Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 08/23/11

Game One Hundred Twenty-Nine: Cubs (56-72) vs. Braves (77-52)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Casey Coleman (2-5, 7.43/2.04) vs. Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26/1.52)

Weather permitting … One year ago tonight Mike Quade made his big league managerial debut. The Cubs beat the Nationals 9-1 in D.C. behind a tremendous outing from Casey Coleman. The Cubs finished last season 24-13 under Quade and Jim Hendry removed his interim tag in the off-season.

Fast forward a year later and the Cubs enter play tonight 56-71 under Mike Quade with Randy Bush serving as the team’s interim GM in the wake of the dismissal of Jim Hendry.

The Cubs have won 80 and lost 85 under Mike Quade.

With the lefty on the hill tonight for the Braves, look for Quade to run out a lineup that includes Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson. After Monday’s loss, Quade was asked about Starlin Castro returning to the starting lineup tonight. Quade was not sure at the time but his availability will determine if Jeff Baker is at first or second base tonight … and a possible day off for Carlos Pena.

Casey Coleman will make his second start tonight since taking over in the rotation for the disqualified Carlos Zambrano. Coleman struggled mightily against the Astros If Coleman pitches the same way tonight, the Braves will put the game out of reach early.

In other newsAndrew Cashner begins his minor league rehab stint tonight with the Tennessee Smokies.

Q’s Cubs are 14-7 in the last 21 games … and tonight it all starts with Casey Coleman.

Casey Coleman made his return to the big leagues in the finale in Houston … and showed no improvement was made during his time in Triple-A. The Cubs viewed Casey Coleman as their sixth starter when the season began but they did not prepare him as a starter in the spring. After being thrown into the rotation without really being stretched out, along with a wart on his pitching hand, he’s struggled from day one of his season … both in the majors and in the minors.

Coleman is a pitcher that must rely on keeping the ball down, throwing strikes and not falling behind in the count. He simply does not posses an out pitch. If Coleman wants to remain on the Cubs’ radar, he must finish the season with quality start after quality start. If he continues to perform the way he has, Coleman will be lost in the mix by the new regime.

In his last three big league starts, Casey Coleman has allowed six earned runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings (Mets, May 25); three runs, two earned, on five hits in 5 1/3 innings (Nationals, July 4) and four runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings (Astros, August 17). Over those three starts, Coleman has walked four and struck out nine (10.45 ERA and a 2.42 WHIP).

Casey Coleman has struggled mightily at Wrigley in his brief big league career. In 10 games, seven starts, Casey is 1-4 with an 8.92 ERA and a 2.17 WHIP in his home ballpark.

Tonight will be Casey Coleman’s first career start and appearance against the Atlanta Braves. Michael Bourn (2-for-2 with a double and two walks) and Dan Uggla (0-for-2 with a walk) are the only Braves on the active roster that has faced Casey Coleman.

Mike Minor is coming off a four-hit, six-inning shutout performance against the Giants and really settled in after Chipper Jones hit a solo homer off Tim Lincecum (the only run in the game). Minor put together one of his best big league outings and earned his second victory in a row. Tonight will be Minor’s tenth start of the season, the Braves are 7-2 in the nine big league starts he’s made this season.

Minor was the beneficiary of Carlos Zambrano’s homer fest and subsequent meltdown back on August 12 in Atlanta. Minor held the Cubs to three runs on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings … but the Cubs hit him hard and if not for the five homers off Zambrano, the Cubs would have had a chance.

The very talented southpaw has struggled on the road in limited action this season (0-1 in four starts with a 4.98 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP) and will make his second career start at Wrigley tonight.

Mike Minor is 2-0 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Minor

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-5 with 2 doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Marlon Byrd – 4-for-6 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-3
  • Carlos Pena – 1-for-3
  • Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-6 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-6 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt