Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Giants – 08/29/11

Game One Hundred Thirty-Five: Cubs (57-77) vs. Giants (71-63)
Game Time – 9:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – AT&T Park, San Francisco

Randy Wells (5-4, 5.53/1.48) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-10, 2.46/1.15)

After a rough weekend in Milwaukee, Q’s Cubs made the long flight out to the left coast and open a three-game series tonight against the defending World Series Champions. While the Cubs were busy being swept by the Brewers, the Giants hand their hands full with the Astros. The Giants split the four game series with Houston and enter play tonight four games back of the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks.

Q’s offense has really struggled of late and it will not get any easier for the Cubs over the next three games. After facing Tim Lincecum tonight, Bruce Bochy will send Ryan Vogelsong to the hill on Tuesday night and Madison Bumgarner will pitch the finale on Wednesday afternoon. The Cubs have hit the ball but not when it counts. Over the last seven games, the Cubs are 9-for-63 with runners in scoring position and have left 59 runners on base. The Cubs are 1-6 during that span and have been outscored 32-18.

Randy Wells posted the Cubs only win over the last eight games and looks to build on his last start against the Braves. Wells has shown improvement of late but must keep it up in order to open the eyes of the Cubs new administration.

Due to the MLB schedule makers, the Cubs and Giants have already played two series against each other this season. The teams split the six games played at Wrigley (two in May and four in three days in June, 3-3) earlier this year. After the brief trip to San Francisco, the Cubs still have one more trip to the West Coast this season … three in San Diego to finish the season.

In other newsAndrew Cashner is expected to make his third rehab appearance tonight for the Smokies. If all goes as planned, Cashner will be bumped up to Iowa this week, pitch in a couple of games and be activated when the Cubs return home to face the Pirates on Friday.

The Cubs have dropped seven of eight … and tonight it all begins with Randy Wells.

Randy Wells is coming off his best start of the year … and arguably his best since his rookie campaign. Wells pitched with a confidence he’s not shown in quite some time. Wells allowed only one hit through six innings and ended up allowed one run on two hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Wells’ only mistake came with two outs in the seventh … a homer by Chipper Jones.

Wells has shown improvement of late (3-0 in last five starts with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP) and he needs to put together a strong final five weeks of the season. Wells’ problems have been home runs, walks and the first inning. Wells did an excellent job against the Braves and must follow up with a similar performance tonight.

Randy Wells has struggled on the road this season (2-2 in seven starts with a 6.43 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP) and will face the Giants for the first time this year.

Tonight will be Wells’ fourth career start against San Francisco. Wells is 1-1 in the first three with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP … at AT&T Park, 0-1 in two starts with a 9.58 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP (12 runs, 11 earned, on 18 hits with five walks, three strikeouts and three homers allowed in 10 1/3 innings).

Giants Career Numbers against Randy Wells

  • Orlando Cabrera – 0-for-1
  • Mark DeRosa – 0-for-2
  • Mike Fontenot – 0-for-1
  • Aubrey Huff – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Jeff Keppinger – 4-for-11
  • Cody Ross – 2-for-7 with a double and a home run
  • Aaron Rowand – 0-for-3
  • Pablo Sandoval – 3-for-7 with a triple, a home run and a walk
  • Miguel Tejada – 2-for-15 with a walk
  • Eli Whiteside – 2-for-3 with 2 doubles

Tim Lincecum is coming off another excellent outing (one run on four hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings against the Padres) and is in the middle of a typical Lincecum stretch of starts.

The Freak‘ has not allowed more than two earned runs in his last nine starts and has allowed more than one earned run only once over that stretch (August 2 against Arizona). The last time Lincecum allowed more than two earned runs was a loss to the Padres back on July 4 (three runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings).

Tim Lincecum is 3-2 in his last five starts with a 1.23 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP … since the break, 5-3 in eight starts with a 1.13 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Tonight will be Lincecum’s second outing of the season against the Cubs. He received a no decision back on June 29 at Wrigley after tossing seven innings of one-run, five-hit ball with two walks and nine strikeouts. Lincecum is 3-3 in eight career starts against the Cubs with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Tim Lincecum

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-6
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 8-for-18 with 2 doubles and a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-8 with a double
  • Carlos Pena – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-15
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-8 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-4

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • Tom U

    For those who may not have seen the last post.

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Chris Rusin (4-2, 3.96)
    Tennessee – Andrew Cashner, projected follower Trey McNutt (4-5, 4.55)
    Daytona – Matt Loosen (1-3, 5.06)
    Peoria – PJ Francescon (1-4, 2.11)

    Boise is off today.

    • Zach

      What do you expect the Cubs to do with Trey McNutt next year?  I think that he needs to start the year off in Tennessee and make a couple of starts their to make sure that he is healthy, then move him up to Iowa and maybe eventually to the Big League club.

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

        He has to earn it. a 4.55 ERA is not getting the job done. But I will say that he has had nagging injuries this year. Hopefully he gets over this and it is not a trend.

      • Tom U

        My thoughts exactly. McNutt has struggled through the injuries, but continues to put up decent numbers. The one I always like to look at, the strikeout to walk ratio, is around 2 to1. 

        Renewed from injuries (I hate using the term “health”, it makes me feel like an athlete had some sort of disease) and with experience, he can move up the ladder.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Zach, it really depends on the new GM. If he/she keeps Fleita then yes he will start the year at Double-A.

        I would not be surprised to see McNutt in the AFL this fall. The blisters and rib injury has really slowed him this year and the AFL would help him finish the year on a positive note.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Andrew Cashner struck out the side on 16 pitches (11 strikes) in his third rehab appearance in AA on Monday night. Cashner struck out the first batter on three pitches swinging, ran a 3-2 count on the second batter before striking him out swinging. Cashner struck out the third man looking. Hit 94 MPH on his fastball, mixed in a changeup and pitched out of the stretch.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • Demitri

      Glad to see colvin play in alot more games. We need him to straighten his issues now and get it together for next year

      • Rbmercer

        I’ll go the other way…it’s good to see Colvin play a lot so we can see he’s not the answer. Just my opinion.

        • J Daniel

          Agreed, he is not the answer.  To long of a swing.  As Aaron would say, they should have traded him this past off season when his value was high.

          • diehardcubfan

            Colvin’s issues are mechanical more than anything.  His swing is too long mainly because he takes too long to get it going.  A small adjustment to his hands and elbow positioning and I think he will be fine.   

            Many players start taking off between 26-28 years of age as hitters so I think there is still a window and given the lack of outfield depth at AAA I think he can still fix the issue and be a productive player.

            He has shown signs of being able to go with the pitch the last couple of weeks and so he is at least working to make changes.

            Colvin sitting the bench the majority of the beginning of the year really retarded his growth this year.

          • cubtex

            I don’t share your optimism or opinion that hitters mature at 26-28 years of age. IMO…there is no way to pinpoint an age when a hitter peaks. Pitchers you can…but not hitting.

          • J Daniel

            Don’t you think that the “small adjustment” would be made then?  They work everyday on this stuff.

          • diehardcubfan

            It is one thing to try suggest a adjustment and another to get them on your side in accepting it.   

            I think Colvin is making strides but they are small.  I think he is actually trying and he will get there. 

        • paulcatanese

          Either way, he has a lot of company with the rest of them.

      • Tom U

        Demitri and Rbmercer, you’re both right! What Colvin and any other prospect needs is a fair chance to show what they can do, and let the rest happen.

        For years, fans have been told by Cubs management the their minor leaguers can’t play. Sometimes that’s been true, but sometimes it hasn’t. What has been true in almost all cases (unless your name was Wood, Prior, Patterson, or Castro) is that the prospect didn’t get a fair shake. Here’s to hoping that those days are over!

        • Demitri

          Couldnt agree more Tom. The most important thing though is that the people we call up actually pan out and arent one year players and fade away in their next season.

  • paulcatanese

    Cant wait to see what Byrd does tonight against Lincecum, dosent look like he faced him this year. Boy, Wells is around for a turn already, that was quick. DeWitt should be playing tonight, he is hitting pretty regular and recieved high praises from the Brewers announcers last night, they couldnt understand why he is not in the lineup, or Campana. I guess other teams see the Cubs differently than Qua.Should be just another nail in the coffin for the Cubs tonight.

  • John G

    I just noticed that the Cubs’ magic (elimination) number is 5. While the Brew Crew’s magic number is 18. The lowest of all the division leaders. Our misery will “officially” be over before the end of the week. Of course it’s unofficially been over since April 1.

    Wait till next year.

    Or maybe the year after.

    Or maybe the year after that.

    etc etc etc

  • paulcatanese

    Look for Lincecum to K at least 10-15 tonight.

    • paulcatanese

      Or not!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Accuscore gives the Cubs a mere 33% chance of winning tonight. That’s as low as I’ve seen an Accuscore rating for the Cubs. They even gave–are you ready for this?–they even gave DOUG DAVIS a better shot at winning games than 33%.

    Still, Wells has, I think, a 50/50 shot of pulling down a win for us. Lincecum has been hot for sure, but he’s also likely to take this team lightly. Factor in the ball park should give Wells a helping hand in keeping the ball in the park, too. Then there’s always the possibility that Wells is sober for the game, and could conceivably get the ball over the plate. Don’t forget that SF hasn’t hit the ball all year. Offensively, they stink. And Lincecum is a mere 12=10 on the year–that means he’s beatable. So I’m willing to say that even the Cubs have a 50/50 chance tonight to win against the vaunted long-haired Lincecum. 

    I would say that if I were the Cubs’ manager, I’d have started Campana in place of Byrd, and let Castro bat 2nd. DeWitt–he could bat 8th.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Aaron, Campana would have been a good choice, especially with the Giants, not great coverage on the corners. Good spot for DeWitt. Byrd, what a waste, Castro doubles,DeWitt moves him, Aram,could have been a good out, Castro should have tried it, only the first inning. Walks Pena, and then, well,you know, another dribbler down the third baseline, dont the Cubs have a take sign? First pitch again. Walks the guy in front of him and he swings at the first pitch, just flat stupid.

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to Tennessee on their 80th win of the season.

    Trey McNutt tosses 6 innings of 1 run ball, striking out 5 and belting a home run to help his cause. 

    Josh Vitters and Nate Samson also hit home runs in their 7-2 victory over Jacksonville.

  • Michael

    God, Byrd is so worthless, yet he plays everyday. Runner on 3rd and swings at first pitch AGAIN. Everytime I see this guy he is swinging at either first or second pitch. I cannot wait til he plays elsewhere, complete waste of a uniform, garbage.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Would be nice if Byrd would take at least one pitch when runners are on base … just one.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I hate to correct you, Neil, but the way I see it, if Byrd takes the first pitch, then he’s striking out with runners on. He can’t hit down in the count, and he’s an especially poor hitter with RISP. What was he early in the year, 0 for 23?

      • J Daniel

        He fit right in with the rest of the crew then.  Boy, they have some great numbers now.  Goes to show you how little stats mean sometimes.

  • Michael

    Ha, how many pitches did Lincecum throw in the second? I sneezed and it was 3 up and 3 down. Love the discipline. Neil, what have you read or heard about who is replacing Hendry and also about the possibility of Quade getting the door as well?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Michael, Lincecum threw 7 pitches in the second.

      There are a lot of names floating around right now. From current GMs to AGMs. Ricketts reportedly had a conference call with his front office staff and supposedly said he is seeking a young, analytical GM.

      There is no one, including myself, that thinks Mike Quade will be back. He is managing out the string.

      • J Daniel

        Buster Olney said today that the word going around is that Ricketts is shooting really high and he mentioned Epstein and Cashman.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          As I said, there are a lot of names floating around right now. Those are two of about 15.

      • J Daniel

        And Absoluten ZERO chance Qua will be back!

        • Ripsnorter1

          NEVER say NEVER. 

          My position: I’ll believe it when I see it. 

          If I knew for sure that Mr. Ricketts was reading this site, THEN I’d say, “QQuade is gone.” But I have no such evidence right now. And until I do, it’s the same old “wait and see” attitude from me. I’ve been disappointed so many times before.

          • J Daniel

            Rip, you are correct.  Just have to believe that PK is smart and will make some changes.  But then again, I thought they would let Pena go to the Yanks to save the cash.  I am still dumbfounded by that one, makes no sense?

            Correct me if I am wrong.  Pena is going to be a free agent and Scott Boras is his agent?  Is he going to sign for the same deal?  Should he be brought back for the same deal?  What is going on here?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Boras is his agent…..I don’t like him.

            Pena is not having a great year. Here’s his line……421 AB
            133 K
            77 BB
            23 HR
            67 RBI
            .223 BA (bunts included)
            .343 OBP
            .442 slugging
            Hitting .133 vs. LHP (bunts included)
            Hitting .124 after the count goes to 2-2. 

            2010 netted him $10 million. Here’s his 2010 line….
            .196 BA ….325 OBP……407 slug
            28 HR
            84 RBI
            158 K
            84 BB
            hit .179 vs LHP in 2010
            hit .119 after the count goes to 2-2.

            Similar numbers, expect BA is somewhat higher…..

            Boras will want $16-20 million each year for this guy for 4 years. I wouldn’t pay it.

          • J Daniel

            I wouldn’t pay it either, that is why I would have let him go.  Hey money doesn’t buy what it used to – a 6-10 mil raise for an improvement from .196 to .223 in avg.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano with a homer … #23

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent catch by Ramirez

  • Ripsnorter1

    Lincecum has already thrown 95 pitches. Next inning is his last inning IF just two batters can look at 7 pitches apiece. We need him to get to 110 pitches so we can get him outta there.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Stinkin’ FUNKO!!!  Got an RBI today while batting #2. Has 23 for the year.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wells has thrown just 77 pitches. If QQuade has any sense at all, 95-100 is his limit tonight. 

    Cubs’ bullpen has thrown more innings than 27 other MLB clubs. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soto with a homer

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marlon Byrd is hitting just .222 vs. LHP this year. Yup, .319 vs. RHP. He ought to be benched vs all LHP he’s so bad.

    BTW, he’s got one–just one–more RBI than Funko!  24 vs. 23 RBIs.He’s a real run producer, folks. 

    NEIL: Byrd, if he’s down in the count 0-1, has hit .375 this year. SO you want him to take one pitch, just one, with runners on?

    Doesn’t matter too much: He’s a .198 hitter with runners in scoring positon, and if there are two outs, that drops to .191.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes, I would.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I’d rather have Soto in the lineup than Koyie Hill. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    DeWitt with a 3-run homer …

  • Michael

    Haha wow, 3 run shot by Dewitt

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pena with a homer … #24

    • paulcatanese

      I liked that one, down the left field line. There are no cheap homeruns in that park anywhere. Sori cranked that one, and Soto and DeWitt also. Amazing how those computers figure out who to play.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Okay, now I’d have a VERY SHORT LEASH on Wells. If anybody gets on, he’d be pulled from here on out.

  • studio179

    Cubs flexing thunder bats tonight. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat Giants 7-0.

    Randy Wells: 0R, 2H, BB, 7K in 9IP. First complete game shutout of his career

    Blake DeWitt:
    2-for-5, HR, 3B, 3RBI, 2R; Pena: 1-for-2, HR, 3BB; Geovany Soto & Alfonso Soriano Solo HRs

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

    You think that Wells reads these boards? There must be a reason for him to suddenly figure out he needs to step up or he is gone. Anyway gj tonight Wells but remember the giants are not a good team right now.

    • paulcatanese

      I give him credit for going nine innings, and dont want to take anything away from the effort, but you are right Richard, the Giants look sadder than the Cubs with the bat(not the Cubs tonight though).

  • CubsfaninBama

    Where did this guy come from?  A complete game shutout….Nice!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Randy Wells first complete game shutout of career. Wells allowed just two hits, four total baserunners on 113 pitches, 76 for strikes

  • Aaron

    WOW!!!

    What an amazing game by Wells. They didn’t really hit him hard at all, and gave up just 2 hits…WOW!!!

    I can’t say enough about that effort. He’s had a horrible season, other than his last few starts, so I feel great for the guy. Way to overcome it! Hopefully he finishes the year strong and the Cubs don’t have to look for yet another starter.

    Also, nice to see Pena go oppo with that bomb!

    Marlon Byrd……….

    Well….let’s just stick with positives.

    Good night everyone!

  • paulcatanese

    Sori Giants but all’s well that ends Wells. The Cubs areDeWitt the Pena colada.

  • Tony Spumoni

    Wow!  Who are these guys?  That’s more like it!