Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 05/04/12

Game Twenty-Six: Cubs (9-16) vs. Dodgers (17-8)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/900
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Paul Maholm (2-2, 6.20/1.33) vs. Chad Billingsley (2-1, 2.64/0.95)

Updated 10:45am CDT - Carlos Marmol Out as Cubs Closer - Rafael Dolis and James Russell to Split Closer Duties Based on Matchups

Weather permittingDale Sveum’s team opens a six-game homestand today with the first of three against Matt Kemp and the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs showed a lot of improvement during their six-game trip and it will be interesting to see how they play today after Thursday’s debacle.

The Cubs split the six games against the Dodgers last season (3-3) but they will face a much-different Dodgers team over the next three days. Matt Kemp had an unbelievable start to the season (.411/.500/.856/1.356 with four doubles and 12 home runs in 25 games). Teams should stop pitching to him soon … will the Cubs be the first ones to pitch around Kemp for an entire series?

Speaking of hot hitters, Bryan LaHair should start the next three games. Don Mattingly announced Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang will follow Chad Billingsley this weekend. Dale Sveum should leave LaHair in the lineup against the Capuano on Saturday and let Jeff Baker fill in for Ian Stewart. The Cubs need to find out if LaHair can be an everyday option and not base their decision to sit LaHair against lefties on a small sample size.

Matt Garza will face Capuano (Saturday) and and Chris Volstad takes on Harang (Sunday) with Jeff Samardzija pitching the opener of the Braves series on Monday night.

If the Cubs have a lead in the ninth today … will it be Rafael Dolis? Will it be James Russell? Or will Dale Sveum play matchups?

Today all starts with Paul Maholm …

After just a miserable start to the season, Paul Maholm has posted back-to-back wins with two stellar starts. Maholm shutdown Dusty’s Bunch on April 21 and earned his first victory of the year. The Reds managed just one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings … then Maholm made just one mistake to the Phillies last Friday night. Philly scored only one run (a Ty Wigginton home run) on five hits without a walk and one strikeout in 6 1/3 innings.

Paul Maholm must make the right adjustments today or Matt Kemp and the Dodgers will have a field day at Wrigley.

Paul Maholm has never beaten the Dodgers. In eight career starts, Maholm is 0-5 with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP … last year, 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in one start (two runs on five hits in six innings with five walks and three strikeouts)

Dodgers Career Numbers against Paul Maholm

  • Chad Billingsley – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Andre Ethier – 3-for-9 with a walk
  • Tony Gwynn, Jr. – 0-for-1
  • Jerry Hairston, Jr. – 5-for-18 with a double, two home runs and a walk
  • Matt Kemp – 4-for-12 with a double and two walks
  • James Loney – 1-for-7
  • Juan Rivera – 1-for-3
  • Juan Uribe – 3-for-19 with a triple and walk

The Cubs’ offense will have their hands full this afternoon with Chad Billingsley. Sveum’s team will avoid Clayton Kershaw over the next three games but they have to deal with underachieving right-hander today. Billingsley appears to be putting it all together this season.

Other than one start (April 22 against the Astros – nine runs, five earned, on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings), Chad Billingsley has been very, very good for Don Mattingly this year. Billingsley has not allowed more than two earned runs in his other four starts (four total earned runs in 27 1/3 innings) and is coming off a seven-inning gem against the Nationals. Billingsley held Davey Johnson’s team to one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.

Chad Billingsley has had the Cubs’ number throughout his career … both in the regular season and in the postseason. Billingsley will face the Cubs for the 11th time today. In 10 games, eight starts, Billingsley is 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, last season 1-0 in two starts with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. At Wrigley during the regular season, Billingsley owns a 2-2 mark in four starts with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chad Billingsley

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-7
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-1
  • Paul Maholm – 0-for-2
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-21 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-9 with two walks
  • Ian Stewart – 1-for-12 with a double and a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Carlos Marmol out as Cubs closer. Rafael Dolis and James Russell to split closer duties based on matchups
     

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

  • Coachdon

    Is Dolis even available today since he threw more than an inning yesterday and I believe threw the day before as well.

    • Chadaudio

      Good question, although everyone had back-to-back off days with the rain delay right?  

      …. Maybe Russel closes today, and we will be without a situational lefty?

