Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mets – 05/24/11

Game Forty-Six: Cubs (20-25) vs. Mets (22-24)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (2-4, 6.91/1.57) vs. Jon Niese (3-4, 4.39/1.41)

Updated: 4:28pm CDTMatt Garza Placed on 15-Day DL – Cubs Purchased Contract of Luis Montanez from Triple-A Iowa and added to 40-man RosterBrian Schlitter Transferred to 60-Day DL

Following a difficult road trip (3-4) and a much-needed day off, the Cubs open a nine-game homestand tonight with the first of three against Ron Santo’s favorite team, the New York Mets. The Pirates and Astros will follow with the homestand coming to an end on June 1.

The Mets and Cubs are teams in transition and have a lot in common right now, with the big exception of the ownership drama that continues to make headlines in New York. Fred Wilpon had some sharp words about three of his top playersJose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran.

The Cubs announced Sunday night that they had shifted their pitching rotation for the Mets series. Casey Coleman will follow Ryan Dempster and face Dillon Gee in game two. Carlos Zambrano and R.A. Dickey will square off in the finale Thursday afternoon. Doug Davis is scheduled to pitch the opener against the Pirates on Friday afternoon.

The Cubs must figure out how to play better at Wrigley. Q’s squad enters play tonight five games under .500 on the season and four games under .500 at home (9-13). Until the Cubs start winning at home on a regular basis they will remain below the mediocre mark.

The Cubs won three of seven against the Mets last season (two of three at Wrigley). Tonight it all starts with Ryan Dempster

After three solid starts against the Dodgers, Reds and Giants, Ryan Dempster slipped back into his early season form in his last outing against the Marlins. The Cubs needed Dempster to step up after two horrible games in Cincinnati and Dempster could not pitch into the sixth inning.

Dempster gave up five runs on eight hits with two walks and a hit batsman in five innings of work. Dempster struck out three and served up his 11th homer of the season. The bottom line is the Cubs came back and won the game but in order for the Cubs to stick around in the central they will need Dempster to step up his game.

Dempster is 1-3 in five starts at Wrigley this season with a 5.85 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … and his teammates need him to begin the long nine-game homestand on a positive note.

In his last four starts Dempster is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

Tonight will be Dempster’s 15th career start versus the Metropolitans. Dempster owns a career mark of 9-5 in 25 games, 14 starts, with a 5.58 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP … last season, 0-1 in one start with a 5.79 ERA and a 2.79 WHIP (seven runs, three earned, on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings).

Mets Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Jason Bay – 2-for-13 with 4 walks
  • Carlos Beltran – 6-for-9 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-5
  • Willie Harris – 2-for-4 with a walk
  • Daniel Murphy – 1-for-3
  • Jon Niese – 2-for-3
  • Ronny Paulino – 1-for-5
  • Jose Reyes – 2-for-5 with a triple and a walk
  • Josh Thole – 1-for-3 with a double

The 24-year old southpaw, Jonathan Niese, is beginning to pitch to expectations. The former seventh round pick of the Mets (2005) has been solid over his first nine starts … and is coming off a seven-inning shutout of the Nationals.

Niese tied a season-high in strikeouts (7) in his last outing and walked only one batter (third time this season). Niese has won his last two starts and the Mets are 4-1 in his last five.

After a so-so April (1-4 in six starts with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP), Niese is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … on the road this season, 1-2 in four starts with a 5.70 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

The Cubs will face Jon Niese for the fourth time. The Mets’ southpaw is 1-1 in three starts versus the Cubs with a 6.75 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP. Niese posted a win in one of his two starts against the Cubs last season (1-0) with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP. Niese is 1-0 at Wrigley Field in his brief big league career with a 7.50 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese

  • Jeff Baker – 4-for-6
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-2
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-8 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-7 with a double and a walk

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

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

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Johnson – CF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Montanez – RF
    Hill – C
    Dempster – P

    • diehardcubfan

      Despite the injuries, Campana isn’t even given a chance.  When is management going to walk up and start finding out what they have in the minors. 

      We are not hitting enough extra base hits so instead of playing someone who can actually run the bases and bring electricity we play Johnson.  I have nothing against Johnson but Johnson is not Campana. 

      Envision me shaking my head in disgust.

      • Cheryl

        I agree. What’s Johnson doing leading off anyway? Campagna should be there. If you want Johnson in put him in Soriano’s place and then have Montanez and Campagna in the outfield. Can’t figure Quade out. What’s he call up a player for and not use him? And why is Hill catching? Castillo should be there. For once in his life Quade should put Castillo, Montanez, Campagna in the same lineup. What does he have to lose?

