Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 08/04/11

Game One Hundred Twelve: Cubs (46-65) vs. Pirates (54-55)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Rodrigo Lopez (2-3, 4.40/1.42) vs. James McDonald (7-5, 4.17/1.57)

After dropping the first five games of the trip, the Cubs could actually end the 10-game road trip with a .500 record if they can complete the sweep of the Pirates. The Cubs are riding their first four-game winning streak of the season … could Q’s squad actually win five in a row?

The Pirates on the other hand will be playing to get back to the .500 mark tonight. Clint Hurdle’s team slipped below the mediocre mark for the first time since June 21 on Wednesday night.

Tonight is a rematch of the game back on July 8 in which the Pirates beat the Cubs 7-4. Both Rodrigo Lopez and James McDonald received a no decision after Carlos Marmol blew his sixth save (at the time) of the season.

Tonight it all starts with Rodrigo Lopez

Rodrigo Lopez was on the mound in St. Louis at the beginning of the fifth inning debacle last Saturday. Lopez managed to get only one out in the fifth due to the Cubs’ poor defense … then he turned the game over to Jeff Samardzija, and all (blank) broke loose. Lopez ended up allowing six runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Rodrigo Lopez has been a serviceable starter and matched up well against the Phillies. With that said and while this will not happen, Lopez should be making his last appearance for the Chicago Cubs. If the Cubs had a plan, it should be about the future not avoiding a 100-loss season.

Lopez posted a 2-1 record in five games, four starts, in July with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP … 0-2 on the road this season (eight games, two starts) with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Tonight will be Lopez’s second start of the season against the Bucs. Lopez received a no decision in Pittsburgh (Pirates won 7-4) before the break. Lopez allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in six innings. Lopez is 1-0 in two career starts versus the Pirates with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Rodrigo Lopez

  • Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-2
  • Ryan Doumit – 1-for-3
  • Garrett Jones – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Derrek Lee – 1-for-9
  • Ryan Ludwick – 5-for-15 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk
  • James McDonald – 0-for-2
  • Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
  • Lyle Overbay – 4-for-7 with a walk
  • Xavier Paul – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Neil Walker – 1-for-3

After tossing two excellent outings against the Reds and Braves in which he did not allow a run (11 2/3 innings), James McDonald is coming off a rough five-inning start against the Phillies. McDonald gave up five run on 10 hits (two home runs) with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. McDonald, like the rest of the Pirates staff, may be running out of gas. It will help that he is facing the Cubs offense tonight on getaway day but all of the innings thrown by McDonald and his other four staff mates is the reason the Pirates are thinking about a six-man rotation once Ross Ohlendorf is activated from the DL.

James McDonald posted a 2-1 record in five July starts with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Tonight will be McDonald’s second start of the year against the Cubs … 0-1 in three career games, two starts, with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against James McDonald

  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-4 with a walk
  • Marlon Byrd – 3-for-3 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-6
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Blake DeWitt – 0-for-3
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Rodrigo Lopez – 0-for-2
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Byrd – CF
    DeWitt – LF
    Soto – C
    Colvin – RF
    Lopez – P

    • Anonymous47701

      Why is DeWitt back in LF and Why is Tony Campana not the Leadoff Man?
      I just don’t Understand this.

      • paulcatanese

        Because Qua cannot stand it if DeWitt or Baker(his “untouchables”) are not in the lineup, he has cold sweats at night dreaming of them playing. One way or another they will play. Oh, and dont forget Johnson sneaking in there somehow.

        • Rbmercer

          Johnson sneaking in there??? He is our BEST outfielder! Check his offensive numbers and he hits righties too, has a good avg against them, not just lefties. He is also possibly our best oufielder. He also plays balls out every second. If anything, Quade should be criticized for not playing him enough. Give me him over Byrd, Soriano, or anybody else!

          Don’t get me wrong, we have one of the worst outfields in baseball. He is a great fourth or fifth outfielder at best.. But that is part of the problem, a fourth or fifth outfielder is actually our #1 outfielder

          • paulcatanese

            You are correct, and Johnson did come in and had two hits. And Ironic Soriono came in also for defense?

      • Chriswicker16

        DeWitt I don’t get..Campy should be in LF but in the 8 hole. Keep Castro in the 1 hole.

      • John_CC

        You should know better than to try to understand the reasoning of Quadie.

        • paulcatanese

          I like Quadie and I also like my new one, Qua,Qua,Qua, sounds like a crow, But then anything but manager would be correct.

          • JW

            Sometimes we forget that DeWitt (in Qua Qua’s perspective) may be our be RBI guy!

          • paulcatanese

            I have to say DeWitt did the job tonight.

      • diehardcubfan

        Agree but has Quadie done anything this year that makes sense?  Remember we are still in contention according to Quadie and JH. 

        Also remember that to Quade and JH it is not important to see what the young guys like Campana might actually do if played regularly. 

        Personally I would be surprised if Campana were even on the roster come next year given that Jackson is waiting in the wings. 

  • Anonymous47701

    2012 Pitching Staff

    R.Dempster
    C.Wilson
    M.Garza
    J.Jackson
    C.Rusin

    bullpen

    S.Marshall
    K.Wood
    A.Cashner
    J.Beliveau
    R.Dolis
    J.Russell
    C.Marmol-closer

    • BosephHeyden

      The Rangers will never let CJ Wilson go.  Ever.  The Rangers will pay him whatever he asks for simply because he is one of those potential “Face of the Franchise” guys.

      • Anonymous47701

        I completely disagree. I do not see why the Cubs shouldn’t go after him. Of course he’ll be a free agent after this season, but how do you know the Rangers will Re-sign? For all we know Wilson could end up with another team in NL Central. By the Way; where did you get the idea that CJ Wilson is the “Face of the Francise”?

        • BosephHeyden

          I didn’t say he WAS the Face of the Franchise, but he’s very well liked among the Rangers fanbase, the Rangers organization loves him, and their president really likes him, and he has huge upside.  He may potentially be a free agent in the offseason, I but I’d be absolutely shocked if he made it into November unsigned and even more shocked if he made it into January not making $100 million with the Rangers.

          The Cubs had their shot at him in 2008 when he was just a young, up-and-coming lefty that would have cost the Cubs a top prospect in return, and the Cubs felt they didn’t need as their team was solid “top to bottom” (that despite their lefty options in the bullpen not being that great).

        • diehardcubfan

          I will have to agree with Boseph here.  I watch the Rangers regularly here in Texas and he is the anchor of that staff.  I will be shocked if they do not resign him. 

          Personally, I would love to have him but just do not see the Rangers letting him walk.  I think they will pay his asking price and he wants to stay a Ranger. 

      • GaryLeeT

        So, just 2 years removed from bankruptcy, the Rangers have no financial constraints, and can break the bank on Wilson?

        • Tony_Hall

          Yes

        • jey518

          After losing Lee, I can’t see them letting Wilson slip away too.

  • paulcatanese

    I see that DeWitt is sandwiched between Byrd and Soto, must be because of his power numbers or to pick up Pena and Byrd. Not a good choice Qua,Qua,Qua.

  • Brp921

    Why not try Colvin in the six slot. He has more power than DeWitt. Is Colvin Quade’s whipping boy?

    • paulcatanese

      Remember what Qua had said,”Colvin has to earn it” and its pretty tough to
      ace out DeWitt in Qua’s mind, Good thing Billy Williams career is over he would be behind DeWitt also.

      • diehardcubfan

        Quadie’s mind will remain clouded as long as he continues to be influenced by JHs spell.  JH has Quade all wrapped around his finger.

    • diehardcubfan

      To answer your question, yes Colvin is Quadie’s whipping boy.  Just look at how Quadie had him riding the bench. 

      Personally, I think Quade doesn’t want him to succeed.

  • Brp921

    I think the Cubs might have got a break on the tag on Paul by Barney. I thought he was in there.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena with a BOMB to center … #21

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Marlon Byrd with the 1000th hit of his career … a single to left in the fourth.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    DeWitt with a homer to right …

    • Bryan

      It’s unfortunate that the Cubs were thinking they were in extended spring training through July.  As usual, they are now looking to “make an impression” in August….all when it’s way too late. 

  • BosephHeyden

    Yep, we’re screwed.  Our only hope now is that the Cubs get on an extremely impossible 30 game win streak that combines with losses from the Cardinals and Brewers and somehow gets the Cubs first place in the Central, then have them make it to and win the World Series.  Because otherwise we’re stuck with Quade, Hendry, Kenney, and no potential of winning a World Series for a long time.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rodrigo Lopez pitching like … Rodrigo Lopez

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ramon Ortiz warming in the pen …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I am hopeful this is the last inning that Rodrigo Lopez pitches in a Cubs’ uniform.

  • Larry

    How does Lopez continue to have a place on this team? He is only decent for an inning or two at a time.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Larry, same can be said about Ramon Ortiz and John Grabow. Bottom line is they are trying to win games and mismanaging the roster once again.

      • Calicub

        I’m still just so puzzled how 85% of this roster isn’t seen as “blowup the roster and start over” material.

        Every win makes me a little sicker to think that we’re in for a repeat of last year. I hope to god this four game win streak is followed by a twenty game losing street

        • KevininSandiego33

          I completed agree a rebuild is in order.

    • J Daniel

      Because his delivery is just like Greg Maddux.  Next year, he will pitch like Maddux.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Why do you have Tony Campana pinch-hit in the fifth inning of a two-run game? Wasted …

    • Rbmercer

      Yep.

    • Calicub

      Because “position to succeed” is a phrase Quade has never heard?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Reed Johnson brought in the game on a double switch in the seventh.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with his 10th hit of the series …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena’s patience ties the game at six …

  • GaryLeeT

    Come on Marlon, don’t hit one of your patented first pitch DPs

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Byrd with a sac fly … and Ramirez tagged on the play as well.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bett Jackson just homered again, fourth home run in last seven games. Jackson’s OPS is up to .973

  • KevininSandiego33

    Quade just didn’t use Soriano as a late inning defensive replacement. I haven’t jumped on Quade at all, because I believed he had a bad team. But Holy scrape that is a bone head move,

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Pirates 7-6 and complete first four-game sweep in Pittsburgh since 1959.

    Carlos Pena: 1-for-3, HR, BB, 2RBI; Marlon Byrd: 1-for-3, RBI, Sac, R; Blake DeWitt two-run HR; Geovany Soto HR; Rodrigo Lopez: 6R, 7H, 2BB, 0K in 4 IP

  • J Daniel

    Well, it is obvious we are all wrong!  Look for them to be only a couple of moves away from contending and JH and Qball will tell us so.  If there weren’t injuries and a couple of slow starts they would be in contention.  And the way they are playing it is a sign of the future.

    Just consider:
    Castro SS
    Barney 2B
    Ramirez 3B
    Pena 1B
    Byrd CF
    Soto C
    Soriano LF
    Colvin RF

    Bench
    DeWitt- Super Sub
    Baker – Untourchable Super Sub
    Hill – Super Catcher
    Johnson – Untouchable
    Campana – Burning speed that never plays

    Starters
    Big Z – Ace, has it all pulled together now and will have Cy Young year
    Garza – Ace #2
    Demp – Ace #3
    Wellsie – #4 stud
    #5 Does not matter

    Bullpen
    No changes needed

    So, I am not even sure that any moves are needed.  They are coming around, developing great chemistry, and it shows.  Just look at them.

    So just look at it, we all need to calm down!

  • John_CC

    I love that right after Quadie conceded that they no longer have a chance to contend (which was just a few days after he said “who knows” maybe we can make the playoffs and “I’m not a lunatic”) then his team goes on the best streak of the year.

    “Believe”!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs are 10-10 in their last 20

    • J Daniel

      That is exactly the talent they have while playing with no pressure, .500 at best.

      Easy to play when there is no pressure – look at the Pirates now.  Put them in first for a couple of days and look what happens.  I believe that if we could put the Cubs at an even tie for first right now they would crack and fold.

    • cubtex

      7 of those wins are courtesy of the powerful Pirates and Astros.

      • J Daniel

        Oh man, I better put the kool aid down!  Why spoil it?