Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Red Sox – 05/22/11

Game Forty-Five: Cubs (20-24) vs. Red Sox (24-21)
Game Time – 7:09pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 84, 89, 175, 184
Location – Fenway Park, Boston

James Russell (1-4, 6.26/1.57) vs. Tim Wakefield (0-1, 5.40/1.37)

Updated 4:29pm CDTMarlon Byrd Placed on 15-day DLJustin Berg Recalled from Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs difficult seven-game, seven-day, three-city road trip comes to an end tonight in Boston. Q’s squad has played very good as well as very bad over the past week but with a win tonight they would finish the trip with a 4-3 record.

The Cubs M.A.S.H. unit will be without Marlon Byrd in the finale after Alfredo Aceves hit him in the head in the second inning of Saturday’s game. Byrd was held overnight in a Boston hospital for observation.

Tonight is another ‘Bullpen Day‘ for the Chicago Cubs in the wake of having to scratch Matt Garza from the finale against the Red Sox. Garza complained of soreness in his elbow following Thursday’s side session in Miami. Garza revealed he’s been dealing with tightness in his elbow over his last few starts and is not concerned but the Cubs have decided to skip his start. Team physicians will examine Garza on Monday and the Cubs’ right-hander could undergo an MRI at that time.

Prior to Friday’s opener against the Sox, Mike Quade talked about Welington Castillo starting one of the games in Boston. With tonight becoming a ‘Bullpen Day‘ it is highly unlikely that Quade will start Castillo tonight instead of Koyie Hill.

With all of the injuries surrounding the Cubs, all eyes will be on the Iowa Cubs Sunday afternoon. Randy Wells was scheduled to make his second rehab start Sunday and could return to Q’s rotation during the Pirates series next weekend at Wrigley.

The Cubs will see there fare share of knuckleballers over the next week … Tim Wakefield tonight and the Mets’ R.A. Dickey on Thursday.

The Cubs are 0-6 on Sundays this season and have had a chance to win a series in each one of those games. The Cubs have actually lost eight straight on Sunday dating back to September 19, 2010 in Florida (The Tyler Colvin Game). The Cubs are 1-11 in the last 12 played on Sunday dating back to Lou Piniella’s final game on August 22, 2010

The Cubs have one win in the Mike Quade Era on Sunday … and it will not get any easier this afternoon.

Tonight it all starts with James Russell

The Cubs decided Saturday night that James Russell is once again their best option to fill in for an injured starter. Russell has struggled mightily in a starter’s role and will be asked to record outs two days after throwing three innings out of the pen.

Russell was the Cubs’ lone pitching highlight in Friday night’s debacle. Russell tossed three innings of shutout ball in relief of Scott Maine. Russell surrendered only two hits, struck out one and did not issue a free pass (one inherited runner scored). Russell has been very good since returning to the pen and has not allowed a run in his last five outings (5 1/3 innings).

James Russell will make his fifth start tonight. He is 0-4 as a starter with a 10.05 ERA and a 2.02 WHIP … as a reliever, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP.

Russell has faced the Sox only once in his career … Friday night.

Mike Cameron (0-for-1), Carl Crawford (0-for-1), Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-1), Adrian Gonzalez (0-for-2), Jed Lowrie (0-for-1), David Ortiz (0-for-1), Dustin Pedroia (0-for-1), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-for-1) and Kevin Youkilis (1-for-1 with a double) each had at bats against Russell on Friday night.

The Cubs will get their first look at Tim Wakefield since June 12, 2005. The knucklerballer dominated the Cubs at Wrigley in the finale of the three-game series, also a Sunday night game on the four-letter network.

Tim Wakefield last started a game on May 6 against the Twins. Wakefield took the loss and did not complete five innings of work. Wakefield allowed eight runs, six earned, on nine hits with four walks and a strikeout in 4 1/3 innings.

Tonight will be Wakefield’s third start of the season. The veteran right-hander is 0-1 as a starter this year with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.

Tim Wakefield is 3-1 in six career games, five starts, versus the Cubs with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Tim Wakefield

  • Marlon Byrd – 4-for-8 with 2 doubles
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-18 with a double and 2 walks
  • Carlos Pena – 8-for-37 with a double, 2 home runs and 8 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 11-for-36 with a double, 4 home runs and 3 walks

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"The only way of finding the limits of the possibility is by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Fukudome – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Baker – LF
    Soriano – DH
    Castillo – C
    Johnson – CF

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Randy Wells had a rough rehab start for the I-Cubs. Wells
    gave up seven runs, six earned, on six hits with three walks, three strikeouts
    and a wild pitch in 4 innings. Wells threw 68 pitches, 43 for strikes.

    Wells gave up a two-run shot to Anthony Rizzo in the first,
    threw 15 pitches, 12 for strikes in the first.

    Wells walked a batter in the second but that was it, 15
    pitches … 8 for strikes.

    Wells retired the side in order in the third on 6 pitches, 5
    for strikes.

    Wells labored through the fourth. Allowed 5
    runs, 4 earned, on four singles, two walks and a wild pitch. Wells threw 32
    pitches in the fourth, 18 for strikes.

    • cubtex

      Thanks Neil. That is the same Anthony Rizzo who was part of the AGON trade to SD. The kid is a player…I have seen him play quite a few times. He rakes. He is hitting .378 with 13 long ones already this year. The Sawx will regret trading him. 

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes, same Anthony Rizzo, that’s why I mentioned him by name. Very good player. The one he off Wells was number 14.

  • cubtex

    I know Russell is pitching tonight but I think the Cubs have a shot. Wakefield should give up plenty of hits tonight as well. I would have liked to see Campana start against Wakefield since a knuckleballer is fairly easy to steal off of.  Should be plenty of runs tonight and see who’s bullpen does a better job.

    • carmelo

      I would hope it looks like this tonight—–Russell 2 innings—Jeff S. 2 innings—Grabow 1 inning—Berg 1 inning—Marshall 1 inning—Wood 1 inning—Marmol 1 inning and the save.  

      • paulcatanese

        How did you keep track of all that? 

        • carmelo

          Just like a spring training game—and if Russell goes 6 up and 6 down, still take him out and put Shark in—- 

      • GaryLeeT

         If Berg pitches, Cubs lose.

  • GaryLeeT

    I know the old adage ” life is not fair” applies to the Byrd situation, but it just galls me that the Sox take out one of the Cubs hottest hitters who happens to have batted .500 against Wakefield, and they get to shrug their shoulders and say “oh well”.

    • paulcatanese

      It’s hard to tell whether or not that was intentional,but it was the third time he was hit in two games, along with Fukudome. But the first three were thrown below the shoulders and this one chin high. It happened so fast that even on re-wind I couldnt tell if it was behind Byrd’s head or not. Behind,Byrd would have no chance of getting out of the way, natural instinct would be to turn away.Ball behind him he backs right into it. This looked as though it was straight at his head and he didn’t move at all.I know somewhere along the line the Cubs will retaliate, come to think about it Z did hit Youko)??? but said it was an accident, right, I dont think so. Issue should be closed, we will see.

  • studio179

    I want the Cubs to win every series and I know they do have the terrible Sunday record. But it would REALLY be especially nice taking 2 of 3 from the Red Sox. 

    • GaryLeeT

       If the Cubs can win 2 road series in a row (including a Sunday game) against teams that are over .500, I’ll consider removing the brown bag from my head.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to Mike Quade, during his pre-game show, Geovany Soto is on schedule to return from the DL around May 26 or 27

  • Cheryl

    Castillo is catching! Will miracles ever cease? 

    • paulcatanese

      Yes and he gunned a basestealer down too. Nice to see. 

  • Skeldor

    Ramirez is terrible on defense anymore.  2 plays 1 for sure he should have made.  Playing to shallow on the hit by Agon….Terrible 

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

    Everyone rips management for bouncing guys back to minors and ruining their confidence.  Saying they should let them play through it, take their lumps and get better.  Isn’t that what they’re doing with James Russel?  He’s starting to look like a big league pitcher.  He’s had ups and downs but it appears that patience with him is paying off.  We can’t have it both ways…

  • Aaron

     Is tonight the night, Neil? You know what I’m talking about too….

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Soriano took care of that …

      Russell with a nice 1-2-3 third, 34 pitches so far, 24 for strikes

  • paulcatanese

    Nice inning by Russell,looks like he’s throwing pretty hard.Wish him luck. 

  • GaryLeeT

    In his last start, Wakefield got pounded by the last place Twins who have scored the fewest runs in the League. I guess the Cubs didn’t get the memo.

  • GaryLeeT

    With all those left handed hitters the Sox have, maybe Quade should go from Russell to Grabow, to Marshall

    • paulcatanese

      That would take minimal intelligence, dont look for it to happen. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Why is no one warming in the Cubs’ pen?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Grabow is now up

  • GaryLeeT

    The Sox show why they are 4th in runs scored despite a low average with RISP. A model the Cubs could never duplicate.

  • Baron_S

     they need to try a steal at some point — People steal on Wakefield all the time!!

  • GaryLeeT

    I thought a Sunday night game might help bust the losing streak, but I guess not.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    What a throw by Castillo … nailed Ellsbury

    • Aaron

      I’d bet all the money in the world that Hill couldn’t nab a runner like that 

  • Ripsnorter1

     Castillo gunned his hide down! Great throw!

    • paulcatanese

      Hill would have caught that pitch from Wakefield 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice hit for Castillo

  • paulcatanese

    Quade got more than he desrved out of Russell tonight. What did he expect after two innings Friday and then now into the fifth? I thought he did an admirable job out there, The Aztecs have nothing on Quade with the sacrifice he performed on Russell. This kid is lucky to have an arm left. I don’t think that the Cub staff will survive with this manager,one by one they are going down. He just does not know how to handle a pitching staff. 

  • Aaron

     I also have to eat some crow regarding Russell…..too bad they’ll still lose.

  • Ripsnorter1

     Nice drop by Baker.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Baker as an OF . . . Soriano-esque. 

  • Ripsnorter1

     I told ya’ll that Carl Crawford would be off his feed by 25% or more as he signed the big contract. He’s hitting like Carlos “Mr. .196″ Pena–not too good . . . . .

  • EqDoc

    Oh man did the anouncers just rip the veterans on the Cubs!  Hey Ricketts, I hope you are listening, maybe some of the truth will filter through… 

    • EqDoc

      And, “The Cubs offense is dysfunctional.”  Hello, anyone in managment listening? 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Baker out with a leg injury … will update

  • Ripsnorter1

     I’m kinda surprised that Soriano fanned on that 98 MPH fastball.

  • Baron_S

    bard is nasty! 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs’ players should learn how to slide. Baker went sliding in face first, caught his XXX cup in the mud, and gigged himself in the leg. ESPN showed it all. Pathetic slide. 

    • Kevinwickit

      He was limping out of the batters box

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Rip, he was limping out of the box.

    • paulcatanese

      Rip,he was limping out of the box 

  • Ripsnorter1

     Great effort by Starlin Castro! IF Barney was on the bag, he’d have nailed Padroia.

  • Ripsnorter1

     I am not excited about Kerry Wood. He just ain’t that good . . . . .

    • GaryLeeT

       I was arguing that point with another Cub fan (who said he was a bargain) at the Marlins game I was at on Thursday. The argument was interrupted with a mammoth HR served up by Wood. A smirk came across my face.

  • Ripsnorter1

     Wood just ain’t that good . . . .

  • cubtex

    Barney should have been at the bag on Castro’s dive.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Garza won’t win 15 this year. Wells won’t win 15 this year. Cubs’ probably won’t have a single 10 game winner. 

  • Ripsnorter1

     I guess I can’t complain about Wood too much . . . the runs were charged to Grabow. 

    Wood is overrated.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       What I saw was a very good hitter squaring up a pitch well off the plate.

      • Ripsnorter1

        According to ESPN announcers, he squared up a hanging breaking ball. It was off the plate, though.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

           Not what I saw, not listening to them. I listen to Pat and Keith.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Are you watching the game on ESPN, or MLB.Com, or some other source? 

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            ESPN.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Baker left with strained left groin. Will
    be re-evaluated Tues in Chicago.

  • Ripsnorter1

     Wood gets another shot at it.

  • Baron_S

     Fuk is averaging .240 in May — the fall-off is officially on.

    • Tony_Hall

      Baron – IF only we could predict this, before it happens… 

  • Ripsnorter1

     I don’t know how he got out of the way of Wood’s first pitch. Miracle! But Wood got him on the second toss.

  • Ripsnorter1

     ESPN is saying that the Cubs’ bullpen is loose just in case Kerry Wood got tossed for this.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Second catcher’s interference call of the series … what did Quade say about fundamentals?

  • Ripsnorter1

     Catcher’s interference??!!????

    Gag!
    ESPN was just showing Quade mouthing off to the Red Sox bench about 2 Cubs’ being hit to just 1 BoSOx player. Neil, what is your opinion about why Byrd has been hit 5 times since May 11? Not seeing the ball? I mean, he’s got 3 HR, and 11 RBI. Why continually nail him? Or what is really going on?

  • Baron_S

     Man — Bard and Papelbon are tough….. not too much deception — they just bring the heat!

    • Ripsnorter1

      They must have some movement, too. Farnsworth has heat–but it’s pretty straight. These two seems to be a step or two ahead of Farnsworth.  

      • Baron_S

         Both have great movement — Bard might have better variety overall — but Papelbon also has that mad/lunatic closers aggression

  • paulcatanese

    Dang it, and Campana was on deck too. 

    • Ripsnorter1

      I agree. I wanted to see what he could do against this guy.

      I am thinking Baker to DL, and Scales will be called up. Also the Cubs will have to make some roster moves. 

  • Ripsnorter1

     No Cubs game tomorrow, so you may want to watch ESPN’s Monday night game with Cleveland vs BoSox. Indians just swept the Reds (hey, hey!). 
    It’s free on the Internet.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 5-1 to Red Sox Sunday night. James Russell’s
    line: 3R,7H,BB,2 Ks,4+IP; #Cubs offense: 5 hits, 6 baserunners