Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 08/25/11

Game One Hundred Thirty-One: Cubs (57-73) vs. Braves (78-53)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (6-9, 3.62/1.29) vs. Brandon Beachy (6-2, 3.32/1.16)

The Cubs seven-game homestand comes to an end today with the series and season finale against the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs are 3-3 in the first six game of the homestand. With a win today, the Cubs would not only post a winning homestand but they would take the season series against the Braves (3-3 in the first six games).

In order for the Cubs to earn a split in the four game series, the offense will have to start hitting with runners in scoring position. The Cubs have only one hit with runners in scoring position in the first three games that plated a run (Aramis Ramirez’s double on Tuesday night). The Cubs are 4-for-35 in the first three games of the series with runners in scoring position … and have left 32 runners on base.

In other news … The Yankees claimed Carlos Pena on waivers on Wednesday afternoon but reportedly the Cubs have pulled him back and will not try to work out a trade with New York. The Cubs told Pena he would be staying with the team.

Following Wednesday’s game, Alfonso Soriano said he was okay after being hit in the right arm for the second time in the series. Soriano expects to play this afternoon.

Today features a pitching rematch from the game back on August 14 in Atlanta. Matt Garza and Brandon Beachy both received no decisions in a 6-5 Cubs win … and this afternoon it all starts with Matt Garza.

Matt Garza has made a nice adjustment, so far, to the National League. Garza has recorded more strikeouts (151 in 146 2/3 innings, 24 starts) already this season than he did a year ago (150 in 204 2/3 innings, 32 starts) … and has allowed 12 less walks (51 this season, 63 a year ago).

Matt Garza is coming off another excellent outing and in the process he posted his first win at Wrigley since June 27. Garza tossed seven innings of shutout ball against the Cardinals and allowed just five hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts.

Garza is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP … since the break, 2-2 in eight starts with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

Today will be Garza’s 14th start of the season at Wrigley. He is 4-4 in the first 13 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Matt Garza faced the Braves in Atlanta for the first time in his career back on August 14. The Cubs won the game but Garza received a no decision after being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. Garza allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Braves Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Brandon Beachy – 0-for-2
  • Michael Bourn – 7-for-14
  • Freddie Freeman – 0-for-3
  • Alex Gonzalez – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Jason Heyward – 0-for-2
  • Eric Hinske – 2-for-7 with a walk
  • Julio Lugo – 1-for-11 with a walk
  • Brian McCann – 0-for-3
  • Martin Prado – 1-for-3
  • Dan Uggla – 3-for-11 with a walk

Brandon Beachy is coming off another solid outing that resulted in a win over the D’Backs. Beachy held Arizona to one run on four hits in six innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. Beachy has been very good during his short time in the big leagues and is 2-0 in his last four starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

The Cubs faced Brandon Beachy for the first (and only time) 11 days ago. The Cubs did just enough against Beachy to stay in the game. Q’s offense scored two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with no walks and struck out eight times.

Beachy will make his first career appearance and start at Wrigley this afternoon … and the young right-hander is 3-1 in nine road starts this season with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

Cubs Numbers against Brandon Beachy

  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-3
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
  • Tyler Colvin – 0-for-2
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-3
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-2

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – E.E. Cummings

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

  • paulcatanese

    Again with the outfield 5-6-7 in the lineup, has Qua no imagination at all? Still with the position players in the exact same place every day, he dosent have to think.

    • cubtex

      Ha. Batting order? Infielders bat first followed by outfielders, catcher and pitcher. It is almost like an intrasquad practice game where you bat by positions. That’s Quade!!

      • paulcatanese

        Right, or a little league lineup, or the intr-squad game, just no clue at all, he sure can save the Cubs money on lineup cards, and cuts his work load. Wonder if the players have to sit at assigned seats in the dugout,ready to appear at the same time in every game. Man how easy it is to defense this guy, managers can do it a week ahead of time.

      • Rbmercer

        honestly guys, what do u want him to do? Our infielders are our best offensive players. Yes, in a perfect world, you would like to have a couple of big run producers in the outfield. The Cubs dont have this. I wont defend Quade on most things, but this is what we have right now.

        • paulcatanese

          I agree, and know it, but is sure is sad when the lack of production dictates that from the outfield. Other than Colvin,Johnson an Campana they dont  translate into “small ball” to keep innings going.

    • diehardcubfan

      Paul small note of correction, Quade at least had a thought.  He played Johnson over DeWitt in LF.  I would say Quade at least spent two hours on thinking about that. 

      At least it was the right move.

      • paulcatanese

        I stand corrected, didnt even think about it.

  • Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: No Alfonso Soriano in lineup but he can possibly pinch-hit. His right forearm is tender after being hit by a pitch Wed night.

    • Bryan

      If only that would prompt going on the DL for the rest of the season.

    • paulcatanese

      Thats too bad as he is showing signs of another streak. It also looked as though the ball bounced off his rib cage, and with him” their aint no fat”.

