Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mets – 05/26/11

Game Forty-Eight: Cubs (21-26) vs. Mets (23-25)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 4.88/1.31) vs. R.A. Dickey (2-5, 4.71/1.55)

Weather permitting … Q’s squad will try to rebound from Wednesday’s poor performance and win their first series at Wrigley since April 18 – April 20 against the Padres. The Cubs have won only two series at home this season.

The Cubs offense will face a knuckleballer for the second time in four games. R.A. Dickey throws his knuckleball a little harder than Tim Wakefield and the Cubs must show more patience against Dickey than they did Sunday night with Tim Wakefield.

The Cubs are looking to get back to .500 during this homestand, which would mean a win this afternoon is a must.

Geovany Soto begins his minor league rehab assignment with the Tennessee Smokies tonight. Soto is expected to play down in Double-A for the next two days and if everything goes as planned he could rejoin the big league team this weekend.

In other newsMike Quade hinted Wednesday that Tony Campana could make his first big league start this afternoon. With Kosuke Fukudome not hitting (.226/.369/.283/.652 in May, just 12-for-53 in last 15 games), if Campana is in the starting lineup, Reed Johnson should slide over to right field to keep his bat in the lineup.

This afternoon it all starts with Carlos Zambrano

Don’t be surprised if the Cubs shorten up Carlos Zambrano this afternoon. Z is coming off a solid outing against the Red Sox but threw 122 pitches, the most for Z in a single outing since June of 2008. Z kept his team in the game and they eventually beat the Red Sox 9-3 after scoring eight in a crazy eighth inning.

Zambrano has not posted a win since May 4 but has pitched good enough to win in two of his last three starts. Z is 1-1 in his last four outings with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Z’s fifth start of the year at Wrigley and Big Z is still looking for his first home victory … 0-1 in four games with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

Carlos Zambrano is 5-3 in 12 career games, 11 starts, versus the Mets with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … last season, 1-1 in two starts with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

Mets Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Jason Bay – 14-for-41 with 4 doubles, a triple, 5 home runs and 9 walks
  • Carlos Beltran – 3-for-18 with a home run and 6 walks
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Willie Harris – 4-for-24 with 2 walks
  • Daniel Murphy – 1-for-7 with a walk
  • Ronny Paulino – 1-for-19 with 4 walks
  • Jose Reyes – 5-for-21 with a double, a triple and a walk
  • Josh Thole – 0-for-1

R.A. Dickey has been consistently inconsistent for the Mets this season. Dickey posted a 1-3 record in six games, five starts, in April with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. The knuckleballer is 1-2 in his last four starts with a 5.92 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Dickey is coming off a solid six-inning start against the Yankees in which he allowed one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Dickey picked up his second win with the quality start.

Dickey has been more successful on the road (2-1 in five games, four starts, with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP) than at home (0-4 in five starts with a 5.85 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP) this season.

The Cubs beat R.A. Dickey last September 3 at Wrigley, the only time they’ve faced the former first round pick of the Texas Rangers (1996, 18th overall). The Cubs scored seven runs on eight hits in six innings and hit a couple of home runs (0-1 in one start with a 10.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP).

Cubs Career Numbers against R.A. Dickey

  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-3
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Carlos Pena – 2-for-10 with 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-5 with a home run

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Fukudome – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Pena – 1B
    DeWitt – 3B
    Soriano – LF
    Campana – CF
    Hill – C
    Zambrano – P

  • paulcatanese

    So these are players selected for slaughter today. Might work,might not. I would suspect Aram took himself out of the lineup and not Quade. I am glad that Campana is in the lineup,although Quade has put him in a tough spot to succeed against a knuckleball pitcher, I think Tony is smart enough to lay down a few bunts for hits.And DeWitt, hope he goes 4-4, still dont know if that would keep Aram out of the lineup.

    • paulcatanese

      Watched some video(courtesy of Tom U ) about the Smokies and some others last night, great stuff. Campana looked super,being a slap hitter may be to his advantage this afternoon, he has the ability to recognize a change and drop a bunt, maybe this will translate with the slower speed of the knuckleball.

  • studio179

    I think Johnson is a bit stiff for today’s game and might come in later.  

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Trib: Unofficial source sez Cubs game pushed back an hour. Not confirmed yet, but tweeted nonetheless

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Trib:  Cubs say game will start on time, as of this moment.

  • Denio

    As far as the lineup for today I would like to see Castro at 3B – Barney at SS – DeWitt at 2B… Just to see how Castro handles 3B.

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

      So you want to see a potential Allstar shortstop change to another position when he does not even understand the little things about playing short yet?

      • Dorasaga

        Good point. There were opinions since last year that Castro be moved to 2nd (for Hak.Lee) or 3rd. What’s the point? That’s not talent development. That’s Hendry’s Cubs Think–even Hendry wouldn’t execute in such manner on Castro.

