Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 08/21/11

Game One Hundred Twenty-Seven: Cubs (56-70) vs. Cardinals (66-60)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rodrigo Lopez (4-3, 4.66/1.41) vs. Jake Westbrook (9-7, 4.81/1.48)

The Cubs have a chance to put an even bigger dent in the Cardinals’ playoff chances tonight. By taking the first two from Albert Pujols and company, the Cubs have pushed the Cardinals even further back in the NL Central. The Cubs are 13-5 in August and unfortunately they are just playing for pride. The last time a Cubs team swept a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley was April of 2006.

In other newsThe possible candidates to be the Cubs’ next GM have been the hot topic since Jim Hendry’s dismissal on Friday. Matt Garza and Carlos Pena have gone on record singing their praises for their former boss in Tampa, Andrew Friedman. The mainstream media has also mentioned Brian Cashman, Rick Hahn (White Sox) and Ben Cherington (Red Sox) as possible candidates to replace Jim Hendry.

As for Mike Quade’s future with the Cubs, his days are likely numbered and Quade is focused on winning games and preparing his players the best he can on a daily basis.

Andrew Cashner is scheduled to throw another side session today and if all goes as planned he will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday.

Javier Baez was at Wrigley on Saturday to sign his contract. Baez took batting practice in the cage and is expected to leave for Mesa today.

The Cubs are 5-14 in Sundays in 2011 … and tonight it all starts with Rodrigo Lopez.

Rodrigo Lopez is coming off another serviceable start and picked up the Cubs only win in Houston. For the second outing in a row, Lopez pitched into the sixth inning but could not record all three outs in the inning. Houston managed three runs, two earned, with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings against Rodrigo Lopez.

Lopez has pitched better at Wrigley (3-1 in nine games, five starts, with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) than on the road (1-2 in ten games, four starts, with a 6.31 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP) this season. As a starter, Lopez is 4-2 in nine starts with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.

Tonight will be Rodrigo Lopez’s second start and fourth appearance of the season against the Cardinals … 0-2 in three games, one start, with an 11.81 ERA and a 2.44 WHIP.

Cardinals Career Numbers against Rodrigo Lopez

  • Lance Berkman – 2-for-9 with a double and 2 walks
  • Daniel Descalso – 0-for-2
  • David Freese – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Rafael Furcal – 10-for-26 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs
  • Matt Holliday – 5-for-12 with 4 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Jon Jay – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Yadier Molina – 3-for-13
  • Corey Patterson – 0-for-3
  • Albert Pujols – 3-for-15 with 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Skip Schumaker – 6-for-12 with 2 doubles
  • Ryan Theriot – 4-for-9 with 2 walks

Jake Westbrook has been as inconsistent as the St. Louis Cardinals this season. One start Westbrook is very, very good then the next he is barely serviceable. Westbrook is coming off a poor outing against the Pirates in which he allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Westbrook is 2-3 in seven starts since the break with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … 0-2 in his last three outings with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. Westbrook has not posted a win since July 26.

The Cubs faced Jake Westbrook back on July 31 in St. Louis. The Cardinals right-hander took a perfect game into the sixth before the offense work up and strung a few hits together. Westbrook is 0-2 in two starts against the Cubs this season with a 9.72 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jake Westbrook

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-7
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-10
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-10 with a double
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 3-for-10
  • Carlos Pena – 11-for-35 with 6 doubles, 4 home runs and 5 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-6 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-25 with a walk

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

    tonights lineup
     
    castro,ss
    barney,2nd
    aram,3rd
    pena,1st
    johhnson,lf
    byrd,cf
    colvin,rf
    soto,c
    lopez,p

    • paulcatanese

      Matt, thanks for the lineup. Would rather see Byrd on the bench and anyone in center besides him. How many Major League teams have their outfield batting 6-7-8?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

        just one the cubbies

        • paulcatanese

          Thank you Matt, I thought so, oh well.

      • Tony Spumoni

        Paul, I believe that would be: 5, 6, 7 (but I know what you mean).

        • paulcatanese

          Tony,cant count, but thats even worse, but hope is on the way.

  • Brp921

    Sweeping the Cardinals would be a breath of fresh air in a dismal season. Let’s go Cubs!

  • Tom U

    To paraphrase: Beware of reporters bearing gifts!

    There are many local reporters trumpeting White Sox Assistant GM Rick Hahn for the the Cubs’ opening. While he may or may not be qualified, I believe the main reason he has been mentioned a lot by the beat writers is that they already have a relationship with him, and that they won’t have to work as hard to establish themselves as with someone from outside Chicago.

    • paulcatanese

      That makes a lot of sense Tom, take the easy road (sense for the reporters that is), how about Brad Pitt?, he did an outstanding job in Oakland.

    • John_CC

      Yeah, it’s pretty lame. Rogers’ first column after the release was “the search should be over, Hahn is the obvious choice” – to paraphrase.

      Give me a break. Who do these guys think they are? Is it that simple to be a club owner? Hey, Tom, don’t waste you time with advice from the best guys around i.e. Pat Gillick, and why even go through an interview process. Just ask Phil Rogers who the new GM should be to lead the Cubs out of the century wandering the wilderness!

  • John G

    FYI – Fukadome cut down at the plate trying to score on a shallow fly for third out in the ninth as Clevland gets swept by Detroit.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Thanks!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Cashner to start minor league rehab on Tues with AA Tennessee

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Dillon Maples getting some throwing in at Wrigley

  • cubtex

    I know this is a Cubs site but I couldn’t resist posting this……

    Brent Lillibridge of the White Sox just tied Adam Dunn for HR’s today with 11. Who would have thought that would have been the case on August 21?

    Lillibridge- 157 AB’s
    Dunn  –  356 AB’s

    Amazing!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Adam DUDD, Cubtex. Adam DUDD.  LOL

      No, I didn’t think he would break down so badly. I knew he would not hit 40 HR and 100 RBIs again with so much money in the contract. But I never thought it would be less than 20 HR.

  • Tony_Hall

    Quade’s college coach, even knows that Q is a lame duck.

    People already speculating that new GM’s, first move will be to switch managers and bring in Sandberg.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-quades-college-coach-concerned-about-his-cubs-future-20110821,0,6337485.story

  • John_CC

    I honestly have not been pulling for the Cubs to win since…May.  But now that the Hendry era is over and Quade is lame quack and sure to be managing his final 30 games for the Cubs (or anyone, for that matter), I can root for the Cubs to win again!

    And man, it feels good.  Get out there and sweep these scum-Birds!

    Go Cubs! (I like saying that with no sarcasm at all).

    • jfish1219

      I feel the exact same way, I can actually enjoy cubs wins again.

    • paulcatanese

      It also looked like the 42 some thousand in the stands yesterday felt the same way, just a sureal atmosphere out there, as though they were also happy with the situation.

    • Bredstik

      Don’t look now, but the Cubs are only 14 games under .500 all the sudden. What was the low water mark?  23 under?

  • jw

    I hope the Cubs seriously consider Freidman of Tampa

    Sent from 35000 feet over the continental divide

    Go Cubs

    • paulcatanese

      JW, dont go outside for some fresh air.

  • paulcatanese

    Cubtex posted yesterday about the expression on Garza’s face when told to walk Pujols. As interesting if in watching the game today and they pan the camera over
    to LaRussa when Pena is at bat, you will see a very agrivated look on Tony”s face as he watches Pena.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Jon Heyman: Rick Hahn & many others surely will be in mix for Cubs GM job. but for what its worth Josh Byrnes is 1st name I’ve heard

    • Aaron

      I really hope this report is wrong. The more I examine Byrnes’ trades, the more I don’t want him. He’d gut the Cubs farm system.

      • cc002600

        ok., who do you want  ?  give us your choice

  • jfish1219

    Are there any potential ace pitchers that will be free agents this off-season? I would like to see us pick up a # 1 and # 4 I think Wells can handle the 5th Demp the 3rd and Garza can be a solid 2 if he get’s some run support. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

      Mark Buehrle (33)
      Chris Carpenter (37)
      Roy Oswalt (34)
      C.C. Sabathia (31)
      Adam Wainwright (30)

      • jfish1219

        I wouldn’t mind Wainwright depending on how he looks after the injury… also C.C. is a no brainier if he opts out

      • Aaron

        I don’t think any of those guys will hit the market. First of all, Sabathia, Oswalt, Wainwright, and Carpenter all have options. This makes Buehrle the only outright free agent of that group.

        The Cubs have no MLB-ready arms, and if anyone thinks Struck, McNutt (2nd year in a row he’s struggled at AA, and his numbers are downright UGLY this year), Rusin, etc. are ready….well, you better give me whatever you’re smoking.

