Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 04/03/11

Game Three: Cubs (1-1) vs. Pirates (1-1)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Ross Ohlendorf (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Weather permitting … Q’s squad has a chance to not only win a series this afternoon against the Pirates but a victory today would mark the first time since the end of the 2009 season that the Chicago Cubs have been a game over .500.

Matt Garza makes his official Cubs debut this afternoon. Garza had a rough spring and started blaming his surroundings for his struggles. Spring Training is over there are no more excuses and the Cubs need him to pitch to his talent level this afternoon.

Mike Quade is expected to go back to his right-handed lineup with the right-hander on the hill … expect Kosuke Fukudome at the top of the order with Darwin Barney back at second base.

The Cubs must change their approach and game plan against the Pirates. What they’ve been doing for the last 19 games simply does not work. Entering play this afternoon, the Cubs are 6-13 versus the Bucs dating back to the final two match-ups of the 2009 season.

Matt Garza will make his Cub, Wrigley Field and National League debut this afternoon. Garza is coming off a very good season in Tampa that also included the Rays first ever no-hitter. Garza posted a 15-10 record (with a save) in 33 games, 32 starts, with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. In his third full year in the big leagues, Garza held teams to a .248 batting average and struck out 150 batters in 204 2/3 innings … the second year in a row Garza topped the 200-inning mark.

Today will be Garza’s first career start against the Mighty Pirates …

Lyle Overbay is the only active Pirate that has faced Matt Garza (9-for-36 with three doubles and 2 walks).

Ross Ohlendorf is coming off a rough and injury-plagued 2010 campaign. Ohlendorf made only 21 starts after emerging as a possible number one starter in 2009. Ohlendorf posted a 1-11 record with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP … his peripheral numbers were much better than his win-loss record.

Ohlendorf has dominated the Cubs in his brief career. The Cubs offense struggles mightily against him … 1-0 in three starts with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP, just three runs and five walks in 20 innings. The Cubs overly aggressive offense has struck out 17 times against Ohlendorf in those three starts.

The Cubs must be patient this afternoon … a trait they have not shown in over the last two-plus seasons.

Cubs Career Numbers against Ross Ohlendorf

  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-5 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-6
  • Blake DeWitt – 0-for-1 with 3 walks
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-1
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-7 with a double, a triple and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 3-for-8 with a double

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    Also, the wind is blowing out this morning.

    • cubtex

      Looks like Q will be changing batting order quite a bit this year. Would rather see Colvin flip flopping with Barney against a right hander today.

    • Agustin_Rexach

      I like this lineup a lot. It will win some ball games.

  • http://twitter.com/cubs_fan93 jake

    Lets go cubs, lets win the opening series.

  • Craig Y

    I dont know how I feel about Castro leading off… He is a run producer, and he will not have many opportunites to drive in runs batting lead off.

  • cubtex

    One area where I see the Cubs being the class of the division is their bullpen. It has been evident already. Franklin for the Cardinals,Axford for Brewers and Cordeiro for the Reds will be shaky all year. The Cubs combo of Marshall,Wood and Marmol is no doubt the strongest out of the central IMO.
    The issue for the Cubs will be hitting. You can see Q already using 3 different lineups in 3 days. How long will Bryd stay in the 3 spot? Will we start to see Castro in the lead off spot now more regularly? Why bat Covin 8th against a righty with the wind blowing out?
    We’ll see what happens and hopefully they can pull out another W today!

  • Aaron

    “Also, the wind is blowing out this morning.”

    Amount of home runs Garza gives up today. I say 3 home runs. What say you guys?

    • cubtex

      I say Garza pitches well and gets the W! That’s what I say.

      • Tony_Hall

        I hope he does

    • Last_ginger

      0 my friend

    • Aaron

      Also, if Garza does give up that many home runs…..

      I want a prediction on the excuse he will give for his poor outing.

      My prediction is that he’ll blame it on the wind, and he’s pitched in a dome his whole career with the Twins and Rays, and isn’t used to pitching outdoors

    • Tony_Hall

      3 seems a little low, unless he doesn’t get through 5.

      His excuses keep getting better, that I just can’t even imagine, what is coming next.

      • Serothis

        we should keep a catalog of his excuses then at the end of the year publish them as short stories….or novels depending on the elaborateness of these tales of woe.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        He’s looking great! Probably won’t give up any…

        • Tony_Hall

          The wind is blowing in now, during BP it was howling out! Any pitcher would give up many HR’s when the wind is blowing out.

  • John_CC

    I don’t like this lineup or this Pinella-style of creating the lineups. Just leave Castro in the 2 hole. Really, what is the point of Barney hitting 2nd instead of leading off? This does not make any sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something, please educate me if my opinion is off.

    Cubtex – I think that Byrd will remain in the 3 hole far longer than he should be there (I don’t think he should ever be there). This is because Q is acting like Pinella already and giving him the most important spot in the lineup based on everything except his hitting: he is a leader, he hustles, he works hard, he hit well at the beginning of LAST year, etc. I still think Aramis need to hit there.

    • Craig Y

      But does Ramirez really hit any better than Byrd? In all honesty I think Castro should hit third. Big run producer and he is showing signs of being able to drive the ball with some power. As for Garza I think he should fare ok today. Should be interesting though.

    • cubtex

      I totally agree John. I have been saying ARam should be hitting 3 as well. I don’t get this thinking about how a ARam feels more comfortable hitting 4th than 3rd. He should be hitting on where he would be helping out the team more! ARam is our best hitter and run producer and that’s where he should be.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,thanks for the lineup today.One thing I noticed is that Pena and Soriono are separted in the lineup,and thats a good thing. Dont lke Byrd in the 3 spot,but other than leadoff cant say where he should hit. It will be interesting to see how Garza handles himself,as you say he has run out of excuses. He needs to control his emotions and start pitching, if anything that is what I feel would be his downfall. I hope he makes a fool out of me and gets it going.

