Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 08/17/11

Game One Hundred Twenty-Four: Cubs (54-69) vs. Astros (39-84)
Game Time – 1:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Casey Coleman (2-4, 7.23/1.94) vs. Bud Norris (5-8, 3.55/1.31)

Updated 11:49am CDT Casey Coleman Recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Scott Maine Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

How will the Cubs respond to what they called a shocking loss on Tuesday night? Q’s squad was in line to post their fifth straight series win but let one slip away. They will need a win this afternoon to avoid another disappointing road trip … 4-2 after a six-game trip to Atlanta and Houston sounds a lot better than 3-3, especially after taking three of the first four.

Casey Coleman will be activated prior to today’s game and make his first big league start since July 4. Scott Maine is expected to be sent back to Iowa after spending two days in the majors without throwing a pitch.

If the Cubs are able to have a lead late in the game, look for Sean Marshall to try to close it out. Kerry Wood will not be available after pitching in back-to-back games. It is highly unlikely that Carlos Marmol would be available after throwing 32 pitches on Tuesday night.

Geovany Soto will be back behind the plate this afternoon and Mike Quade mentioned he might shakeup his lineup a little on Wednesday against Bud Norris.

In other newsAndrew Cashner is scheduled to throw to hitters again on Friday and a bullpen on Sunday. If everything goes as planned Cashner will begin a minor league rehab next week.

The magic number for the Cubs is four. When the Cubs score four or more runs they are 44-26, when Q’s offense plates three runs or less, just 10-43.

Today is the Cubs final game of 2011 in Houston … and it all starts with Casey Coleman.

Casey Coleman last started a big league game on July 4 in Washington D.C. Coleman put together a decent outing (three runs, two earned, on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings) but received a no decision in a Cubs 5-4 loss. Coleman has struggled in just about every aspect of the game at the Major League level. Coleman has walked (28) just about as many batters as he’s struck out (31) and in 42 1/3 innings he’s served up five longballs.

Coleman said he adjusted his mechanics and tried to slow down his approach during his time in the I-Cubs rotation. With the Cubs in need of another starter for the remainder of the season, Coleman should receive plenty of opportunities to show he’s a big league pitcher.

Today will be Coleman’s third career start against the Astros. He is 1-0 in the first two starts with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP (four runs on 14 hits in 13 innings with six walks and four strikeouts).

One of the best starts of Coleman’s career came in Houston on October 1, 2010. Casey threw seven innings of shutout ball (six hits, a walk and two strikeouts) in a 2-0 Cubs victory.

Brian Bogusevic (0-for-3), Jason Bourgeois (0-for-3), Matt Downs (1-for-2 with a walk), Carlos Lee (0-for-6), Jason Michaels (2-for-3 with two doubles) and Bud Norris (0-for-2) are the only players on the Astros’ active roster with limited at bats against Casey Coleman.

Bud Norris is a very good pitcher on not-such-a-good baseball team. Norris is coming off an excellent start against the Dodgers in which he tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed only two hits. Norris walked four and struck out eight in a 1-0 Astros’ loss.

Norris has not posted a victory since before the break and is 0-2 in his last six starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP … and Norris is just as good at home (3-4 in 14 starts with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP) as he is on the road (2-4 in 10 starts with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP).

Today will be Norris’ second start of the season against the Cubs. He was a hard-luck loser at Wrigley back on July 22. The Cubs beat Houston 4-2 and Norris allowed four runs, one earned, without a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the fifth).

Bud Norris is 1-2 in four career games, three starts, against the Cubs with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-6
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-5
  • Casey Coleman – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4
  • Carlos Pena – 1-for-6
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-6 with a double and a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

  • paulcatanese

    Qua mentioned he may shake up the lineup a little? Thats for sure, it was just a little. Soto in and Colvin down to number eight, some shakeup, and Byrd still there, ready to hit into more double plays, time for Byrd and Soriono to get a rest.

  • Aaron

    The Ricketts and Hendry really need to put a gag order on Quade. The more he opens his mouth, the dumber the entire organization looks for hiring him:]

    He claims he was “real surprised” that Marmol wasn’t able to get through the 9th…LOL

    • paulcatanese

      Watched it Aaron, Marmol “forget about today”, maybe he can forget it but I won’t. Qua, suprised? Agree with you, where has Qua been? As all of us has said , Qua does not have a clue about pitching and his pitching coach seems to have less than a clue.

