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

Game Twenty-Seven: Cubs (10-16) vs. Dodgers (17-9)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89/89
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (0-3, 6.11/1.39) vs. Chris Capuano (3-0, 2.73/1.21)

Happy Cinco de Mayo … Dale Sveum’s team will shoot to make it two in a row over the Dodgers this afternoon behind Chris Volstad. Matt Garza was scheduled to start today’s game but was pushed to Sunday. Garza was sent home Friday with flulike symptoms. Volstad is pitching on normal rest in need of a good outing today.

Chris Volstad has shown he can retire Major League hitters over multiple innings but he has yet to put together a complete start this season. The Cubs need for him to step up this afternoon and keep up with his rotation mates, who have been very good of late (Cubs are 7-5 since April 21).

Will Bryan LaHair get a start against the southpaw this afternoon with Jeff Baker spelling Ian Stewart in the starting lineup?

Today all starts with Chris Volstad

Over his past two outings, Chris Volstad has thrown nine shutout innings, the problem is in each of those starts he has completed six innings of work and has allowed a total of eight earned runs in the other three innings, four in each start. Volstad received a no decision in his last outing against the Phillies. The Cubs scored three runs in the top of the eighth and took him off the hook. Volstad has not posted a win since July 10, 2011 and the Cubs are 0-5 in his five starts this season.

Volstad is 0-2 in three starts at Wrigley this season with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Volstad must keep the ball down or Matt Kemp and company will take their recent frustrations out on him.

Chris Volstad makes his seventh career start against the Dodgers this afternoon. He is 3-3 in the first six with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … last season, 1-0 in one start with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Dodgers Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Chris Capuano – 0-for-1
  • Andre Either – 3-for-12 with a double and two walks
  • Tony Gwynn, Jr – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Jerry Hairston, Jr – 5-for-14 with a double and a walk
  • Matt Kemp – 5-for-17 with a home run
  • Adam Kennedy – 3-for-15 with a double and a walk
  • James Loney – 5-for-16 with a double and a walk
  • Juan Uribe – 0-for-3

Chris Capuano owned the Chicago Cubs during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers and put together a good outing against the Cubs last season in New York. The Cubs were rumored to be interested in signing the veteran lefty over the off-season but Capuano decided to sign a multi-year deal with the Dodgers.

Capuano has been very good for the first place team and his coming off a 6 2/3 inning start against the Nationals in which he did not allow a run and surrendered only three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. For as good as Capuano has been at Dodger Stadium, in two road starts this year he has two no decisions with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.

Chris Capuano is 8-3 in 14 career games, 12 starts, against the Cubs with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP … last season, no record in one start with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP (two runs, one earned, on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings). Capuano is 4-2 in eight career appearances, six starts, at Wrigley with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Capuano

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-4
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-4
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-1
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-1 with a home run
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-7 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-8 with a double and a home run
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 0-for-4

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • BosephHeyden

       I think this means LaHair has made it as a legitimate power bat.  Also, with Stewart starting at third, I kinda have to wonder what the point of keeping both Baker and DeWitt is anymore.  There really doesn’t seem to be a need for both, since they can both play the exact same positions, yet Joe Mather can play everything they do plus center.

    • Zonk

      Mather instead of Reed Johnson in CF……..if he can play CF effectively, and Campana continues to do OK, I wonder how much longer Reed is going to be around, especially after B-Jax comes up.  As it stands now, B-Jax’s promotion would likely result in Johnson being DFA’ed.

      Also, Ian Stewart at 3B instead of Jeff Baker…..clearly trying to make Stewart a FT starter.  Baker isn’t a very good 3B, but he does rake lefthanded pitching, as we all know

  • Neil

    According to ESPN Chicago, Travis Wood is also at Wrigley in case Matt Garza cannot start Sunday

    • John_CC

       Has Wood been doing any better of late in his AAA starts?

      • Neil

        He’s shown improvement. Wood is 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP, 35 hits, eight walks and 30 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. The numbers are a little skewed by two bad outings … one in Albuquerque and the other one was in Memphis.

        • Aaron

           That’s a very optimistic view of him, Neil, but you’re entitled to your opinion, obviously.

          I’ve watched all of his starts on MiLB, and he’s been shelled in the two starts you mentioned, but even his last start a few days ago, he was hit hard.

          “improvement” with a guy like Wood, is really the “tallest midget” argument. You have to know where your baseline is. If it’s from a 7+ERA pitcher (actually, in his case, it was more like 10+), then I would absolutely agree that he has shown improvement.

          But can he even be serviceable like a Volstad, who gives up the big inning of 4 runs, then calms down after that?!?

          HIGHLY doubtful in my opinion. He’s one of those soft-tossing lefties that pitch to contact. His fastball is average at best, and his breaking pitches are nearly non-existent. His changeup seems to be his out pitch, and again, that’s average at best. I don’t see much hope. That trade is looking worse by the moment when you look at the stats of Wood, Sappelt and Torreyes this year.

  • Neil

    From Kaplan: Matt Garza still sick. Travis Wood is here and will make his start if Garza can’t go on Sunday. Baker also sick with a virus.

  • SuzyS

    Thanks for supplying a little more info on BJAX on the previous thread.
    I don’t really get the opportunity to actually watch him…So many people seem to just assume that he’s coming up and going to be here for years…With strong images of F Pie et al in the back of my mind…I’m just not that comfortable that BJAX is the sure thing we’re all hoping for…with his ko rate as it is.

    What are your thoughts on BJAX? Do you think he’s almost ready? 

    • Neil

      I really like what I’ve seen. He’s a smart player and seems to have a plan every time he steps into the box. He’s just not up there hacking. He can drive the ball to all fields and has a good eye at the plate.

      If you are looking for Jackson to be a superstar, I do not see that. He has the ability to be a very good player for a long, long time.

      Jackson is maturing and improving, is he a ready now? Probably not. He had a rough stretch last year before he got injured then after he came back. Once he got on track, he had a very good season. He made the adjustments. How he responds to this adversity will show a lot … he is close and he knows he is close.

    • Tom U

      Suzy, I’ve been wanting to write something about Jackson for the past few days, but I just haven’t had an opportunity.

      I agree with everything Neil has said. I’d like to add that its smart player development to move someone around to different positions and spots in the batting order to see what you have in a player before he gets to the majors. 

      The previous management used the hack-your-way to the top approach, and then placed young players in unfamiliar roles and asked them to perform like veterans. Then they criticized and benched them if they didn’t respond well. It looks like those days are gone.

      • Dorasaga


  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Gerardo Concepcion (0-2, 19.06)
    Daytona – Frank Del Valle (0-1, 4.91)
    Tennessee – Dae-Eun Rhee (1-1, 5.81)
    Iowa – Undetermined

    Iowa has Travis Wood scheduled for today’s game, but it is reported that he is in Chicago if Matt Garza cannot go tomorrow. While it is possible that he could be today’s starter for Iowa, the emergency starter has been Frankie De La Cruz (1-1, 2.53)

    Today’s spotlight game: Peoria v. Quad Cities
    The Chiefs have their work cut out for them today, as the River Bandits are second in the Midwest League in ERA. They also lead in home runs and RBI, so they are a real test for Gerardo Concepcion. Concepcion has bee shelled for 12 ER in his last 2 games.

    I’ve been on assignment for the past few days, and here are some things I’ve heard:

    With the Cubs’ closer problems, don’t be too surprised to see Frank Batista in Wrigley around the All-Star break.

    Every one I’ve spoken to thinks highly of prospects Elliot Soto and Logan Watkins.

    Speaking of Watkins, he’s played centerfield for Tennessee the last couple of days.

    At 8-20, one of the big reasons for Daytona’s record is that they are giving away outs at first base and catcher.

    • Horatio Vonsnackster

      Any updates on the status of the Cuban prospect Soler and his residency/signing status?  Thanks.

      • Aaron

        I know you asked Tom this, but both Tom and Neil have been responding to this all year…

        MLB is being extra cautious with Soler in terms of proving that he is who he says he is, and all documentation is fool-proof. But in addition to that, the United States government has put up more stringent barriers to entry than in the past, so there’s that too working against him.

        The clock is ticking, and the conspiratorial nature in me says that it’s by design, because MLB does NOT want teams skirting the new July bonus limitations, so they’re purposely holding this thing up…but that’s just my opinion.

        Did everyone see Cespedes’ comments regarding the commissions owed his agent? He basically said he doesn’t owe anything, because his name is not Yoenes Cespedes…don’t think for a second that MLB didn’t pick up on that.

        Cuba and the Dominican Republic are notorious for false birth documents, etc. Their record-keeping down there is horrendous.

        • Horatio Vonsnackster

          Nice update, thanks.  I tend to agree with the theory on the MLB holdup.

        • Carmelo

          The hang-up is this—Cespedes was in a DUI, fatal car crash in Cuba—Cuba did not want the D.R. to grant him residency, they wanted him back in Cuba to face charges.  Now they don’t want D.R. to help out Solar becasue of the other situation.  Nothing to do with MLB. 

        • Dorasaga

           Cespedes is what his name is… what he used in int’l tournaments and within Cuban league… All baseball players got their real names listed in Cuba, that’s the nature of that gov’t, keep everyone under total control…

    • Aaron

      First of all, thank you for the continued updates!

      De La Cruz went 5 yesterday I believe, so he’s likely out. I think Coleman might be the guy, because he only pitched 2 innings, or something last time out and nobody seems to know why.

      As for Concepcion, I read a disappointing article on him, saying his fastball is actually below average in the 85-87 mph range, which is terrible, considering reports out of Cuba were 91-93 mph range when they signed him.

      With Batista, I agree…and I’d also toss in Rhoderick and De La Cruz. If all 3 happen, that would likely mean Marmol, Camp, and either Wood (retires), or Castillo (trade worked out with Phillies to send him out) are gone.

      The other problem they have, is what to do with Maine. He has closer potential from the left-side with his above average slider and above average fastball.

      This is just a hypothetical, but given their stated goal of trying to rebuild for the future by trading short-term assets into long-term assets, but not being able to get any value for guys that don’t fit into long-term plans like Soto, Soriano, DeJesus (might rebuild his though if he can build on yesterday), Johnson, Baker, DeWitt, Marmol, Wood, etc.

      …Methinks that they could look to trade younger guys like Russell, Barney, and Volstad in addition to obvious short-termers that still have value like Garza, Dempster, and Maholm.

      By trading Russell, you’re selling high, and you have a better candidate to close in Maine. By trading Barney, you’re also likely selling at what his peak value will be, and letting Cardenas battle it out at 2B, likely with Flaherty (if my gut feeling is right, that the O’s pursuit of Tejada comes to fruition, he’s likely the odd man out).

      • Tom U

        Thanks for the that catch Aaron. As I said, I’ve been on assignment and am just catching up. I’ll look before I leap next time!

      • Tom U

        Coleman went 3.1 innings in his last start because he was used for 2 innings in relief 3 days earlier. Randy Wells was last used on April 28, so maybe he’s the man for tonight.

        • Carmelo

          Coleman was hit in the back off the leg by a line drive—threw to two more hitters, and was taken out of the game.

          • Tom U

            Thank you Carmelo. Tom U is now “O” for two on the day.

          • Aaron

            no worries Tom, you cover the whole system, so that’s a lot of stuff to keep track of. Heck, most of us don’t even know a player has been released until like a month later anyway, when Baseball America puts out the list of transactions. You do a good job, my friend. Keep up the good work!

          • Tom U

            Thanks Aaron, Just not taking myself too seriously.

      • cubtex

        I agree with trading or selling Russell high. In my opinion he is nothing more than a left handed specialist. He has average stuff and he has been pitching well, If the right offer is made…..I would move him. He will not be able to handle the closer role(imo) Maine’s stuff is so much better than Russell it isn’t even close.

    • Neil

      Tom, FYI … Ben Wells to DL with a blister. Chiefs
      will add a pitcher tomorrow.

  • John_CC

    Sad news today, Junior Seau is the latest suicide casualty of the NFL.  Something’s got give, what a tragedy.  And MCA died of cancer at 48.  

    • paulcatanese

      Sad indeed, and the way of both is a little mysterious to me, unusual that the location of the gunshots are the same for both.

  • Neil

    That’s 23 games for LaHair

  • Neil

    Just too many hittable pitches on two-strike counts from Volstad

    • Carmelo

      First RBI’s for Capuano in 5 years!!!!!!!!!!

  • Neil

    Speechless … another bad inning for Volstad. Unacceptable to throw a meatball to Capuano.

    • BosephHeyden

       At this point in time, necessity of the trade aside, we clearly lost that Zambrano-for-Volstad trade.

      • Coachdon

         We won the trade by getting rid of a cancer, but we didn’t need to compound the problem by starting a guy as bad as Volstad. If things were run correctly, this would be Volstad’s last Major League start for some time.

      • Aaron

        I know you said “necessity aside”, but are you actually questioning the trade?

        Z was a big baby, almost like Milton Bradley. He glared at fielders when they made mistakes, sped up his wind-up when umps would miss borderline calls, and fought with teammates…other than that, he was actually a decent pitcher, for plenty of reasons that I’ve outlined on here ad nauseam. But the fact remains, the Cubs had to get rid of him.

        Was I upset with the return? Yes…I thought the Cubs should’ve at least received Yelich, given Guillen’s strong relationship with Zambrano…but from the Marlins’ perspective, they were receiving a ticking time bomb, and ONLY Guillen could fix the guy, and everybody in the game knew this. So why would they give up anything of value for him?

        But, I do agree with you in principle, yes, the Marlins CLEARLY have won that trade….same for the Reds with Marshall, but the Zambrano trade was absolutely necessary, just as the Bradley trade was, and the subsequent release of Silva, who like Zambrano, also was blaming teammates for his own mistakes.

        • Texcubnut

          I could not summarize it any better than that. Aaron, do you think there are any clubhouse cancers or bad attitudes on this current club? If there are, I don’t think Sveum will, or Theo for that matter, allow it to stay. I’ve heard Dewitt is somewhat of a loner but basically a quiet guy.

        • cubtex

          The only trade so far that looks like it will be at least fair or in the Cubs favor so far is the Cashner for Rizzo deal. I hated to give up Cashner especially with the lack of arms the Cubs have but I like Rizzo’s potential to be a power hitting middle of the order bat. The Ian Stewart trade didn’t do anything for them. They should have held out for a highly regarded minor league starter for Marshall. Trading Cashner and Marshall and to not get back any arms to help them this year was a disaster.

        • BosephHeyden

           I don’t recall Zambrano blaming teammates for failings other than Marmol, which was well deserved, because the matter Zambrano blamed Marmol for WAS on Marmol.  I’m not in the clubhouse though, and they wanted rid of him.  But Volstad is losing us games.  He’s already lost 3 of them, he tried lose us a fourth in Philly, and he’s on pace to do it today.  And that’s all I care about:  wins and losses.

          In all honesty, I think they could have lived with Zambrano, because at the end of the day, these are millionaires, all of them.  I could care less if they like or dislike a guy:  their job is to go out and win games.  And quite honestly, the guys that were bothered by Zambrano are 6 games under .500 right now.

          At the end of the day, the Bradley trade and the Zambrano trade were two completely different things:  Bradley needed to go because he should never have been signed in the first place, was making far too much money, was awful, and had those “cancer-esque” qualities (that’s the least important of the four to me).  The Zambrano trade was only necessity because 24 guys that are all making more money than I, or most of us, will ever see in our lives didn’t get along with him.  Outside of that, Zambrano, despite not being an ace, could (and is) do better than Volstad, and so long as they didn’t think of him like an ace, they’d have at least two more wins than they do right now, which makes them that much closer to a .500 team than they are now.

      • cubtex

        Z had zero value and it was basically a release for a player who was going to be DFA’d. Volstad has been one of the worst starters in baseball and it was totally unrealistic to think he would be anything of value.

  • Aaron

    Man, your heart just has to go out to a guy like Buck Showalter…fired from Yankees, next year Yankees win World Series, fired from D’Backs, next year D’Backs win World Series….fired from Rangers, a few years later, they’re a perennial playoff AND World Series contender.

    He now has the O’s in a close 2nd place atop the always difficult AL East, and they’re winning against the BoSox today 8-0

    Bets on him getting fired and the O’s reaching the playoffs and/or World Series the following year?

    I realize he has a reputation of killing the talent of some young players, but it looks like the young guys are carrying the O’s, so maybe he’s figured it out…

    I know it has nothing to do with the Cubs, but I was just thinking about that today when I saw the O’s score

  • Neil

    If Stewart holds on, Gordon is out.

  • Aaron

    Oh, also, another thing non-Cubs related….I was thinking about Bill James’ research, and looking at guys like Pujols, AROD, Teixeira, ARAM, D Lee (now out of baseball), etc., and you can clearly see that post-PED’s era, the guy was absolutely correct, that past age 32, it’s a crapshoot, and production goes down…historically, even Hall of Famers have a down year past 32, a resurgent season, then continue spiraling down. Could that be what we’re seeing with these guys?

  • cubtex

    I know it is a little early but since there is not much going on in this game.
    Neil, Tom U, Aaron or anyone else…..  What are your thoughts on the draft next month????
    Any names?  I hear some people are saying that the Cubs will take Carlos Correa if he is there. The SS from the DR who has been compared to Francisco Lindor with a better bat.

    I really like Richie Shaffer…the 3B from Clemson who has huge power potential.

    Have you head of anyone else who they are considering?

    • cubtex

      Mark Appell from Stanford and Kyle Zimmer from San Francisco are 2 highly rated college pitchers who could be there. Giolotti…..the High School pitcher has had some arm issues this year so I would hope they stay away from him

    • Tom U

      Cubtex, I’m not able to keep up with the college game with my duties here, so I’ll leave the specifics to others that know better. 

      I can say the after the usual need for pitching, the organization could use power hitting prospects at all positions. Third base is thin area, and catching could be beefed up.

      • cubtex

        I agree. I know that it might be a little early for Shaffer and there is that there are some that think he might eventually be moved off 3rd…..but take a look at his scouting video. Quick hands and huge power.

  • Neil

    Capuano is getting call after call after call today.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Neil, and LaHair is not getting calls, especialy the ninth inning today. Castro goes to second opens first base up and anything the pitcher throws from that point are designed to be yes or no and makes no difference if they get the call, first was open. I think LaHair struck out in frustration of the two strike calls previously.
      But the last two days leave’s a lot to be disired with the home plate umpires, a lot of blown calls.

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 5-1 to Dodgers Saturday afternoon

    Chris Volstad: 5R, 4H, 3BB, 1K in 5IP; Starlin Castro: 3-for-4, R; Bryan LaHair: 0-for-2, 2BB; Ian Stewart: 2-for-4, RBI

  • Neil

    Travis Wood will start Sunday’s finale.

    According to ESPN Chicago, Garza has been pushed back to the opener of the Brewers series … next Friday.

    Stay tuned, I am wondering if this is a mistake from ESPN.

    • Neil

      Garza is being skipped this time through the rotation. No word on the roster move yet to activate Travis Wood.