  • paulcatanese

    I would put Pena number 2 in the lineup, as he is probably the best bunter for base hits on the team. (that is a joke). In reality though,I would rather see him bunt at the third strike instead of taking it with no attempt at all.

    • Richard Hood

      His “bunting” lately is just a sign that he does not have great bat control. If that is what it takes to take advantage of that stupid shift then do it big man.
      He seems to pull it out when the Cubs need base runners which shows he at least understands basic baseball concepts.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Richard, he does it also when he feels he overmatched, and I give him credit when he does. He is not a bad baserunner, has decent speed and pushes the defense and takes the extra base when he can. If it cuts into his strikeouts I am for it. He is not a greaat contact hitter so the bunting hurts the other team, wheras they would welcome Aram to bunt.

        • paulcatanese

          Right on cue Pena bunts on strike two and gets on and steals a base, have no idea how I predicted that. Didnt help though.

          • paulcatanese

            And then he takes three strikes down the middle with the bat on his shoulder.

  • studio179

    Well, that was quick. Working from behind right off the get go. Let’s go!

  • GaryLeeT

    Wow Marlon. See what happens when you look at more than 2 pitches?

    • paulcatanese

      Yes Gary, then again he should have looked a few more later on in the game.

  • Neil

    By my count, that was a 38-pitch third inning for Garza.

  • Neil

    Third charged error for the Cubs

  • Neil

    Grabow gives up an opposite field homer to McCann on a 0-2 pitch

  • paulcatanese

    Garza just didnt have it today, the best fastball he threw was over to Pena and almost threw it right thru him.

  • Neil

    Dan Vogelbach hit his first pro HR for the AZL Cubs today.

    • paulcatanese

      Hopefully the first of many

    • Demitri

      Thats the news i wanna hear!

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 8-3 to the Braves on Thursday afternoon.

    Matt Garza: 6R, 3ER, 8H, 2BB, 6K, 5IP; Carlos Pena: 2-for-4; Marlon Byrd: HR; Tyler Colvin: 3B,R

    Cubs: 4 errors, 0-for-6 RISP, 5 LOB

  • paulcatanese

    Garza commented “he battled his butt off”. I would agree with that statement as I watched the game. He just looked out of synch and not the usual smooth form he has had before. It wasnt because he didnt try, and his fastball was down in velocity a bit, around 92-93.

  • John_CC

    David Wright cleared waivers.  He’s owed $15MM next year and has a $16MM option in 2013.

    What do you think?

    • Richard Hood

      he should have been claimed just to see if the Mets will pull him back

  • Jay from sandwich

    How many of the Cub fans that read on this site do you think agree with keeping Pena (like the Cubs apaer to be doing) is a good thing?
    Remember that the Cubs could save 6 mil (which could be used for the Triangle building). I beleive giving him for 6 mil with nothing in return is the best you can hiope for and it should have been done. The Cubs have plenty of options for frist base (maybe not as good at Def. but at leat as good with the bat and over five mil cheaper to boot..

    • paulcatanese

      I would keep him only if he agrees to being a 7-8 hitter in the lineup, he is not a number four hitter with the amount of strikeouts he produces ahd the lack of productive outs. Otherwise I think he should go.

    • Ryan7

      I believe the cubs would still be on the hook for his 5 mill for Jan 2012. They wouldn’t have to pay the mill that is left for this year. Again that’s what I am getting out of everything. The cubs are going to keep pena and hope they can use him as trade bait this off season after getting Fileder. The Rickettes know they need a big move and if they get Fileder that would be one if not the best pick UPS the cubs have ever gotten. These are my opinions.

      • cubs1967

        he is a free agent at the end of the year so to trade him they would have to sign him for 2012.  the 2012 payout is for 2011 year.  unless the contract states if he is traded, the cubs still owe the money, like any player claimed the claiming team, in this case the yanks, are on the hook for his remaining salary, irregardless of when it’s due……….So the yanks would owe him $5M in 2012 as he ended the 2011 season a Yankee.

        which is a NO brainer…………see ya;here’s the lyrics to New York-New York.

        tthe cubs need fielder or pujols to contend; pena is not the answer.

        like everything else with this team; a STUPID move.

        pk mccaskey owes the fans a $5M reduction in ticket prices for keeping him around when he could of been  gone……..Xmas come early; too bad ricketts is stupid.

        mindboggling………103 yrs and counting; there is NO grace period.

  • Demitri

    A lot of the blame people say go to quade, and i agree. But making the outfielders bat 5-6-7 is not his fault. Its not like he has many talented players on this team

    • paulcatanese

      That is true,he does not have many talented players but any one of the outfielders with the exception of Campana could fill the four spot better than what is there now and could be experimented with. Batting them in the same spot all of the time shows no imagination and a complete trust in Pena who in my opinion is not a four hitter just because he hits a home run now and then.
      Campana could be used at leadoff a few times, move Aram to four and Castro to three, but definatly move Pena down in the order.