Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 05/06/11

Game Thirty-One: Cubs (14-16) vs. Reds (16-15)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (1-3, 3.96/1.37) vs. Edinson Volquez (2-1, 5.67/1.56)

Can Q’s squad win three games in a row? The Cubs are coming off a much-needed day off following a 4-3 trip to Arizona and Los Angeles. The Cubs won the final two games against the Dodgers in large part to two quality starts from Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano. In order for the Cubs to post their third win in a row for the first time this season, they will need a big outing from Matt Garza.

The Cubs open a ten-day, nine-game homestand this afternoon with the first of three against the reigning NL Central Division Champions. The Reds owned the Cubs last season (Cubs won four of 16) and several of the games were very lopsided. The Reds roster features several of the newest Cubs’ killers (Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Hanigan) and the Cubs’ offense struggles with Dusty Baker’s pitching staff (Edison Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood).

Mike Quade send Matt Garza to the hill, Casey Coleman in game two and Ryan Dempster Sunday while Baker will go with Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto, who will make his first start of the season.

Following the Reds series and an off day on Monday, Ryan Theriot and the Cardinals make their way to Chicago for a three-game series starting Tuesday … then the Cubs will face the Giants next weekend for three games. To say the Cubs schedule is going to be a lot more difficult from today on would be an understatement.

Could Starlin Castro get a day off? The Cubs shortstop has just one hit this month and has more than struggled at the plate of late. Quade mentioned Wednesday that Castro could receive an extra day off this weekend.

Quade also mentioned Wednesday that Tyler Colvin could get a start this weekend. With Kosuke Fukudome beginning his swoon a little early, it might be a good time to insert Tyler Colvin in right … and let Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney set the table for a couple of games.

Today it all begins with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off his first win in a Cubs’ uniform. Garza put together a solid eight-inning performance at Chase Field and posted his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season. Garza allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts … and for the first time in three tries, Carlos Marmol preserved a win for Matt Garza.

Garza has pitched better than his record indicates and will face one of the best lineups in the majors this afternoon.

Matt Garza is 0-1 in three games at Wrigley this season with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Garza has not allowed an extra basehit in three starts at home … a stat that figures to change this afternoon.

Today will be Garza’s first career start against the Reds.

Miguel Cairo (1-for-1), Ramon Hernandez (2-for-9) and Edgar Renteria (0-for-2) are the only active Reds that have faced Matt Garza.

The Cubs have never beaten Edison Volquez and in order to post a victory this afternoon, Q’s offense must be patient early in the game. Volquez has struggled mightily in the first inning all year and if they can wait him out, Volquez will make mistakes and help the Cubs out … but if Q’s squad walks to the plate swinging it is going to be another loss at the hands of Edinson Volquez.

The Reds’ Opening Day starter is coming off a solid win against the Marlins. Volquez allowed only one run on two hits in five innings of work. Volquez issued five walks and posted only four strikeouts. Volquez has not pitched into the seventh inning this season due to his high walk total (24 walks in 33 1/3 innings to go along with 28 hits).

Volquez is 2-0 in three career starts versus the Cubs with a miniscule 0.96 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-0 in two starts with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Edinson Volquez

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-4 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Marlon Byrd – 1-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-7 with a double and two walks
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-6
  • Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-8 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-1 with 2 walks

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt
  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,actually think this is one of the better lineups Iv’e seen posted this year.Hope they do well with it and Fukodome is not starting his swoon.
      Castro,hope he can get it started.
      Aram,same thing,despartly need his bat to come alive.
      The rest of the lineup looks good and everyone is in the right place for me.
      Hope they get it going against one of my old buddys.

      • Agustin

        Totally agree. Seems like this is the best one can do with the batting order. Hope it works.

  • Neil

    For updates on Andrew Cashner, see the CCO’s twitter feed

  • nick_ss

    Dear Cubs,
    Please for all things holy, can you please win this series. I am not asking for a sweep, just Win the series!!

    Ohio Cubs Fan!

  • gocubs

    Should be…









    • Tony

      You want to swap Barney for Soto?

      Barney 324-345-429 10 k’s in 105 AB’s
      Soto 242-339-421 17 k’s in 95 AB’s

      So the main difference is Barney gets more hits, puts the ball in play more, Soto has more extra base hits, but K’s more often. Sounds like Barney is more suited for the top of the order. Soto’s #’s look like 6th or 7th in this lineup.

      • gocubs

        Soto is one of the best hitters on the team Tony. Barney will prob end up .260/.330/.750

        • Tony

          Boy thats a huge statement, one of the best hitters on the team…hitting 242!

          I am tired of this “Soto is a great hitter”. He’s just a good hitter, should bat 7th in a good lineup, even this lineup, I have a hard time putting him 3-4-5 spots.

          Barney has been one of the best hitters on this team, YTD – FACT! He may slow down, but from what I have seen, he his an extremely smart baseball player.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Castro has not hit in the #3 hole at all:

      .152 BA with 2 RBI, 0 2b, 0 3B and 0 HR in 35 PA.

      But he’s hitting .424 in the #1 hole FOR CRYING OUT LOUD QUADE, LEAVE HIM ALONE!

      And how’s Funko in the #1 hole?
      Career: .250 in PA.
      #3 hole: .282
      #5 hole: .291

      This year: .373 batting leadoff.

      • cubtex

        I agree 100% Rip! Bat Castro leadoff and leave him there! He is the only base stealing threat they have as well and he seems to thrive in that position.

  • Tony

    Castro’s been slumping, basically since he has been bounced back and forth into the 3 hole. Castro is not a 3 hole hitter, and I wish they would leave him in 1st or 2nd (my opinion 2nd).

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

    • nick_ss

      Rip, I completely agree!!
      Tony – I also really like that lineup, even flip flop Barney and Castro, and still a good one!

      • Tony

        I have no problem with flip-flopping Barney and Castro. I like Castro in the 2 hole, as I don’t really want him concentrating on Homeruns or Stolen Bases.

        • cubtex

          I agree with homeruns but how would stolen bases take away from his concentration in a game?

          • Tony

            I would rather he didn’t think of himself as a base stealer or a power hitter. Stealing bases is overrated. His speed on the bases, is more important. Stealing bases is also very hard on a body, and he is hard enough on his body.

    • gocubs

      Soto 7th??? Hugh? Soto is one of the best hitters on the team. Maybe the best hitter on the team. Id hit him 3rd.

      • diehardcubfan

        I think that is an option to explore but given Soto’s inconsistency I am not sure if he should be the one.

      • Tony

        You are a broken record.

        Best hitter on the team…this team is in worse shape, than I even thought.

      • Tony

        Best hitter on the team. Let’s take a look at the starting 8

        Soto is 7th in AVG – ahead of just Pena 167
        Soto is 3rd in SLG – trailing Barney
        Soto is 4th in OBP
        He does have 3 HR’s which, sadly, is 2nd on this team.

        Keep in mind at 100 AB’s he is 30% of the way to his AB’s for the year, as he has only had 331 and 322 AB’s the last 2 years.

        For a team that is struggling mightly, he doesn’t stand out.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,agree with your’e lineup,but how in XXXX would Aram move to #3? His ego has cost this team for a while now. And boy,I do not see him at #4 at all.

    • paulcatanese

      Not a bad choice at all Tony. Since Barney seems to have a better eye than Castro. Besides the Cubs play very “small ball”, so it could work. Only problem is Aram in the three spot as he has not been for that at all. Otherwise looks good. Castro is not a three hitter as of yet and you are right about that.

  • Cloycub13

    Stats somewhere show that Volquez really struggles in the first inning. Get to him Early because his ERA is sub 2.50 after the 1st.

    Please throw inside to Votto, knock him off of the plate. Garza can do it! Show him your high and tight fastball then work the offspeed stuff away.

    Agreed with all of the other posters. Put Castro in the leadoff hole and leave him ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Cubs, with Milwaukee mired in a massive slump (Wins and batting) this is our chance to get some separation. And I would not overly fear the World Champs coming in next week, they are also struggling offensively.

  • Neil

    From Carrie Muskat:
    C Max Ramirez released by Cubs Iowa team. He was batting .235 in 11 games with 1 HR, 5 RBIs

  • Lanny Cohen

    any video of today’s first pitch. My nephew apparently threw it and i’d love to see it.

  • Neil

    Garza with his first big league hit … and Cubs first hit of game

  • Neil

    Garza gives up first homer of season … 3-run shot by Bruce

  • diehardcubfan

    The Cubs are not doing a good job of situational hitting despite Volquez struggles.

  • diehardcubfan

    Need a clutch hit by Soto here.

  • diehardcubfan

    Hitting into a DP is not what I had in mind.

  • diehardcubfan

    The Cubs really do not have a true number 3 hitter. Castro has talent but right now in his career is more suited for batting 1st or 2nd.

    I think he will be ready in a couple of years as he matures as a hitter but as of now we need someone else in that spot.

    It should really be ARAM but he doesn’t want it. In my opinion that his hurting the team right now.

  • diehardcubfan

    So much for building on momentum. If we cannot beat Cincinnati and St. Louis we have no chance to get in the playoffs.

  • Neil

    Both walks issued by Garza scored. Cubs offense has had plenty of opportunities

  • diehardcubfan

    Good hitting by Barney and Castrol

  • diehardcubfan

    Soto did a good job of making up for that last at bat.

  • Neil

    Loaded the bases twice this afternoon with no outs and scored a grand total of ONE run

    • Aaron

      in the words of Dennis Green (team name swapped) “the Cubs are who we thought they were”….which is a piss poor offensive team without fundamentals, and incredibly inept offensively…..but otherwise, they’re a great team….LOL

  • diehardcubfan

    Another good example of poor situational hitting in the sixth inning. Should have gotten at least one more run.

  • Neil

    Cubs are 2-for-12 RISP and have left 8 on base in six innings

    • Ripsnorter1

      Then they took the rest of the game off offensively.

  • diehardcubfan

    The Cubs continue to demonstrate they lack killer instinct.

    They had Volquez constantly on the ropes and failed to deliver a knockout blow.

    A good hitting team would have drive Volquez out of the game.

    • cubtex

      They should have scored at least 8 runs today. Bases loaded and no outs with the top of the order up and you score 0 runs? Castro has not been doing the job in the 3 hole either. Move the kid back to leadoff. I don’t know the answer to who bats 3rd but it is not Castro a this point in his career.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree, and the only thing I got out of todays game, was Pena’s hustle from first to third on the hit to left. He jumped to third when he saw the throw going home. The only heads up play all day.

    • paulcatanese

      While they lack killer instinct, they replace it with suicidal instinct and continualy self destruct.

  • Neil

    Cubs lost to Reds 5-4 Friday afternoon. Garza’s line: 5 R, 6 H (HR), 2 BB, 7 Ks in 6 IP. #Cubs offense 2-for-12 RISP, 8 LOB

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,totaly frustrating, miserable game.

  • John_CC

    “The Reds Stop the Streaking Cubs”

  • Ripsnorter1

    Brandon Guyer–you know, the piece of junk like Sam Fuld that was a throw in for Matt Garza, ACE #1–got called up today and hit a 2 run homer in his first major league AB.