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

Game Seven: Cubs (1-5) vs. Brewers (4-2)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/904
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (0-0, 3.00/1.00) vs. Zack Greinke (1-0, 0.00/0.57)

The Cubs first homestand of the season comes to an end this afternoon with the last of four against the Brewers. To say the first stretch of games at Wrigley has not gone the way the Cubs hoped would be an understatement. The Cubs have been in every game (had a lead in the seventh inning or later in four of the six) but due to a variety of different reasons, they have only one win after six games.

As expected, the Cubs offense has been more miss than hit over the first week of the season. They have had countless opportunities but continue to struggle with runners in scoring position, especially late in games.

The Brewers have a chance to complete a four-game sweep at Wrigley this afternoon and it will be up to Matt Garza to hold the Brewers in check while the offense attempts to figure out Zack Greinke. Dale Sveum hinted that Marlon Byrd could receive a couple of days off in order to regroup. Byrd is 1-for-21 on the season and 0-for-his-last-19 with only two balls leaving the infield during that stretch.

The Cubs depart for a weekend series in St. Louis after today’s game. Their first road trip of the year ends next Thursday with the last of three against Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano and the new-look Miami Marlins.

Today all begins with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off a solid six-inning start against the Nationals in the second game of the season. Garza limited the Nationals to two runs on five hits in six innings (one walk and five strikeouts) and left with a lead … again. After leaving his starts seven times last season with the lead and ending up with nothing to show for his effort, Garza received another no decision after he more than did his job.

The Cubs’ offense must find a way to put runs on the board early and give Garza a little breathing room this afternoon. Garza took responsibility for his last outing by saying he has to finish what he starts. Dale Sveum does not need his best starting pitcher to feel like he has to go nine every time out.

Garza posted a 2-1 record in three games with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP against the Brewers last season. One of his two complete games came against Milwaukee.

Garza and Zack Greinke faced off last June at Wrigley and it was a slugfest. On a day with the wind howling out, Garza outlasted Greinke in a 12-7 Cubs win.

Brewers Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Ryan Braun – 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Carlos Gomez – 1-for-3
  • Alex Gonzalez – 3-for-14 with a double and a walk
  • Zack Greinke – 0-for-2
  • Corey Hart – 1-for-4 with three walks
  • Cesar Izturis – 3-for-10 with a double and two walks
  • George Kottaras – 2-for-8 with a home run
  • Nyjer Morgan – 4-for-9 with a triple
  • Rickie Weeks – 2-for-9 with a walk

Zack Greinke held down the high-flying Cardinals offense in his first start of the year … and prior to Wednesday he was the only pitcher to beat the defending champions. Greinke tossed seven innings of shutout ball and held St. Louis to just four hits. Greinke did not walk a batter and struck out seven.

Greinke was two different pitchers in his first season with Brewers. In Miller Park, Greinke was a perfect 11-0 in 15 starts with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP a year ago while posting a 5-6 record in 13 starts on the road with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Today marks Greinke’s four career start against the Cubs. In the first three, Greinke is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 0-1 in one start with a 10.13 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Zack Greinke

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-3
  • Darwin Barney 0 1-for-5 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 3-for-20 with a home run and three walks
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-7 with a double and three walks
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-6 with a double and a walk
  • Matt Garza – 0-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-16 with a double and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 3-for-5 with a double and a triple

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • Chadaudio

      Nothing against Reed, but I think it’s time to give Mather a start.

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

         Nah, we need Mather’s mediocre speed to pinch run late in games.

        • Josh

           Campana should really be the starting CF — he has the most potential to be a long-term contributor. Lots of good times put a speed guy in CF (ie Anaheim where Bourjos bats 9th)

          • Dorasaga

            Bourjos has power and was praised by both sabermetricians and scouts as one of the best defensive CF in the game. Campana, with none of the above, is our 4th outfielder for PR purposes, no puns intended.

  • gary3411

      Anyone
    know what the deal is with Shark’s contract after this year? Did we
    pick up the club option for this year and we can next year as well? Then
    after that is it off to free agency for him because he was under a
    major league contract when drafted? That really would stink if we get
    only 2 more years of him, or is he still under control until the 6 years
    is up (2014 or 2015?)?

    • daverj

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Shark is under team control through the 2015 season.  2013, 2014, and 2015 would be arbitration years.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Due to service time, Samardzija is still under the Cubs control for another three years after this one. Next season he would be arbitration eligible for the first time. I have not heard or read officially but the option year should be gone and will be replaced by his first arbitration eligible season.

      • gary3411

         Awesome!

  • brent carmona

    Man grienke had a great start last time out, against a good squad. I fear for our cubs in this game!

    Over/under two hits through six? I say over by one.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – PJ Francescon (0-0, 1.93)
    Daytona – Hayden Simpson (0-1, 2.08)
    Tennessee – Dallas Beeler (0-0, 1.80)
    Iowa – Chris Rusin (0-1, 6.75)

    Today’s spotlight game: Iowa v. Albuquerque
    The I-Cubs look to take the series against the Isotopes, which they currently lead 2-1. Josh Vitters and Anthony Rizzo have been the hot hitters for Iowa, with Adrian Cardenas warming up also.Chris Rusin  will try to build in a decent start (4 ER in 5.1 innings). The game starts at noon today.

    • Dorasaga

       Good to see Simpson alive and well. Win some ballgames for the Big boys, yea?

  • daverj

    Greinke would look awfully nice in a Cubby uniform next season.  Particularly if he was slotted in at #2 behind Hamels

    A guy can dream, right?

    • Nathan

      They will definitely have the money, you can throw James Shields and Anibal Sanchez on the list of guys they might be looking at signing

    • John_CC

       It would be great. And we know the Brewers will not be able to afford to him.  And he is only 28! For some reason I though he was 30.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs do not have the worst offense in MLB right now….the Pirates have managed just 9 runs this year vs. the Cubs 19.

    St. Louis is #2 in BA with .301 and #1 in Runs scored. They know how to build a winning team. They are also #1 in sluggging. 

    The Brewers are #3 in BA, Runs, Slugging. LOOK OUT!

    • gary3411

       Exactly why we didn’t try to contend this year. In 2014, Reds and Brewers are in trouble, and St Louis will be losing a ton of talent how it stands now.

  • cubtex

    With Garza going today and without an extension in place….I can’t help but think the Tigers will come knocking again for Garza. Fister is hurt. Jacob Turner has shoulder tendonitis and Drew Smyly is doing his best Paul Maholm imitation today. They have too much invested in the team this year to not go for it and if that means they need to overpay for Garza…..they should do it.

    • Ripsnorter1

      What three minor leaguers do you think we’ll get for him?

      And how much better will our starting staff be without him?

      ChiChi Lopez would probably start, or would Wells be called up?

      • Nathan

        If they traded which I don’t want them to do, I hope they would get something like this, Either Turner or Castellonos, either Oliver or Casey and then another top 15 guy

        • Ripsnorter1

          I figure he’s gone because they don’t want to pay him. 

        • Aaron

          I hope they don’t either….at least to the Tigers. If it’s the Jays, Rays, Rangers, Braves, or D’backs, then they absolutely need to consider because they all have stronger pitching prospects…well…also stronger prospects in general

        • John_CC

           NO thanks on the shoulder issue…

      • cubtex

        Seriously…..What Free Agent pitcher would want to sign with the Cubs after this year? If you are Hamels,Shields..whoever….do you want to sign with team as bad as this with this bullpen? They don’t have any trade pieces other than Garza to bring back any talent…but if you can get Turner with another starting pitching prospect and maybe a potential closer….you got to consider it. The only 2 starters that I am sold on for next year are Garza and Shark at this moment.  Demp is gone, Maholm is probably gone and Volstad is bad. I know you don’t think so…..but that is why I say Travis Wood will be in the mix. He has more upside than Volstad and Maholm.

        • Ripsnorter1

          What if we trade Garza for Dave Sappelt, Travis Wood and a third Amezaga-like prospect….happy now?

          My point: they had better get SOLID return for him if they deal him. 

          3 minor leaguers who are not impact talent isn’t going to cut it, imo. 

          • John_CC

             They will not trade Garza for anything less than MLB ready talent, impact talent. 

        • John_CC

           You are not going to like my answer: Because when Theo Epstein, President of the Chicago Cubs offers a young pitcher a top dollar contract and promises them that are committed to winning a World Series within the time frame of the contract, agents and players listen.

          • cubtex

            You are right. I don’t like your answer :) You sound like an EF Hutton commercial

          • John_CC

             HA! I’ll give you that one! (but i’m sticking with my statement, nearly every player wants to be on the Cubs team that breaks the “curse”.)

          • Dorasaga

             sOLD!

  • Nathan

    Jackson absent from the Iowa lineup today, probably good that he got a rest, he has been struggling at the plate the past few days

    • Ripsnorter1

      Vitters hitting .450….
      Sappelt hitting .167….with 1 BB.
      Jackson….276 with 10 Ks and 4 BBs in 29 AB. .

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-4,RBI,R; Josh Vitters: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R; Dave
        Sappelt: 2-for-5, HR, 3RBI in Iowa’s 8-1 victory on Thursday afternoon

  • paulcatanese

    The lineup looks better than yesterday’s, anytime it is minus Byrd is a plus.

    • Chadaudio

      I actually like Byrd… but I totally agree, I really don’t want to see him for a while – especially since Mather came out of ST so hot.

      • Aaron

        Mather’s cold now…he’s had like 2 AB’s…guess it was more important to get Dewitt and Baker going…lol

        • Chadaudio

          Yeah, we probably missed our “window” of Mather being hot… he’s probably been on the bench too long now.

  • Peterknupp

    what channel is this game on

  • Peterknupp

    whay channel is this on

    • brent carmona

      Depends where you live and what home cable service you have man.

  • John_CC

     Garza is sharp. Let’s see if he can keep it up and get into the 7th at least.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Clevenger with a double … Johnson with a hit with RISP

  • John_CC

    Nice little rally.  Good AB from Castro, he’s a lot more patient. 

    Would love to see Soriano drill something here….

    • John_CC

      so much for drilling the ball…but we’ll take that too!

  • brent carmona

    Five hits and only in the third inning against greinke?

    Hell is going to freeze over!

    • John_CC

       6 runs now!  Gotta savor these days! 

      • brent carmona

        Yessir, hits with risp and soriano with a stolen base? Whoa what’s going on?

  • Nathan

    It might be too late to say this but I thought the bats might show up more today

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hits with RISP! Soriano stole second …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs just raised team BA with RISP 78 points in one, 5-for-5 RISP inning — to .218.

    • Bredstik

      Interesting trend – every Cubs batter in the first 3 innings took the first pitch except for Barney’s RBI single & LaHair’s inning ending DP.  That can’t be a coincidence.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I’m so proud of Bryan Lahair!  I really hopes he can keep up this pace.  I just like watching him bat because he looks like a ballplayer.  Perhaps he’s more than just a AAAA player!

  • John_CC

    How many doubles has Clevenger hit now?

    • roguesqr09

      3. I see both him and WC pushing Soto out of his spot very soon. But when WC comes up, will he become Clev’s backup?

  • cc002600

    Ok, happy the cubs are winning, but Sveum’s lineup once again reminds me of something I will NEVER, EVER, EVER understand why managers do this. 

    Why do they place guys in the lineup that bat from the same side in a row when you have enough from each side to break them up ?   In other words, why bat Barney, Castro, Soriano together, all righties, and then Stewart, Clevenger, Lahair, who are all lefties. 

    Does that many ANY sense to anyone ?????

    so in the late innings, a manager can bring in a righty to face those 3, and then a lefty to face the next 3. 

    I will never get that.

    Why not bat Lahair cleanup ???

     

    • gary3411

       I don’t understand it either. Yes, LaHair should bat 4th, especially with Clevenger in there too. Only guess is that he thinks Soriano and Stewart are that much better than LaHair and will get more AB’s this way.

    • roguesqr09

      I agree. I thought the hoopla about getting LHBs was to make the picther go from facing a righty to a lefty back to a righty back to back to back.

  • John G

    Wow! 8-0!!
    How many more runs do they need before it’s safe to bring in Wood and Marmol?

  • paulcatanese

    Have to admit, Theo’s move not to bring Koye Hill back, Sveum’s move to play Johnson over Byrd, and Clevenger over Soto today.
    Good moves by both, regardless of todays outcome.

    • Chadaudio

      Agreed.  Let’s see Mather in CF today, and Clevenger back behind the dish on Saturday.

  • John_CC

    How bad do you think Garza wants to finish this one on his own?  I think we might attack Sveum if he tries to hand the ball to the bullpen!

    • paulcatanese

      Am sure he wanted to, Brenly said it would be too many pitches for his second start. I thought he could have thrown it underhand rather than have Camp come in.
      Camp closed it out, wow is he our closer now:)?

      Garza with the throw to first, juuuuust a little off line:)
      If one is going to throw it away, he picked the right spot, the stands.

      Not in good taste, but I had a good chuckle over that throw,
      but did feel sorry for him.

  • Tom U

    The Iowa Cubs take the series as they defeat the Albuquerque Isotopes 8-2. Dave Sappelt 2-for-5 with a solo homer and 3 RBI. Josh Vitters 2-for-4, double, and an RBI. Anthony Rizzo 3-for-4 and an RBI. Chris Rusin 1K, 2 ER over 7 innings.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs shutout Brewers 8-0 Thursday afternoon

    Matt Garza: 0R,3H,2BB,9K,8.2IP; Starlin Castro: 2-for-4,2RBI,R; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-3,2RBI,R,SB; Steve Clevenger: 3-for-4,2 2B,2R

  • paulcatanese

    A clinic by Garza out there today. Pitched a great game.All around good team effort.

  • jw

    8 runs none on HR? It will interesting as the season goes along to see the percentage of run scored that come by home run versus the last several years under Hendry.

    • Tedtop16

      I would hope that Clevenger would get more playing time. He is hitting well and he just caught a shut out. He is playing better ball than Soto right now.

      • jw

        He is definitely looking good so far…they really need to move on from Soto. Haven’t seen his “D” isn’t that the knock on him?

        • Tom U

          Clevenger is a converted infielder, and has less experience at catcher than most prospects. However, he has always had decent to good numbers at the position.

          • jw

             Thanks Tom!

  • Baron_S

    Man, Clevenger is hot!! i hope they don’t bring Soto in, at least till he cools off considerably

  • Aaron

    Great game today! Finally some hits with RISP… tremendous start by Garza…my goodness that was a very timely start, as they needed it.

  • matthew8510

    dont worry we will see soto tommarrow

  • BosephHeyden

     Right now, Alfonso Soriano is playing like a guy that knows his team wants to trade him and wants to do his part to ensure he gets traded to a winning team.  His fielding is much improved  (by Soriano standards), his approach seems to be pretty good at the plate, and he’s running the bases better.

    Of course, we’ve all seen this before and know that when Soriano gets hot, he gets really hot and when he’s not, he’s a complete hindrance, but for now he’s playing a completely different type of ball than he’s played to start the year.

    • paulcatanese

      Remember last year and who was hot at the begiining of the year, not Aram, not Pena, but Soriono.