        It’s not like the Cubs NEED to move Castro to 3rd or 2nd. He’s not blocking any superstar who’ll be in the Show at instance (even when Lee was in single-A since last year). Patience is a virtue. Leave him there to learn the game as a shortstop. Not forever, maybe three years, then you’ll “see.”

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

          I totally agree with that. If someone was pushing such a move it would be looked at differently. But right now let the kid alone. It is bad enough that he doesn’t have a set spot in the order. Now you want him to change positions as well?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tarp is on the field. Game expected to start 10-15 minutes late.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,when I first glanced at youre post I thought you said “Taps” instead of tarp.

  • Ripsnorter1

    R. A. Dickey: 36 years old.
    11-9  2.84 last year with the Mets. First time in double figure wins in his career.But he made 26 starts last year. Previously he had never started more than 15 games. 

    This guy has given up 68 hits in 57 IP. IF**IF** the wind is blowing IN, his knuckle ball should be very ineffective. IF the wind is blowing out, he could be exceedingly tough today since the wind in the face of the pitcher seems to make the ball move more. 

    • paulcatanese

      Hey, dont forget Rip, if its raining that may cause his pitch to drop a little more than usual with the weight of the drops on the ball. He throws so slow it may be a spitball by the time it gets to the plate. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Funko in the lead off spot: 

    Has been effective in 2011 OVERALL.98 AB….29 H…..298 BA ..20 BB…420 OBP….2 RBI….0 HR.
    He’s getting on base, and that’s doing his job. Too bad he is totally powerless.

    Funko’s stats for May:.218 BA…1 RBI….368 OBP…..400 slugging.Pretty awful batting average….OBP is okay, though.

    • diehardcubfan

      Yes, Funko is getting on base but he can’t run. Campana and him should have been switched in the batting order.  The Cubs will likely have to manufacture a run because Pena and Soriano aren’t driving in runs.  Campana, Barney and Castro could make the happen.  Bunt single by Campana, stolen base, Barney moves him over to 3rd and Castro brings him home.  Instance offense.  No extra base hits required.  Sorry but Funko is not fast enough to do that.

    • cc002600

      This guy is completely worthless.
      Anyone with 3 RBI through 1/3 of the season is an embarrassment. ….ESPECIALLY when you play a power position

      The cubs OF has to be the worst in baseball,

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    First pitch was pushed to 1:50pm

  • paulcatanese

    Probably a good day for the fans attending to start the paper bag over their heads drill to start protesting managment, and it should extend to the players, they couldnt do any worse.

  • paulcatanese

    probably a good day for the fans attending the game to start the paper bag
    over their heads in protest of the management,it could exten to the players also.
    they couldnt do any worse than they have. Aram,paper or plastic?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Paul,
      Fans should use a plastic bag for two reasons;1. Water proof.
      2. Air proof, too, so that you won’f have to watch poor performances.

      • diehardcubfan

        Air proof so the fans will not have to smell the stench of poor play on the field.

      • paulcatanese

        Kind of what I implied.

      • paulcatanese

        I do the paper bag drill here at home.strange,the wife kind of likes the look,says its an improvement.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Carlos Pena’s Current Stats:

    .214 BA…3 2B…0 3B…5 HR…19 RBI….360 OBP…..361 slug…30 BB..44 KPretty Pathetic for $10 Million. SO how come?

    Answer: his scouting report show that . . . 

    He hits RHP at these rates—-LHP at these rates.
    Fastball .270 BA——————.220 BA
    Curve   .160 BA——————-.155 BA
    Changeup  .185 BA————-.094 BA
    Slider  .220 BA——————.212 BA
    Other pitches .182 BA——–.000 BA

    He should not face LHP according to these stats from 2011.
    He probably should not RHP, either. Look at these zones. It shows that the only pitch he can handle is the pitch right down the middle of the plate.

    MIDDLE OF THE PLATE 
    High  .306 BA
    Belt high  .474 BA
    Knee high .311 BA

    OUTSIDE EDGE OF PLATE
    High .224 BA
    Belt high  .286 BA
    Knee high  .220 BA

    INSIDE EDGE OF THE PLATE
    High .237 BA
    Belt high .253 BA
    Knee high  .140 BA
    IF**IF** Pena only swung at strikes, and IF**IF** those strikes were equally distributed across all 9 sectors of the strike zone, Pena would hit .270.
    However, he chases a lot of balls out of the zone, thus the low BA>

    Balls outside of the strike zone–
    Outside and away high–will chase 10% of the time
    Outside and away belt high–11 %
    Outside and away knee high or lower–20% of the time
    Balls outside the strike zone and inside–
    High 23% 
    Belt high–22 %
    Knew high–20 %

    Balls over the plate but high–will chase 28% of the time
    Balls over the plate but low–will chase 35% of the time.

    62% of all of his balls that he actually hits are pulled to the right side.

  • skavoovee

    Anyone think Steve Clevenger will actually ever get a shot at the major league level. He is making the most of his promotion to AAA with 429/487/686 (BA/OBP/SLG) and is hitting 376/432/600 overall. He is a lefty with good on-base skills — I imagine that his lack of power, his ability to call a game, and possibly his defensive skills are holding him back. 

  • GaryLeeT

    If the Cubs want to get max value for Fukudome in a mid season trade, they better keep him on the bench.

  • diehardcubfan

    I forgave Barney for the earlier error after turning the double play but not good he made another one.  That I will attribute to youth.

    • paulcatanese

      Actually the throw hit the runner in the back an unpreventable error,but still and error. Run would not have scored if Z was in the proper position backing up the throw.

      • diehardcubfan

        Thanks.  Unfortunately I can’t watch the games live.  I can only monitor on mlb.com/gameday. 

  • GaryLeeT

    As soon as the the first Cub player puts a ball in play that reaches the outfield on a fly, I’ll know their offense is ready to explode.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    3 errors in 3 innings and now a man picked off first … 

    • paulcatanese

      I know Neil,but Campana is proving one thing, if he can get just three bounces off a ground ball, he is there, they will not get him. He is really a candidate for the leadoff spot. I would love to see that with Barney and Castro following in the order. And Pena in the four spot why not? Better than Aram.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Double-A Tennessee’s game tonight ppd because of bad weather, so Geovany Soto’s rehab delayed at least one day. 

  • Roland

    Pena!!!

  • GaryLeeT

    I never wish any player leaves a game because of an injury, but the Cubs were NOT going to beat Dickey today. (or apparently any knuckleballer ever).

  • GaryLeeT

    Wow, Beato had some trouble against the Yanks last Sunday, but he had been almost unhittable, before this outing.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena with his second homer at Wrigley

  • paulcatanese

    And Buster Posey joins the ever growing DL list. That was kind of a cheap shot that took him out.

  • paulcatanese

    Great home run by Pena, just wish he could spread  a few more singles in the mix.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano with a two-run double

  • paulcatanese

    Zambrano,4-4 in this series,and you guys thought I was kidding about left field.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      Could He be the catcher instead of Hill? He def knows how to call a game and can really hit.  

      • paulcatanese

        Good thought, I think anyone could be the catcher instead of Hill. Now that Poseys out for the season maybe Hill’s resume could be sent to San Francisco.

  • Roland

    I love it when they keep tacking on!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Kosuke with first homer of year

    • cc002600

      What a shocker that Fuku hits a HR in the 8th inning of a 8-3 game.
      If it was 2-2, it would have been the usual whirly bird dance.

      I will be soooooooooooo happy when this guy is gone next year
       

  • paulcatanese

    Campana,3-4 and could have been 4-4 he was out by an eyelash. Some nice
    defense also. I think he made his case to play again tommorow,but who knows
    how Quade thinks. 3.78 sec. home to first, not too shabby.

    • cc002600

      why in the world would we want a guy in the lineup  that gets on base, makes things happen, and plays excellent defense ???

      I think we had that guy – his name was Sam Fuld. 

      I much prefer our starting outfielders – i.e.  guys who can’t run, have no power, can’t hit lefties, strikeout every other time up, and field like they are wearing a stocking cap over their eyes.

      wooohoo !!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Mets 9-3 Thursday. Zambrano’s line:2R,1ER,6H,2BB,5Ks,6IP; Pena:1-for-4,2R HR,2R,BB; Soriano:2-for-4,2B,2RBI

  • paulcatanese

    Just when we are getting the kids worked into the lineup and the pitchers starting to hit (coleman also) and could be used as pinch hitters, Fukudome goes and hits a
    home run, wow. Enjoyable game though,could not wait till Campana came around in the lineup.

  • RynoTiger

    mlbtraderumors.com is reporting the Cubs have traded for Rodrigo Lopez from the Braves.

    anyone have any other info?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Cubs traded Ryan Buchter to Braves for Lopez

  • Brentcarmona

    i know marmol has not been a problen this year,but is anybody worried about his lack of velocity this year? his fb usually was at 94-96mph last year and his slide piece around 83-86. in todays game his fb was 90-91 and the slider 80-82. the slider still has that nasty break and his stats look good,but theres just something overall this yr with his velocity, never seen it as fast as last years so far this season.is he out of shape? or in decline?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Decent minor leaguer ….

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=buchte001rya

    You should check out the minor league reports, he’s showed quite a bit lately.