        • diehardcubfan

          You are joining the ever growing crowd that includes Aaron, Paul C, Ripsnorter, myself and others that keeps asking that same questions for the last couple of years.

          You are not alone.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree Cheryl, what does Quade have to lose? Well I really think he dosen’t know. Quade is too sold on his vets and the mental comfort he thinks they give him. The only time he will realize what he is doing is when he is pounding the pavement looking for his next job.

      • paulcatanese

        Absolutly agree, Its almost as if they do not have a minor league system.
        I would really like Campana playing instead of Johnson especially in center field. Best scenario tonight is he comes in for defense if the Cubs are ahead, and thats not too often.

        • paulcatanese

          Guess what, he made it in the game and scored a run,next time up kept out of double play, no way they could double him.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Sun-Times:

    Garza “not happy” about DL move, tried talking team out of it. Says all about getting back 100 prcent now

  • diehardcubfan

    The next three series in my opinion will really dictate what happens the rest of the year.  The Cubs are only playing about .500 ball against the Mets, Pirates and Astros since 2009 and the Pirates since last year have been killing us.

    There is a good possibility we could be in the cellar come the end of the Astros series.  Maybe that will finally bring some change.

    • John_CC

      After this homestand, the tough road trips start and a stretch of 37 games in 38 days that ends with the AS break. It is really gonna test this team and unless the starting pitching starts picking it up and going deeper, the bullpen is gonna be fried by the end of June.

      • diehardcubfan

        I agree with you and I think if they do not do well on this home stand they will be buried by the AS break. 

        Agree with you 100% that if the starting pitching doesn’t pick it up the bullpen will be done. 

        We will need a regular shuttle between the minors and majors to keep fresh pitchers on the roster.  That will only lead to poor morale. 

        Things do not look good. 

        • paulcatanese

          I think it didn’t look good right out of the gate, starting with the Pirate series, they have not recoverd from day one, and Quade certainly dosen’t help matters with his limited knowledge on how to run a team.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent throw by Hill and a good tag by Castro to nail Reyes

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very tight strike zone so far tonight …

    • paulcatanese

      I noticed that Neil, and then Dempster had a talk with the home plate Umpire after he had lost a couple of calls that broke back over the plate, dont know if it did any good, but things seemed to get a little better after that.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Flaherty just hit his 11th homer

    • cc002600

      Neil, (or Tom U)
      this guy is putting up monster numbers.
      you think there’s any chance he gets brought up at some point this year ?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Nope.

        I am glad he is doing well but I don’t see it happening this year.

      • Tom U

        Probably not until the rosters expand in September, but I can see a promotion to Iowa in the near future.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Tom, with all due respect I do not see them promoting Flaherty this season. He struggled badly last year when he began the year with the Smokies and had to be sent to High-A ball. He regained his confidence and finished the season on a positive note. Flaherty spent time at ‘Camp Colvin’ and has been a beast so far this year. Based on Oneri Fleita’s philosophy for promoting young players, I just don’t see it happening this year. I would think a non-roster invite to big league camp next spring will happen first.

          I hope I’m wrong.

          • JoePepitone

            Unless the scouts watching him think that he is showing the ability to hit major league pitching, I am all in favor of letting him spend time at where he’s at (AA) and let him develop his confidence as well as his skills — maybe a promotion to AAA, if he seems to be ready.

          • Tom U

            I can see your point, but I do think he’ll go to Iowa sometime after the draft.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jae-Hoon Ha just hit a homer for the Smokies

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Montanez with a bloop double, 1st hit as a Cub, 11 years after Cubs drafted him

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Darwin Barney with 2-out, 2-run single in the second. Barney tied with Alfonso Soriano for the team lead in RBI with 23.

    • Ripsnorter1

      This is a shocking statement. If, at the end of ST, one would have projected Darwin Barney as the leading RBI man on the Cubs by May 23, that person would have been laughed at as “an acknowledgeable baseball fan.”  

      • paulcatanese

        Don’t want to blow my own horn Rip, but I have been promoting Barney from day one saying that he and Castro would be the spark of the Cubs. I did not however think that he would have the RBI’s that he has. The next project is Campana and Montenez, have to keep pushing replacement players.Now if only they had some pitching down there.

  • Cheryl

    Either way the bullpen will have had it by the end of June. This constant bullpen days will have been enough to have them in no shape by July 1. It’s bound to have an effect on how Quade and Hendry are viewed. The one good thing after this will be a high draft pick next year. And no one wants to say, “Look forward to the draft!”

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The kids got the run back … but Castro got caught in no man’s land.