        And with both Zambrano (though he’s not coming back anyway) and Dempster’s contracts coming off the books next year, you’ll likely have at least 1 more hole (Dempster) to fill, meaning Garza is the only mainstay in the rotation beyond next year.

        So….

        I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Marshall and/or Samardzija tried out of the rotation next year, and the Cubs will likely be looking for 2 free agent starters. 

        I know this is just my opinion and doesn’t mean anything, but if I were the Cubs, I’d try to sign Edwin Jackson first and foremost, then I’d take a flier on a couple of a guys like Dontrelle Willis, and Kuroda (though it seems like he won’t leave L.A.), plus relievers like Broxton and Capps (with the thought there being that they’d replace Samardzija and/or Marshall in the pen.

        The rotation below wouldn’t be half bad:
        Dempster
        Garza
        Edwin Jackson
        Willis/Kuroda
        Marshall/Samardzija

        I’d prefer Kuroda over Willis and Samardzija over Marshall….but I just don’t want to see a Lopez or Ortiz again.

        • Aaron

          I forgot to discuss Buehrle here….there is NO way he comes to the Cubs. It’s either sticking with the ChiSox or he’s going to St. Louis (especially if the Cards decline options on Carpenter and/or Wainwright)

        • cubtex

          You are forgetting Cashner. No thanks to Dontrelle. I agree with Shark and/or Marshall

          • J Daniel

            I don’t think you will see Cashner in the rotation.  

          • cubtex

            I think they wil stretch him out this winter and spring again . They need him there if he is at all capable.

          • Aaron

            I don’t think I really explained that well, so I’ll explain more in depth here….

            I didn’t include Cashner, because my understanding is he is not returning to the rotation…just the pen, granted, that’s just for this season when he comes back….but methinks it will be for good.

            As for Dontrelle, the reason I suggested him, is because it’d be taking a flier, and according to Jack McKeon, the reason he’s struggled so badly since he left Florida, is because the Tigers messed with his mechanics, and wanted him to completely change his delivery. Anyway, I think he’d cost about league minimum, or slightly more, and if he fails, and you’ve already signed Edwin Jackson, then you can afford to give one or two of your young pitchers like McNutt, etc. a decent look.

            The bottom line, is the Cubs have to hedge against injury in 2012, which is something they didn’t do this year. With a new GM on board, it’s highly unlikely Wells will return, because he’s been awful, so the only returning guys are Garza and Dempster with Zambrano likely having pitched his last game in a Cubs uniform this year. So that’s why it’s so vital to sign a young, power arm like Edwin Jackson, then take a flier at one or two veteran pitchers coming off injury or a down year, and let them battle it out with internal candidates in Spring Training.

            Personally, with his velocity and arsenal, I think Samardzija would make an excellent candidate for the rotation. If Cashner’s shoulder isn’t as bad as we all seem to think, then you might not need to take a flier on anybody (though I still would, because nobody in the minors has stepped up). But I firmly believe you need to sign Jackson. Dude was still throwing 97 mph in the 7th the other night, and had just one bad inning. 

        • studio179

          The media keeps saying Kuroda is looking to stay on the West Coast and more money to go east is not a motivating factor. Who knows.  

    • J Daniel

      Wells should be GONE!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Homers on consecutive pitches off Lopez …

  • paulcatanese

    Lopez , about the speed of a high school pitcher, may be a long night with the bullpen. And the punch and judy hitter Byrd ground out to second,1st or 2nd pitch.

  • studio179

    Good throw by Byrd cut down Pujols at 3B. 

    Rare base running mistake by Albert.

    • paulcatanese

      I dont think it was an error on Pujols part as it took a perfect throw to get him.Pujols is not dumb, he knows the strentgh of the opposing outfielders arms, and nine times out of ten Byrd would not get him.And they were ahead in the score, Pujols makes things happen.

      • studio179

        Pujols had the play in front of him, but it looked like he hesitated rounding second. I did not notice it full speed, but did notice this on the replay. That hesitation and a perfect throw from Byrd got him. 

        Btw, I don’t know if Byrd has made any other perfect throw to cut down a player like that as a Cub. I mean a perfect throw, not just cutting the player down. The only one I remember was the All Star game spin and throw last year. 

        • paulcatanese

          You are right, he did hesitate and they said they got him by 300th of a second, dont know how they figured that but they did. I would not rate Byrd with a strong arm and figure Pujols felt the same, but who are we to judge?(I mean Pujols and myself) he was out and thats that.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good throw by Byrd to cut down Pujols

  • JimBo_C

    Too Funny … Mike Qua just called Buster Olney “Bust”

    • studio179

      I heard him say that and laughed!

