Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 04/08/12

Game Three: Cubs (0-2) vs. Nationals (2-0)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/908
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Happy Easter from everyone at the CCO!

The Cubs will shoot to end their weekend with the first victory of the season today behind Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have put themselves in position to win the first two games but have not been able to keep the lead through the eighth inning.

Bryan LaHair is expected to make his first start of the season this afternoon after missing a considerable amount of time with a back injury. David DeJesus and Ian Stewart are expected to be back in Dale Sveum’s lineup today as well.

Starlin Castro begins play today riding a 13-game hitting streak dating back to the last 11 games of the 2011 season. The Cubs’ young shortstop has also reached base safely in the last 42 games he’s played. The 42-game streak ties him for the third longest in Cubs’ history with Gabby Hartnett. The Cubs’ Hall of Fame catcher accomplished the feat in 1937. Riggs Stephenson (44 games) and Jerome Walton (43 games) are the only two players in team history that have reached base safely in more consecutive games than Starlin Castro.

The Cubs made two roster moves prior to Saturday’s game. The Cubs selected the contract of Rodrigo Lopez and added him to both the 40-man roster and active roster. To make room on the roster for Lopez, Luis Valbuena was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa after he cleared waivers. Valbuena is expected to be in the I-Cubs’ starting lineup this afternoon.

Today it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija began Spring Training on a mission … to earn a spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation. Samardzija prepared all winter and thanks to a tremendous spring he begins the season as the Cubs’ third starter. With that said, the real work begins for Jeff Samardzija this afternoon.

Samardzija is coming off a break-through season at the Major League level. The Shark posted an 8-4 record in 75 relief appearances with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Samardzija recorded 13 holds and blew only two saves.

Today begins a different phrase in Jeff Samardzija’s career, one that he can hopefully flourish in.

Jeff Samardzija, the starter, is 2-3 in five career starts with a 7.77 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP … and his last start came on September 26, 2010 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Samardzija makes his eighth career appearance against the Nationals this afternoon, first start. Samardzija does not have a win or a loss and owns a 2.08 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 8 2/3 innings.

Nationals Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Roger Bernadina – 1-for-1
  • Mark DeRosa – 1-for-2
  • Ian Desmond – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Danny Espinosa – 0-for-1
  • Adam LaRoche – 0-for-1
  • Wilson Ramos – 1-for-3
  • Jayson Werth – 2-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 0-for-4

If not for some guy named Strasburg, the focus on the Nationals’ rotation would start with Jordan Zimmermann. The soon-to-be 26-year old right hander is coming off an excellent season in which his peripheral numbers were much better than the outdated standards.

Zimmermann was 8-11 in 26 starts with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. In 161 1/3 innings, Zimmermann surrendered just 154 hits with 31 walks and 124 strikeouts.

Jordan Zimmermann is 0-2 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … all three starts at Wrigley Field. Last season, Zimmermann was 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jordan Zimmermann

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-7
  • Reed Johnson – 3-for-4
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-9 with a triple and a home run
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-3
  • Ian Stewart – 2-for-6 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon