Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/17/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-Two: Cubs (66-85) vs. Astros (51-99)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rodrigo Lopez (5-6, 5.04/1.55) vs. Henry Sosa (2-4, 5.02/1.35)

The Cubs will go for two in a row this afternoon behind Rodrigo Lopez. After playing 23 innings over the last two games, Mike Quade needs a long outing from Lopez today. Lopez could end up taking one for his team if he struggles early. The Cubs already have three relievers with over 70 appearances and over 70 innings under their belt this season (Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol) and all of these meaningless innings could end up hurting down the line.

If the Cubs can post a victory this afternoon, not only would they win the season series against Houston (Cubs lead the season series 7-6 with two remaining) but they would also hand the Astros their 100th loss of the year.

After going hitless on Friday, Starlin Castro enters play today still seven hit shy of 200 for the season. Castro walked twice on Friday and has reached base safely in 29 straight games … the longest streak for a Cubs’ shortstop since Ernie Banks reached base safely in 30 consecutive games back in 1960.

Mike Quade mentioned the possibility of resting his veterans today after his team played 23 innings of ball in a 24-hour span. Quade said “guys are running on empty”.

In other news … Game three of the Southern League Championship Series is tonight at 6:15pm CDT. Ryan Searle will take the hill for Brian Harper in what is a must win for the Smokies. Tennessee trails the Mobile BayBears two games to none in the Best of Five Series.

Today it all begins with Rodrigo Lopez

Rodrigo Lopez gets another start this afternoon and should only take the hill two more times this season. Lopez is coming off another poor outing … and was the beneficiary of a ton of run support. Lopez picked up the only win of the four-game series against the Reds after he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. Lopez walked one, struck out four and served up four more home runs.

In 24 games, 14 starts, this season teams have hit 18 home runs (14 in the last 54 1/3 innings, 11 games) off Rodrigo Lopez.

Rodrigo Lopez has been serviceable, at best, a Wrigley this season. He is 3-2 in 11 games, seven starts, with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

Lopez is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP (teams hitting .362 against him) and is 4-4 in 11 games, 10 starts, since the break with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.

Today will be Lopez’s third start of the season against Houston. Lopez is 1-0 in three games, two starts, with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. Rodrigo Lopez and Henry Sosa squared off in Houston back on August 15. Lopez came out on top in the 4-3 final.

Astros Career Numbers against Rodrigo Lopez

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Clint Barmes – 3-for-10 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-2
  • Jason Bourgeois – 0-for-3
  • Matt Downs – 2-for-4 with 2 double
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Carlos Lee – 4-for-24 with a double and 4 walks
  • J.D. Martinez – 2-for-2 with a walk
  • Jason Michaels – 1-for-6
  • Angel Sanchez – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk
  • Henry Sosa – 0-for-2
  • Brett Wallace – 1-for-5

Henry Sosa’s second big league start came against the Cubs back on August 15. Sosa had a rough start but settled down. The Cubs scored four runs on seven hits in six innings (two walks and six strikeouts) and handed the 26-year old righty his second loss of the season.

Sosa had shown improvement prior to his last outing. Sosa allowed a total of four earned runs in three outings (18 innings) and in the process won two of those three games. Sosa did not make it out the third in his last outing against the Nationals. Sosa allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings with a pair of walks and strikeouts. The Cubs must make him work this afternoon in his first start at Wrigley Field.

Henry Sosa is 1-3 in four road starts (5.23 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP) since joining the Astros’ rotation back on August 10.

Darwin Barney (0-for-2 with a walk), Marlon Byrd (1-for-2 with a walk), Starlin Castro (1-for-3), Tyler Colvin (0-for-3), Reed Johnson (1-for-3), Rodrigo Lopez (0-for-3), Carlos Pena (1-for-3 with a double), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3) and Geovany Soto (2-for-3 with 2 doubles) all faced Henry Sosa back on August 15.

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Campana – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    LaHair – RF
    Soriano – LF
    Barney – 2B
    Soto – C
    Lopez – P

    • BosephHeyden

      So we’re all pretty much set on the fact that we can attribute Tyler Colvin’s decline purely on Mike Quade’s shoulders now, right?

      • Calicub

        Don’t forget Pinella, Hendry and Ricketts role in this too.

        I’ve been saying it for more than a year…Colvin will never be as good or ready to go as he was last year after ST and it is completely the fault of these four men in not ensuring consistent playing time.  I liked Tyler Colvin but his confidence is shot coupled with the fact that he just hasn’t been given the consistant playing time truly needed to evaluate a player and his ability.

        Another first rounder shoveled onto the rubbish heap due to managerial incompetence.

        • Jay from sandwich

          The only chance Tyler has in the Cub orginazation is if Sanberg could coach him in the bigs like he did in the Minors when Tyler had his break out year. If you remeber Sanberg had him hitting the other way some times to set up his home runs. Tyler needs a new coaching staff with an open mind including a no hitting coach. The cubs hitting coach has been a quite flop here in chicago. We need a hitting coach that perchases patience at the plate not swing swing swing and take a seat…

          • gocubs

            I agree about Sandberg and the hitting coach.  Hitting coaches dont really mean that much, but yes – they do have something to do with overall team hitting philosophy.  I thought Gerald Perry was the best hitting coach we had had in a long time, maybe ever.  He preached patience and the 07-09 teams were very good under his philosophy.  Rudy Jamarillo has been a total failure.   

        • paulcatanese

          It’s pretty hard for anyone to get consistant playing time under Qua and his love for veteran players. Qua is an imbecile, and under the impression he is manageing the Yankees on his way to the World Series. Tommorow will bring a return of the vets to the lineup as they have chance after chance with this guy. There was a blurb that LeMahieu could get the start at third and rest Aram, but I was completely surprised today when Aram did not pull himself after the foul off his foot, anytim he can get some time off and be paid he has been for it. Qua got me off track here but Covin is not the only one who is not getting playing time under Qua.

  • Rbmercer

    Can we PLEASE see Lahair at first base!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The good news, however, is that we don’t have to watch Byrd today

    • paulcatanese

      Amen! Agree, but look to Qua to insert him in what he thinks is a critical situation.

  • paulcatanese

    So Lopez may have to take one for the team, he takes one every time he goes out there. All is another clear indication of Qua’s inability to manage a pitching staff. How many times have we seen relief pitchers brought in for one hitter and then another pitcher for another hitter and then pulled for a pinch hitter when the Cubs come to bat. Many times four to five relievers used over two-three innings.
    Riggins is totally useless,I cannot see where he does anything at all except breathe. Qua is the one making the decisions and they have all been the wrong ones.

  • roseyc

    This is patethic that Lopez is still in this rotation when he has no business being. We should be finding out if our prospects can pitch in the major leagues but the only prospect we have is Coleman. What is wrong with this picture.

  • paulcatanese

    As a Campana fan I am happy hat he has a chance to start, but would have just as happy if anyone else were out there instead of Byrd. He is where he belongs, on the bench as a fourth or fifth outfielder. As it is only a spot start for Campana Qua still does not get it, he should be leading off instead of batting second. His attributes are wasted if someone gets on in front of him, but happy anyway that he is playing. He will have a busy day with the corners being patrolled by Soriono and LaHair( who should be at first base), Colvin in right and Johnson in left or center switched with Campana. With Lopez pitching I hope the field is big enough. I guess there is no one else to get a shot this late in the year when it dosent count and has’nt for a long time this year. But being in contention the WHOLE year of course dictates this to Qua.

  • Neil

    More wonderful defense by Q’s Cubs

  • Demitri

    Error by LaHair.. Hes on the bench for the rest of the season..

  • Rbmercer

    Ya know, my observations of Lahair, I just get the feeling this guy is not a fluke. He carries himself in the box very well, never has looked overmatched. He hits balls on both sides of the plates and ALWAYS gives you a good at bat. Hits hard stuff and soft stuff and has a knack of spoiling a pitchers good pitches when he has to.

    I also get the feeling that I’m looking at Casey McGhee part II(and I do realize the Cubs had did not have a place for him at the time). What I mean by this is, if the Cubs cut ties with him, I have a feeling he will be signed and somebody will insert him at first base and you’re gonna see him put up numbers like McGhee has and maybe even better. McGhee numbers are down this year, but he has been very productive for the Brewers.

    He would be a very inexpensive LEFTHANDED bat and afford us more money to fix our starting pitching. I would love Pujols or Fielder, but just believe it would be very difficult to make us better a whole with what we would have to pay them. look around baseball year in and year out, starting pitching is constant for all playoff teams. Just like the cubs in 07 and 08, we had a great depth in the rotation, just lacked a big time ace.

    • cc002600

      totally agree. I think this guy could easily hit 20-25 HR, 80-85 RBI….and play adequate defense. And oh, it seems like he knows how to get on base via a walk.  What a novel concept for a cub.  Plus, he would cost you nothing, so you could spend your dough on pitching this winter.

      And really, the guy is 28. People act like he’s 36. It’s so rdiculous.  Pena is 34, much, much older. Look at Michael Morse from Wash. The guy is 29 and putting huge numbers in his first full year.  

      But as you said, I’m sure they will screw it up somehow.

    • Brp921

      and Quade won’t play him…especially at 1st.

      • paulcatanese

        And what blows me away is vets can make errors and still are in the lineup, LaHair is constantly reminded that he is not good defensively. Here is a kid that can produce over the long haul the same amount of home runs and RBI’s as Aram and Pena and isn’t lazy. So why is it okay for a player to be lazy and another to have a ton of strikeouts and LaHair is not playing because of a reputation of being a defensive liability. From what I have seen of LaHair right now, I would rather have him come up than the other two.

  • Neil

    LaHair with another LaBomb …. first Cubs hit

    • Calicub

      Screw Pena LaHair needs to be at 1B daily.

      If I werethe new GM the first move I would make is stop off and let Pena know his services will not be needed next season right before I make the walk to Quade’s office and give him the axe.

      Pick up/renegotiate ARAMs contract to a 2yr $20 million contract with preformance incentives for up to another ten million per year, including incentives by month, no early season preformance no pay, batting MVP, fielding, etc. Maybe not ten mill in incentives but you get the point, take the laziness out of ARAMs hands and make him play.

      Find a taker for Byrd, Soriano, and Z Big Baby.

      Use saved/remaining money, prospects, and additional revenue to pursue an #1 and #2 pitcher.

      Acquire Andre Ethier.

      • Demitri

        I’d like Ethier. Would the Dodgers part with him?

        • Calicub

          Can the afford to keep him? I don’t follow dodgers baseball but I know they’re a mess. I’d be up for an ethier and kershaw for some prospects that’d kill two birds one stone but no way they’d part with Kershaw..
          Opening Day 2012:


          • Calicub

            I say clevenger because Soto is done as a starter but can be a mentor to either clevenger or castillo but with castillos injury history I don’t think he’s the answer.

          • Calicub

            I also have t say that any trade of that magnitude would have to involve cash, but with the dodgers situation, a several mill in the bank is usually pretty helpful when your fighting bankrupsy (I know I spelt that wrong but I’m on my phone)

          • Tony_Hall

            Kershaw is not going anywhere…that is really dreaming.

            ARam is not going to accept a 2 year deal, when others will be offering 3 years.  And why would he accept only $20M, when 1 year would have to be $16M.  $4M for a second year, his agent is not going to agree to that.

  • Neil

    30 straight games for Castro … hit #194

  • John_CC

    If LaHair started everyday he could catch Byrd in RBI…which is why he won’t.

    I will keep beating the dead horse because, well, I’m a Cubs fan: LaHair needs a shot a 1B!  2 BB and a HR.  The guy knows how to hit.

  • Demitri

    We need to keep LaHair. He may or not be the real deal, but we are in rebuild process. Lets get rid of Grabow, Soriano, Zambrano, then use that money on good pitchers and on drafts to come. Thats the only way. I don’t want Fielder or Pujols. Lets see what LaHair can do and wait 3-4 years for Vogelbach if he’s major league material. Save the money!!!! That is why I want Friedman or Beane. They would be wise with money and know that player development is key 

    • gocubs

      LaHair deserves a shot at making the OF or 1B next year.  No question he deserves a shot.   

      • Brp921

        I say keep him for 1st. We aren’t going to be in the world series next year anyway, and Pena isn’t worth the money he’ll command (or at least ask for) next year. I think he can be good as well.

  • Calicub

    The bullpen issues the cubs have had this season, especially this month are directly due to Q’s mindless experimentaion with the so called ‘Bullpen Day’

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.

    Rodrigo Lopez: 1R, 0ER, 4H, 2BB, 7K, 6IP; Bryan LaHair:
    1-for-2, HR, 2BB; Tony Campana: 1-for-3, R, BB, SB; Starlin Castro: 1-for-4

  • Neil

    Cubs posted the organization’s 4,000th win at Wrigley Field on
    Saturday afternoon. Third team in history to win 4,000 games at one
    park … other two, Yankees and Red Sox.

    • paulcatanese

      Thats great Neil, same amount of wins 4,000 at Wrigley with those two. Good company.

  • paulcatanese

    Campana, LaHair 2 Astros 1. The rookies did it over the vets today, Barney 2 hits, and Castro 1 hit. The two runs were manufactured by the rookies alone without any help from the vets. Speed and power.
    Qua again with the bullpen, 4 pitchers after lopez, 3 in one inning, against the Astros? What is he thinking, unlimited arms out there? It would have been 5 as Qua came out in the ninth to talk to Marshall and it looked like he was going to pull him also. The man has no clue. 

  • jw

    Is Marshall being auditioned for closer…i hope not he is doing just fine as a lefty set-up situational guy…If they want to try someone at closer give Smardzija some work there in the last 12 or so games to see what kind of mentality he has for it. He has earned a chance the way he has pitched recently…In any event you need a catcher that can call the right pitches in a closing situation and they do not have that.