  • studio179

    Pujols could not have asked for that meatball pitch in a better location. Nice way to serve it up, Lopez.

  • Kermf1

    Always being buddy buddy is Q

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    It is amazing what a hit & run will do

    • Aaron

      In defense of the Cubs managers throughout the years though, they really haven’t had the right players, because:
      1) Historically, they’ve had too many guys that swing and miss
      2) They haven’t had the speed
      3) ….and lastly, they really haven’t had the Darwin Barney type of players that are baseball smart, and alert and aware on the basepaths.

      • studio179

        That falls on drafting and player development. They tended to draft guys who were ‘athletic’ and not necessarily ‘baseball players’. 

      • paulcatanese

        Agree and those smarts(learned in college) are what keeps Barney in the lineup.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just listened & watched Tom Ricketts on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
    Commented about Z when asked, “Do you imagine Zambrano will be in a Cubs’ uniform again?”Answer: “I don’t know. The union is involved now, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. But I have a hard time imagining that Carlos will ever pitch for the Cubs again.”

    • Demitri

      Tom Ricketts is and I say IS a smart man. I like him. I mean he wants to win. When have we ever had an owner, and not some newspaper company, tell the public saying Hey, we wanna win. And we are changing things.. Never. I have hope in him.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Oh, I  am not ready to call him a smart baseball man yet. I will agree that I have new found hope that he has fired Mr. Qlueless. But watch this new hire. The Cubs got rid of a bad manager (Pinella) only to hire the worst in baseball history (QQuade). So before I am ready to call him a preeminent member of the Menza society, I want to see exactly who this next GM actually is. 

         

        • Demitri

          Yes I see what you are saying Rip. But lets remember that Hendry was the one who hired those guys. Ricketts was not here for the Piniella hiring, and he was unexperienced for the Quade hiring. I think many of us think it is easy getting rid of the front office or getting rid of the mess Hendry made. Fire that guy and that guy. But in reality it is a tough thing to do, especially to someone as new as Ricketts. We just got to be patient. We’ll get there. Who would you and others like to see as the new GM? I’d prefer Friedman. Young, smart, and was in an organization that barely spent a dollar. 

          • Ripsnorter1

            Manager? Tony LaRussa.

            GM? Brian Cashman

          • Demitri

            I doubt LaRussa comes here and I really think cashman is another jim hendry. Big spender, obviously with the yankees, but still.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tom Ricketts on ESPN, when asked about Zambrano he responded with, “I have a hard time imagining Zambrano pitching for us again.”

  • Ripsnorter1

    Now that Lopez has gone too long, NOW take him out.

    GAG! 

    Shut the barn door after the horses have left. AGAIN.

    • studio179

      How many times this year have we seen this approach from Q? Same approach with all of his starters.

    • Aaron

      It’s funny, because the announcers were saying how he can’t go through the lineup a 3rd time, or he gets hit really hard, and yet Q-Ball doesn’t know that. When you can’t even do self-scouting, you don’t belong in your job, and Q-Ball clearly shouldn’t be in the position he’s in.

      I don’t think we’ll ever understand the dynamics of the James Russell debacle in the rotation, because it could’ve come straight from Hendry that he had to put him there….who really knows. But the fact he was left in the rotation to fail when he was so obviously a LOOGY, just goes to show how dumb both Hendry and Quade were. But whatever….

      • Ripsnorter1

        EXACTLY. 
        This manager is the worst I’ve seen since Jim Essian, and he really maybe the worst in Cubs’ history. He can’t think baseball moves at all. 

  • studio179

    Tom’s comments were obvious (as if we already did not know) Z is done a s Cub. Also, Ricketts keeps saying player development is a top priority. That is one reason why I don’t feel Hahn is a top candidate. He may have other great qualities and they say he is well liked. However, the White Sox organization is not known for a great or even good player development system.

  • cubtex

    My concerns about lack of pitching is exactly what I have been saying for months. If they had not done the Garza deal…..Archer would not help us next year due to his struggles this year and we would not have a top of the rotation guy in Garza. So….lets go in reverse here. We would probably not have done the Gorzo deal in that case. Therefore….they would have Demp, Z(done with the Cubs) Gorzo, and Wells. Talk about pathetic. I think the Cubs have got to try and pry a pitcher off a team like the Marlins,Rays(again) or small market team who is going to start to get expensive. Example…Nolasco or Sanchez from the Marlins or Shields from the Rays. It will cost some prospects again but this is the state of their pitching.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yeah, we need 4 starters for next year. 

      Jim Hendry just completely gutted this team with his “player development.”  Most likely, it will take the Cubs years to work themselves out of this hole.

      TRANSLATION: Nothing has changed in Wrigleyville. It’s the same-old, same-old. Every time a GM is fired, I have heard the same story. “Oh, it’ll take a few years for our youngsters to develop and work their way to the Majors, but when they do, we’ll be World Series winners. Just need 3-4 years to develop the youngsters…….”

    • studio179

      No doubt. Starting pitching tops the list. They need it most and quality starters will be hardest to find. They have to look past Wells and Coleman.

      • cubtex

        Yep. Coleman and Wells should not be considered at all next year. Free agent market will be thin. They will probably need to make a deal for someone like Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins. He will be a free agent in 2013 and we know Marlins have a small budget. They would probably need to give up some prospects but you got to give to get.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Four homers off Lopez tonight … four.

    • Ripsnorter1

      ChiChi didn’t have it tonight. 

      • paulcatanese

        He certainly did not have it, but  he had it in Qua’s eyes when he was allowed to pitch to Pujols with a one run lead and he hits it out…..again off Lopez. Qua obviously thinks Lopez is better that Garza cause he had Garza walk Pujols. Again left a pitcher in too long, that is a Qua signature. Castro should be on the bench after that display tonight, but then Qua does not see that.

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      Thats your #3 starter next year.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Better than Doug Davis….LOL

  • Ripsnorter1

    I like Castro, but man alive, does he have to eat lunch while playing SS at the ML level? For crying out loud, get in the game Castro! He ain’t watching the game!

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Valentine going on rant about Castro.

    • Ripsnorter1

      A justifiable rant, too.  It is pretty embarrassing to watch it.

  • RynoTiger

    Bobby V is ripping into how Castro’s lack of attention, focus, situation preparation, etc. is not present.  Really ripping into it.

    Sounds like Castro could actually benefit from some training time with Bobby V to help with some of those basic in game fundamentals.

    Good stuff…cause Castro did look more enthused about those sunflower seeds in his back pocket as opposed to the game

    • carmelo

      I agree—-what are the Cub coaches looking at—Bobby V. picked up on a lot of mental things Castro needs to do—can see the difference between a player from college (Barney) and a player from the island (Castro)—-that shot of Castro with his back turned to home plate as the pitch is being thrown needs to be addressed ASAP.

  • cubtex

    Anibal Sanchez is someone who would be a perfect target. Arbitration elgible in 12 and free agent in 13. 27 years old who has a sub 4.00 ERA for the last 3 years.

  • Brian

    Bobby Valentine is a heck of a color analyst.  He has pointed out some very important things about Castro.  He needs guidance.  Very impressed with Bobby V tonight.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R65T7II7FYX7HGQW2XLHDDWJRQ Agustin

      He is auditioning for the job…so obvious he wants it.  I swore he would have kissed Rickets hand in the interview.  I like him, its just that I wan’t Sandberg back more.

    • John G

      Compare Bobby V to Joe Morgan. I just can’t imagine that we had to listen to the drivel from JM all those years. Bobby V is a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him tonight. And I hope Castro can watch the replay.

  • CubsfaninBama

    Lovin’ Bobby V tonight!  What a smart baseball guy…everything he has said about Castro is spot on. 

    • paulcatanese

      And Bobby has and is lobbying for the job, has been for over two months everychance he gets. He can smell a new manager here, and he is not a bad choice IF Sandberg doesent want it.

      • CubsfaninBama

        I agree…I want Sandberg first, but definitely wouldn’t mind Bobby V or Brenly.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost to Cardinals 6-2 Sunday night.

    Rodrigo Lopez: 5R, 10 H (4
    HR), BB, 4K, 5.1IP; Aramis Ramirez: 2-for-3, 2B, SAC, 2RBI; Starlin Castro: 1-for-3, BB, R

  • studio179

    The Castro non focused stuff from him (others) is exactly my fear these last few weeks with a lame duck manager. 

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, and it could be contagous,need a new manager now,now.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs have reached out to Greg Maddux, but there’s been no answer. http://www.chicagotribune.com