      • John_CC

        This is the problem with trying to create a sensible lineup – with the personnel there really is not a great order to create! But you do what you can. To me – just using today’s roster, it would something like:
        Barney
        Castro
        Aramis
        Pena
        Soto
        Colvin
        Soriano
        Byrd
        or flip Barney and Byrd, but honestly the 5-9 could be any combination, what’s the difference? Just split Pena and Soriano, and get Colvin in between the righties.

        Aramis is a 3 hitter, Pena is the power hitter, i.e. cleanup. After that…whatever…

        • diehardcubfan

          I also agree this lineup against right handed pitchers makes more sense. Fukudome will play though until he is traded so Colvin’s number of at bats will be limited.

          Let us see what happens over the next few weeks.

    • paulcatanese

      John sorry about that.The post was a reply to Neil. I was going to reply to you anyway. Totaly agree with the confused lineups,for the players also. Castro needs to stay in the 2 spot and Barney at leadoff would be a better choice. And if I recall correctly either Aaron or Tony had pointed out Byrd is the best for him in the leadoff spot,could have been Rip also. Going out on a limb here and saying this what you get with a players manager. I really think this will affect his decisions in the pitching dept. I can forsee pitchers in too long before pulling them.

    • Agustin_Rexach

      Castro is so good he could bat anywhere, except cleanup. Batting him leadoff is a good idea since he takes and fouls more pitches than all the others. It’s ok for today.

    • studio179

      I don’t like the Pinella style of constant batting order shuffle, either. Quade stated more than once in the offseason Castro was to remain hitting second. I guess he liked Lou’s style of saying one thing and doing another. If anything, Castro should be moved down in a run producing slot. I’m not suggesting this soon though. Let him establish himself first.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Sandberg wouldn’t switch the lineups…

  • cubtex

    I would imagine that Colvin is rooting for Castro to do well and stay in the leadoff spot. That is one of the reasons why Fuko is in the lineup over Colvin.

  • Tony_Hall

    Sorry guys, I just don’t see how putting the only guy, who has looked good at the plate, batting leadoff, helps this team score more runs. That is what this is all about, scoring runs. Castro should be 2nd.

    This is what I would do, and great minds think a like, right John_CC

    1. Barney 2B
    2. Castro SS
    3. ARam 3B
    4. Pena 1B
    5. Soto C
    6. Colvin RF
    7. Soriano LF
    8. Byrd CF

    Like John, Flip Byrd and Barney if you like.

    • cubtex

      I’m with you but I would definately flip Byrd and Barney.

      • Tony_Hall

        I’m fine with that, as I expect B Jackson to take over in CF by late May/June.

        Then we would have this.

        1. B Jackson CF
        2 S Castro SS
        3. ARAm 3B
        4. Pena 1B
        5. Soto C
        6. Colvin RF
        7. Soriano LF
        8. Barney 2B

        Now I don’t think even this is a lineup that is a playoff caliber lineup, but it’s getting closer.

        • diehardcubfan

          That is what the lineup of the near future should be.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      If we’re so concerned with Castro producing runs then what is the big difference between 1 & 2? If run producing is the goal then he needs to be 3rd or 4th. 2 hole isn’t really a run producer…

      • Tony_Hall

        Castro is the perfect #2 hitter. With this lineup, he should hit 3rd as their are really no true #3 hitters in the lineup, except ARam, and he wants to bat 4th.

        And how is the 2 hole not one of the biggest batting order spots to produce runs. He should score lots of runs, and drive in his fair shair batting 2nd.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          2 hole just isn’t a traditional run producing spot. 2 hole guys don’t break 100 RBI’s. 3,4,5 are your run producers. 1 & 2 are run scorers…

          • Tony_Hall

            Thanks for the education, I didn’t know any of that.

            But, what I said, was that the lineup would score more runs if he is in the 2 hole. And I also said, that with the weakness of true middle of the order bats, Castro should bat 3rd, as he is the only one that is driving the ball.

            But I would put Castro 2nd and ARam 3rd, but ARam won’t bat 3rd.

  • diehardcubfan

    “The Cubs must change their approach and game plan against the Pirates. What they’ve been doing for the last 19 games simply does not work. Entering play this afternoon, the Cubs are 6-13 versus the Bucs dating back to the final two match-ups of the 2009 season.”

    Neil, if the Cubs can’t change their approach after 19 games, what makes you think that will change anytime soon?

    That is what the Cubs need to do in general is change their approach at the plate. DeWitt’s at bat yesterday was a good start and needs to continue.

    Now if we can start taking some walks.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      One can hope that the decision makers could finally see what others see.

  • Serothis

    here’s one to restock your koolaid cup. The cubs with their 1-1 record are tied for second in the division :D

    stros, cards, & brewers are all 0-2. The reds are 2-0

    • diehardcubfan

      The Reds have to be the odds on favorites. Brewers you can’t discount after Grienke comes back. Cardinals though have holes without Carpenter. That lineup though will be tough.

      • Craig Y

        That lineup is not that good, plus who knows how long Holliday will be out.

        • diehardcubfan

          I hadn’t see that Holliday got hurt. You are right then without Holliday that weakens their lineup. Pujols is a beast but after that only leaves Berkman. They can then pitch around Pujols and throw a lot of offspeed stuff to Berkman. That will really slow their run production down.

          • Craig Y

            Ya he had to have some surgery. Not sure exactly what surgery but he had it on Friday.

          • diehardcubfan

            Even with injuries, when you have Tony LaRussa managing you can never count the Cardinals out.

            They will play hard no matter what and won’t beat themselves.