  • John G

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the Cubs clubhouse or out in the bullpen. Are the other guys as pissed at Marmol as they ought to be? Are they even talking to him? Or does he sit all alone? Whatever, it can’t be good for team dynamics. Especially, if I was Dempster, I’d be pissed off as hell at the guy. But Dempster would probably rise above it, outwardly at least. And even if the whole team sounds philosophical about it … “Hey it’s baseball and that stuff happens”… they gotta be seething inside, and that’s not good for overall team attitude. If i’m right, which I’m usually not, he’s gotta go… for the good of the team.

  • RynoTiger

    has anyone heard the chatter about Marmol and DeJesus to the Yankees for Granderson?  i haven’t heard it either, but i just wanted to put some wild ideas out there… :)

    • John G

      Why not? We’ll even throw in Ian Stewart if they throw in ARod. I’m sure the Yankees would be all over that.

      Or Not!!

      • John_CC

        Hell, and Soriano and Volstad for Cano!

        • RynoTiger

          maybe this is where Theo gets a chance to use some of the dirt he has on Cashman to maneuver a trade..ya know…like the fact that Cashman wear’s a hair piece!!!!!!

    • Baron_S

      mmm highly unlikely — but if they offer — HELL YEAH!!

      Granderson has 40HR power

  • John_CC

    Let’s go Paul!  I am really hoping for a 3rd consecutive solid start from Maholm.  I like him and team could really use the boost of a bounce back from yesterday’s disaster.  

  • cubtex

    Marmol out as closer…..Next…….DeJesus out as leadoff? His average is down to .235 and he has zero stolen bases.

    • cubtex

      DeJesus has only 4 extra base hits all year as well. 4 2B’s 0 3B’s and 0 HR’s and 2 RBI.

    • John_CC

       He’s never been a base-stealer, he is an OBP guy – which, yes, I know is down, too.  But if you look at his career monthly splits, April and May he is about a .260BA/.330OBP hitter.  His career line is .288/.355, which means the rest of the season, June on he hits at a clip a little better than .290/.360 – for his career.

      Sure he’s beyond his prime so expecting career averages might not be realistic, but he’s not really old or out of shape. I think/hope for DeJesus to regress(progress) back to the mean and hit better when weather warms up in the mid-West.  He could still be tradeable this summer for more than a bag of balls.

      In my opinion, DeJesus is the least of the veteran problems with this team.

  • Michael

    Dodgers just released Mike McDougal, look for the Cubs to add him for BP depth.

    • John_CC

       HA! I cracked this as a joke last night!   I hope not.  Maine should come back up before they start adding old, worn out tires like this.  That would be Hendry move.

    • John G

      Obviously, in this case, “BP depth” means Batting Practice depth.

  • cubtex

    If any team is looking to trade for a closer….Brett Myers has 6 saves for the Astros with a 1.17 ERA and a 0.52 WHIP. I am sure the Astros would like to move him for prospects as well.

    • Tony_Hall

      Here was a breakdown a couple of days ago on the closer market.  

      Targeted closers: Brandon League, Joel Hanrahan, Huston Street, Carlos Marmol, Brett Myers and Grant Balfour 

      Clubs in need: Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins 

      League should draw interest especially from the Angels and Reds. His fastball sits at 96-97 mph, occasionally touching 98-99 with great sink. He’s also got a good slider and a nasty split. “Some say he has the best swing-and-miss pitch in the league,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said. “Opposing players say he’s just nasty.” The Angels could be interested in Street and Hanrahan as well, and it is crucial for them to come away with one of them. Any one of that veteran trio can go a long way in helping stabilize the Angels’ bullpen in the late innings. Cincinnati could be interested in the same three in order to push Sean Marshall back into a setup role. Marshall has shown pretty consistently that his effectiveness wanes when used in consecutive days, and he simply is more attuned to the being a setup man. Further, the Reds clearly see Aroldis Chapman as a potential No. 1 starter, but to move him from the bullpen to the rotation, they need to be able to fill the void with another relief arm. The Cubs will want to try to move Marmol, but he will only have value if he regains his control. His slider is his big pitch, but his fastball command has always been shaky. Myers has looked good, effectively throwing his curveball, fastball and cutter for strikes consistently. “He works fast and gets the job done,” says Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. “[Brett] doesn’t get rattled at all, even when a runner gets on, and that’s why it’s key to have a veteran in that role.” The Red Sox do have Andrew Bailey returning at some point during the season, but he is a health risk and GM Ben Cherington must protect against that. Alfredo Aceves can’t be the answer, and Mark Melancon is still in Triple-A. Hanrahan. Balfour or League would fit best in Boston. Marlins closer Heath Bell has struggled mightily early on; perhaps Marmol or Hanrahan could fit in Miami if Bell cannot turn it around.  

