Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 07/04/11

Game Eighty-Six: Cubs (35-50) vs. Nationals (42-43)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Nationals Park, Washington D.C.

Casey Coleman (1-1, 7.78/2.05) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (5-7, 2.63/1.07)

Happy 4th of July from everyone at the CCO!

The Cubs begin their final road trip before the break this afternoon with the first of four against the Washington Nationals. The Cubs trip ends next Sunday with the finale of a three-game series with the Pirates.

Ryan Dempster was scheduled to start today’s opener but was scratched following Sunday’s game after spending Saturday night in the hospital. Dempster is dealing with a sore back, an injury to his ribs and the flu. Dempster was not expected to be placed on the DL. Dempster is the latest (and last) member of Quade’s Opening Day rotation to miss at least one start this season … the other four (Zambrano, Garza, Wells and Cashner) have spent time on the disabled list.

Chris Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday afternoon to make room on the active roster for Casey Coleman. Coleman will make his first big league start since May 25. The Cubs will have to make another roster move prior to Tuesday’s game to make room on the active roster for Ramon Ortiz.

The Cubs will face a much-improved Nationals team that recently received a new manager. Former Cubs’ manager Jim Riggleman resigned and Davey Johnson was named the team’s new manager while the Nats were in Chicago facing the Sox. Johnson officially took over one week ago … the Nationals are 2-5 under Johnson. The Cubs will see a familiar face on Wednesday night. Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to face Randy Wells in game three.

Mike Quade’s first game as a big league manager came last August 23 at Nationals Park. Casey Coleman beat Livan Hernandez 9-1 on that Monday night in the Nation’s Capital.

Today it all starts with Casey Coleman

Casey Coleman has had an up and down season … both figuratively and literally.

Casey Coleman will make his first big league start today since May 25 against the Mets. After a horrible 1 1/3 inning start (six runs on seven hits with a walk), Coleman was optioned to Iowa on May 28 and recalled again on June 11. Coleman pitched one inning against the Phillies before being sent back down to Triple-A on June 14 to make room for Chris Carpenter on the active roster.

Coleman has shown a little bit of improvement during his time with the I-Cubs and is 1-1 in his last four starts with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP (13 runs, 11 earned, on 23 hits with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings).

Casey Coleman has pitched much better on the road (2-1 in five games, four starts, with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP) than at Wrigley this season (0-3 in five games, four starts, with a 12.27 ERA and a 2.59 WHIP).

Today will be Casey Coleman’s second career start against the Nationals … 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. The key for Casey this afternoon is throwing strikes, something he’s struggled with both at the big league and minor league levels this season.

Roger Bernadina (1-for-2 with a double and a walk), Ivan Rodriguez (0-for-3), Matt Stairs (1-for-2 with a double) and Ryan Zimmerman (1-for-3) are the only active position players on the Nats roster that has faced Casey Coleman.

The Cubs will get their second look at Jordan Zimmermann this afternoon. Zimmermann is one of the many good young arms in the Nationals system and he has pitched better than his 5-7 record.

Zimmermann has been extremely good over his last 10 starts and is coming off an impressive outing against the Angels. Zimmermann lost a game to Los Angeles in which he allowed one unearned run on four hits in eight innings of work. Zimmermann walked only one batter and struck out four. In his last 10 outings, Zimmermann has allowed more than two earned runs only once but has only three wins to show for it.

Jordan Zimmermann posted a 3-1 record in six June starts with a 0.85 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.

Today will be Zimmermann’s second career start against the Cubs … 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. Lou’s crew beat Zimmermann on July 18 at Nationals Park 6-5 in his last start of the 2009 season.

Kosuke Fukudome (1-for-2 with a walk), Koyie Hill (1-for-2 with a double), Carlos Pena (1-for-2 with a home run), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a home run) are the only active position players with limited at bats against Jordan Zimmermann.

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball on the 4th of July …

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein