Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 08/14/11

Game One Hundred Twenty-One: Cubs (52-68) vs. Braves (70-50)
Game Time – 12:35pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta

Matt Garza (5-9, 3.81/1.30) vs. Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43/1.19)

After an extremely hectic and dramatic 36 hours, maybe the Cubs will be able to just play and win a ballgame this afternoon. The Cubs have won 10 of 13 and are 15-13 since the All-Star break.

It is Sunday and the Cubs are in position to win a series. The Cubs struggles on Sundays this season have been well documented. After winning two Sunday games in a row, the Cubs dropped the finale with the Reds last Sunday and are 4-14 on Sundays this season. If the Cubs can find a way to beat the Braves this afternoon, not only would they post a series win in Atlanta for the first time since 2008, the Cubs would also win their fourth straight series for the first time since 2008.

In other news According to a report from Bruce Levine, Andrew Cashner faced hitters for the first time since mid May on Saturday. Cashner threw 23 warm-up pitches before tossing 21 pitches to Tyler Colvin, Koyie Hill and Blake DeWitt. Casher is scheduled to throw to hitters again on Tuesday (30-35 pitches) while the Cubs are in Houston. If Cashner is able to return this season he will pitch out of the pen.

The Cubs are expected to recall Casey Coleman from Triple-A Iowa to make the start in the finale in Houston (Wednesday). The Cubs could make a move in the short-term to add a bat to the bench before having to call-up Coleman to take Carlos Zambrano’s spot in the rotation.

Today it all starts with Matt Garza

The Cubs best starting pitcher will take the hill this afternoon in hopes of receiving some run support. Matt Garza has kept up his end of the deal for the most part this season and is coming off another loss after technically putting together a quality start.

Garza allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) in six innings to the Nationals. Garza walked two and struck out nine and for the second start in a row the only run the Cubs scored came off the bat of Starlin Castro (two solo homers, one against the Pirates).

For as good as Garza has been he’s struggled on the road to the tune of a 2-5 record in 10 starts with a 5.20 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.

Matt Garza is 1-2 in his last six starts with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … 39 strikeouts, 15 walks and four homers (two in his last outing) in his last 39 2/3 innings.

This afternoon will be Matt Garza’s first career start and appearance against the Atlanta Braves.

Michael Bourn (4-for-11), Alex Gonzalez (2-for-9 with a double and a walk), Eric Hinske (2-for-7 with a walk), Julio Lugo (1-for-11 with a walk) and Dan Uggla (3-for-9 with a walk) are the only players on the Braves’ active roster that has faced Matt Garza.

The Cubs will get their first look at another one of the excellent young arms in the Braves system. Brandon Beachy received a cup of coffee with the Braves last season (0-2 in three starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP) and has put together a very good rookie campaign (5-2 in 17 starts with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP).

Baseball America ranked Brandon Beachy as the eighth best prospect in the Braves’ system prior to this season … and he’s not disappointed.

Beachy is coming off a no decision against the Marlins (two runs on three hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings) but the Braves won the game and has won his last three starts. Beachy is 2-1 in his last five starts with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

The Cubs’ game plan should be to make Beachy work early to see what he’s got … but this is the Chicago Cubs and they will make it easy on the strike-thrower this afternoon.

No one on the Cubs roster has ever faced Brandon Beachy in a big league game.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • paulcatanese

      Boy, I can see where a lot of imagination went on here with the lineup.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Braves activated Brian McCann, placed Tommy Hanson on the DL

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Chris Rusin (2-1, 2.67)
    Tennessee – Larry Suarez (0-0, 2.25)
    Daytona – Angel Guzman (0-1, 4.86)
    Peoria – Brett Wallach (0-2, 4.70)
    Boise – Yao-Lin Wang (3-3, 2.67)
    AZL Cubs – Hunter Ackerman (0-3, 3.21) projected

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Hi Tom, Just wondering if you could give a brief scouting report on LHP Rusin? What does he throw? Any chance of a September call-up you think?

      • Tom U

        Rusin features a low-90’s fastball and what scouts consider the best change-up in the system, along with a “breaking pitch”. 

        I haven’t seen anything that states specifically whether the breaking pitch is a curve of a slider, but in video footage looks like a slider. See for yourself here:

        mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?topic_id=4961152&content_id…

        Rusin has an interesting delivery, throwing the ball from right behind his head like an outfielder. If it doesn’t lead to arm trouble, it could be very hard  for hitters to pick up.

        I would have liked to seen Rusin get the call over Coleman in place of Zambrano. Rusin would have given the rotation a needed lefty and he has bullpen experience, if management wanted to go with Ramon Ortiz.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Suarez’s SO/BB ratio in 32 inning mostly out of the pen is pretty impressive 40 strikeouts to 8 walks. Interesting also is the 5 ER that he has given up are all due to solo HR. I see he is making his 2nd start is this temporary or are they converting him into a starter?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Tribune: Casey Coleman to be called up to replace Zambrano in rotation in Houston.

