Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 08/08/11

Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs (49-66) vs. Nationals (55-59)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (5-8, 3.78/1.30) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (0-2, 6.00/1.89)

Updated: 7:40pm CDT – Cubs-Nationals Officially Postponed – Will Be Made Up Thursday, August 11 at 1:20pm

Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a three-game series with the Washington Nationals tonight … that concludes with Ron Santo Day at Wrigley and the unveiling of his statue outside the park.

The Cubs lost their first game in a week on Sunday and the Nats are coming off a four-game split in Colorado.

The Cubs have shown improvement of late. After winning 10 of 16 against NL Central opponents, the Cubs are 12-11 since the break and have crept to within four games of .500 at home (27-31)

In other newsJeff Samardzija will likely be unavailable tonight after pitching in back-to-back games as well as pitching the better part of two innings on Sunday.

Starlin Castro is riding an impressive eight game hitting streak … as well as a nine game streak of scoring at least one run. Castro is the first Cub to accomplish a nine-game scoring streak since Derrek Lee (September 7 – September 16, 2009). The last player to score in 10 straight games was Mark DeRosa back in 2008 (May 9 – May 19).

Tonight it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off his first win in over month and is in the middle of an excellent stretch. Garza shutout the Pirates over seven-plus innings and he allowed just four hits while walking two and striking out three. Garza is a very solid 1-1 in his last five starts with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Garza, unlike his rotation mates, has put together a good season in his home ballpark. Tonight will be Garza’s 12th start of the year at Wrigley and he is 3-3 in 11 starts with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

The last time Garza started a game against the Nationals he was pulled in the third inning with one of the shortest starts of his career. The Nationals pounded Garza in third in his last start before the break. The Cubs came back and won the game after Garza allowed seven runs, six earned, with a walk and four strikeouts in two-plus innings.

Tonight will be Garza’s third career start against the Nationals … no record in two starts with a 10.57 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP.

Nationals Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Rick Ankiel – 0-for-2
  • Alex Cora – 0-for-3
  • Ian Desmond – 0-for-1
  • Danny Espinosa – 2-for-2
  • Jonny Gomes – 2-for-5 with a double
  • Michael Morse – 1-for-2
  • Wilson Ramos – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Jayson Werth – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 2-for-4 with a walk

Chien-Ming Wang will make just his third start of the season tonight after spending a majority of the last three seasons on the DL. Wang is coming off a decent start against the Braves in which he allowed six runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk. Wang did not record a strikeout.

The Cubs must be patient against Chien-Ming Wang tonight and make him work.

Tonight will be Wang’s second career start against the Cubs and his first at Wrigley Field.

Chien-Ming Wang dominated the Dusty Baker-led Cubs back on June 18, 2005 at Yankee Stadium. Wang held the Cubs to one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in eight innings. The Cubs only run came via a longball off the bat of Jason Dubois. Aramis Ramirez is the only remaining Cub that was in the starting lineup more than six years ago.

Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a double), Reed Johnson (2-for-8 with a walk), Carlos Pena (6-for-16 with three double, a home run and a walk), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a walk) are the only active Cubs with at bats against Chien-Ming Wang.

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Neil

    For those that missed the announcement:

    Starlin Castro was named NL Player of the Week for Aug 1 – Aug 7

  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Chris Rusin (1-1, 3.47)
    Tennessee – Austin Bibens-Dirx (1-2, 6.98) projected
    Daytona – Jeffry Antigua (2-1, 2.63)
    Peoria – Frank Del Valle (1-2, 4.56)
    Boise – Ben Wells (3-2, 4.24)
    AZL Cubs – James Pugliese (1-1, 3.90) projected

  • Tom U

    In case you missed it, here is a comment I made on the previous post.

    In reading the game notes for Iowa’s game today, they pointed out something I reported a couple of weeks ago.

    Iowa is now second in fielding percentage, and has gone the last four games error free, Basically, since the promotions of Marwin Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Brett Jackson, and Steve Clevenger Iowa’s ERA has dropped by 1.17. 

    In the last 11 games, Iowa’s starters have a 2.98 ERA over 60.1 innings.

    Interesting…speed and talent can help save runs and improve your pitching staff’s confidence. Wonder if anyone else knows this?

    • BosephHeyden

      I literally understood none of this and declare you a witch.  Everyone knows managerial intuition, high paychecks, and veteran grit wins games and makes everyone better.

      • Tom U

        Got to be the funniest thing I ever read. My wife keeps asking me why I’m laughing so hard.

        • Brp921

          You beat me to it Tom. As my wife likes to reply in her emails. To funny!

      • diehardcubfan

        This doesn’t apply to the Cubs cause they only have one of three.  That would be high paychecks, the others were lost somewhere during the season if every even found at all.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      The Cubs have said for a couple years that Castillo isn’t good at calling games. They should try him in LF and at 1b as a back up in the ML he has the power.Clevenger doesn’t have the power but I think he calls a good game and would do alot better in a reserve roll for the Cubs than Hill and Clevenger would hit for average.

    • paulcatanese

      Life has to be good for the pitchers,should be a lot of steak dinners floating around.

  • John_CC

    23 years ago tonight they turned on the lights…and it rained, and rained…

    • studio179

      Remember it well. As on cue for 23 years ago, #23 hit what was thought to be the first Cub home run under the lights, above at the LF well. Ryno’s homer and the game was not to be, rained out after 3. The next night did not have quite the same buzz of excitement as 8-8-88. 

    • jw

      I was there….It was as hot and humid as Manila before the deluge came

  • paulcatanese

    Pena mentioned, “If its not a pitch to hit,I take it” obviously thats what happens with called strike three, cant hit it so take it and sit down.

    • Brp921

      I didn’t see that quote Paul, but when I commented back to you about not understanding why a guy would take a close pitch on strike two, I almost added unless you don’t think you could hit it, then take it and hope its called a ball.

      • paulcatanese

        The quote was on bleacher report or yardbarker. In fairness to Pena, I took the part that I liked out of his statement. I think he does take the called strike three too mant times.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Ole Mr. 196. As soon as the NL pitchers figure it out like the AL pitchers did, he will return to .196.

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, I just see too many times that he shows no interest on the called strike 3.Or just flat does not see it.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I agree with you. 

  • Brentcarmona

    trevor gretzky in or out??

    heard his contract got voided by mlb or something…maybe because of old injury?

    is there still a chance we can sign him or does it mean hes gone ?

    • Brp921

      I guess I don’t understand todays contracts. If the Cubs want to sign him and he wants to sign, how can MLB void it?

      • paulcatanese

        One of the ways it could be voided is if the Cubs had talked to a player before he graduated(his class) from high school or tried to. I think he also must be over 16 but am not sure on that one.

      • Brentcarmona

        my mistake, either voided by cubs or mlb rejected it (reasons i do not know)…using info from a respected blogger.

    • KevininSandiego33

      Where did you see that?

      • Brentcarmona

        i visit and ‘arizona phil’ is the guy who runs the show…very knowledgeable of the cubs minor league system especially the lower levels i.e. arizona rk lg…his info is pretty trustworthy

      • Brentcarmona

        oh and subscribe to the cco twitter feed as suggested by neil…i always disliked twitter but started using it recently and it is great for everything sports since any draft signing, rumors etc end up there very quickly. jim callis of bball america had some tidbits about gretzky there too

  • Neil

    Game officially in delay … very questionable at this point

  • Neil

    Tonight’s game has been postponed. Will be made up Thursday at 1:20pm CDT