  • diehardcubfan

    It is awesome that Montanez, Barney and Castro are leading the way.  Where is  ARAM, Pena and Soriano?  I seen no production from the veterans.  They are playing right?

    • paulcatanese

      Ijust shut the game off,to back you up, the fans were chanting Lou,Lou when he came to bat, I dont think they meant Pinella. Nothwestern coach also commented o Campana. 

  • diehardcubfan

    Now that Montanez has gone 2 for 3 tonight, I will be shocked the he will play tomorrow.  I hope I am wrong.

  • EqDoc

    Wow!  There are a ton of empty seats! 

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

      Would you go to see this team play the Mets?

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

        Its not like you are watching the most exciting teams to watch. I figured I am going to keep giving my money to Peoria. At least I can have some fun at the ball park and watch guys that love to play the game still.

        • Tom U

          And Richard, with some of the kids coming from EST, it can make going to see Peoria even better,

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Reed with another diving catch …

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to the Tennessee Smokies on their 30th win of the season.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Z with a 2-run pinch hit single … without sounding negative, I question sending up one of the two healthy starters on the team to pinch-hit.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You are sounding negative, because that’s what I’d say, too. 

      • paulcatanese

        Both you guys are off base here, I supported Z for left field remember?
        (kidding).

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

      I was screeming at the TV again Don’t try for 2 Z just stay on first. So Yes you are sounding negative but it is a legit point.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro has 150 hits since All-Star break last season, most in the NL,behind only Mariners Ichiro (153) for most in MLB

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Whoever had Reed Johnson (LF), Tony Campana (CF) and Luis Montanez (RF) in the Cubs outfield by May 24 should go buy a lottery ticket

  • Ripsnorter1

    Nice to see the Cubs winning with style tonight.

    Nice start by Dempster.
    Nice night for Montanez.
    Nice going with 23 RBI by Barney.
    But did ya’ll notice: no Cub HRs tonight. Again.

    Talk about a power outage!

    • diehardcubfan

      Our big boppers, ARAM, Pena and Soriano 8 LOB.  A fine job indeed.  Even Big Z drove in 2 runs.

      If it were not for Barney, Castro and Montanez we may have not won.  We definitely do not want to play the young guys.  They may actually do something. 

      I just do not understand.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Quade would not play them last fall, either. Injuries forced his hand this year, and the poor play of DeWitt in ST. He was virtually handed the starting 2B job, but he lost it in ST with lousy play in the field as well as poor play with the bat. IF he had not blown the job handed to him, Barney would not be our RBI leader. Then what??? 

        Even more losses.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Mets 11-1 Tuesday night. Dempster’s line: 
    1R, 7H, BB, 5Ks, 7IP; Starlin Castro: 3-for-5,3B,2 RBI; Darwin Barney: 2-for-5,R,2 RBI; Luis Montanez: 2-for-4,BB,2B,2R,RBI

  • Ripsnorter1

    Did anyone notice?

    K. HIll is actually contributing to the offensive prowess of the Chicago Cubs!He’s scored 3 runs tonight! AND–and–he got a hit. 

    He’s got a better BA than Pena (.234 vs. .209). 
    He’s out slugging Pena:  .386 vs. .349
    He’s got virtually the same OPS: .691 vs. .703

    That’s scary–we have two K. Hill’s on our team! Or we have two Carlos Pena’s on our team!

  • Brian

    Nice to see the youngsters contribute.  And nice to see Reed just being Reed.  Sometimes it takes a guy like that to teach the young ones how to comport themselves in “The Show.”  

    No excuses for the power outage most of the season.  I will give them a break tonight.  I was there.  It was freaking freezing.  It is the end of May, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, another shirt, a fleece, jeans and gym shoes and I was freezing in three minutes.  The wind was howling.   I would have been shocked to see a homer.  

    On the other hand, I went to the game with a close friend of mine who is as diehard a Mets fan as we are Cubs fans.  I learned that we are not the only cynics.

    For your knowledge, Ronny Paulino is:  “The Juicing Fat Toad” from a Mets’ fan’s perspective, err, mouth.  

    Now that was funny.

    • Tony_Hall

      Can you even imagine how hard it is to be a Mets fan right now!

      Then again, I would love it, if Ricketts would come out and say that Soriano is only 60% of what he use to be, and that ARam is dreaming if he thinks he is going to “cash in” this offseason, etc.

    • paulcatanese

      Brian, now that was really funny. Just to ease your’e mind on the weather, try going to a Giant game even in August, you will also freeze. Only been there twice in15 years.Both were Cub games.