  • paulcatanese

    Over the years watching the Cubs, dont expect anything, and you wont be disappointed.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Other than the one-pitch at bat by Aramis, they made Beachy work. 20 pitches in the first, eight by Castro alone.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Garza with his sixth throwing error of the season

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good job by Garza pitching around his own error. He should be there early and often next spring for PFPs.

  • Brp921

    Michael Bourne is quick.I believed he took off with the contact untill backed it up and watched it again.

    • paulcatanese

      Do you think Qua learned anything about what speed does?

      • diehardcubfan

        No, because if he was he would have started playing Campana in LF and having him bat leadoff a long time ago.

        • gocubs

          Campana is not a ML player.  There is zero indication he can handle ML pitching and his defense is well below average.  Just because he is fast doesnt mean he is a plus value to your team.  

          • diehardcubfan

            We have only a handful of ML players on this team to begin with.  Campana should be at least given the opportunity just to see what he could do over an extended period.

  • studio179

    Ramirez and his no attempt to chase the runner back and throws it right at him for the error. Lazy effort. 

  • Jdarby
    • studio179

      No surprise. We get them all back…Kenney, Hendry and Quade. 

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

      Just the other day Brian came from a season ticket holder luncheon saying don’t believe what you hear in the media and we are right back at speculating?  What will happen will happen.

    • cc002600

      I’m not the least bit surprised….been saying it for weeks…..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another error and should have been another one charged to Aramis …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Colvin was just robbed by Jason Heyward. Excellent diving catch by the Braves right fielder.

    It was also a very good adjustment by Colvin. Beachy made him look bad in his firs at bat and seemed to attack him the same way.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent diving catch by Darwin Barney

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another good at bat by Colvin … two RBI single. Very surprised Gonzalez did not go to his pen for the lefty.

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

      Would you rather face Colvin or Reed Johnson right now?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Excellent point. I would have brought in the lefty based on two reasons. Colvin had a very good at bat last time up and Reed has been sitting on the bench.

  • Demitri

    Atta boy colvin keep it up man. Can anyone tell me how colvin has been performing since his last call up

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soto looks at strike three again with a runner on third and less than two outs.

    • JimBo_C

      I am hoping we have two new catchers on the roster next year.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    At least Garza is off the hook

    • Tedtop16

      Unbelievable. Soto, DeWitt, Castro. Three strike outs. All looked like amateurs at bat. Quade may be a terrible manager. But, talk about a lack of clutch hitting.

    • Mark

      Grabows in.That should be good for a couple runs!

      • Tedtop16

        Add Grabow to the list of amateurs. How can you with with this crap? Four errors.

  • Demitri

    How is Grabow still in the major leagues?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Four charged errors … should be six.

  • GaryLeeT

    When facing Grabow, only a forfeit is an easier path to victory for the opposition.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Just a little truth for your last post…..
      Grabow is the winningest pitcher on the entire team.

       He’s 2-0, and nobody else has a winning percentage of 1.000. Samardzija is 6-4, Z is 9-7, Dumpster is 10-8, and Wells 4-4. Shawn Marshall, Mr. Blown Save Himself, is 5-5.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Of course now Grabow has a chance to raise his winning percentage.

        • GaryLeeT

          Not only that, but since the run scored on his error, doesn’t that make it unearned?

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Yes, the run was unearned.

          • Ripsnorter1

            ESPN is calling it an Earned Run. 

            Yes, I know ESPN is wrong about 52% of the time.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Glad to see Grabow in there. Atlanta needs to win to stay in the race…..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena with a mammoth shot …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another excellent play by Barney …

    • Rbmercer

      That was nice!!…and it wasnt as easy as he made it look. He is a GAMER and a much better version of Theriot!

      Love our middle infield kids. They are what excites us for future.

      I can envision of middle of the diamond with Jackson in CF, Castro and Barney at short and second, and one of our young catchers. We have a chance to be very good up the middle.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, we’d be all set if we hadn’t deal Funko away. We’d really have the corners covered then: Aram and Soriano on the left side; Pena and Funko on the right. But alas, Funko is in Cleveland. 

        Adam Dudd is 3 for 79 vs. LHP this year. Maybe we can trade for him.

  • studio179

    Grabow wanted to give it away, but is in line for the win.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Bobby Cox is somewhere shaking his head in disgust…..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    What an excellent play by Casto … The kids!

    • Larry

      Neil,

      Any news on the draft and signings that we should see today?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Larry, not yet. The deadline is tomorrow.

  • paulcatanese

    Barney is having a day, with the bat and with the glove, seems the rest did him some good. Two great plays so far. Andjust now, a great play by Castro on Chipper.

    • cubtex

      Paul, have you noticed how Barney is positioned when he covers the bag on a steal attempt? He is behind the bag. I have noticed this on several occasions and that is why it seems more throws are going into centerfield this year.

      • paulcatanese

        Sure have, and it looks like both are late getting there, and that dosent help.
        One throw by Soto was below 3/4 slot and it did sail.  Love to see the speed though and what it does.

        • cubtex

          They had no chance to get Bourn there but Barney and Castro need to position themselves better. If that ball gets into cf and Bourn gets to 3rd a wild pitch or infield hit lets the tying run score.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, what ever happened to get the ball before the bounce if you know its going to be bad?They cannot let that happen as much as it does. I guess itgoes back to fundementals, Castro is young, but Barney I’m sure was taught better at O.S.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Well, you know how the Cubs are…
    Get rid of Pinella, and snap off a winning streak, even under the mentally challenged QQuade.

    Get rid of Z, and maybe we can snap off a winning streak, even under the mentally challenged QQuade.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Neil,

    Do you think Samardzija will be back in Cubbie blue in 2012?
    And at what price?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes I think Samardzija will be back. The Cubs will exercise their club option on Samardzija worth $3 million.

      • carmelo

        I would like to see him used as a starter in 2012—with Cashner and Samardzija at least we would have power arms in the rotation.

        • cubtex

          With Z almost certainly not back next year….Cashner really needs to be in the rotation.

          • carmelo

            I agree—-Garza, Dempster, Cashner, Shark, and Wells—-can’t assume a free agent will sign with us. 

          • cubtex

            I don’t think they will give Shark a shot to start but I think they should. I would like Garza,Demp and Cashner with 2 new additions by trade or free agency. They need to be a heck of alot better than this year and I hope Wells is not in it.

          • paulcatanese

            Check the article in the Trib,Z’s agent denies retirement, and later Z texts the Cubs goodby, I guess all of us didnt go to school. Multi million text.

          • cubtex

            I read it. Thanks!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Whew! I was worried about Marmol. But he got that BB in there, so now I can relax. Can’t imagine him pitching an inning without at least 1 BB.

  • paulcatanese

    Superior pitching shut Uggla down, what else can I say? And Marmol in for the ninth, what did you expect?

    • paulcatanese

      If I believe that, I need to start looking for a bridge over water in the desert.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Braves 6-5 on Sunday afternoon.

    Matt Garza: 4R, 2ER, 6H, BB, 5K in 5IP; Darwin Barney: 3-for-5, 2R; Carlos Pena: 1-for-3, Sac, HR, 3RBI; Marlon Byrd: 3-for-4, R

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Uggla’s hitting streak comes to an end

    • Bryan

      Certainly a game the Cubs had no business winning.  Sloppy play for 6 innings, but some great defense by Barney and Castro when it counted. 

      Great seats today, but “man” it was hot our there today.  Wow. 

      I just wish we could see more youth and speed inserted the last 6 weeks.  Time for Soriano and Byrd to sit so we can evaluate the future.  Dreamin!!

    • Bryan

      Additionally, have to mention that Soto looked really lost at the plate today (again).  Another example of JH not shopping a player when their value was high.  Would love to see a Castillo/Clavenger platoon next year behind the plate.  Oops, forgot that Koyie Hill will likely get a 3 year extension at year end, since he’s another “untouchable”. 

      Fun watching three straight games at the Ted.  But glad this series is over, and now “back to work”. 

  • jw

    What a catch by Barney on Uggla
     
    Look out Bucs here come the Cubs! Start lining up for 2012 season tickets!

  • John G

    Nice win for the Cubs. But it’s a travesty that Grabow gets the victory. There should be some kind of exception to the scoring rules for situations like that. And I never thought I would see Castro get the golden sombrero. Oh Well!! A win is a win is a win. There haven’t been that many this year. And a series win over a team like Atlanta is a good thing. Sans Z may be a good thing too.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    This will be in the recap … thought I should mention here. Cubs struck out 18 times today, did not walk once and were charged with four errors

    • John G

      And Grabow gets a W. Some things in life make no sense at all. Neil, do you have any stats on inherited runners scoring? I gotta think Grabow leads the league. Although today, he did it all on his own.

    • paulcatanese

      Amazing and they won, well they had the most runs at the end.

      • cubtex

        ARam has been awful defensively at 3rd. I really hope they let him walk next year and I am sure the pitching staff shares those hopes

        • Brp921

          I have to say, though, that catch at the end was about as good as any.

          • cubtex

            Are you talking about the last out of the game? If so, I thought that was pretty routine.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    These are the real cubs. LOL.