          • John_CC

            He had an appendectomy (removed his appendix). He’ll be laid for a bit, but again, this in not performance type injury i.e. wrist, hand, foot, hammy ect. He’ll rake again.

      • Serothis

        Oh i have no illusions of grandeur. I just thought it would be some amusing food for thought, how ever brief it will be.

        • diehardcubfan

          Yes, you are right. One can only hope we will be that close at the end of April, let alone by the All Star break.

          We as Cubs fans can only try and keep optimistic.

  • GaryLeeT

    After seeing how hard Garza was rooting for his teammates in the dugout yesterday, I am prepared to cut him a little slack.

    • Tony_Hall

      Cheerleaders don’t cost 4 prospects and millions of dollars. I hear what you are saying, though.

      • cubtex

        You will be changing your opinion after watching Garza pitch this year Tony! I will be looking forward for you saying I was right..

        • Tony_Hall

          No matter how well he pitches, nothing will change my mind about how much we pay cheeleaders :)

          In case you haven’t noticed, I do like Garza and think he is a solid #2/#3. I just don’t like the trade. I have followed Garza for 2 years, don’t think seeing him in a Cubs uniform will change my opinion of him.

        • Ripsnorter1

          8-14 if he has a good year.

          • cubtex

            If he has a good year?

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice throw by Soto!

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice 1st inning by Garza!

  • Last_ginger

    good inning for Garza. Castro needs to keep the tag down still

  • Baron_S

    Garza looks just fine.. hitting 95 on the radar gun

    • cubtex

      As I said Baron..Spring Training doesn’t matter with a pitcher like Garza. He pitched in Florida for spring training the last several years. Arizona is much drier and not pitcher friendly.

      You will see a totally differnt pitcher now! You don’t win 15 games in the AL East with a 3.90 if you suck!!

      • paulcatanese

        I know you are a great supporter of Garza, and I am waiting to be convinced.But about today,as I had mentioned before after watching Garza he can be very effective when he keeps the ball down especially with his slider. He proved that with me today and has raised my opinion of him a little.I hope he does well and if he continues to throw like he did today he will.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good recovery by Garza and a solid throw by Soto

  • Serothis

    Why does it seem like every one of our pitchers have problem closing out innings. yet another 2 out rbi….

  • xaxinho

    2 of the first 4 pirates hits were lucky. Cedeno will never hit a pitch like that again

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another 2 out RBI by the Pirates … the Bucs have not hit Garza hard yet. Good location so far …

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Garza looks really good! He’s pitching in a way that will induce a lot of ground balls. Now if he could just hit!

  • cubtex

    Nice idea on Pena bunting! 3rd baseman made a hell of a play! If other teams put that shift on…I hope Pena continues to do that on occasion

    • paulcatanese

      Yes that was a very smart play by Pena, that really shows he acted like a team player there, and as you,I hope he does again.

  • Brentcarmona

    Omg soriano just swung at the worst slider, a couple feet off the plate. It was a called check swing but wow…

    • Tony_Hall

      That’s the new and improved Soriano, in the past he would have swung all the way.

  • Tony_Hall

    I hope everyone heard that the wind went from howling out during BP, is now blowing in!

  • Tony_Hall

    Somebody better tell Garza, that this offense won’t score runs like his old teams offense would do.

    • cubtex

      or turn double plays. that was ridiculous!

      • Tony_Hall

        There is really very little that resembles his 90+ win team of the Rays

  • GaryLeeT

    I don’t know if the CBA allows for renegotiating contracts, but I would use next year’s freed up payroll, to offer Soriano a buy out for a reasonable amount, or inform him he will never play in a game for the Cubs again.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another 2-out RBI by the Pirates, nine of the Pirates first 11 runs of the series have scored with 2 outs.

  • GaryLeeT

    Quick question here. If a pitcher gives up 7 hits and 2 runs in only 3 innings, you pretty much have to say he sucks, right?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Not if you are a Jim Clueless supporter.

    • Serothis

      I don’t know if I would say he sucks…certainly garza has a lot of work to do but 7 hits 2 runs over 4 IP…isn’t great but at the same time isn’t horrendous.

      For reference, soriano’s swing (ok check swing) was horrendous. If you cringe as much as I did when I saw that, then it qualifies for the label sucks.

  • studio179

    All I can say so far is ‘ehh’.

  • Tony_Hall

    I always love base hits, drilled up the middle. Nice hit Byrd.

  • Tony_Hall

    0-0 count 0 outs
    Men at 1st and 2nd

    ARam swings at that pitch??

  • Tony_Hall

    Then swings at Ball 2

    Then gets a luck, off the fist single. Results are all that matter sometimes.

  • Tony_Hall

    They should have to pitch to Pena

    He should drive this ball

  • Serothis

    bases loaded and 0 outs. Let’s show off our special talent. getting out of it with out scoring a run!

  • Tony_Hall

    If the wind was still blowing out, that would have been a Grand Slam for Pena

    • cubtex

      that was gone in Tampa. lol

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t think so Tex

    • paulcatanese

      Yeah Tony,but Pena has to learn how to act out those long drives better and leave them to the guys that know how ,Sorionos HR. Thats supposed to be a joke. Pena said to Brenly before the game he missed those two popups by milemiters,wow thats some eye,must be better than Ted Williams. Pena still has a hole in his swing.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena just missed a slam …

  • Tony_Hall

    Soriano’s approach is so bad!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Two horrible at bats by Soto and Soriano … now Colvin gets walked.

  • JedMosley

    Terrible at bat by Soriano

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Great at bat for Pena! That dude is going to produce some runs. And with his defense…nice pickup.

  • studio179

    Cubs should have had at least 3. Soto and Sori have to drive Ram in that spot.