    • studio179

      Quade is surprised? How much has he watched Marmol pitch? Even when he gets a save, he is usually not lights out. He use to get away with walking or hitting guys because his stuff was so electric. He would bounce back from a couple walks or even bases loaded and strike out the side or get a weak grounder. No one could square up on Marmol. Now, as in all year, his fastball has dropped velocity considerably and his slider happy pitch is flat or not near as sharp. He can’t get away with walks or hit batsman because Marmol himself is so hittable. Yet, the Cubs manager does not see this and is surprised. Unless I missed it, about the only positive from that interview is he did not refer to Marmol as ‘Marms’. 

    • Jdarby

      He also made comments about Randy Wells being a candidate for the 2012 rotation in the Sun Times … Randy Wells has more lives than Hendry.

      • studio179

        I wonder why doesn’t Wells have to ‘earn’ playing time for 2012 in Quade’s eyes. Wells has been brutal most every time out. I get this year and now. They have no other options. But the Cubs could do themselves some good by moving on from Wells for 2012. Same goes for Coleman. 

        • Jdarby

          I agree.  Wells shouldn’t even be an option for next year IMO.  He should be traded for a bag of balls at season’s end or released.

  • paulcatanese

    Watched Dunston swing the bat on the video. Long power swing and good contact, In a batting cage. Goes from open stance to closed, and some movement with the bat. Needs some work with that, but good foundation. Useing a metal bat?

  • Brentcarmona

    byrd swing and miss on the first pitch. yesterday im almost positive he swung at the first pitch in every at bat. each one was not a healthy swing either.

    right when i wanted to trash him, he takes a walk. seriously run production (about 25 rbi’s?) and impatient..been seeing too much of that from alot of cubs hitters. wish he would be gone but i guess its not a terrible idea if he sticks around until jackson is ready, maybe he can teach him how to be a pro, ready yourself everyday etc then trade him midseason next year..

  • brent carmona

    Coleman has excellent movement on his sinker/2 seamer..definitely his bread and butter pitch. As long as he can command it and use his breaking pitches (which arent devasting by any means) to set it up he should round out to be a solid back end rotation guy.

    • brent carmona

      eeek shut me right up…couldnt even make it out of the fourth inning.

      Too many ground balls found holes, couldnt help that however he did catch too much of the plate with his curveball today and that hurt him the most.

      • Ripsnorter1

        The Casey Coleman story of 2011–

        NO CONTROL.

        Add in that his fastball is missing, and he’s in real trouble. 

        And so are the Cubs.

        • cubtex

          At best and again I stress AT BEST…Coleman is a #5 on a bottom tier mlb team.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I agree with you. Unless he can learn a new pitch, he ain’t going to make it.

          • paulcatanese

            Seems like quite a few of our pitchers need to learn a new pitch.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Why do you say that?

            It isn’t because we are dead last in all of MLB in ERA, is it?Or are you saying this because we are dead last in MLB in quality starts, lower than the lowly Houston Astros?Maybe you mistakenly think this because our BAA is higher than all other ML teams?I just don’t understand you, Paul……

          • paulcatanese

            Something like that Rip,all of the above.  Liked “Dumbo”, that was a good one.

  • Neil

    Aramis with #23, two-out, two-run shot

  • Ripsnorter1

    Neil, what is the latest on Dumbo?

    I haven’t heard whether or not Zambrano’s agent filed suit vs the Cubs or not.

    • Neil

      I have not heard/read anything official.

  • Ripsnorter1

    what about Coleman’s wart on his pitching finger?

    • Neil

      From the way I understand it, it healed and he’s supposed to be fine now.

  • Gramps

    Is the squeeze play still legal? If it is will somebody tell Quade that it is a way of getting a run in from third base. Have the Cubs tried a squeeze play this year? I can’t remember any tries at it.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Coleman ain’t getting the job done in 2011.

    • cubtex

      More reason on how important it is to aquire starting pitching this offseason.

  • Tno13

    As much as I’d like to see Colvin succeed, his at bat with runners on 2nd and 3rd no outs and the pitcher batting behind him, was horrible.

    • cubtex

      Until he decides to use the whole field…. we will see alot of ab’s like that! He has no chance on anything on the outer part of the plate

  • Neil

    No improvement from Casey, 4 runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3

  • Ripsnorter1


    3.2 IP10 h
    2 BB

    Now let’s see…..hmmmmm…..that makes for a WHIP of…..3.28.

    Nope. Doesn’t look like that’s going to be good enough, Lou.


  • Ripsnorter1

    Casey Coleman has had 10 starts for the Cubs in 2011.

    Can’t say he didn’t get any chances in 2011.


    Don’t tell me QQuade is coming back with him next week. 

  • studio179

    Bases loaded with no outs and the Cubs go down against Bud ‘Cy’ Norris.

    Terrible ABs.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Don’t forget we are playing the mighty Houston Astros. 

      Consider Marmol’s blown saves: 8 for the year.
      2 vs. Houston already.
      2 vs. Pittsburgh.
      1 vs. San Diego (a last place team)
      1 vs. Florida
      1 vs. SF

      All of those teams can’t hit a lick. The only blown save vs. a real team:

      This means the Cubs can’t even beat the weak sisters of MLB.

      • studio179

        Yes, there are many holes with Cubs pitching.

        Speaking of Cub pitching holes and the mighty Astros, Coleman’s line does not look encouraging.   

        • GaryLeeT

          I’ll bet Coleman really feels good about his stuff, after Grabow, and Ortiz shuts them down. 

          • studio179

            Good point. If Grabow and Ortiz have a better outing than you do, it is time to crawl in the fetal position.

  • Neil

    0-for-9 with RISP so far today

    Bases loaded, no outs and nothing

  • brent carmona

    WOW what a pathetic offense that inning…

    Minimum out of the maximum are the cubs specialty…oh wait we didnt even get one stinking run. THATS SAD. I’m tired of seeing guys not succeeding when runners are on base. Same ol freaking story.

  • Ripsnorter1

    What a great performance by Grabow!!!

  • Neil

    Quade concerned over Marmol’s velocity drop

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yeah, well I say two things:

      1. Larry Rothschild kept him in line, and I have absolutely zero faith in Mark Riggins to be able to fix him.
      2. He’ll be dealt off to the Yanks for a handful of garbage and Rothschild will fix him up and he’ll be very effective for the Yanks.

      • Neil
        • Ripsnorter1

          Now that was a post, Neil!

          It’s like I say: Marmol’s problems are mechanics, and a real pitching coach could fix him. Slider is thrown faster? That means he still has the stuff to bring the fastball up a few MPH, too. 
          It’s all mechanical. LARRY! WHERE ARE YOU?

  • Gramps

    Marlon Byrd…….22 RBI’s in 318 at-bats. That is almost Fukudome-like. At least Fukudome was hitting lead-off most of the year. Byrd is always 5th or 6th after Quade finally figured out he can’t be his 3rd place hitter. 

    • Ripsnorter1


      What has happened to you??

      You were always the one, drunk to the full with Cubbie Kool-Aid. You–YOU–have never, ever been negative in your life vs. the Cubs.SO….what’s happened?Did you run out of Cubbie Kool-AId??

      • Gramps

        Just like to tell it like it is Rip! I have ripped players and managers in the past. This year has been one of the most frustrating that I can remember. It just seems like Quade has no clue on managing a team. 

        • Ripsnorter1

          You’re certainly a good man, Gramps. 

          The Cubs are certainly a poor team in 2011. But they had better talent that this record. HORRIBLE MANAGEMENT from top to bottom. LaRussa would have this team in the race with 85-88 wins.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Okay, Gramps!
    You asked for it–ya’lls goin’ to get it–IN SPADES!

    Byrd…………………… vs………………. Funko! 
    The 2011 RBI Kings of MLB!!! 


    Byrd RISP:
    99 PA
    91 AB.
    18 H…..3 2B….2 HR….16 RBI….21 K….5 BB…..198 hitter

    FUNKO RISP: (hear the loud cheering in the background?)
    85 PA
    61 AB
    16 H….4 2B…1 3B…1 HR…16 RBI….13 K…20 BB…..262 hitter


    Byrd’s famous comment when Funko was dealt for a handful of trash to Cleveland: “Take me with you.”

    My comment: if the Indians paid his salary, then “YES!” We’ve got Jackson to take his place for less than $5 million.

    • Gramps

      Amazing! 2 outfielders who played the majority of the games and all they get is 38 RBI’s. Now that has to be some kind of record! A record for futility!! If they both kept their pace, it would be around 47 RBI’s for the entire year! OMG that is terrible! And even more terrible is the guy that puts them in the lineup every day. Sad, sad, sad. 

      • Ripsnorter1

        Here’s another OF to go with your “NO-RBI OUTFIELD”——-

        Tony Campana. 103 AB, 5 RBI, 1 very cheap HR on a misplayed ball by a 1B playing only his 2nd game in the OF. 

        In 500 AB, you’d have this: (prorated, of course)Campana, LF……25 RBI
        Byrd, CF…………34 RBI
        Funko, RF……….22 RBI


        • Ripsnorter1

          To make this OF complete, we’d need to make Campana a millionaire like Jim Qlueless did Funko and Byrd……..

        • paulcatanese

          Prorated for Campana that would mean he would have 5-6 homeruns by the end of the year. Certainly qualifies for 5 mil. Youre just bitter cause Campana can get to the head of the chow line before you,eat and pay the check and out the door and shake your hand while you are still in line.

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          Campana has pinch hit as a lead-off guy several times if I remember correctly. Also Campana isn’t an rbi guy his job is to get on base create havoc an score runs!

    • paulcatanese

      Guess what Rip, Byrd has a hole in his swing,,, its called “runners on base”.
      And Len Casper in the first commented of Qua’s statement on Marmol last night. He said “that pitch should have been an inch higher and he would have popped it up”, you didnt know Qua had laser vision did you? Or that Marmol could have made the pitch one inch higher?

  • brent carmona

    That was a sick splitter by Jeff spellcheck

  • Jdarby

    The Cubs are going to pull this game out of their you-know-whats.

    • Jdarby

      Or maybe not.

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, maybe not.

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 4-3 to Astros. Coleman: 4R, 10H, 2BB, 4K, 3.2 IP; Ramirez: 2-for-4,HR,2RBI,BB; Soto: 2-for-5,HR; #Cubs 0-for-13 RISP, 12 LOB

  • Jdarby

    Maybe now would be a good time for Ricketts to announce that he’s bringing everybody back for next year after dropping 2 of 3 to the lowly Stros … 

    • studio179

      It was not long ago when the Cubs swept Houston in Chicago and was on that winning streak that management was feeling good…’still in it’. 

  • paulcatanese

    Guess what Rip, Byrd has a hole in his swing,,, its called “runners on base”.
    And Len Casper in the first commented of Qua’s statement on Marmol last night. He said “that pitch should have been an inch higher and he would have popped it up”, you didnt know Qua had laser vision did you? Or that Marmol could have made the pitch one inch higher?

    • paulcatanese

      Sorry for the double post.

  • paulcatanese

    Our AAA pitchers Grabow and Ortiz did not do too bad against the AAA Astros today. But Ortiz and his slider would have been “meat” against any normal team, right down the pipe with all of them.

    • Tedtop16

      I was at the game today. We do not have a player other than Rameriz who looks like they even want to bat with men on base. It was a totally frustrating afternoon. Make no mistake. The Astros are not a major league team. And some days we do not look like one either.

      • Jdarby

        Most days actually.

      • paulcatanese

        Interesting, do you go to many games there? I would like to know how their fans are adjusting to all of the young guys they have out there. Are they able to go along with the rebuilding this way. I have advocated that the Cubs go in a similar direction,with youth.

    • Demitri

      Jim hendry will now say these guys were worth it in the run and will be used next year

  • cubsklm

    Only 38 games left thank god.
    Can the offseason moves get here soon enough?
    If there aren’t wholesale changes from the top down to the roster
    This Cub fan is going to go into severe hibernation!

    • cubtex

      Right there with you!

  • gocubs

    Byrd: should have been traded while he had any value at all left.  unreal.

    • Ripsnorter1

      And he told Funko, “Take me with you.” 

      Did you hear that?  Listen real close….

      Right down the toilet!