Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 04/28/12

Game Twenty-One: Cubs (7-13) vs. Phillies (9-11)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/901
Location – Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60/2.20) vs. Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34/1.39)

Updated 3:21pm CDT Steve Clevenger Placed on 15-day DL with Right Oblique Strain – Welington Castillo Recalled from Triple-A Iowa

Updated 3:33pm CDT Geovany Soto scratched from lineup with upper back tightness; Welington Castillo starting at catcher and batting eighth.

Can the Cubs make it two wins in a row tonight behind Randy Wells? If the Cubs are able to take care of business, Dale Sveum’s team would be 4-1 in their last five.

Randy Wells could be making his last big league start for a while tonight. Ryan Dempster is expected back from the DL prior to Thursday’s finale against the Reds. Wells needs a good outing tonight in order to possibly avoid a trip back to Iowa. The Cubs need a long reliever in the pen … and Wells or Chris Volstad could fill that role.

The Cubs also announced Friday a slight change to the rotation. Chris Volstad will start Monday’s finale against the Vance Worley and Phillies. Jeff Samardzija is not injured or sick, the Cubs are trying to make sure they do not overwork him this season. Samardzija will start Tuesday’s opener in Cinicinnati.

Kerry Wood could return Thursday as well. Wood threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday and if all goes well he should return by the end of the road trip.

Steve Clevenger is expected to be placed on the DL prior to tonight’s game. Welington Castillo will be recalled to take his spot on the active roster.

Tonight all starts with Randy Wells

Randy Wells makes his second big league start of the season tonight after a so-so outing his first time out. Wells kept his team in the game but was not sharp. Wells gave up six hits with five walks in five innings. Wells threw 93 pitches, just 52 for strikes. The Reds could not unclog the bases or the final score would have been more than a one-run loss for the Cubs.

Wells was slightly better on the road (3-3 in 11 starts with two complete games, a .497 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP) than he was at Wrigley last year (4-3 in 12 starts with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP) … and the Cubs need for him to step up tonight.

Randy Wells has two no decisions in two career starts against the Phillies with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at Citizens Bank, 0-0 in one start with a 11.57 ERA and a 2.14 WHIP (three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings).

Phillies Career Numbers against Randy Wells

  • Laynce Nix – 3-for-14 with a double and a walk
  • Hunter Pence – 6-for-17 with a double, a home run and four walks
  • Juan Pierre – 4-for-10 with a triple and two walks
  • Placido Polanco – 0-for-6
  • Jimmy Rollins – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Carlos Ruiz – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Jim Thome – 1-for-1 with a home run and two walks
  • Shane Victorino – 2-for-5

After an excellent start to the season (one run on three hits in seven innings against the Marlins), Joe Blanton has struggled in his last two outings. Blanton surrendered four runs on 11 hits to the Giants in five innings then served up six runs, three earned, on seven hits to the Padres in six innings. Both of Blanton’s last two starts were on the road and his results in his home park while with the Phillies have been mixed.

Joe Blanton has never beaten the Cubs … and has not lost to them either. Blanton has four no decisions in four career starts with a 3.04 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. His last start against the Cubs came on July 16, 2010 at Wrigley.

Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Blanton

  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-6
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-14 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-18 with two doubles, a triple and three walks
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 0-for-3

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver