Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 04/21/12

Game Fifteen: Cubs (3-11) vs. Reds (6-8)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89/89
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Paul Maholm (0-0, 13.50/1.88) vs. Mike Leake (0-1, 5.84/1.30)

Updated 10:33am CDTRyan Dempster placed on 15-day DL - Tony Campana Recalled from Triple-A Iowa

Updated 10:33am CDT - Randy Wells is scheduled to start Sunday in place of Ryan Demspter. Cubs will make another roster move prior to Sunday’s game.

Dale Sveum’s team will try to start a new week this afternoon and put the last seven days behind them. The Cubs have dropped their last six games due to a variety of reasons but the bottom line is they have not played a complete game since they beat the Brewers on April 12.

The Cubs bullpen got a lot younger Friday when Kerry Wood was placed on the DL and Scott Maine was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Rafael Dolis and James Russell figure to be the two pitchers Sveum uses in the eighth while Wood is on the shelf.

Ryan Dempster could be joining Wood on the DL. Dempster was expected to undergo an MRI on his right quad Friday. Sveum said the results were expected Saturday morning. Randy Wells spent Friday in Chicago and will take Dempster’s place in the rotation if he is forced to miss time.

It will be interesting to see the lineup Dale Sveum runs out against Mike Leake this afternoon. Marlon Byrd is lost at the plate and is just 3-for-15 with a double against Leake. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-13 with a walk) and Geovany Soto (1-for-12 with three walks) have also struggled against Leake … and haven’t exactly been hitting.

Today it all starts with Paul Maholm

Paul Maholm followed up his horrible debut against the Brewers (six runs on six hits with two walks, two hit batsman and two strikeouts in four innings) with just about the same performance against the Cardinals (six runs on six hits with a walk, two hit batsman and two strikeouts in four innings). Maholm not only needs a good outing for his team this afternoon but for himself. Maholm has struggled mightily since his last win (0-4 in four starts in August of 2011 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP) against the Cubs on July 10, 2011.

Maholm has been a better pitcher throughout his career than what he has shown in his last six starts. If the Cubs’ offense could put up a couple of runs early against Mike Leake that could go a long way towards a successful outing for Maholm.

The veteran southpaw makes his 20th career start against the Reds this afternoon. Paul Maholm is 6-4 in the first 19 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Maholm did not face Cincinnati last year and was 2-0 in four starts versus Dusty’s division champs in 2010 with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Jay Bruce – 2-for-15 with two home runs
  • Miguel Cairo – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Ryan Hanigan – 1-for-7 with two walks
  • Chris Heisey – 2-for-8
  • Mike Leake – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Ludwick – 6-for-22 with a double and a triple
  • Brandon Phillips – 17-for-48 with three doubles, four home runs and a walk
  • Scott Rolen – 6-for-22 with two doubles and three walks
  • Drew Stubbs – 2-for-12
  • Joey Votto – 3-for-20 with a double and two walks

Mike Leake has not been so good in his first two starts this season. The Nationals scored five times on five hits in 6 1/3 innings against Leake in his last start. Leake received a no decision after walking three and striking out just one. Leake has the tools to be a successful Major League starter but has stretches of inconsistency … except when he faces the Cubs.

Mike Leake has owned the Cubs in his brief big league career to the tune of a 4-1 record in seven starts with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (1-1 in three starts at Wrigley with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP). The only Cub, other than Starlin Castro, to have success against Leake over the last two seasons now plays his home games at Coors Field.

The Cubs must make Mike Leake work this afternoon. Early swings will equal quick outs and another loss.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake

  • Darwin Barney – 4-for-9 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 3-for-15 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 6-for-19 with a double and a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 5-for-12 with two doubles and a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-4 with a home run
  • Paul Maholm – 1-for-5
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-13 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-12 with three walks

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    LaHair – 1B
    Stewart – 3B
    Clevenger – C
    DeWitt – LF
    Mather – CF
    Maholm – P

    • Chadaudio

      It looks like he’s just getting all his lefty hitters in the game.  I feel bad for Maholm though, he always gets a defense behind him that includes DeWitt.

      That being said, I think I’d rather DeWitt in LF then at 2B… I guess.

      • Texcubnut

        They just called up Campana. I’d rather they start him in left instead of Dewitt.

        • Chadaudio

          Yup, you and EVERY other Cub fan.

    • BosephHeyden

       Okay, this lineup is what I like to see.  Guys struggle, don’t play them.  I was willing to give Soto a pass if they started him, but this works well, since Clevenger is playing well.

      And is it sad I forgot about Mather?  Guy did so well in Spring Training, and seemed to carry it over for the first few games, and then I forgot he existed.

      • Chadaudio

        Yeah, you forgot about him because Sveum NEVER played him.  Which was odd, because Sveum spoke highly of him making the team, etc.  I don’t know what happened.

        • BosephHeyden

           I don’t understand that at all.  I mean, Soriano was doing fairly well, so I can understand not playing a lot in left.  DeJesus is a guy they obviously signed to increase his value over the stats that lead to this contract, so playing him makes sense, too.  And Reed Johnson has performed well enough that I can understand him being the preferred sub.

          But Mather plays the corners.  And Stewart and LaHair have not played every game.  They couldn’t have gotten him in there?

          • Chadaudio

            It seemed every time it made sense to play Mather in the OF, he played Reed Johnson instead.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Reed, but it seemed like Mather should have had at least one of those games.  Also, it seemed like he would go to right-handed pinch hitting opportunities too.

  • BosephHeyden

     Marlon Byrd had good numbers against yesterday’s pitcher and they lead to an 0-for (ANOTHER 0-for).  It’s time to switch to Reed for a few games:  there’s no benefit whatsoever to starting Byrd anymore, and every time he does makes me question this new group’s decision making skills…you don’t need two hits in a little under a month to show he just doesn’t have it this month.

    Soto I could see them justifying keeping in simply because the balls he hit would have been extra bases any other day.  Byrd just needs the bench.

  • SuzyS

    Well, in this diminished season, it’s good that Mather is getting the start in CF…Clevenger at C seems to give us a better chance…and LaHair needs to play as much as possible…so I guess it’s the best possible line-up for today. It is really tough to be patient. I just turned down free tickets to tomorrow’s game. Too Cold.  If they were winning…I don’t think I would have done that.

    • Chadaudio

      I’m also glad to see Mather (he hasn’t played nearly enough) and Clevenger and LaHair.

      Sure wish DeWitt was only seen as a pinch hitter/sub… I hate seeing him in the starting lineup, but I’ll have faith that Reed Johnson will sub for him in the 5th inning.

      Agreed – it’s just too cold.

  • cubtex

    Wow! Look at this lineup and what our beloved Cubs have become. What a pathetic excuse for a big league major market team! I have said time and time again on what a terrible job Theo has done to construct this 2012 team. I hope people do not pay any money to watch this product! We deserve so much better! Add up the salaries of these starting players. I think DeJesus is the highest paid at 5 mil per year. Again…….do we as fans deserve this? Theo could have fielded a much more competitive team than this without taking away from re-building. Who did he pick up has any trade value? As I said….you might as well trade Garza because this team is SO far away from even being a .500 ballclub. He needs 3 other starting pitchers for next year. He needs 2 new starting outfielders for next year. He needs an ENTIRE new bullpen for next year and he needs a starting 2nd baseman for next year. What time does Iowa play today? :)

    • Anonymous47701

      Maybe you should walk away from being a fan of the Chicago Cubs for a while….well just until 2013.

      • cubtex

        Do you enjoy this product?

        • paul catanese

          I guess I do, I just take the games, figure they will lose and sit back waiting to see what they are going to do to to achomplish that. I don’t see any other way to watch them, certainly looking for the win is just plain frustrating:)

          • cubtex

            I guess that is the best approach but why should we have to?

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            The bullpen has been better of late.  Russell, Dolis, these are guys we should keep. 

    • cubtex

      Take a look at this comparison for today

      Iowa                                           Cubs
      RF Sappelt                                DeJesus
      CF B Jackson                            Mather
      LF  E Gonzales                          DeWitt
      3B  Vitters                                   Stewart
      SS Valbuena                               Castro
      2B Cardenas                               Barney
      1B Rizzo                                      LaHair
      C  Castillo                                   Clevenger
      P Coleman                                  Maholm

      Is it a no brainer who’s team is better for today? Seriously….What a pathetic excuse for a mlb team!

    • Tony_Hall

      How can this team be so far away from being 500, yet with a few moves (that you say they should have made) they would have been so competitive this year?

      • cubtex

        Because Volstad and Maholm are in the rotation and the bullpen is in shambles.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Maholm isn’t that bad.  The rubber game against the Cardinals was Sveum’s bad.  That lineup demoralized Maholm before he even took the field.  

          I think he’s a guy that will have value at the deadline. 

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Michael Jensen (3-0, 2.12)
    Daytona – Eric Jokisch (0-2, 5.00)
    Tennessee – Nick Struck (1-2, 2.65)
    Iowa – Casey Coleman (2-1, 4.11)

    Today’s spotlight game: Peoria v. Great Lakes
    The Chief’s offense remains a mystery, but has shown improvement by averaging over nine hits per game this past week. Michael Jensen appears to be one of the rising stars in the organization.

    Some impressions form this past week:

     I was able to see Logan Watkins at shortstop, and he looks above average at the position. He’s already a good defensive second baseman and has experience as a centerfielder.

    Michael Burgess appears to have Jessie Barfield-type defense in right field. For those unfamiliar, Barfield was the Blue Jays’ right fielder in the 80′s. He was capable of throwing out any runner at any base, from any point in right field.

    In order to salvage the seasons at Peoria and Daytona, the organization may need to consider some promotions and demotions in order to improve offensive consistency. 

    I don’t know why the decision was made, but Iowa has replaced Tony Campana with Edgar Gonzalez, and has moved Brett Jackson back to lead-off.

    • cubtex

      Joliet Jesse Barfield :) He did have a gun from right field!

      • Tom U

        Cubtex, it was a play you would have appreciated last night. 

        On a ball hit to medium right field, the runner went a third of the way and was strolling back to first. Except Burgess unleashed one, and turns it into a bang-bang play that could have easily been called an out. I think he even caught the umpire by surprise.

        • cubtex

          I know Burgess has a great arm. He has all the tools but needs to make more contact and get on base more.

    • cubtex

      I guess they just called up Campana and DL’d Dempster.

      • paul catanese

        Thats one way to offset the pitching, get all the guys that are super fast to chase down the long balls. Whoever is in center field will have nubbs for legs in a week:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mitch-Cooley/100000670162747 Mitch Cooley

    I guess I was a little dismayed that we didn’t seem to make any serious attempt to get free agent sluggers on the loose last year from the Brew Crew or from the Red Birds. Nice starting pitching cannot make up for inadequate relief and a non-existent offense. I was so happy to hear Rickets hired Theo; but I was hoping for a more competitive team to kick things off..

    • daverj

      You were dismayed that the Cubs didn’t shell out $220 million for Fielder or $250 million for Pujols?  Those moves would have crippled the team for the next decade.  Yes, the Cubs would have won more games this season, but we’d be foregoing any chance of a World Series for the next decade.

      • cubtex

        Would Yu Darvish have crippled this team or Edwin Jackson or Carlos Beltran or…….you get my point.

        • Tony_Hall

          Yu Darvish is not fair at all, since no one expected his bid to be that high, and you would have blasted them if they did bid that high.

          Carlos Beltran is an expensive short term, stop-gap player, that is better suited for a playoff contending team.  Which is why he wouldn’t have signed here.

          Edwin Jackson also had his own free will to decide to go to a team that had a better chance at the playoffs, when he couldn’t get his long term deal, that would have made no sense for anyone.  

          • cubtex

            Theo could have fielded a much much more competitive team than he put on the field this year. There is no doubt about that.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs DL Dempster, call up Campana. Another move Sunday to get Wells on roster.

    • paul catanese

      Well thats a good move to call up Campana, after all he does have good power numbers against the Reds:)

  • cubs1967

    according to mlbtraderumors.com; padres may release orlando hudson, he of the .156 avg and 7.5M including buyout,  salary remaining, this from a team with a 50M payroll and notoriously frugal spending habits…………..YET, the team with 3M fans a year with top 3 tix prices and 3rd largest market in the country cannot release the ..071 CF byrd. at 6.5M………..becuz??????????????

    • Tony_Hall

      becuz, someone might trade for him…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Nick Cafardo – Source:Red Sox closing in on deal for Cubs OF Marlon Byrd.
     

    • brent carmona

      I really don’t like cafardo, he spewed a lot of nonsense with the theo comp (sox getting garza, Castro etc..) but if this is true….YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! Sir hacktastic is gone!!

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Brent, that is what the Sox expected to get for compensation. Sometimes it is not the messenger. My interactions with him have been nothing but positive and professional.

        • brent carmona

          Thank you Neil for correcting me :)

  • Texcubnut

    Maholm has only walked Brandon Phillips once!! Maybe he might consider  walking him a couple of times today. Wow!

    • BosephHeyden

       That 17 hits is where I see the improvement being made, unfortunately.

  • BosephHeyden

     Okay, so this is the first time I’ve seen Maholm pitch this season…I see why his numbers are awful:  his first pitch of the game was a nice looking strike, his second pitch missed horribly, and his third pitch didn’t break as much as it should have, resulting in an easy double down the line.  Maholm games could be as big of an ordeal as Volstad games.

    • BosephHeyden

       And the Reds seem to be picking up on this, because they’re holding off on swinging.

  • John_CC

    Clevenger and Mather!  I hope Sveum keeps playing the hitters. 

  • cubtex

    Mike Leake looks like one of our starters :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good to see the hits in the second inning

    • BosephHeyden

       An early four run cushion should be enough for Maholm to get comfortable.  And, hey, three of those runs scored with two outs!  That’s a victory in itself.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent stop by Castro

    • Zonk

      Followed not long after by his 2nd error of the game.  7 now for the season.  That is not good at all.

      • fryegye

        Is it time to pull a Ryan Braun with Starlin Castro? Move him out to left field. I am afraid that moving him to second will stil lead to ground ball errors.

        • John_CC

           Patience.

          • fryegye

            True. He is only 22. But I have been cheering or moaning since 1968. Sigh…

          • Tony_Hall

            Most young SS are still making 30+ errors at AA or lower at his age.

        • Chadaudio

          You usually have more time to make up for any slops when you are at 2B vs SS though.  We don’t have anyone to play SS this year, but I’m liking the idea of him at 2B more and more.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent pick off by Maholm

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice at bat by LaHair, walked on the 10th pitch

    • John_CC

       I really like LaHair’s approach. He has been as good or better than expected.

  • John_CC

    Starlin needs a day off.  He isn’t focused again. That drive to LF, he trotted down the line and watched it with his bat in hand but still made it a triple, barely.  He didn’t hustle out of the box on the hit to RF, he should have been at third. 

    I don’t know if the errors effect him that much, or if there is something else that lead to the errors…he should sit a day, imo. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good outing for Paul Maholm

    • Tony_Hall

      Nice to see, especially after such a rough 1st inning…again.

  • John_CC

    How much did Hendry pay Koyie Hill last year?

    Can you believe that Clevenger was sitting in Iowa last year?

    • John_CC

      How much longer will he be sitting behind Soto?

      • Tony_Hall

        Until they can un-load Soto, like they are hopefully, un-loading Byrd.

        • John_CC

           I know, Tony.  At the very least, Clevenger should be getting 2 starts a week.

          • Tony_Hall

            Even 50/50.  

            Of course no one is saying how right we have been about Soto and not being worth his pay. 

            I hate paying catchers.

          • cubtex

            You hate paying anyone :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Not really.  

            I like having payroll flexibility, so that when a true difference maker is available, we can add them.  

            I also want to pay guys like Castro, Garza, etc. or players you want to keep around long term.  I would have already extended both of them.

            I don’t mind paying FA’s like Derosa, when the team is ready to contend. 

            But on a team that has no chance to contend, I would rather they redirected the money to player developement and for saving the cash for adding a top FA in the next few years.

  • RynoTiger

    i’ve never been comfortable with Campana as a defensive replacement.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good job by James Russell pitching out of the jam that Campana created

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Ken Rosenthal: Source: Byrd deal remains probable. Timing issues remain. Cubs likely to pay most of Byrd’s remaining $6.5M. Bowden in play from Red Sox

    • Chadaudio

      Sounds like it would just be a way for each teams to swap a reclamation project for another… except the Cubs will have to eat a lot of Byrd’s salary.  
      Sounds like a good move for the Cubs, I just can’t believe the Red Sox would actually do it.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Clevenger with another hit

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I like our defense today, with the exception of Castro.  Good fundamentals.  Fun game to watch in general.  Guys coming through with runners on base.  I like the lineup too.  

    Lahair seems for me to be the real deal.  I’m so happy for him!

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I love hearing “Go Cubs Go!”  Only in Wrigley. 

    Apparently some people don’t like the song?  I don’t get that at all.  

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat Reds 6-1 Saturday afternoon

    Paul Maholm: 1R, 4H, 3BB (IBB), 5K in 6IP; Darwin Barney: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2R, HBP; Starlin Castro: 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, RBI; Steve Clevenger: 3-for-4, R, RBI; David DeJesus: 2-for-5, RBI, 2R

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Wow!  Clevenger’s postgame interview was like watching paint dry. 

  • cubtex

    Did someone get that baseball for DeJesus for his 1st RBI of the year?

    • Tony_Hall

      He is batting lead-off with over a 400 OBP.

      What more do you want out of your lead-off guy?  450?

      • cubtex

        Fuko had a .374 OBP last year with a lot more ab’s than DeJesus currently has . What more do I want from a leadoff hitter???
        How about more than 2 extra base hits. How about an occasional stolen base. How about not striking out once every 4 AB’s.

        • Tony_Hall

          I’m with you on the extra base hits, but really my lead-off guy just needs to get on base and be a good baserunner, not necessarily a base stealing threat, thought that would be nice.  

          We are not looking at the guy leading off for the Cubs, the next time we are in the playoffs…that is for sure.

          He has been fine so far, and I hope he keeps his OBP above 374.

        • Whatupbr

          Fukudome was paid more than 3 times what Dejesus is making. Fukudome stole 2 bases in 87 games. Not sure why you’d bring him up…

          • cubtex

            Just using him as an example to compare the OBP. His 2 SB in 87 games might be more than DeJesus will have though :) And by the way…..DeJesus is making 10 times the amount of money Fuko is making this year.

          • Whatupbr

            That’ll probably work out about right. Fuko has hardly played, and when he has he’s been terrible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trevor-Petersma/565104388 Trevor Petersma

    Is it my imagination, or in the limited amount of games he’s started are our pitchers pitching better with Clevenger behind the plate?  He already is hitting better than Soto, but does he call a better game as well?  

    • xaxinho

      Ask Maholm. James Russell made Brandon Phillips dance.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      From the way I understand it, the pitchers really like
      throwing to Clevenger.

      • Tom U

        Neil, that was also the case down in Tennessee last year.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Well put Tom, Clevenger has an excellent rep with handling pitchers.

  • xaxinho

    Is a different team without Soriano, Soto and Byrd. This team can hit.

    • cubtex

      Let’s remember who was pitching against us. Mike Leake has a lot of Chris Volstad and Casey Coleman in him.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He’s also owned the Cubs in the past. In case you forgot, it’s okay to enjoy seeing them play a good game.

        • cubtex

          It has been awhile for a W :) Mike Leake needs to hit his spots to be effective. He left alot over the middle of the plate is all I am saying.

      • John_CC

         Right. Barney, Castro, Clevenger and DeJesus deserve no credit for their multi-hit game.  The pitching sucked.  Yeah. 

        • cubtex

          Of course they deserve credit for hitting the ball but they weren’t facing Cy Young today!

  • Chadaudio

    PLEASE play Clevenger more… hasn’t he caught in 2 of the 4 games we have won so far ?

    Great to see the bullpen do better.

    Cub Win!!  Cubs Win!!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From WEEI: Red Sox acquire Marlon Byrd and cash from #Cubs
    for Michael Bowden, player to be named http://tinyurl.com/6tgreux