Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 08/03/11

Game One Hundred Eleven: Cubs (45-65) vs. Pirates (54-54)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Matt Garza (4-8, 3.99/1.32) vs. Charlie Morton (8-6, 4.04/1.56)

For the second time this season the Cubs will shoot for the first four-game winning streak of the year. After the Cubs swept the Astros at Wrigley (July 22 – July 24), Ryan Dempster and the Cubs came up short against Milwaukee … the last time a Cubs team won four in a row was September 13 – September 19, 2010 when they posted six straight victories.

Tyler Colvin returned to the starting lineup Tuesday night and responded with his best game of the season. Colvin pounded out three hits that included a double and one of the Cubs six home runs. According to several reports, Colvin is scheduled to start the remainder of the series in Pittsburgh and at least the opener against the Reds on Friday.

Quade said Tuesday that he plans on giving Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd breaks and that will help getting Reed Johnson playing time. Despite what Jim Hendry said after he traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians in order for the Cubs to see what they have in Tyler Colvin, Quade said Tuesday that Colvin would have to earn his playing time.

A team that enters play 20 games under .500 on August 3 should be focused on giving time to young players such as Tyler Colvin to see what that player could possibly bring to the table. August is a good time to look at younger players and not September … another reason Chris Carpenter and John Gaub should be with the big league team instead of the likes of Ramon Ortiz and John Grabow.

Tonight it all begins with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off a much better outing than his final line. Garza was charged with six runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings last Friday night in St. Louis. The Cubs defense made several bad plays behind Garza that were not ruled as errors … and two that were. Garza was tagged with his eighth loss of the season.

Garza has pitched much better at Wrigley (3-3 in 11 starts with a 2.70 ERA and 1.13 WHIP) than on the road (1-5 in nine starts with a 5.96 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP). The Cubs need for Garza to finish the year on a positive note … and for the front office and a majority of the mainstream media not to look at his win-loss record but his other numbers.

Even with the poor line in his last game, Garza finished July 0-2 in six starts with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.

Matt Garza has not faced the Pirates since his tremendous start against them in the third game of the season. Garza pitched seven strong innings and allowed three runs on 12 hits (all singles) without a walk and a season-high 12 strikeouts. Tonight will be Garza’s second start versus the Bucs … and his first at PNC.

Pirates Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Pedro Alvarez – 2-for-4
  • Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-3
  • Garrett Jones – 2-for-4
  • Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Lyle Overbay – 11-for-40 with 3 doubles and 2 walks
  • Neil Walker – 0-for-4

The Cubs will get their first of the season at Charlie Morton tonight. After a sensational and surprising first two months of the season (April: 2-1 in five starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP; May: 3-1 in five starts with a 2.06 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP), Morton has come back to earth and has struggled mightily over the last two months (June: 2-2 in four starts with an 8.50 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP; July: 1-2 in five starts with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP).

Morton is coming off a horrible start against the Phillies in which he allowed eight runs, six earned, on nine hits with four walks and four strikeouts in four innings.

The Cubs have had their success against Charlie Morton in the past (2-2 in four starts with a 7.85 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP) but Morton beat Lou’s crew last May 5 in Pittsburgh … two runs on five hits without a walk and three strikeouts in six innings, only one of two wins for Morton in 2010.

Cubs Career Numbers against Charlie Morton

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-5
  • Marlon Byrd – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-3
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-3 with a triple
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-4
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-6
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-4 with a double

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax