Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Brewers – 04/09/12

Game Four: Cubs (1-2) vs. Brewers (1-2)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Monday Night Baseball/WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/901
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Shaun Marcum (0-0, -.–/-.–)

The first series of the year is in the books and the season gets into full swing tonight with the first of four against the defending NL Central Champions. The Cubs and Brewers have created quite a rivalry in recent years and tonight’s opener will feature two firsts … the first time Dale Sveum has faced his former organization and the first time Aramis Ramirez has been in the visitor’s dugout at Wrigley Field since 2003.

Chris Volstad gets the tall task in his Cubs’ debut of not only facing a very good offense but trying to follow the performances of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija with a quality start of his own. The Brewers will also be looking to put their rough weekend behind them … Milwaukee dropped two of three to the Cardinals.

Starlin Castro begins play tonight riding a career-high 14-game hitting streak. Dating back to last season, Castro has reached base safely in his last 43 games. Castro is close to tying the Cubs all-time mark of 44 set by Riggs Stephenson in 1928.

Blake DeWitt was a late scratch Sunday and is listed as day-to-day with back spasms.

Last year’s group of players posted a 6-10 record against the Brewers and the top three teams in the division (Brewers, Cardinals and Reds) are looking at the Cubs again as a way to add to their season-win total.

The Cubs first night game of the year all begins with Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad makes his Cubs’ debut tonight against one of the Cubs’ biggest rivals … and against his skipper’s old organization. Volstad is coming off his third rough year in a Marlins’ uniform. The 6-foot-8 right-hander was 5-13 in 29 starts last season with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Volstad was 2-5 in 15 road starts with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

The Cubs were very happy with the adjustments Volstad made in the spring. Volstad worked with Rick Sutcliffe throughout the Cactus League and the Red Baron thinks Volstad will have a good year. Tonight is the first step in the process.

Volstad will make just his fifth career start at Wrigley tonight … and he’s not posted a win in the first four (0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP).

Chris Volstad is 1-1 in four career starts against the Brewers with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP … last season, 0-1 in two starts with a 2.57 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

Brewers Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Ryan Braun – 2-for-12
  • Carlos Gomez – 1-for-3
  • Alex Gonzalez – 3-for-12 with two doubles
  • Corey Hart – 2-for-10 with two walks
  • Travis Ishikawa – 1-for-3
  • Cesar Izturis – 0-for-2
  • Jonathan Lucroy – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Nyjer Morgan – 3-for-17 with a home run
  • Aramis Ramirez – 6-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Rickie Weeks – 2-for-12

The Cubs will get their first look at Shaun Marcum after he dominated a much different lineup a year ago. Marcum is one of the keys to the Brewers success this season. He was solid a year ago (13-7 in 33 starts with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP) but faltered down the stretch and was horrible in the playoffs.

Marcum shutdown the Cubs in his first season with Milwaukee … Marcum won both starts (2-0) and posted a 1.93 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Shaun Marcum

  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-7 with three doubles
  • Marlon Byrd – 1-for-10 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-7 with a home run
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-16 with three walks
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-1
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-5
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-6 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-6
  • Ian Stewart – 0-for-2

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