  • cubtex

    OK. 2 little things that I have noticed so far that good fundamental teams do.
    1st- Cubs didn’t turn a double play on that grounder to ARam and it cost them a run.
    2nd- Aram should have scored easily on that shot off the wall by Pena. ARam should have been at 2nd base when the ball hit off the wall instead of assuming it was gone and he should have scored since it bounced several feet off the wall. Again…it cost them another run.

    • Swar

      Adam should have only been as far off as he could be and still get back to first if it were caught. Maybe he should have still scored with how far it bounced off the wall, but more importantly we have to score when 2nd and 3rd and no outs.

      • cubtex

        Swar- Cmon. ARam should have been almost all the way at 2b when the right fielder leaped for that ball. He should have scored easily!

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Aram has always been lazy. You can’t say that play is a surprise. He’s so naturally gifted, if he played with something between his ears he could be one of the top 5 players in baseball…

      • cubtex

        Remember- Bases were loaded. Fist baseman is out to get cut off.

        • paulcatanese

          While I agree with you that Aram should have scored on Penas drive, I dont recall any team I have played for that the first baseman would be out to get a cutoff,if you mean that he is away from the bag between the baseline and home plate to cut the throw to the plate then I agree. Still Aramis should have scored.

          • cubtex

            Yes Paul. On a fly ball with bases loaded to right….first base is off first to get cut…therefore ARam is able to get off first base more and should have scored. I probably could have worded it differently. On that deep of a drive he might have been on the outfield grass.

          • paulcatanese

            I cant let that one go. Where on any major league team have you ever seen the first baseman on the outfield grass in that situation? The first baseman is up the line,maybe,just maybe as deep as even with the bag. The second baseman on a deep drive to right is the relay man and the shortstop covers second in the event that the first baseman cuts the relay from the second baseman to cut off the runner at second. In some instances the first baseman may trail the person who hit the ball to left center and cover behind the runner,but never in the situation you describe. The only time the first baseman would be out on the outfield grass is if he were chasing a ball just beyond the bag and either in foul territory for a pop up and then he and the second baseman are out there.

          • cubtex

            Look at the video of the famous Derek Jeter ALDS flip to home to get out Giambi to show how a first baseman can be out further than even with the bag. You are right though because throw would have more than likely go towards 2nd since they would have conceded the run.

          • paulcatanese

            You have lost me here. I am trying to visualize what you are saying. Jeter is a shortstop and he threw home to get Giambi. The statement that I am reading would indicate that the ball was hit to left center or deep left and Jeter got the relay and threw home,how does that indicate to me where the first baseman was on that play? I did not mean that the first baseman was always even with the bag, normaly in a cutoff position he would be up the line a little. And the cutoff position on some teams on hits to center or just off center the first baseman would be somwhere around the pitchers mound. On plays to the left side,left field, the third baseman is usually the cutoff on throws to home.

          • paulcatanese

            And one more thing the catcher has the call to cut or let go. This system is taught all the way from high school to college to minors to the big leagues and is consistant.Those are fundementals. I am not trying to give you a lesson but pointing out that I dont see many of these things with the Cub defense.

          • cubtex

            Paul, not to carry on about something so trivial but the Jeter play I was referring to was when the rightfielder overthrew the cutoff man(1st base) who was almost on the outfield grass and Jeter came scooting across the first base line and gloved it and flipped it to the catcher to nail Giambi. There are a couple of factors on how deep the 1st baseman should get the cut. Weather(wind factor) Strength of outfielders arm. Is the outfielder running back to catch the ball on a dead run.

            Not trying to give a lesson either but my point I was trying to make was that ARam should have been well off of first on that drive by Pena and he should have scored easily. Sorry this turned into so much confusion.

    • Tony_Hall

      Better watch it Cubtex, you might just become a realist.

      • cubtex

        Tony, I call it as I see it. I am not one of these fans who sees no flaws on this team. No team speed. Bad defense. No situational hitters. I point out what I like on the team as well, unlike alot of posters. Very good starting rotation, Very good bullpen(especially late inning) But I don’t think I am over the top positive

        • Tony_Hall

          I’ve told you before, we agree on most everything. The only one that we seem to be disagree on, is the need to trade 4 top prospects for Garza. Other than that we agree on most everything.

      • JedMosley

        He is a realist, just an optimistic one. They are two different things.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure that makes any sense. You are either a realist, who calls it like you see it, or optimist, and always think things will be good. Not sure how you can do both.

          • JedMosley

            Instead of choosing to dwell on all the bad things about the Cubs, you can look at the good too like Cubtex pointed out. You can also recognize all of the problems but still hope for the best. Even though I might be an overly optimistic fan, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the teams flaws. I’m just optimistic about it rather than doom and gloom like a lot on here.

          • Tony_Hall

            It’s not the doom and gloom, as much as looking and wanting the management of this team, to make better decisions.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree with you again on Aram should have been at second and it did cost them a run,but fair is fair Pena also thought is was gone and was in a home run trot. But then he will learn at Wrigley about right field. As far as the double play that they didnt turn on the ground ball to Aram, and I am not a supporter of his defense,but in this situation realize Arams throw was held up because Barney was pulled to the right for the left handed hitter.Barneys rush to get to the bag threw Aram off his timing and almost got Barney killed. That Barney even got that throw off was a miracle and if they had turned it thats what would have happened a miracle.

      • paulcatanese

        Correction on that double play attempt in the third. Barney did not get the throw off,as Arams throw was on the left field side of the bag. But I was correct that Barney was pulled over for the left handed hitter and the time it took him to get to second threw Arams timing off thus the bad throw.I looked back on the tape and found it.

        • cubtex

          Paul- I still say good defensive teams turn that double play. ARam had another bad throw on a sacrifise bunt to first that almost cost them too. The runner never touched first base.

          • paulcatanese

            You are absolutly correct,Aram tried to hit a moving target and he could not,therfore no double play, but it would have taken a good defensive team to do it. And oh yeah Aram has made more than a few this year already and if it wasnt for Pena,including throws by Castro their would have been a few more errors. All I was saying is the the defensive alignment in that particular situation created a tough play for Aram and no double play. Barney did a great job to get the out at second. Pena booted one also on a much easier play,tough hop but he should have handled it. And that is my point about Garza,and the pitching staff. They need to pitch almost shutout ball to win,and thats if we can score, and no errors. Another thing if you have thought Quade has taught fundementals to these guys I sure dont see it.And I am a Cub fan,since 1939, and will always be one.

  • Last_ginger

    Castro is all hustle. Wish more players played like him. Nice triple

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Darwin Barney gets it done … game tied after Castro’s triple. Maybe Soto and Soriano were watching the rookie’s at bat.

    • The Maven

      Looking at Barney’s hair, maybe a good nickname would be Alfalfa.

      • paulcatanese

        You noticed that too,huh?

  • Last_ginger

    nice piece of hitting by Barney to get it in the outfield to score Castro

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another bad at bat by Soto … being too aggressive.

    • cubtex

      I noticed that too Neil. He looked like he was swinging for the fences on every at bat.

  • JedMosley

    For as much crap as Pena takes on here, the guy can play some defense and he’s got a great approach at the plate, two things a few of his teammates can’t say.

    • Tony_Hall

      And with his good eye and approach at the plate, he hit 196 last year. It’s because of the big hole in his swing. If Soriano had his eye and approach, he would earn his paycheck.

      • JedMosley

        You know what I meant Tony, I said nothing about his batting average. The guy has always had a great eye and works the count.

        • Tony_Hall

          I have said he has a great glove. I also know he will hit plenty of HR’s. But as you say, with his eye and approach, you would sure think he hits for a much, much higher average.

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice HR by Soriano.

    Always amazes me when a pitcher throws him a fastball over the plate.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    SORIANO!

    First Cubs’ homer of the season.

    He’s so frustrating …

    • Serothis

      I really think he’s the poster child of the cubs lately.

      yeah he’s frustrating 90% of the time and we’ll bemoan his existence and then he turns around and does something that plants that seed of hope….and the process starts all over again.

  • cubtex

    Soriano can still turn on a fastball!! No matter how bad he might look during a game he is dangerous. He can turn on anyones fastball.

    • Tony_Hall

      I don’t think anyones anymore. Mid 90′s+ he can have trouble with now.

      • Aaron

        I was just about to say the same thing. What radar gun was he watching? Soriano looked awful on anything above 95 mph. It wasn’t even close. He was swinging, and the ball would already be in the catcher’s mitt.

        • cubtex

          Aaron, At least be fair to a player. OK. I get it. You hate Soriano but he is one of the better fastball hitters in the league. Can he hit a 99 mph fastball above his chest? Who can? Can he hit one from his waste to his knee? Damn right he can! Sometimes you say things acting like you never watch a player play. You make comments about palyers like Jeff Stevens being a fastball pitcher etc. Know the player before you make comments please!

  • Last_ginger

    Fonsi!

  • Serothis

    Does anyone else feel like, yeah soriano hit a homerun but for the amount of ugly hacks he’s taken recently, the hr just seems insignificant.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes, but that’s what he does and you pointed out. I can remember several games where he’d be 0-for-4 and look miserable at the plate, then come up with a home run late.

    • RickinMSP

      I’ll always take an insignificant home run that gives the Cubs the lead. :) Seriously though, there won’t be enough moments like this to make up for his short comings. I don’t know why anyone would throw him a fastball for a strike.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with his second triple of the game and in as many at bats.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes Neil and the nice thing he is running from the batters box and dosent stop, he just flat out assumes he can make it and usually he does. And I think he proved the point that he can hit anywhere in the lineup. Also Barney is great behind him.

  • Tony_Hall

    Castro is amazing.

    He just hits the ball hard and keeps on running.

    He has no business getting a triple on ball down the left field line. Hustle Triple!

  • Tony_Hall

    Overall, a decent outing for Garza. Let’s hope he can get another k, to end up with more k’s than hits (11 each)

    • Tony_Hall

      Spoke to soon

      • Tony_Hall

        12 HIts – 12 K’s – boht career highs

        • paulcatanese

          But then which Garza are we watching?

      • carmelo

        Good performance by Garza—-12 k’s, 0 bb’s—all hits singles—-easy to see why he won 15 games last year. Big addition to staff.

        • Tony_Hall

          But still 12 hits is alot. He is a very good pitcher. I just wouldn’t have made the trade to get him.

          The wind shifting to blowing in, has helped out.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

            A top of the rotation pitchers job is to stop the bleeding and eat innings. He did both today. Is he an ACE ? No. He might be eventually I think that is still to be determined. But his job is to get it to our bullpen dogs with a way to get a win. He did his job today.

            For all you guys that say he is a hot head. He was mentally tough not ever getting rattled today. Those are signs that he is maturing and that is a good sign.

          • Tony_Hall

            They won yesterday, so not sure what was bleeding.

            I agree Garza did his job today.

            And we don’t say it he is a hot head, it has been true. Maybe he will change, that would be great.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Garza sets career high for strikeouts in single game with 12. Also set career high in hits allowed in a single game with 12. No walks and the hardest hit ball was held up by the wind.

  • John_CC

    I am listening and haven’t actually seen Garza pitch, but I’d say that’s a nice start, better than the previous two. Gave up a bunch of singles, 3 runs and 12Ks in 7. I’ll take that.

