Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/16/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-One: Cubs (65-85) vs. Astros (51-98)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (8-10, 3.54/1.32) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (11-10, 3.51/1.30)

The Cubs begin their final homestand of the season this afternoon with the first of three against the Astros. The last game at Wrigley is Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the three-game series with Milwaukee.

Q’s Cubs will look to end their three-game losing streak behind Matt Garza this afteroon. For the Cubs to get back in the win column, they will have to play better than they have this year against Houston. The Cubs have split the 12 games (6-6) with the ‘Stros this season.

The Cubs are 35-40 at Wrigley this year and it would take a six-game winning streak to avoid a loosing record at home for the season.

Starlin Castro enters play this afternoon seven hits shy of 200. Castro would like to reach the mark over the next six games in front of the home crowd. Mike Quade jokingly said he would like for Castro to reach the 210-hit plateau during the homestand.

Alfonso Soriano drove in his 80th run of the season Thursday night … the first time Soriano has driven in RBI in a single season for the Chicago Cubs.

In other news … The Smokies lost game two of the Southern League Championship Series on Thursday night 1-0 in 11 innings. Brian Harper received a tremendous start from Brooks Raley and the Smokies’ pitching staff faced the minimum through 10 innings. Rafael Dolis took the loss after giving up a run in the 11th. Game three is Saturday night at Smokies Park.

The final home games of the year could also be the last games at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform for several of the veteran players, the manager and the coaching staff.

Today it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off another quality start and an overall good outing but for the seventh time this season, the Cubs pen could not hold a lead for Garza … and he received a no decision. Garza held the Mets to three runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. Garza was not as sharp as in previous starts but was more than good enough to post a victory.

Garza has been very good of late but has only a 4-3 record in his last 10 starts to show for it … the Cubs are 7-3 in Garza’s last ten outings.

After posting a 3-2 record in six starts last month with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, Garza is 1-0 in his last two games with a 2.45 ERA ad a 1.30 WHIP … since the break, 4-3 in 12 starts with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Matt Garza will make his 16th start of the year at Wrigley. Garza is 5-5 in his first 15 with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Garza’s second start of the year against Houston. Garza received a no decision back on July 24 (Cubs won 5-4) after he allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings. Jeff Samardzija could not hold the lead for Garza more than six weeks ago.

Garza has never beaten the Astros and is 0-2 in three starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Clint Barmes – 2-for-6 with 2 home runs
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-3
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-9 with 2 doubles and a walk
  • Angel Sanchez – 0-for-1
  • Brett Wallace – 0-for-3

Wandy Rodriguez’s days as in Houston appeared to be over at the end of August but the Rockies and Astros could not work out a deal … and Rodriguez will finish the season in an Astros’ uniform. Many figure Houston will try to deal their veteran southpaw this off-season.

Rodriguez is coming off a solid start against the Nationals. He gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings without a walk and nine strikeouts … and has been more than solid after it appeared he would be traded to the Rockies the day before he pitched against them in Colorado.

After struggling in July, Rodriguez posted a 3-2 record in six starts in August with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP and is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Since the break, 5-4 in 11 starts with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Today will be Wandy Rodriguez’s third start of the season, second at Wrigley, against the Cubs. The veteran southpaw is 0-2 in the first two with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 7-for-17 with 4 doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-7 with a walk
  • Marlon Byrd – 7-for-27 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-9
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-8 with a home run
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a triple
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-23 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-40 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-32 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 8-for-19 with 2 home runs and 4 walks

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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  • Aaron

    Here’s the likely lineup:
    Castro-SS
    Barney-2B
    ARAM-3B
    Baker-1B *it’s possible he could leave in Pena after Pena blasted a home run last night. Usually Q-Ball gives veterans the benefit of the doubt after they have a good game, versus rookies. If that’s the case, then Baker likely slides to Barney’s spot, or he goes to RF in place of Johnson
    Soriano-LF
    Byrd-CF
    Johnson-RF
    Soto-C

    • Calicub

      where have you been sir?

      • Aaron

        handling baby preparations with the wife, and traveling more with the job recently…but it’s all good

        • Calicub

          Hey congratulations!!

          • Aaron

            thank you :)   I appreciate it…due in Nov

          • paulcatanese

            Congratulations Aaron, you old guys are something else.

          • Dorasaga

            Congrats! … Btw, are you still maintaining that blog? I think it was a valuable site that analyzes new moves, management, and scouting. If you are still running it, mind post it for me here? Thanks.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Congratulations Aaron!

    • Brentcarmona

      Congrats aaron..I’m waiting for one of your ‘MOMMY MAKE IT STOP’ comments to brighten this game up haha.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • Calicub

      gotta run out the big guns against the mighty bad astros

    • Jacob

      Great lineup full of players that will really help the cubs in the future

    • Aaron

      nice….I was almost right…..Q-Ball is a moron

    • paulcatanese

      Another boring day. I read where Qua said his players dont quit, well maybe they do and maybe they dont, but one thing for sure, they take
      a long time to be able to be judged as non-quitters like half a season or more, when it dosent matter and are playing for more money next year.
      The first half was spent trying to figure out how not to do something and not look bad, and the second half smiling and joking with the other team playing out the string.

      • Calicub

        Quade is right you know his players never quit him….They would have had to have been behind him in the first place to have quit on him.

        Quade is an idiot, a dolt, a moron, a dope, a schmuck, an r-tard (cognitively disadvantaged for you p.c. types), a dunce, an ignoramus, brain dead.

        The other day when the Cubs were on ESPN against the Mets, during one of Bobby Valentines many long rambles he talked about Tony LaRussa and how his team never quits on him, even when things appear to be over and they keep pushing through to the end.  Yep LaRussa’s guys never quit on him, and immediately the camera changed to just show Quade standing there.  Ha!

        Everyone knows no one gives Quade’s opinion any credence.   He is a joke and lost this team two weeks into the season.  The only thing stupider than Quade’s coaching is the fact that a big headed idiot named Bruce Bochy selected him to the all-star team.  HA! x2

        • paulcatanese

          Great post, and some of the things I never thought about, I will steal them from you and put them in my library of adjectives about this guy.

          • Calicub

            You have free range Paul

        • Ripsnorter1

          Wow. What a post. And I understand that you are his best friend. I wonder what his enemies would have to say about him…….

      • Ripsnorter1

        Paul,

        You need to understand QQuade’s definition of “don’t quit.”He means, “They don’t quit cashing their checks.”So….no, the Cubs’ players, even Z, “don’t quit.”

    • gocubs

      Where in God’s name is LeMahieu and LaHair?  This is so disgusting.  I understand, appreciate, and respect Rickets calculated, businesslike, slow process of evaluation, but damn, what is the purpose of holding on to Quade?  He has done nothing but regress development.  The guy is fricking insane and if he is managing next year, I will be saying goodbye to this team once and for all.  

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Dave Kaplan: Report on Crane Kenney that
    is making rounds is 100% false according to Cubs sources. “He is going
    nowhere. Where does this stuff come from?

    • Calicub

      the hopes and dreams of dedicated Cubs fans everywhere

    • roseyc

      Who were the ones who reported that Hendry was gone and most laughed at that

      • paulcatanese

        I was one of the ones that thought he would not be gone, but didnt laugh about it, thought it was sad at the time. Still many things to be done yet by Ricketts, and he better get moving.

  • paulcatanese

    Got to get those “untouchables” in the lineup, this game is important to Qua, the Astros may embarass him and score a run. From the stats above, it looks like it dosent matter who hits against this guy they all hit well, from either side.So why the dumb stupid platoon lineup again? Rookies cannot handle this situation? If they cant start against the Astros then they should not even be called up.If Qua has this little confidence in these kids, why,why, well I cant think of another term for him that I already used over and over except, idiot many times over.

  • Calicub

    a loss tonight and a KC win would move the cubs into 6th worst record in mlb..

    Cubs — 65 – 85
    Kansas — 65 – 86   .5 GB
    San Diego — 63 – 87   2 GB
    Seattle — 62 – 87   2.5 GB
    Baltimore —  60 – 88   4 GB
    Minnesota — 59 – 89   5 GB
    Houson — 51 – 89   13.5 GB

    my thinking is that unless the Cubs drop the next 11 games there is no way they could catch Minnesota, and obviously have no way of catching Houston.  But if the Cubs go say 2 -9 and end up 67 – 94 i think they could easily get in the top five and possibly top three. But hey if Minnesota goes on a late season tear maybe even the number two pick is open for the cubs.

    The only thing worth rooting for is the youngsters, Matt Garza and tons more Cubs losses.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Miles: Like it or not or like him or not, Crane Kenney is not out as president, contrary to blog report.

    • studio179

      I caught that one as well. Miles was the one saying Hendry was staying a day or so before the news broke Hendry was gone. I don’t take any of the Kenney reports or what GM is coming or what GM and manager package is coming to heart. Nor do I believe the denials. Lots of reports and speculation are and will be coming about this team. 

    • cubs1967

      to get an Esptien or Friedman; ya need to offer a President/GM position…..where there is smoke there is fire.

      we shall see…….but I think there is more to this ……….

  • paulcatanese

    There was a rumor that when Dusty was here he came to work and headed to his usual spot in the dugout only to find that someone had deficated on that spot the night before. It would be poetic justice if Qua came to work and went over to his spot in the dugout and the same thing happened, only difference, dont do it the night before do it when he is there and for the full effect wait until he takes his hat off to assure completion of the effort.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That is 29 straight for Castro with the first inning walk

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soto with #15

    • Tedtop16

      Soriano is .094 vs Wandy. Soto is 9 for 20. Soto is hitting eight. Hits HR. The Houston announcers are asking why Soriano is even in the lineup. Does Quade just pick names out of a bowl for his lineup?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        That’s what I was thinking when I saw the lineup

  • gary3411

    Ramirez wit a triple. Dudes really trying to cash in after this year.

    • paulcatanese

      Kind of strange isnt it? Aram cant run out ground balls but can hit a triple at Wrigley, no easy feat. He gives himself away when he has a chance to pad the stats.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano with RBI #81 … And off Wandy Rodriguez

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Carlos Lee does it again … two run homer in the 9th on a 1-2 pitch with two outs, ties the game at three.

  • studio179

    Quade does it again…mismanaging pitchers.

  • Tony_Hall

    For anyone wanting to see Samardzija in a “closers” role…here’s you go.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think the Cubs caught a break on that one.  A win is a win.

  • paulcatanese

    Well Byrd with bases loaded hit his patented squirly infield groundball that actually was foul for the walk off hit. That should gurantee starts for him through the rest of the year. If any of the Cub outfielders were given the same opportunity as he has been given they all would have surpassed his production, and that includes Colvin.

    • RickinMSP

      Argeed. Even with Colvin’s .150 batting average, he would have had more home runs and RBIs and probably more runs scored. 

      • Brp921

        He would had hit better than .150 if he’d played more regular as well.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 4-3 in 12 innings on Friday afternoon.

    Matt Garza: 3R, 7H (2HR), 0 BB, 4 K, 9IP; Aramis Ramirez: 3-for-5, 3B, BB, R; Starlin Castro: 0-for-4, 2BB,R; Geovany Soto: HR; Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano & Jeff Baker RBI

    • Cory

      Wow, Q is a GENIUS!  Playing the vets get you a win… against the worst team in baseball

      • paulcatanese

        Right,as its only the Astros, then again in Qua’s head they are contenders and have to play the vets. And again besides Barney he only played two rookies, LaHair to pinch hit and Campana in for defense( Qua didnt figure Campana to even come up again. But he wont play tommorow, he had a pinch hit last night and a hit, stolen base,and a walk today. He also was probably responsible for DeWitts walk, pretty nervous defense out there when he plays. Tony stole second and Soto swung at ball four. But Campana did his job yesterday and today, and deserves playing time for at least the rest of this series.

  • paulcatanese

    Feel sorry for Garza not getting this win, but look on the bright side the bullpen didnt blow it for him. Not putting him down as he went nine and could have , again, had a better fate.

    • paulcatanese

      But Garza is swinging the bat better, he fouled one down the left field line. Not kidding there he looks as though he has worked hard to improve that.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s see: the Astros, over their last 35 games, are 7-28. That means their winning percentage is a whopping 20%.

    They have a terrible team….

    Wandy Rodriguez is a good pitcher. If you can be 10-11 with this awful team, you’re good!

    • Calicub

      2012 Rotation idea:

      Garza
      CJ Wilson
      Demp
      Wandy
      Edwin jackson

      • Ripsnorter1

        Wandy with Houston’s terrible team, and he wins 10.
        A 10 game winner puts one in the top 68 winners in MLB for 2011

        THINK ABOUT IT: 30 teams X 5 starters = 150 top starters on the planet. Win 10 games and you are one of the top 45% of the top starters on the planet.

        BUT THINK ABOUT THIS:
        IF Wandy goes to Yanks, he’ll become a 20 game winner in 2012.

        IF Wandy goes to QQCubs, he’ll win just 8 games in 2012 (see Garza).

        • jw

          You are so negative…He will win 9 with the Cubs :)

  • jw

    Moreland said no way you pitch Lee a fastball or anything in the zone with two strikes…I was confident they would not do something stupid like a fastball in or certainly not a miss over the plate. Did Garza miss his spot or is Soto dense…the only pitch that should have beeen thrown there was his best breaking ball breaking out of the zone..Oh by the way it was Carlos Lee who has owned the Cubs this year and in the game…so why were you challenging him Uh Duh!!!! So Cub