Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 04/25/12

Game Nineteen: Cubs (6-12) vs. Cardinals (11-7)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/902
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (0-2, 6.19/1.37) vs. Lance Lynn (3-0, 1.42/0.74)

Updated 12:59pm CDT – Today’s Cubs-Cardinals game will not start on time. Cubs are thinking it will be a short delay.

Updated 1:20pm CDT – First pitch is scheduled for 1:35pm CDT

Weather permitting … The Cubs six-game homestand comes to an end this afternoon with the finale against the Cardinals. Dale Sveum’s team is 3-2 in the last five games and not only would a win today complete the sweep against the Cardinals but it would be a good way to spend an off day before beginning a difficult seven-game road trip.

This afternoon is a rematch of the game on April 14 in which the Cardinals took the middle game of the series 5-1. Lance Lynn held the Cubs to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings and it was a pair of Starlin Castro errors that opened the door to the Redbirds’ four-run fourth inning.

Today all starts with Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad showed improvement two outings ago against the Cardinals (four runs, three earned, on six hits without a walk and four strikeouts) and actually put together a quality start. Volstad regressed in his last start against the Reds. Dusty’s Bunch scored six runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings.

Chris Volstad has not posted a win in his last 14 starts. The last time he won a game was July 10, 2011 against the Houston Astros.

The Cardinals beat Volstad back on April 14 and the big right hander is 2-2 in five career starts against the Redbirds with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.

Cardinals Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Carlos Beltran – 3-for-9 with two walks
  • Matt Carpenter – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Daniel Descalso – 1-for-6 with a triple
  • Rafael Furcal – 4-for-13 with a double and a walk
  • Tyler Greene – 2-for-8 with a double
  • Matt Holliday – 6-for-14 with two doubles
  • Jon Jay – 0-for-7
  • Lance Lynn – 1-for-2
  • Yadier Molina – 6-for-14 with a double
  • Skip Schumaker – 3-for-10 with a double

Lance Lynn has been very, very, very good this season. Lynn has not allowed more than one earned run in his three starts this year … and has more than filled in for the injured Chris Carpenter. In 19 innings, Lynn has allowed only three runs on 10 hits with four walks and 17 strikeouts.

Lynn shutdown the Cubs back on April 14 (one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts) in his shortest outing of the season. Lynn allowed just one run to the Pirates on four hits over seven innings in his last start.

Lance Lynn will make his first career start at Wrigley this afternoon and is 1-0 in two career appearances, one start, against the Cubs with a 1.23 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Lance Lynn

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-1
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-1 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-4
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
  • Ian Stewart – 0-for-2
  • Chris Volstad – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Campana – CF
    Castro – SS
    LaHair – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Stewart – 3B
    Clevenger – C
    Barney – 2B
    Volstad – P

    • Aaron

      I’m a little disappointed that DeWitt isn’t in the lineup today in LF….especially after his stellar pinch hitting appearance yesterday…and the day before….


    • Steven Tamara Petty

      One change I would like to see to be made.  Move Campana to lead off and DeJesus to 2 hole.  Many more options there.  IMO.

      • Ripsnorter1

        That is EXACTLY what they should do. Campana gets on, and DeJesus can take a pitch so Campana can run. 

        Makes all the sense in the world. Now if DeJesus gets on, he can’t run, and Campana hasn’t enough strength to get the ball into the OF on the fly. If Campana does get on, too, then DeJesus is a big traffic jam on the bases and Campana’s speed is negated. 

        Wonder why Sveum doesn’t figure that out?

        • paulcatanese

          Correct Rip, every word you said makes sense. When Campana leads off an inning and gets on thats “trouble in River city” for the defense. Every part of the game is affected.

          I would point out however, Campana needs to add a different slide to his repitore.
          Sliding head first on each and every slide can only lead to infielders blocking the base on him more and more.
          Plus the injury factor to his hands or even his head. I would have no problem as an infielder knowing what Campana will slide to even put a knee down to totaly block him out.
          Even though I believe that its against the rules to block the base without the ball, it’s seldom called.

          I would like him to watch some Ricky Henderson film along with Richie Ashburn
          and even some film of Ty Cobb and take it out on those blocking his way.

          As it is no surprise to anyone I am a big fan of Tony’s and the one improvement I have seen him make is he is trying to hit the ball up the middle, a good sign. And maybe Wrigley can have some 90MPH winds blowing out and he can get a pop up going.
          And it will be a muddy track today.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Randy Hundley said, “I’d just love it if someone had tried to slide in on me face first. I’d have stuck my shin guard right in his face.”

            I love Randy Hundley!

          • paulcatanese

            Well Rip, he was right.

          • Ripsnorter1

            It is high time we bench Clevenger.

          • paulcatanese

            Rip,you’re a disturber:):)

  • Aaron

    I was a bit taken back that Samardzija had a quality start with Soto behind the dish. I still think Clevenger should be behind there….numbers don’t lie, and Soto is a dog behind the plate.
    As for Volstad, if he doesn’t have a good start today, especially if he gets lit up, I expect the Cubs to option him to make room for Travis Wood, who has pitched well of late (even though I think he sucks overall). Any players with options are free game in all likelihood, but they don’t want to just be optioning back and forth, so I think they’ll give pitchers a few more appearances before they make changes. The one thing I have NO clue about is what they’re doing with DeWitt. He’s now hitting about .100 on the season, and looking completely lost at the plate. He sucks as a pinch hitter, sucks in the field, and even when he’s gotten the spot start, he proves he sucks…I’m not sure what they’re waiting for here. Cardenas OR Valbuena would be much better options, as both can play SS and DeWitt cannot. It allows more flexbility for double switches, etc.

    Again, like Koyie Hill, Soriano, Byrd, etc., I’m sure DeWitt is a great guy and great teammate, but he’s just not cut-out to be a MLB player at this point…(and yes, I’m saying Soriano isn’t even cut out to be in MLB right now…not with his lack of range in the field and reduced bat speed and pitch recognition)

    At the same time, I think I know their gameplan right now…they’re clearly trying to build trade value with the likes of Byrd (already traded), Baker, Johnson, Soto, and DeWitt, otherwise they would have been dealt or not even resigned at this point. 

    For those of you questioning what I am saying, consider the following:
    -if  a team is rebuilding, and they have several candidates all in-house about MLB-ready, do you think they’d just outright promote those candidates? Possibly…but then…

    -wouldn’t they need replacements for the prospects promoted?

    -so, then, it does kind of make sense that the Cubs resigned Baker, Johnson, DeWitt, etc. I originally did not have the slightest clue why they’d resign them, but I believe I have figured it out now…Let’s just hypothetically say they signed Saunders, Beltran, Edwin Jackson, etc., and those players did well, and the team was winning. Wouldn’t they then be obligated to keep them, or at least build on the future with them? For instance, if, come July, those players are doing well, and the Cubs are in first place, or even just a few games behind first place, wouldn’t they face intense criticism if they pulled off a White Flag trade at that point? My contention is that they knew these players would suck a$$, and resigned them, knowing they would at least be able to at least bring one or two mid-level prospects in return, even if they sucked, just like we saw with the Byrd trade. And since the team will suck, they can trade them all in June or July when teams are desperate, bring up the MLB-ready prospects, and replace them with the mid-levels they received in return…and if you still need evidence of that….

    -riddle me this….why in the hell do you think the Cubs signed Lopez and Camp? Don’t you think it was because they hoped they did well, and could bring another prospect in return? Even though guys like Jay Jackson, Batista, Rhoderick, etc. could have at least duplicated what Lopez and Camp would bring, they still needed to replace those prospects, right? And you don’t replace prospects with veterans, do you? Certainly NOT, especialloy if you’re building for the future. What is Lopez? He’s a long-man, spot starter, and garbage-time man. Honestly, I believe the Cubs intended to trade him later this season, but after they acquired Bowden, they had to make a move, and nobody was interested in Lopez this early in the season. Now, ask yourself what type of pitcher Bowden is…he’s EXACTLY the type of reliever Lopez is…he’s a control pitcher without much velocity, long-man, spot starter, etc. Now, ask yourself what Camp is…he’s a middle reliever, inning or two at a time, and that’s all. So if the Cubs get a decent reliever from the Red Sox as the PTBNL, and he needs added to the 40-man, I believe Camp will be DFA’d just like Lopez. Otherwise, the Cubs will keep sending Camp out there, hoping he turns in a few decent appearances, dropping his ERA below 4, and deal him in June or July to a contender, then bring up someone like Rhoderick, Batista, or the Red Sox prospect they acquired (unless it’s a low-A guy). 

    Hopefully I’ve made sense here. I also believe the draft plays into this roster management as well. Ideally, I believe they want to win with the players they have, because that’d mean the veterans I mentioned would likely make contributions and increase trade value, but ultimately, I think they know they’ll suck, and secretly want to lose for draft position “suck for Luck” sort of thing the Colts did this year. 

    The other thing you need to understand is I believe Theo and Hoyer planted the seed, allowing them to play veterans more to increase trade value by stating the whole “AAA as a finishing place” thing, which affords them the opportunity and PR move of keeping B. Jackson, Rizzo, and others down in AAA, even if they’re performing well (Jackson legitimately needs more time though). But with Campana coming up and performing well, Mather playing better than Baker or DeWitt…or even Stewart, you have to believe that they recognize the infusion of young talent would bring about winning, but there is a very good reason they’re not doing it, and that’s because of the reasons I mentioned above.

    Am I making sense? For instance, it appears Rizzo has ironed out the things in his swing he needed to do. There’s not much left for him to prove at AAA. Cardenas, Valbuena, and W. Castillo also have little to prove at AAA. 

    If the Cubs went with Valbuena (26 yrs old) and Cardenas (24 yrs old) instead of Baker and DeWitt, they’d not only have improved defense and more speed on the roster, but more youth. It’d also allow them to put the struggling Stewart on the bench more often if he can’t break out of his slump.

    Again, as I’ve mentioned, they could go with a roster similar to this in the interim, and likely win quite a few games:
    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    2B-Barney, Cardenas
    3B-Stewart, Valbuena
    LF-LaHair, Mather
    CF-Campana, Sappelt (might as well bring him up to get something out of the Marshall trade, and until Jackson is ready)

    Later in the year, Jackson replaces Sappelt, DeJesus gets traded, and Ridling is brought up if he’s doing well, otherwise they keep DeJesus.

    • BosephHeyden

       On DeWitt:  I get the feeling the only reason they brought him back to the majors after deciding he wasn’t going to be on the 40 man roster in the winter is because he was doing as well as he did in Spring Training and I think they thought they could get something for him around June or July (can they actually trade him before then since they took him off the roster and then put him back on it?).

      As far as whether or not that’s possible to get something for him…I think if there was something you could get for him, it was there at the end of Spring Training, and is quickly going away now that it’s coming to light he’s a bench guy that can only play the infield and that the only person who thought it was a good idea to play DeWitt in the outfield was Quade.

      DeWitt is just one of those many bad decisions made by Jim Hendry:  yeah, Ryan Theriot wasn’t long for the Cubs with Castro and Barney in the wings waiting, but the man hit .280 and all he got back for him was a guy who did worse than he did.  That wasn’t a trade:  that was a straight downgrade.

      • Aaron

        The Lilly and Theriot trade for DeWitt, Wallach, and Smit (no longer in the organization), might just go down as one of the worst trades Hendry ever made. How he thought that was good value for Lilly is just beyond me, given what was being traded for decent starting pitching anyhow that year, much less when he included Theriot as well.

        But it’s all water under the bridge…the only thing left to do at this point is just cut the string, and DeWitt should be the next to go with Wallach close behind (have you seen how bad he’s been, by the way?)

        • Steven Tamara Petty

          Even my wife said that when Lilly was traded that this move was a bad move! 

          • Ripsnorter1

            I was castigated here for saying it was a dumb trade.

          • cubtex

            He said castigated……ahhhhhh huh huh huh huh.

      • Henry

        for the record it was the beloved Greg Maddux who suggested DeWitt to Hendry.  Still a bad move but let’s give credit to the where credit is due!

      • Dorasaga

         I still believe that Hendry traded The Riot away for a downgrade rather than negotiating with the player next offseason (first arbitration hearing in 20 years). That’s the way the Cubs had to deal with player: Obey or leave.

    • Steven Tamara Petty

      Exactly what do you think will happen with Soriano?  I have a feeling the Cubs will say goodbye to LaHair to possibly the Phillies before we move Soriano.  Thoughts?

      • gary3411

         I think so too. We should be able to get some nice prospects for him if he continues to hit.

      • Zonk

        It all depends, IMO, on how well he can play the OF.  If he can’t, he has to be moved. 

        Let’s see how it plays out.  The Cubs won’t decide until Rizzo is up, and if they leave him at Iowa until late June, they set his FA back a year, which could potentially save us millions. 

        Once Rizzo is up, THEN decisions will have to be made

      • Aaron

        Boy i sure hope you’re wrong….it’d be much wiser to just DFA Soriano thus eating the rest of his contract because aside from B Jackson there’s really no high end OF prospects that are MLB ready

    • Ripsnorter1

      The Cubs signed Lopez and Camp because they knew that the DL would claim some pitchers. After all, Kerry Wood was on their staff. So they needed some kind of a plausible backup, and these two guys were better than what they had in AAA.  It takes about 20 pitchers to get through a year–and at least 8 starters.  So they signed these guys and Corpas and Sonnastine.

      • Zonk

        The other thing is that it can hinder a player’s long term development to force them into a ML spot.  We would have had to do that to somebody, without Camp and Lopez.  This buys time for someone to prove themselves ready.  I don’t see anyone at that point at Iowa right now; couple possibilities, but nobody really ready. 

        When someone is ready, the one plus on Camp/Lopez is that they are easily expendable when the time comes

        • Ripsnorter1

          Exactly. Shoot their confidence and ruin their career, just like they are doing to Castillo in 2012 and Paxton in 2009

          • cubtex

            that is the way the Rule 5 draft is set up. Castillo is definatley not ready but with the lack of arms in the system….that is the only reason they are still holding onto him.

  • Aaron
    • Steven Tamara Petty

      Instead of Simpson, who should of the Cubs picked?  I am interested.  Please respond Aaron as I am very curious of what we missed out on.

      • Aaron

        Just to name a few….

        Christian Yelich
        Kolbrin Vitek
        Zach Cox
        Zach Lee
        Gary Brown
        Taijaun Walker
        Bryce Brentz
        Noah Syndergaard
        Anthony Renaudo
        Nick Castellanos
        Asher Wojiecowski
        Stetson Allie

        ……yeah…..someone should be fired is all I’m saying

        • Dorasaga

           They did, the GM. Or you rather see an overhaul with the scouting department? :-/

      • Vivid_Reality

        At the time I thought they should have taken Zack Cox. He was a considered a top ten talent who dropped because of contract demands if I remember correctly. Currently playing in AAA for the Cards.

  • Rmercer

    the best lineup of the year imo, now let’s hope they rake, so we will see it more often

  • BosephHeyden

    One thing I never understood about this weather:  I’m an hour and a half away from Wrigley, and I’m a bit west of Chicago, so technically I should getting this weather first.  Yet today is pretty typical “rainout” weather, it looks like, because I have partially grey skies (really, I see more periods of sun that grey skies), there’s been no rain, yet I know that once these skies hit Chicago, the sun is likely going to be completely gone and it’s going to be a torrential downpour.  Never fails.

    And, to be perfectly honest, I’d prefer a rainout today, because Volstad has not looked good.

    • BosephHeyden

       Well, right on target, everything is up in the air now, because it’s raining pretty good here now 😛

      • paulcatanese

         I knew that, cause it’s raining out here in Northern California, and the storms move fast eastward:)
        Just my luck, on WGN and its raining there.

  • daverj

    Campana is growing on me.  He seems to really disrupt pitchers rhythm which could lead to Castro and LaHair seeing a lot more “mistake” pitches.  Even though Campana doesn’t generate any power, his presence on the bases could lead to more homers for Castro, LaHair and eventually Rizzo.

  • gary3411

    Looks like one more round of rain coming in a few minutes lasting about a half hour then we should be good to go. I’m predicting 2:30 start.

  • cubtex

    A’s just DFA’d relief pitcher Rich Thompson. He had a decent year for the Angels last year. 54 IP 46 Hits and 56 K’s. Might as well add him to the mix. They need to find someone who can get some hitters out in the 7th 8th and 9th.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Take a look at this, Cubtex. FA contracts and slowing bat speed go together. In this case, Pujols’ bat speed. 

      Aren’t ya glad the Cubs didn’t dump any cash into this guy?
      The only possible solution to his troubles would be to have Paul Maholm pitch to him exclusively.

      • cubtex

        I knew that he has been swinging at a lot more pitches outside of his normal zone to start the year. You can’t help but put pressure on yourself no matter who you are to try and live up to those contracts. That being said….I am glad the Cubs did not sign PuJols,Fielder etc. And I think the Reds will regret that Votto contract as well the last several years of it. 1st baseman come available all the time. Hopefully Rizzo works out.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Votto is stinking up the joint, all worried about the dough. He shot his mouth off about how much he hated the Cubs, and has gone 22 games since without a HR against us. Keep talkin’, Joey Eugene Votto!  Make Carlos Silva look like an All-Star!  Let Shawn Camp shut you down!  

          • Neil

            Please stop with the nicknames. Thank you.

      • Zonk

        That is compelling.  I love that graphic; can we get one of those somewhere on Soriano?  Methinks his decline is terminal, and not a slump, but data like this really helps parse that out.

        A-Rod, Pujols, Howard, Fielder….one or more of those contracts will blow-up in spectacular fasion.  I bet anything that whatever we end up eating with Soriano will be beaten at some point by one of these 4…easily.  If not more than one.  All are signed into their late 30s/early 40s. 

        • paulcatanese

          Have to agree Zonk as Soriono does seem to be floating balls to right field. Thats not always a bad thing as the defense continually plays him to pull. Or, it could mean that he is going with the outside pitch and not trying to pull everything, or it could mean his swing is just slowing down.

          I have all the answers dont I?:):):)
          I don’t know anything.

          • Texcubnut

            You know a heckuva lot more than you let on, Paul. I always enjoy your posts.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Sure, you can get a chart on Soriano. It comes with the ESPN insider package. It’s a chart, and not a picture-graph. But here’s the dope on him:

          He chases 39% of the balls low and away.57% if the balls low and down the middle.
          33% of the balls low and inside.

          HE’ll swing at a pitch over his head between 21 and 27% of the time. (21 outside, 22 middle, 27 inside and nearly hitting him in the face).

          44% of the pitches outside and belt high, and 40% of the pitches inside and belt high, he swings at. 


          In the strike zone, he’s hitting the ball down the middle, from low to high, at these rates:.341, .371, .348 batting average

          Belt high outter part of the plate: .371
          Inside, belt high strike: .354

          But the edges of the strike zone–
          .171 high outside strike
          .226 high inside strike
          .275 low outside strike
          .271 low inside strike

          ESPN says basically he’s hot if he would only swing at a strike. Hot, that is, to hit a single.

          • Dorasaga

             It reads kinda embarrassing. Even a high school kid won’t want to imitate that kind of approach! I wonder if Jaramillo had lost his touch?

        • Ripsnorter1

          Compared Starlin’s chart to Soriano’s and discovered this one difference: Castro can hit the strike that is  high and inside for .315 average.

          • Texcubnut

            Rip, Starlin reminds me of Pudge Rodriguez insomuch as he’s very adept at hitting pitches that are out of the strike zone.  Pudge was ridiculous at this and it seems Starlin possesses this same skill.

          • paulcatanese

            Yogi Berra?

      • Zonk

        PS:  Vernon Wells, Gary Matthews Jr…….just goes to show how an organization can make FA mistakes and still recover.  The reason is the Angels have also developed young talent.  Something we lack.

  • Neil

    Today’s game will not start on time at 1:20 pm CT. Rain is in the area, and moving through. Cubs are thinking it will be a short delay.

  • Neil

    First pitch scheduled for 1:35 pm

  • paulcatanese

    Neil, am I mis-reading the coverage section at the beginning of the post? It is on WGN TV and not only Comcast.

    • Tony

      Yeah, I think Neil made a mistake

    • Neil

      Thanks Paul, sorry about that.

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, well I NEVER make mistakes:):)

      • paulcatanese

        My reply was meant to be a joke,hope you didn’t take it seriously.

  • Neil

    Clevenger with another double

  • Neil

    LaHair with a homer

  • BosephHeyden

    Volstad may be helping out Clevenger’s case for needing more starts.  Volstad is missing a few of the locations that Clevenger is asking for but, when he hits it, he’s getting some pretty good pitches thrown.  This is, by far, the best he’s looked in a while.

    • cubtex

      Ultimatley it is the pitcher that makes the pitches and pitches to the gameplan. Alot of this discussion about Clevenger calling a better game therefore the pitcher will pitch better is total BS. Do you think Soto puts the ball in the middle of the plate and says….throw it down the middle? Clevenger being a young catcher is being told how to call the game. He doesn’t know the league or the hitters. He is given a gameplan of what to put down and how to handle each batter. Volstad is a one time around batting order pitcher. He doesn’t have the stuff or command to go through a lineup for 9 innings. This was not about Clevenger catching or Soto….this is about who is pitching.I like the way Clevenger has been playing but he is not the cause on why a pitcher has a good game or bad game.

      • BosephHeyden

         Ask anyone who has ever pitched ever if a catcher hasn’t had an effect on their game.  The ones who say they haven’t are either liars or poor pitchers.  Because catchers calling games ARE a real thing.  They DO affect a pitcher’s performance.  It’s why really good catchers are usually Team Captains:  because the pitchers trust their judgement enough that they’re given some semblance of leadership.  This isn’t an opinion thing:  this is very basic baseball stuff.  Because if all a catcher needed to do to be a good catcher was be behind a plate, catch balls, and block pitches from going to the backstop, heck, I’d be in the majors in a heartbeat and hailed as one of the best of all time, because I can do that.

        That’s also the one reason Koyie Hill had a job as long as he did:  when he caught Carlos Silva, Silva absolutely RAVED about the pitches Hill called for, and those wound up being the best games Silva pitched for the Cubs.  Other pitchers complemented Hill’s pitch selection skills when they had a good game, because he could do that.  Of course, he doesn’t have a job right now because, defensively, he was very average and, offensively, he’d have been in the minors had he played any other position.

        • cubtex

          Sure some pitchers are more comfortable pitching to a particular catcher. I never played a game thinking to myself and I never heard any players ever mention……Crap, Johnny is catching today…..we have no chance. It is about the pitcher. Some pitchers have more confidence bouncing a pitch in the dirt with a runner on 3rd with one particular catcher over another….but pitchers pitch. Do you think this game would have turned out differntly today if Soto caught?

          • BosephHeyden

             Seeing as how they lost, no.  But do I think if Soto started, he would have been the reason they lost?  Nah.  Because there is only so much a catcher can do.  Like I said, Clevenger had some pretty good pitches that he called for that, when they were delivered, did go for outs.

            But as you’ve mentioned, it’s also on the pitcher.  I’m not saying it’s always going to be on the pitcher:  if you get a pitcher that is new or a pitcher that’s just always kinda been average, they’re going to let their pitcher do the work.  Good pitchers?  It’s gonna be a mix:  Maddux was a guy who, near the end of his Cubs tenure, seemed to always pick his catcher depending on the team he faced.  Meanwhile, there were other good pitchers that could care less who caught them because they knew what they were going to throw, to who, and when, and it worked, and that’s mainly because they worked with a catcher that gave them an idea of what worked or didn’t.

            And that’s where Volstad kinda comes in.  All four of those runs were scored because Volstad’s location and the catcher’s idea of where the pitch should have gone were…less than ideal.  When Volstad did get outs, the pitches were, for the most part, where they were asked for.  That’s not saying Soto couldn’t have done that, because he didn’t play today, and isn’t completely incapable of calling good games (yesterday, in particular, I thought the pitches he called for were pretty good, and it helped that Samardzija had really good stuff).

            I guess I could go in circles for hours, but bottom line:  catchers, especially with this team that doesn’t have an ace, are really the game callers and can take a share of some of the losses.  But at the same time, if a pitcher has bad stuff or no control, much like Volstad had yet again today, especially late, I don’t care how masterful you are at calling a game:  you’re likely going to lose.

          • cubtex

            We could go on and on but Volstad has pitched for a couple of years in the mlb. Clevenger has caught….maybe 50 innings? How much do you think is on Clevenger of what pitches to call? Do you think Volstad will let his mlb career rest in the balance of a kid with 50 innings of mlb experience to call every pitch for him? It is not this masterful playcalling abilty that Clevenger has. This is about talking before the start with Volstad and Volstad telling Clevenger how he would like to attack hitters and what he wants to throw in certain situations.

  • BosephHeyden

    And now the problem becomes Volstad just isn’t hitting any of the spots he’s being given.  Those two doubles were supposed to be outside and wound up being flat breaking pitches down the middle.  That Beltran one, especially, could have been a lot worse than it was.

    • BosephHeyden

       Well, can’t avoid damage for too long.  Volstad gives up a two run homer to Freese on another pitch that just shouldn’t have been.  Everything he’s trying to throw inside or out is winding up straight down the middle or way too high or low.  He just doesn’t have the stuff to be a starter, it seems.  It’s best to convert him to a reliever now to see if he’s salvageable.

  • Zonk

    Marmol pitching the 9th…when we are down 4 runs.  Basically garbage time.

    Sveum is obviously losing confidence in him, for good reason. 

    • cubtex

      and he will probably pitch lights out when the game isn’t on the line.

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 5-1 to Cardinals Wednesday afternoon

    Chris Volstad: 4R, 6H, 0BB, 2K in 6IP; Bryan LaHair: 1-for-4, HR; Starlin Castro: 1-for-4; Cubs: 6 hits, 0-for-5 RISP,5 LOB

  • cubtex

    What a surprising start for Lance Lynn. He is now 4-0 with a low 1.00 ERA. Looking at his minor league numbers this is even more surprising.

    2010 164 IP with 164 Hits with a 4.77 ERA

    2011 75 IP with 79 Hits with a 3.84 ERA

    I know he was a 1st round draft pick but I am sure not even the Cardinals expected this start from him!

  • CubsTalk

    Yankees looking for a starting pitcher.

    Ryan Dempster, your plane reservation is ready for New York.

    • Aaron

      For whom? Just look at AAA, their top pitching prospects Betances and Banuelos have 8+ and 10+ ERA’s respectively and 2+ and 3+WHIP’s respectively.

      I guess I’d do it for one or two from this list: Jose Campos-RHP, Dante Bichette Jr.-3B, Gary Sanchez-C, Tyler Austin-OF/1B/3B, Slade Heathcott-OF (injured currently?), David Phelps-RHP (currently on MLB roster), Mason Williams-OF

      Those are literally the only prospects I would currently want from them. Last year if you would’ve asked, I would’ve said both Betances and Banuelos for even Garza, but it’s quite clear that the Yankees sytem is fairly barren with above average prospects. All the guys I just mentioned are pretty much 19-21

      I highly doubt the Yankees would trade any of those guys for Dempster, but the point is, if they do, I would JUMP at it…and if they wanted Garza instead, I would demand at the very least, 2 of those guys I mentioned.

  • paulcatanese

    Well they lost. Some positives though again. Volstad, gave 5 decent innings. DeJesus, good game on both sides of the ball,LaHair, continues with the long ball, Clevenger, another double, Castro didn’t chase pitches. So there was something to take out of this game.

    • cubtex

      If I am not mistaken this is also the first series that they have won.

      • paulcatanese

        You are correct, I’m just trying to look on the positive side for things (which ther’e are not a lot of) . But as long as they keep putting the replacements out there it could be fun, not going anywhere though.

        • Aaron

          On the negative side of things, the combined score of all 3 games was 9-7, in favor of the Cardinals.

          That means the Cubs scored less than 3 runs per game. In other words, they’re counting on their pitching staff to all have ERA’s under 3…WOW….

          Does that resonate with everyone. I mean, I know they won the series, but does it hit home with everyone how much pressure that puts on your pitching staff?!?

          This offense is dreadful. LaHair has pretty much been the whole offense for the Cubs.

          • paulcatanese

            I know, thats why its so easy to pick out the positives for me, its quick and dosent take much thought when there are so few of them:)

      • Dorasaga

        And against the mighty Cards–a.k.a. Those With Real Worthy Rings For The Damned Last Century; ain’t that something?