  • John_CC

    O, and I really think it is time to end the stretch singing…sooooo B A D. Ronnie is gone, just stop now. Please.

  • cubtex

    OK Garza doubters…Let me hear ya! Ok. He gave up a lot of hits. All single and many soft hits. Still. No excuses. Too many hits but 12 K’s and he battled all game. This guy is a winner and I would take 5 Garza’s on my team anyday!

    • Tony_Hall

      You really want props for giving up 12 hits. He had a nice outing, 7 IP, 12 Hits, 3 ER (3.85 ERA), 12 K’s 0 walks.

      This was the Pirates lineup, just because the rest of our pitchers make them look like the 27 Yankees, doesn’t mean they are.

      Nice start for Garza, not an Ace like start, by any means.

      • JedMosley

        Just because you don’t like the trade doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support him. Everyone keeps finding ways to put him down so the trade doesn’t look as good! Be happy with what we got, a solid major league starter. Even though he gave up 12 hits, the guy struck out 12 with no walks. Not many starting pitchers can do that.

        • Tony_Hall

          I’m not sure where you think I don’t support him. I want him to win the Cy Young this year and prove that he was worth what we gave up. I don’t think he will and wouldn’t have done the trade. But if you look back, I believe I said Welcome Matt Garza on the day of the trade. If the player is a Cub, I want them to do well, but I am able to see which players are keepers, and which players are short timers.

          I believe I have always called him a solid #2/#3. Not sure how much higher praise I can give a major league pitcher, unless I call him an ace, which he is not.

      • cubtex

        Tony, I am talking to all the Garza sucks posters judging him on spring training. Can Garza do better? Sure. He gave up a career high in hits. Look at his hits per inning totals from last year. He gives up less hits per innings pitched. I am gearing these comments to Aaron,Rip and all the others who say he is an 8 game winner or less. That is ridiculous with this guys stuff and ccompetitveness. Garza is a top of the rotation starter. Is he a #1? No, but there aren’t many #1′s in my opinion in baseball.

        • paulcatanese

          Yes,he may be what you say he is but without an offense it will be extremely difficult for him to accomplish any more than 10 wins. And I still say that situation will get to him. As you say he is a strong competitor and I still say he has an attitude problem. Hope I am wrong,I would like him to succeed.

    • paulcatanese

      Would you also take the spitting he did during the National Anthem?

  • scott

    NICE THROW>>> OUT AT HOME

  • JedMosley

    What a throw by Colvin!!

  • Serothis

    a lot of first pitch hacking by the pirates…but it’s working..

  • studio179

    Nice job Colvin! No harm done, Woody.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    COLVIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The Maven

      This was something I pointed out in the off-season. Outfield defense isn’t entirely fielding percentage. Right now, Colvin is the best on the team in getting himself into a throwing position and delivering a strong, accurate throw

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And Soto held on …

  • studio179

    Maybe get another run here. Marmol shut ‘em down and take 2 of 3 from Pittsburg.

  • Last_ginger

    Castro shouldve held onto the ball there. 2 run swing on that play as opposed to only giving up 1

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro has to put that ball in his pocket

    • carmelo

      Can’t believe 2 runs on a ball that didn’t even get to the dirt of the infield—-with 1st base open and Diaz up next I wonder why Q pitched to the LHH.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        With Marmol, he could not walk the bases loaded. This one is not on Q’s decision to pitch to Alvarez.

        • carmelo

          Neil—go-ahead run was already in scoring position—walking the LHH to set-up the DP was the call—RHH Diaz is the match-up you want. If your fearful of Marmol walking in the run then he shouldn’t be the closer.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I disagree … especially with the way he was throwing today.

  • Dorasaga

    That was fun. To be honest, it’s weird, but, I didn’t feel any damn surprise of those unrecorded errors.

    Just take that as a part of the Cubs. lol

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Horrible job by Byrd … gotta take a pitch or two or three there. Wild pitch scores the tying run.

    • cubtex

      Exactly Neil! This is exactly why he should not be hitting 3rd. Aram is our best RBI guy. I hope Q sees this too and makes another change.

  • Last_ginger

    Im officialy done with Marlon Byrd

    • Dorasaga

      I thought Byrd is THE veteran presence who called for a closed-door, veterans-only conference to inspire the team?

      Dude, what was that?

      • Last_ginger

        Brett Jackson please hurry

      • paulcatanese

        I have said many times Byrd is not a three hitter. As Cubtex pointed out ST dosent mean anything and Byrd is proving that point. Entirely different hitter now.

    • Aaron

      That’s why I was a HUGE advocate of trading him this offseason (which supposedly the Cubs were looking into).

      Byrd has never seen a pitch he didn’t like. Usually he puts the bat on the ball, as he did last year, but I’ve noticed an awful lot of whiffs by him this year.

      But, you can’t put this loss solely on him. Yes, Byrd sucked all game, but Soto and Soriano were dreadful all game (sans Soriano’s solo hr). Additionally, everyone and their mom was probably thinking Quade should’ve been sending Barney on the first pitch in Byrd’s AB….You do that because you can always get in a run-down between 3rd and home if you see you’re going to be thrown out. Most teams will just let the runner take second, as they don’t want to risk an errant throw, and the run-down situation.

      • cubtex

        What? You’r kidding right????? You have 1st and 3rd with one out and your #3 hitter up and you want Barney to steal and run themselves out of the inning.

        Aaron this isn’t little league. A run down?? Are you serious?? Most teams let the runner take second? This is the MLB my man! This is not little league.

        Listen, If you can’t score with 1st and 3rd with one out with your #3 up….you don’t deserve to win.

        You Never run in that situation!

        • Aaron

          Actually you do! You NEVER run with 0 outs….unless you have a guy that’s an 8 on the scouting scale for speed.

          What team are you watching?!? You absolutely run with runners on 1st and 3rd and 1 out. You run to stay out of the double play. Are you freaking kidding me? You claimed you played in the past. I’m starting to doubt that. It’s Baseball 101 right there.

          Yes, you’re right, it’s not Little League, and run downs in that situation are common, however, the same applies to MLB, and that’s why you’ll often see the catcher pump a throw to 2B in that situation, and try to get the runner on 3rd napping, by making a snap throw down to 3B if he’s off too far.

          Again, I ask you….what team are you watching?!?

          You’re 100% right that if you can’t score with 1st and 3rd and one out with your #3, you deserve to lose, and the Cubs did exactly that. However, the point remains….you send the runner in that situation with a guy that LOVES putting the ball on the ground like Byrd does (did you see how many hits he got last year by pulling the ball between the SS and 3B, or grounding it oppo between the 1B and 2B into RF? I would venture a guess that it was well over half of his hits last year) Plus, the fact that Byrd swings on almost every pitch should tell you that he’s going to be swinging, and will likely put the ball in play on the very first pitch, which, again, is why you start the runner from 1st, and either do an outright steal or hit-and-run.

          • cubtex

            Aaron, Let me explain the situation to you on why you NEVER run there with Barney.
            1st point- Is Barney a base stealer? Answer No. So Barney takes off and they throw through( catchers do throw through in the big leagues) and Barney is out. Castro stays and now 2 outs where you need a base hit to score him.
            Another scenario- Barney breaks and stops, Castro decides to try and score and is thrown out at home. Now 2 outs and runner at 2nd.

            2nd Point- Barney steals 2nd. Byrd is walked to set up a double play with an intentional walk anyway. Yes we will have ARam up, but not many managers would risk stealing there and run themselves out of inning.

            AGAIN- You have your supposed #3 and #4 hitters coming up. Tying run on 3rd with one out! You play to the situation. No way any manager would send Barney there. A fly ball ties the game. Why put yourself in a position where you would need a basehit by running themselves out of the game?

          • cubtex

            Aaron. The situation you are referring to when you let a basestealer take second in a 1st and 3rd is if the winning run is at 3rd with 2 outs and you want your firstbaseman off the bag guarding the lines. You would never as a defensive team let the winning run steal second in that situation. The first baseman I am sure was holding Barney and he could have been thrown out and you put yourself in a position where you NEED a base hit.

            Do you understand now on why you don’t run there?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost to the Pirates 5-4 Sunday afternoon. Pirates win series after scoring two in the ninth off Carlos Marmol

  • studio179

    Talk about turn of events…

    Marmol did his usual…looked so good one day and wild the next. It’s pitch to pitch with that guy.

  • Bryan

    Sorry, you can spin all you want, but outside of Castro there wasn’t much to feel great about this opening series. Decent starting pitching (against a team that’s projected to finish in last place), typical poor fundamentals and lousy clutch hitting.

    I’ll also be a realist and reiterate that it’s going to be a long season.

  • Ajs23

    this is what you call foreshadowing. this will be another year of wait till next year. not me though. good luck cub fans. if the games are that close with the pirates all i can say is…..good luck.

  • Aaron

    As the great Zig Zigler has said in the past….
    WYSIWYG

    Indeed, what you see is what you get with the Cubs. Through 3 games this year, they’ve proven they are the EXACT replica of the 2010 Cubs offense. 12 runs scored in 3 games. That’s a grand total of 4 runs per game. I would love for the pitching staff to collectively have ERA’s under 4, but the Cubs pitching staff is NOWHERE close to that of the Giants circa 2010.

    And my biggest fear with Marmol was realized yet again. He maxed out at 92 mph, which is very hittable. Yes, teams will still swing and miss on his slider, but if he’s not locating, watch out, he’s going to get lit up this year.

    Prior to Spring Training, I thought he was one of only 2 untradeables on the roster (Castro being the other), but with the realization that he’s going to top out at 92…maybe 93 mph with his fastball, I almost wish Hendry would go ahead and trade him to get max value out of him before an injury is found.

    How about Castro out of the lead-off spot? Leave it to Quade….(and the Cubs) to remove him from lead-off tomorrow…..after he went 3-for-4 with 2 triples, a single, and a walk.

    Just like last year, the middle of the order is killing the lineup. Byrd, Pena (aside from today), Soto, and Soriano have absolutely killed the Cubs with their poor play. Last year, it was Lee, ARAM, and Soriano killing the team. Early on in 2010, it was Fukudome, Byrd, Colvin, and Soto carrying the team. Then in May, it was down to just Colvin, Fukudome (to a much lesser degree than April), and the recently called up Castro, carrying the team.

    Dreadful doesn’t even begin to describe this offense. One of the major reasons I wanted the Cubs to get Milledge was in the event Byrd or Soriano, or even the tandem of Fukudome/Colvin struggled in the early going….Now, all the Cubs have is Reed Johnson….LMAO. He needs to retire already…Just like Koyie Hill, I’m sure he’s a great guy, and great in the clubhouse, but that does NOT mean he needs to be on the roster. You simply cannot win with a bunch of “good clubhouse guys”.

    The only hope for the Cubs right now is for Hendry to get rid of Hill and Johnson, and replace them with Ramirez/Castillo/Clevenger, and Brett Jackson respectively.

    That way on of those catchers can give Soto a reprieve to get it together at the plate and work with Jaramillo, and Brett Jackson can spell Soriano, Byrd, or whomever is the RF on a given day, provided those guys are struggling (like they are now). First of all, it provides competition, which we’ve all seen seems to do wonders for the motivated play of veterans on the Cubs. Furthermore, it allows you to go with the hot hand. I’m sorry, but anyone that thinks Johnson or Hill will be the answer to the “hot hand”….is out of their mind drunk.

