in April? Seriously, how in hell do you start Russell again, 2 games under .500, a week after stating to the media that Russell is – in real life – a bullpen long-man? How in the hell do you do that!?

    • paulcatanese

      John,I think that there are distinct similarities with Pinella and Quade and they are starting to show up.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Is it Quade on the roster management? Jim Clueless is acting GM.

      Sure, Quade gets the blame for terrible pitcher handling and entrenched veterans. But remember: entrenched veterans is how Quade got the job over Brenly and Sandberg. Brenly, after one conversation with Jim Clueless, took himself out of consideration, recognizing that he could not work for that Clown Jim Clueless.

  • Tom U

    Jay Jackson went 6.2 innings allowing 1 earned run. He also hit two doubles while going 3-for-3 at the plate. John Gaub allows 3 earned runs in the bottom of the eighth as Iowa loses to Memphis 4-3.

    Trey McNutt starts tonight for Tennessee.

    Austin Kirk starts for Peoria

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks, Tom. I believe Trey McNutt is only two walks away from the Big league.

  • xaxinho

    Thank God i wont see Pena in the starting lineup

    • paulcatanese

      I don’t know think he is just behind big Z for the order of pinch hitters for the night.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Why? He just started hitting . . . . .

      Don’t forget: he’s a great clubhouse guy.

  • The Maven

    An observation:

    You would think in this line-up that it would be best defensively to have Johnson in center and Byrd in right.

    Maybe there is something to the rumor that Byrd only wants to play center.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree,and don’t forget center is the easiest to pick the ball up off the hitter. But for line drives hit right at the fielder.Everthing else is pretty much honest in its flight.

  • roughriider

    Since Russell is the starter and the game will probably be out of hand by the 3rd, maybe they should let every position player pitch an inning and save the bullpen.

  • studio179

    Well, a good start would help.

  • Aaron

    someone should get fired for this tonight….putting Russell out there….a guy who hitters are batting nearly .400 combined against

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And home run derby has begun …

    • GaryLeeT

      He’s channeling his inner tater Ted Lilly.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Excellent comment …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Double Trouble is at it again … two singles to left and have set the table.

  • GaryLeeT

    It’s the 1st inning. Why not try a double steal with 2 outs?

  • studio179

    Starting Baker at first was the right call tonight. Pena needs to sit.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good job by Baker picking up Byrd and Ramirez. Still the Rockies hit homers and the Cubs hit singles …

  • GaryLeeT

    There is no way the Cubs will pick up Ramirez’s option for next year. Of course, if Hendry is still at the helm, you never know.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Other than the walk to Iannetta, good inning for Russell in the second

  • Serothis

    you know what I’ve noticed from this inning with the rockies? that even when they get outs they still manage to move the guy over a base. it rarely seems like they have a unproductive out….and as i typed this they scored…point and case.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Russell is fortunate he gave up only one run in the third. Missed his spots badly.

  • Serothis

    ok he’s given up the lead on a homer now is about the time you pull the loogy. So how much longer do you think Q will keep him in? another inning?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      At least, especially with Coleman going tomorrow. Russell has only thrown 67 pitches.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another homer by a right-hander off Russell. Fifth homer served up by Russell in his last 8+ innings.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Miles: This is third game wind has blown out at Wrigley. Opposition now has 7 HR in those games. Cubs have 0.

    • Serothis

      that’s a difficult stat to assess. Does that speak the ineptness of our bats or pitching? or both?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Both, especially the offense. The Rockies just hit their third home run and the Cubs have nothing but singles.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Caesar Izturis. He’s the man we need.

  • Tom U

    Some really good pitching performances tonight:

    Austin Kirk 6 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 6 K’s, no walks. Peoria leading 8-1 in the 8th.

    Trey McNutt 5 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 4 K’s, 1 BB. Tennessee leading 6-1 in the 9th.

  • Baron_S

    is Quade a moron? why would he leave Russell to bat in the last inning and then resume his suckiness on the mound!

    • GaryLeeT

      He’s done that so many times this year that it’s beyond annoying, and on to pissing me off. There is a reason why Quade spent so many years in the minors.

  • Serothis

    aaaaand another homer for helton….

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Russell has served up six homers in his last 8+ innings

  • Wickitkevin

    Is it me or is this team just hard to watch or listen too as the case maybe?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The middle of the lineup is … and as I type that, Ramirez swung at a pitch well out of the strike zone

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ramirez has not seen too many pitches he has not liked this year

  • Baron_S

    A-Ram has the 2nd fewest pitches per plate appearance in the majors this year…

    He is actually more impatient that Soriano — which is saying something

  • Baron_S

    all I can say is — GO HAWKS!!

    • Dorasaga

      And the Bulls, too!

  • Ripsnorter1

    John Grabow. Russell has me wishing for John Grabow to start the next game.
    I think I’m going insane. Has things gotten so bad that I’d wish for John Grabow?
    What’s happening to me?

    AAAAAAAAAAAHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Nice outing by Berg.

  • Ripsnorter1

    This is it for Dela Rosa. Good riddance. Now the Cubs will have two chances to nail their bullpen and salvage this game—if our bullpen can hold them.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Marlon Byrd strikes out on three pitches … his third strikeout of the night.

  • Serothis

    On a side note the bulls just clinched the series against the pacers.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

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

  • Serothis

    a homer for soriano….puts rockies just 1 up but that still seems out of reach right now for me.

    • Serothis

      and a lot of desperate hacking proved me right.

    • paulcatanese

      And he also lined out hard to short.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost to Rockies 4-3 Tuesday night. Soriano HR, Baker RBI single. Offense 1-for-6 RISP, 7 LOB. Russell’s line: 4 R, 5 H (3 HR), 3 BB, 4 K in 4+ IP

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs are 1-for-16 with RISP with 19 left on base in last two games

    • Jay from Sandwich

      I hope this is not the patern we will see for the rest of the year?

  • paulcatanese

    After watching the game there is no way again Byrd should be hitting in the three spot. Len and Bob gave an interesting statistic on Byrd and Aram. Byrd hits a little over seventy percent of his contact on the ground,so thirtey some percent are strikeouts ,walks ,and hits. But that tells me that with the dynamic duo getting on in front of him that means a very good chance that they will be wiped out in a double play,so why have him there? And Aram swings a the fewest pitches(#2 in league) and those are not even productive outs. Why oh why does Quade not see this? Does he not have a computer?and many of the Cub hitters are behind the fast ball, that makes it tough to compete and they are not.

    • Dorasaga

      FYI: 70% contact on the ground means that the other 30% are either line drives or flyballs (not including infield flies-pop out). Good batters have a groundball rate of less than 50%. Even the great Ichiro only has 55.8 % throughout his career up to this day (and that counts what his grounders this season, more than ever before so far).

      Flyballs create more chances for a homerun *(power). Hard liners are a sign of good contact. Apparently, Byrd lacks both this year. He’s done. At age 33, his season will not improve or even come close to his career prime. The same could be said of Pena.

      That’s why I’ve been advocating that Colvin stays at first base. That opens up a spot for our home-grown talent(s), and Colvin should benefit overall from this move.

      We need player development. Cubs Think must end.

      • paulcatanese

        Great stats,something I didn’t know. All I know is what I see and thats bad enough.