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

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • BosephHeyden

     Of all the Cubs, Volstad has the most to prove.  And, of all the Cubs, he has the shortest time table to prove it.  Because, after all those seasons of mediocrity, if he doesn’t do well over his first three or four starts, then he’s just not going to do well as a starter period, at which point it may be time to either convert him to reliever or let him go:  either way, Volstad is either going to prove to be a big part of the Cubs in the future, or he’s going to just be another pitcher that comes and goes.

  • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

    Baseball is all about momentum.

    The 2010 and 2011 Cubs were so close to getting to – and over – .500 early in the season but just couldn’t seal the deal.

    I always had the impression that if they could have just posted the win and grabbed some momentum, both seasons could have turned out completely different.

    The same applies here. This is a big game against the defending NL Central champions – with or without Prince Fielder. Win tonight and give yourself a shot at taking the series and you’ll be in a good spot exiting the first week of the season.

    Let’s rock.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Ben Wells
    Daytona – Zack Cates
    Tennessee – Brooks Raley
    Iowa – Travis Wood

    Today’s spotlight game: Peoria Chiefs v. Quad Cities River Bandits
    Off to a good start at 2-1, the Chiefs have 19-year old Ben Wells taking the hill. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder made it on to some preseason top prospect lists. His heavy sinker should be a compliment to the Chiefs’  outstanding defense. 

    A note to fans: The Daytona Cubs are running a promo on all home Mondays; All-You-Can-Eat hamburgers, hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and pizza.

    • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

      Does the Daytona Monday promotion last throughout the whole season?

      I’ll be in Daytona in July and considered making the trip to a Daytona Cubs game. That may have sold me!

  • John G

    Carlos Pena is batting .500 with 2 HR and 7 RBI
    The entire Cubs team has 0 HR and 8 RBI

    Just saying

    • Aorcappy

      Just saying what exactly?

      • Ripsnorter1

        That the Cubs can’t hit.

    • BosephHeyden

       There’s a reason Pena signed a one year deal last year:  he wanted a team that he could relax for part of the season, get back into the swing of things, and then up his value so he could eventually either go back to Tampa or to another contender.  Unless the Cubs overpaid him, there was no chance he was coming back.

    • Rational Logic

      Go back to high school Statistics and learn about something called “sample size” then start posting.

      C’mon man…3 games. I guess you would say after Saturday the Cubs are going 0-162.

  • paulcatanese

    Interesting with all of the computer analysis that the Cubs are using that DeJesus would bat leadoff tonight. 0-16, one might say Marcum may have his number. Just an opinion.

    • gary3411

       My guess is because of the 30+ mph wind blowing out to right and a light throwing pitcher that will result it a lot of pulled balls. If that weren’t the case then yes Mather might be out there.

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

    Kudos to you if you had Barney down for the first Cubs home run of the 2012 season!!  Nice job Darwin!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Barney!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LaHair onto Sheffield!

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

    Now we are talking!  

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Nice blast by LaHair!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LaHair crushed that ball …

    • Zonk

      It should not be doubted that LaHair has some pop

  • BosephHeyden

    Well, this is the Chris Volstad the Marlins were willing to part with:  close to no command, pitching to contact on a night that the wind is blowing out 30 MPH, and just not showing anything great.  It’s likely not going to be long before he’s in the pen.  He certainly isn’t making a case to make it through 5 innings today.

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

    OK ESPN, I get that you have a camera behind the plate.  Now please stop using it, I’m getting nauseous.  

  • Zonk

    Nice play by Barney.  I still think he doesn’t hit enough to be a starter, but he does play a good defensive 2B.  And a good SS too (I am looking at you, Mr. Castro….)

  • EqDoc

    Wow.  The ESPN announcers are so dull…

    • BosephHeyden

       Yep, welcome to ESPN any-other-night-than-Sunday Baseball.  They literally grab three baseball guys, throw them into a booth, and hope it works.  Sometimes, it does (they were actually the first people to realize Eric Karros is a good baseball guy to speak to and could get a bit animated), other times, such as tonight, not so much.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent play by Barney to take a hit away from Lucroy

  • Tom U

    Anthony Rizzo goes deep with a 2 run shot. Iowa up 4-0 in the bottom of three.

    • EqDoc

      They are going to have to figure our how to get both Rizzo and LaHair into the same lineup of the MLB club.  That will be a nice “problem” to have.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Anthony Rizzo crushed a 2-run HR, Iowa leads Isotopes 4-0 in 3rd
     

  • BosephHeyden

    Now THAT is excellent baserunning by Soto:  what should be a routine fly ball, Soto and/or the base coaches catch Morgan losing it, and Soto winds up at third.  Excellent.

  • cubtex

    Nice hustle by Soto to not take that flyball for granted.

  • Tom U

    Now Travis Wood clubs a 2-run homer. Iowa now teeing off on Albuquerque 8-0.

    • Carmelo

      Wood also has retired the first 10 hitters in a row to start the game.

    • cubtex

      Convert him to an outfielder :) Another Rick Ankiel?

  • Texcubnut

    Byrd is just horrible. That is not a major league calibre at bat!! Just horrible!

  • EqDoc

    Byrd just looks lost at the plate…  No improvement from last year.

    • Carmelo

      Byrd needs to be out of the line-up ASAP.  Time for Tony C./Johnson in CF.

      • Anthony

        put Elicier Bonne out there………..lol

    • BosephHeyden

       He does look like a guy that knows he’s not wanted by his team and is playing accordingly.  Not just the strikeouts, but his approach, his mannerisms, and just comparing his play level from last year’s to this year’s.

      I don’t envy his situation, but if he’s upset about the trade threats, he should do better so a better team will pick him up.

  • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

    This game is free on mlb.tv just in case you prefer Len and Bob.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      I love Len and Bob, but I also like the ‘national’ take on what’s goin on with the team. Plus the Red Baron is on :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good job by DeWitt …

  • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

    DeJesus will kill Marcum for the rest of their careers. That’s all it takes.

    Haha.

  • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

    This just in.

    Shawn Camp isn’t very good.

    • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

       And Castro is doing his best Fukudome impression.

      That said, Marcum might be the best no. 4 guy in the league.

      • cubtex

        Over Volstad? Lol

  • cubtex

    Camp is brutal!

    • paulcatanese

      That’s an understatement:)

  • John_CC

     Brenly totally caught that double steal before it happened. That was good.

    Camp is bad.

    What happened in the top of the 6th?  Was Volstad bad? His line doesn’t look too bad, 2 HR’s when the wind is cranking out isn’t the worst…heck Marcum gave one up to Barney.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Camp pitched the top of the sixth … much of the same. Hart single, Gamel triple, Lucroy sac fly.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Dang that was painful. Camp didn’t have much at all tonight :

  • John_CC

    The M’s really knocked around that greatest pitcher to ever come out of Japan…

    • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

       I’ve been watching Yu for a long time.

      I think he’ll be worth every penny. His stuff is video game Godmode good.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      Yeah, I think he threw 40+ pitches in the first too.

  • Tom U

    Rizzo smoking hot, second homer of the the night, third in two days.

    • cubtex

      Nice!

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      I think we’re really gonna need him sooner than later.

      • John_CC

         but he doesn’t pitch too, does he?

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

        Can he pitch the 7th/8th?  ; )  

        Good to see Rizzo starting the year off with a bang!

  • cubtex

    Don’t understand the thought process sometimes on this team. Down 7-3 in the 9th, Stewar leads off with a double and LaHair swings at the first pitch.

    • Carmelo

      I agree—-take a strike until the tying run comes to the plate.

    • Ripsnorter1

      LaHair is thinking, “SInce most MLB start off the pitch sequence with a fastball, that might be the best pitch I get in this entire AB. I’m not taking a FB….”

      • Carmelo

        First pitch to Castro was a breaking ball—look fb then adjust to anything different.  Problem was that pitch to LaHair was way out of zone.

  • Zonk

    I miss A-Rams bat.  But I don’t miss his defense.  That was brutal!

    Jury’s out on Stewart, but he can pick it at 3B at least

    • paulcatanese

      Don’t know much about Stewart, but he hit two stingers that Weeks made great plays on, and the batboys glove is better than Arams.:)

  • cubtex

    Great ab by Clevenger!

  • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

    What does The Jesus provide that Fukudome couldn’t at a much cheaper price?

    • cubtex

      Kim

      • http://twitter.com/MattWeaverSBN Matt Weaver

         Well, thank God.

      • Texcubnut

        :) :) :)

      • paulcatanese

        I turned to the wife, and said “if it wasn’t for” he wouldn’t be here:)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 7-5 to Brewers Monday night

    Chris Volstad: 3R, 5H, 2BB, 6K, 5IP; Shawn Camp: 3R, 5H, 0BB, 2K, 2IP; Darwin Barney: 1-for-3, HR, 2BB; Bryan LaHair:
    2-for-4,HR; Starlin Castro: 0-for-5

  • cubtex

    At least they battled. Tough game for Castro!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

    How do you swing at the first pitch to a guy who has thrown all balls?

    Then look at the fastball down the middle?

    Which is more likely to happen?  110 loses this year?  or 75 wins?

    not an easy question

    • Aaron

      110 losses, hands down

    • gary3411

       75 wins, hands down

    • Ripsnorter1

      110 losses is too many, unless Team Theo is totally incapable at adjusting the roster and the lineup…..

      75 wins is too many. Period.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-3, 2 HR,3RBI, BB; Brett Jackson: 1-for-5;
    Adrian Cardenas: 2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 2R, RBI on Monday nite in Iowa’s 10-6 victory
     

  • BosephHeyden

     It may have been a loss, but it was a good, hard fought loss.  But at
    the same time, I think we kinda saw that Shawn Camp might not have been a
    good choice to pick up, and at the same time Volstad, who had a lot to
    prove, really didn’t do anything outside of create leads the Cubs had to
    overcome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

     Is there anyway we can get LaHair and Rizzo together in the lineup, without trading Soriano?  Can LaHair play RF?  How about DeJesus in Center?  Just thinking of all the options, there is no way that Rizzo should stay down in the minors during a rebuilding year.

    • BosephHeyden

       I think LaHair would be a perfectly serviceable outfielder.  Problem is that, even if you get rid of Byrd, DeJesus, all of a sudden, is the one blocking Brett Jackson, and that’s two years with DeJesus at center, and he’s in the same boat as Byrd:  so long as he’s putting forth an effort, you just can’t bench the guy without hurting the team’s image.

      I guess they could platoon Soriano and LaHair or Soriano and DeJesus or just have left and right field alternate based on giving Soriano a day off and the pitcher they’re facing.  But eventually Rizzo is going to have to come up, and eventually Jackson is going to have to come up.  And if LaHair is still performing, then things become a lot more interesting.

    • Ripsnorter1

      DeJesus plays a better bench than CF…..

      • cubtex

        With the awful year he had last year it was a reach to sign him for 2 years……… and insert him as your leadoff hitter. I still say Castro should bat leadoff. He is not ready to handle the 3 hole….but then again, what other options do they have?

        • paulcatanese

          Totaly agree, he is not a three hitter yet. Problem is the Cubs have a host of 6-7-8 hitters. In the three hole he is one of the most free swingers out there, figures he must do it.

    • paulcatanese

      LaHair has played some right field, not great, not bad.

      • Ripsnorter1

        LaHair has been impressive these last two days, hasn’t he? All of Soriano’s hits, thus far, have been singles. LaHair has provided some much needed power.

  • Ripsnorter1

    EUGENE!

    Barry Zito threw a shutout!!!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marwin Gonzalez with 2 doubles tonight….hitting .286…..nice.

  • Ripsnorter1

    In the “That didn’t take long department…..”

    Adam Dunn is hitting a robust .154. Again.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Funko hitting 1.000 for White Sox.

    Zero RBIs, of course. 

    • cubtex

      What is he? 1 for 1

      • Ripsnorter1

        Funko is maximizing his opportunities…..

        Ventura is maximizing his bench time…..

  • Aaron

    Cubs are in the cellar…where they will remain all season 1-3, 2 1/2 games behind already

    I know like 75% of you on here will say, “it’s still way early”….I know a turd when I see it…and that’s this team, and in particular the offense and the bullpen.

    Byrd needs to go NOW…If the Cubs want to be respectable this year, they’ll have to find a way to call-up Jackson and Rizzo

    Also, while Soriano has started okay offensively, if you’re going to turn things around, he’s got to go…the Cubs need to see more pitches, and having Soriano in the lineup ain’t gonna get it done.

    LaHair in LF, Rizzo at 1B, and Jackson in CF instantly improves this team.

    But it’ll never happen, because they’re tanking this season on purpose. There is no logical explanation as to why they’d keep Johnson, DeWitt, Baker, Camp, and Rodrigo Lopez if they weren’t tanking it.

    Now, if we see moves that promote guys like Cabrera, Batista, Rhoderick, etc., then maybe they’re actually trying to win….even if they don’t promote Jackson and Rizzo 

    • Dorasaga

       I honestly don’t see Jackson ready offensively. Even with Byrd cut, the Cubs have no center fielder to replace but find another “retread.”

      This is a year to rebuild, patience is a virtue. But I’ll go on and vent while the game went on. Helps relieve some life pressure.

      :-)