    I also hold out hope that Barney can return to the utility role I think he’s best suited for, and LeMahieu, Flaherty, or even Scott Moore can come out absolutely on fire early on to force the Cubs’ hand. I also hope B. Jackson can do the same. Same with Marquez Smith and Josh Vitters, who could in turn, push Jeff Baker off the roster. Both of those guys seemed to handle mid 90′s heat very well in Spring Training.

    • Aaron

      I just wanted to add that I thought Ricketts hired a “stats expert” almost immediately after he took over. I guess he should re-think that hire….or, if he hasn’t given him much of a voice, he should probably consider doing so.

      I’m a black and white type of evaluator. There is NO gray area with me. You’re either are a consistent performer or you’re not. You’re either a high powered offense or you’re not. You’re either a good defensive team or you’re not. There’s no gray area!!!!!!! I look at stats alone to evaluate teams, and last year’s team averaged about 4.22 runs per game. This year, they look to be right on their way to either match that, or even be worse than that (currently at 4 runs/game). Therefore, you MUST have an ENTIRE staff who’s collective ERA is less than 4 to even have a chance….but it probably has to be even better than that (think 3.75 ERA) to have a chance at the playoffs with this offense.

      A lot of people have ARAM, Soriano, and Pena pegged for 20+home runs. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Cubs might struggle just to have one of them hit that many.

      The reason I feel that way is hitting bombs to RF is a bit of a challenge at Wrigley with the well. Unless Pena channels his inner Jim Edmonds, and figures out that he can go oppo, and hit a bunch of bombs in the basket or just above it in LF, he’s going to struggle big time. Soriano no longer has an ability to drive the ball, which means that he’s going to hit a TON of lazy pop ups. If he still had the bat speed that he used to have, he’d be hitting line drives, which would dramatically increase the likelihood he hits a lot of bombs. But it’s just not there for him anymore. In the first game of the season, ARAM missed a couple of balls that he used to hit out of the park. One of them in particular would’ve tied the game, and you could see a perplexed look on his face of “I used to hit that onto the street….what the hell just happened?!?” The fact is, all of these guys are mid 30′s (Pena just barely misses mid 30′s cut-off), and their hand-eye coordination and strength (bat speed) is naturally going to be diminished. It’s just the natural process of aging. It doesn’t mean that they never were good players, but it means that they might not ever be the above average players they once were. In fact, it’s a damn near certainty they won’t ever be like that again.

      In the words of Piniella though: “What are you gonna do?”

      I mean….that quote right there really sums up everything for the Cubs. What are they going to do? You can’t trade Soriano, Zambrano, Grabow, and probably even Pena and Fukudome unless you eat nearly all of their salaries due to performance/attitude (in the case of Z), and most importantly, salary issues.

      If Byrd continues to suck, then you’re not going to get rid of his $5.5 million and $6.5 million due next year. No chance! So what do you do? Do you release them? We all know that’s not going to happen, especially in the case of Soriano, Zambrano, and Byrd. It might be more likely if you’re talking about Grabow, Pena, and Fukudome, since their contracts end after this year….I guess you could release Johnson and Fukudome, and bench both Soriano and Byrd, and go with Brett Jackson, Colvin, and someone like Spencer, Wright, or Snyder (when he’s off the DL)

      The best case scenario for the Cubs, as I’ve mentioned before, is for them to tank early, Ricketts to finally do the right thing and get rid of Hendry, have the new guy make wholesale changes, and have several prospects step up and take roster spots.

      It’s an undeniable fact that the Cubs need run production at all corner spots. This means that the likes of: Vitters, M. Smith, (possibly LeMahieu if he develops power and moves from 2B), B. Jackson, Flaherty, Ridling, Bour, Burgess, Ha, Spencer, and even Golden need to step up, and seize the opportunity.

      It’s NOT a matter of “if” this lineup will fail completely, but a matter of “when”. My belief is that by June, Ricketts will finally see enough, and either fire Hendry, or order him to make some changes.

      So far, I’ve seen 3 games where half the seats are empty by the 5th inning, and it’s not like it was terrible weather either. You almost never saw this recent years.

    • paulcatanese

      Aaron I dont drink,but am beginning to have second toughts about it. Really do hope Quade leaves Castro at leadoff and Barney #2 and anyone,anyone but Byrd in the 3 spot. Johnson,well dthats management for you. I think Johnson and Hill should room together on the road maybe theey will miss a bus or two to the park.

    • cubtex

      Aaron. I am surprised you know who Zig Ziglar is? You got a case of stinkin thinkin. Your biggest fear is Marmol throwing 92 on April 4th? Get back to me in a month.

      • Aaron

        *my biggest fear ABOUT MARMOL

  • Endy

    New Lineup please!! Why is Soto batting 6th? and Colvin 8th? Byrd is not a #3 hitter? He was 12HR and 66RBIs last year with sub .800 OPS.

    Castro
    Barney/Baker/Dewitt
    Aram
    Pena
    Byrd
    Colvin
    Soriano
    Soto

    Or

    Colvin
    Castro
    Aram
    Pena
    Byrd
    Soto
    Soriano
    Barney/Dewitt/Baker

    I like Colvin in the middle 5th or 6th. Byrd should be 5th or 6th too. Aram has to bat 3rd on this team. If Pena cant bat cleanup, we shouldnt have given him 10M. Lets not get started on Soriano batting 7th at 19M.

    Eventually:

    Dewitt/Barney???
    Jackson
    Castro
    Aram
    Pena
    Colvin/Byrd
    Soriano/Colvin
    Castillo/Soto

    We need a 2B, that can leadoff??? No more Fukudome please!!!