      Here is the full article. – http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post?id=3898

  • Tony_Hall

    Immovable contracts???

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/ 

    Alfonso Soriano, OF 
    Contract status: Three years, $54 million (or $18 million/year) remaining 

    After signing an eight-year, $136 million contract in 2006, Soriano has one of baseball’s most onerous contracts. Combine this with the fact that he has a .302 OBP over the past three years and it’s clear why the Cubs have not found any interest. The Cubs have been trying to trade him, according to several GMs, but the Cubs would have to be willing to eat approximately $42 million of the remaining $54 million in order to move him. Further, despite a stellar work ethic, Soriano’s skills are in fast decline, so he would have to be traded to an American League club that could use him as a DH. 

    If the Cubs were able to net two midlevel prospects, it would be a win. However, the real victory would be opening up an outfield spot for former No. 1 pick Brett Jackson. Or the team could move first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair to the outfield and call up power-hitting prospect Anthony Rizzo. Alas, Soriano has made it very clear he wants to stay in Chicago. Armed with a full no-trade clause, this contract looks as immovable as it gets. 

    • Cory

      Tell us something we dont know.

      • Tony_Hall

        It’s a link to a full article on the subject.  

        I don’t know, what you don’t know.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I don’t know, but I would think that if the Cubs could unload Soriano and eat just $42 million, he would have been gone long ago. 

      I really think they would have to eat everything except the ML minimum salary, like they did with Byrd. They did basically the same thing with Z. And I don’t look for much coming back to us. Neither Byrd nor Z netted us much back in return, despite the hefty chunks of cash sent with them. 

      In short, the only hope I have of seeing him traded would be for the Cubs to eat everything except the ML minimum salary, and to receive some “prospects” back that have no chance of ever being ML players. 

      Things have gotten that bad for us.

      • Tony_Hall

        I thought his $42M estimate was very low as well.  He will need to be cut at some point, IMO.

        • Cory

          I agree Tony.  They will eventually have to cut him and eat the remainder of the contract.

  • Cubs_8

    It’s been a bad year for closers: Madsen, Soria, Bailey, Rivera, Storen out significant time; Walden, Bell, Marmol ineffective.

    I didn’t, and don’t, have ANY expectations for the 2012 cubs, but their record would look much better right now without the blown saves.

    As I was “watching” the game on MLB.com (just the live updates), I was surprised that Sveum lifted Dempster for a PH rather than leave him in the game.  I know that he was just coming back from an injury and had thrown 100+ pitches, but he was still cruising.  With the recent struggles of Marmol, I was worried.  And I’m surprised that I haven’t read more comments second guessing the decision like I did.

  • Baron_S

    9-16 w/3 (really 4) blown saves

    This could easily be a 13-12 record with a shutdown closer.. Loved Marmol a while back — but this is way overdue

    • paulcatanese

      100% Correct, and still in the mix.

    • Ripsnorter1

      And there you have said it all: the Cubs could have been, and still could be–a competitive team with just a few players, namely, two or three arms in the bullpen.

      And that with Soriano in LF, Stewart hitting .190 at 3B, and Soto hitting .170.

  • Tony_Hall

    DeJesus double and a Soriano RBI in the same inning…

    • cubtex

      I guess I should dog DeJesus everyday if thats what it takes for him to get an extra base hit :)

      • Tony_Hall

        You took some days off from doing that????

        • Ripsnorter1

          Soriano on a pace for 71 RBIs….and he’s homerless and has only 1 double. 

          He’ll improve. Some. 

        • cubtex

          Cmon. I did it the last couple of days but it is definately not all the time.

          • Tony_Hall

            But you think it :)

            Keep it up, he’s 2-2

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro and Soriano with RBI singles

    • Redlarczykg

      Hey Neil,

      The Cubs will probably stink all year, but I just love watching LaHair prove all the Baseball experts wrong as being a AAAA player.  Do you know or any other fans on this site know if LaHair qualifies to win the Rookie of the Year award, or has he played too many ML games in the past?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        LaHair would qualify for ROY.

        • Cheryl

          What are the chances of LaHair making the All Star team?

        • Redlarczykg

          Thanks Neil!   What a baseball story this would be if LaHair can pull this off!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Soriano now has 2 doubles in 2012.

    Tony, I told you he’d improve.

    • Tony_Hall

      And so fast :)

      He’s actually getting better faster than you can count :)  It’s actually 3.

  • Tony_Hall

    DeJesus is going for the cycle…unfortunately, his least likely hit is what he needs still.

    • Tony_Hall

      Cubtex…please tell us how he has no chance of hitting HR’s :)

      • cubtex

        :) First triple of the year.

      • John G

        Maybe Kim asked him if he can go the cycle.

        I mean hit for the cycle.

      • cubtex

        And you keep talking about cutting Soriano :)

        • Tony_Hall

          Eventually….

          • cubtex

            I meant you are dogging him and he is having a great game. Keep doing it

  • EqDoc

    DeJesus career day!!!  Going for the cycle!  Boy that would be a great way for the team to respond after yesterday!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    DeJesus with a RBI triple. 3-for-3 this afternoon

  • Ripsnorter1

    Billingsley isn’t going to make it through 5 innings today. 

    • Ripsnorter1

      81 pitches through 4 IP for Billingsley. 

      He looks like Randy Wells out there today.

  • John G

    I just had this mental image of Kim DeJesus jumping up and down as David went in to third. I have to cool off. Maybe take a pill.

    • brent carmona

      I think Neil is following her on twitter, that dog! Hehe jk. I might have to check her and see how she feels about David’s performance today..

      • John G

        Are you saying she makes Neil twitter?

        I can understand that.

        • brent carmona

          Bahahahaha well played john…well played

  • Tony_Hall

    The scariest part of being a pitcher.

    I wouldn’t let him go back out for the 7th.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Maholm with an excellent outing

  • BosephHeyden

    Joe Mather may be my favorite Cub that will wind up getting traded after I get his jersey this side of Mark DeRosa.

  • EqDoc

    Can someone remind me why Mather isn’t playing more regularly?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Mather with a homer … Oppo shot, #2 on the season

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LaHair extends his streak to 22 with a single in the seventh … and it came against a lefty.

  • John G

    Another double by Soriano. Trade him tonight.
    His value just doubled. (pun intended)

    • BosephHeyden

       All kidding aside, I don’t know if Soriano is going to have a higher value than he does right now.  His approach right now is probably one of three best he’s had since he’s been a Cub, and, so long as you don’t try to sell him as the player he’s been over the past few years (a power bat), you can get some value, so long as you recognize you’re eating the majority of the contract.

      • cc002600

         You won’t get a bag of balls for him.  Ever.
        He’s old and should retire.

        • cubtex

          If you has 50 something million in a contact……Would you retire? :)

  • Tony_Hall

    Amazingly, none of us have anything to say…I think we are all holding our breathe for the final few innings.

    • BosephHeyden

       Not so much anymore.  Kerry Wood needs to do the right thing:  retire.  Like, today.  Whatever he had before, he clearly doesn’t have anymore.  I appreciate all his years of service, but he is not fooling anyone when he does throw strikes, which, unfortunately, is not very often.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Captain Obvious … Would be nice to see the Cubs score a run, or ten, in the bottom of the eighth

  • Anthonymichaelreed

    beautiful pitch. ump fell asleep on that one

    • John G

      And Sveum gets thrown out for arguing about it. after the next pitch, as it were. Is that his first ejection this year?

      • Anthonymichaelreed

        yes it was

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes, it was Sveum’s first ejection

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Sveum ejected

  • John G

    Nice play by DeJesus.
    Is Kim jumping up and down again?
    Be still my beating heart.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat Dodgers 5-4 Friday afternoon

    Paul Maholm: 1R, 3H, 0BB, 4K in 6IP; Alfonso Soriano: 3-for-3, 2 2B, 2RBI, BB; David DeJesus: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI; Starlin Castro: 2-for-5, 2R, SB, RBI

    Rafael Dolis with the save

  • cubtex

    Wow! Dolis got away with that 2-1 pitch. Fly out in the box score :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Garza is sick, being pushed to Sunday. Volstad will start Saturday

    • cubtex

      Ruhhh Rohhh

  • cubtex

    The way Maholm has been pitching, the Cubs have 4 pichers that are giving them quality starts………….and then they have Volstad :)

    • BosephHeyden

       I’d say “maybe tomorrow is Volstad’s day”, but it’s Chris Volstad:  he’s going to have one good start for every five bad ones.  As far as I’ve counted, he’s only made four starts.

      But hey, at least we only have one bad starter now.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCTINSDIF4ZSEQGJJ7KUNU256I Horatio Vonsnackster

      Sounds like a disease… “My wife went to the doctor today, and they diagnosed her with Volstad.” 

    • Tony_Hall

      He seems to have onebadinningitus.