Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 05/21/12

Game Forty-Two: Cubs (15-26) vs. Astros (18-23)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Matt Garza (2-1, 2.58/1.04) vs. Bud Norris (4-1, 3.58/1.21)

The Cubs start a new week tonight with the first of six game road trip through Houston and Pittsburgh. Dale Sveum’s team begins a difficult stretch with the first of three against the Astros that sees them play 16 of the next 19 on the road.

After not posting a victory since last Monday it will be up to Matt Garza to end the Cubs’ second six-game losing streak of the year. Matt Garza wants to be a number one in a big league rotation … and number ones end losing streaks.

The Cubs might have a different looking lineup tonight. Following Sunday’s loss, Dale Sveum suggested he could make changes to the top of his lineup in order to try to generate runs. Multiple reports have Starlin Castro moving out of the three-hole of a starting nine that does not have a true three-hole hitter at this point … look for Alfonso Soriano to move up in the lineup. Since May 1, Soriano is hitting .311/.373/.557/.931 with six doubles and three home runs.

The Cubs have struggled over the last two seasons with the Astros (8-7 in 15 games last season, 7-11 in 18 games in 2010), mainly due to their pitching staff and Brett Myers. Myers is no longer a starter and has moved into the closer’s role. After sending Bud Norris to the hill tonight, Brad Mills will send lefties J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez to the hill on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sveum will counter with Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija but the Cubs are just 1-6 in games started by southpaws this season.

Tonight it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza showed signs of returning to form in his last outing against the Phillies. Garza admitted he was not back at full strength after missing 12 days with the flu. Garza jumped out in front of several hitters but did not seem to have the little extra needed. Garza struck out a season low two batters while running up his pitch count. Garza ended up with a no decision after allowed two runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings to Philadelphia.

In his last two starts, a visibly depleted Matt Garza has still only allowed three runs on 11 hits in 11 2/3 innings with six walks and five strikeouts (2.31 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP). Garza casually mentioned the only thing positive from his last outing was that he walked only one batter.

For as good as Garza has been this season, he’s struggled on the road. Garza is 1-1 in three starts outside of Wrigley with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP and will face a very hungry, young Astros lineup tonight.

Matt Garza has never beaten Houston and owns a 0-2 record in four starts that includes a complete game (3.00 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP) … last season, no record in two starts with a 2.81 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Garza is 0-1 in his only career start at Minute Maid with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Brian Bogusevic – 1-for-4
  • Travis Buck – 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-3
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Carlos Lee – 4-for-13 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk
  • Jed Lowrie – 0-for-6
  • J.D. Martinez – 1-for-4
  • Jordan Schafer – 1-for-4

Bud Norris has been very, very good for Houston this season. Norris has won his last three starts and the Astros are 7-1 in his eight games this season. Norris is coming off an excellent seven inning start against the Brewers in which he allowed one run on four hits with only two walks while striking out a season-high nine batters.

Bud Norris is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 0.47 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.

Like many young pitchers in the NL Central, Bud Norris has had some of his better outings against the Cubs in his short career. Norris is 2-2 in five games, four starts, with a 2.39 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP … last season, 1-1 in two starts with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-8
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-7 with a double, a home run and two walks

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Campana – CF
    Castro – SS
    LaHair – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Stewart – 3B
    Cardenas – 2B
    Hill – C
    Garza – P

    • paulcatanese

      I was waiting for you to post the lineup Neil. None of the antcipated changes were made, probably tommorrow when I think they face a lefty, not sure though.
      Their are enough leftys in the lineup. I like that, but am not impressed with the glove of Cardenas yet. I would hope he has been around for enough time to get his swing together and hope he can start tonight.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I’m curious to hear what Sveum has to say. I agree on Cardenas.

    • Calicub

      Let the shake up begin!

      • CubsTalk

        Only changes Dale made was a different color pen he used on the score card tonight.

        • Ripsnorter1

          LOL

          I suppose it was pink….

    • BosephHeyden

       I know Barney hasn’t been doing that great, but he’s been better than Cardenas.  Cardenas has been awful since his call-up offensively.  In fact, I can’t even recall an at bat that he hasn’t swung at the first pitch, and to that, it’s only paid off once for him (his only hit).  I know his numbers in the minors were pretty good, but, at this point, I’m pretty sure the A’s cut him for a reason.

      He needs quite a bit more seasoning in the minors before he’s ready for the majors.

    • Chipguy2030

       Neil, when do you think we will sit Stewart and put Mather in?  I understand Stewart is a great defensive 3rd baseman, but he can not hit.  Stewart is at 4 HR and Mather is at 3 with limited at bats.  And do you think Castro needs to have a day off here soon?  I think he is getting very frustrated lately. 

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I don’t think they plan to sit Stewart anytime soon, if at all. They are very happy with his defense and they feel he hit into a lot of tough luck early in the season.

        Castro could use a breathier, I agree. I expected it tonight after Barney having a majority of yesterday off and with back-to-back lefties on Tuesday and Wednesday. They have the next two Thursdays off, which would help give him a break. But you are right he is looking frustrated.

        • Zonk

          That Fangraphs article on luck mentioned Stewart; he should have a higher BA, given just average luck.  Couple that with his good defense, I would leave him in. 

  • brent carmona

    Going to the game tonight, aren’t I a lucky guy….battle of the mediocre squads. Sarcasm a little bit but I’m still excited to see my team play live. Got right field seats, my glove as well so let’s see if I can get a opposite field HR from Castro/soriano….or a Labomb.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Have a great time

      • brent carmona

        Thanks guys it should be fun! Anything I see worth noting ill post…

        • Dorasaga

          Please do! Nothing beat watching the Cubs in person; well, maybe marrying one’s true love, but that’s another aspect of life…

          • brent carmona

            Lmao….very true, I mean I was expecting a competitive game with garza on the mound….but jeez what a let down man I mean two long home runs by the astros…..ugh I want my money back.

    • CubsTalk

       We’re happy for you….

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Daytona – Matt Loosen (1-1, 4.34)
    Tennessee – Dae-Eun Rhee (3-1, 4.50)
    Iowa – Jay Jackson (2-3, 6.09)

    Peoria lost 5-4 to Cedar Rapids. Larry Suarez surrendered 3 ER in the bottom of the 8th to provide the winning margin.

    Minor league news:

    As Neil reported earlier, RHP PJ Francescon has been promoted to Daytona. No word on a corresponding move, but expect Zach Cates (0-6, 10.50) to be high on the list.

    1B Ryan Durrence was released

    OF Reggie Golden is out for the season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL

    LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith returned to Iowa from the DL

    IF Javier Baez hit a 2-run and Grand Slam home runs today, giving him 8 HR and 26 RBI in 24 games

    OF Yasiel Balaguert hit a 3-run homer today, he had been hitting .293 in 21 games before today

    Iowa has announced the Steve Clevenger and Carlos Marmol have been given rehab assigned with the I-Cubs

    • Josh

      Tom – Michael Jensen and Austin Kirk appear to be the next best performers after Francescon (he was tops on my list to move up) — any chance you think either of them will get promoted?

      • Tom U

        Josh, since this is Jensen’s first full year, I don’t expect him to move unless he really begins to dominate.

        Jeffry Antigua was announced on Smokies Radio to start tomorrow in place of Brooks Raley, but they didn’t say why. If Raley needs to go on the DL, expect Kirk to get the call.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Rays dfa’d John Gaub

    • Zonk

      Same old thing with him; good left-handed stuff, can’t throw enough strikes.   Someone will probably give him another chance, though.

  • brent carmona

    That was an absolute rocket by cardenas. The right fielder just couldn’t catch up w that one.

  • cubtex

    Astros annoncers just said that Matt Garza had the fastest average fastball in the National League last year at 93.7 mph. I did not know that.

  • brent carmona

    Wow I just missed that homerun by inches, did u guys see a fan w a cubs jersey on w a cowboy hat? That was me making a jump attempt at it w a glove….ugh next one

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Did you fall backward into your seat?

      • brent carmona

        ………….yes……I was so close man…I haven’t played ball in years so let’s just say i misjudged that one a lil bit. I bet my sister was curled up next to me though haha..

      • John_CC

        I saw that guy too!  That is so cool, we saw Brent on tv.

    • cubtex

      I replayed it and saw you:) Get your glove up quicker and you would have had it….lol

      • brent carmona

        Sweet haha…wish I was on camera for a good reason though. Do you guys think ill make the sportscenter NOT top ten after that debauchery?

  • RynoTiger

    I think the LaHair magic may be starting to fade…..or perhaps it’s just a slump…but I don’t know…hmmm….

    • CubsTalk

      he is a 260-270 avg hitter….. LaHair is not part of the future…..Remember Kevin Maas?……this is what LaHair is.

    • GaryLeeT

      Why would any pitcher give LaHair a pitch to hit? Who behind him is going to make them pay the price for walking him? I would expect his BA to drop into the .250 range, with far fewer RBI opportunities. It might improve if Rizzo is in the mix.

  • matthew8510

    i think we need to gety rid of dump and garza while we still have value  what can we get for them 

    • CubsTalk

       At least two prospects from each guy…..I feel if the Cubs wait, one  or both might head to the DL……many Chicago players come up with mysterious injuries when they names are talked about in trades……many don’t want to leave the bar scene for another city.

      • matthew8510

        we can throw in a lahair with one of them we could get 3 prospects for one guy

        • CubsTalk

           Need to find a team who would want a pitcher and 1B…….trades have to work both ways …..right now, the Cubs are weak in pitching, second and catching…..

          Castro, Baez, Rizzo, Lake are the future….I don’t think Vitters and Jackson are…..those two should be tearing up the league of where they are at……

          Theo will be burning the midnight oil in the coming weeks…..Garza might have helped the Cubs brass on dealing him instead signing him.

          Really, does anyone believe the Cubs should give Garza $16 million per year?

          • GaryLeeT

             Yes. Tonight aside, a #2 starter for $16 mil per, is a bargain. OK, maybe $ 14 mil per.

          • cc002600

            yes, absolutely they should.
            That’s what good starters make.

  • cubtex

    Horrible throw by Koyie Hill.

  • cubtex

    Garza doesn’t have it. Terrible 0-2 pitch to Castro and another bad 2 strike pitch to Lee.

    • brent carmona

      Highest I’ve seen him is 92 mph in the stadium. I guess he is not recovered from the flu. Man what a disappointment by garza regardless….

  • cubsron10

    Is it just me or does Koyie Hill not know how to call a good game.

    • BosephHeyden

      That was his only redeeming quality back when we had Carlos Silva: Silva constantly praised Koyie’s pitch calls and, as a result, Silva pitched some great games. Problem is that once Silva got fed up with no run support, he stopped trying, and when they paired Koyie up with other pitchers, they did what Dempster did Saturday, what Maholm did yesterday, and what Garza is doing today: they were off.

      I know catchers are difficult to give credit to for wins, but losses are a whole lot easier to pin, especially when spots are hit.

  • CubsTalk

    Theo better trade Garza before it is too late!

  • brent carmona

    Cardenas with another hard hit ball….and…oh my god I witnessed a koyie hill basehit….this can’t be life.

  • CubsTalk

    The 3 innings by Garza, was that the shortest outing this year by him?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Yes, shortest outing by Garza this season. Second shortest since he’s been with the Cubs

  • CubsTalk

    Where are they now?

    Chris Archer 3-5 5.01 ERA at Durham
    Hak-Ju Lee  .235 avg at Montgomery

    • Ripsnorter1

      Looks like HAK-JU LEE is on the move upwards. He was hitting .199 last time I checked. 

      Remember the rule: Prospects are just suspects until they prove in on the ML level. 

  • John_CC

    Interesting conversation between Len and Bob  re: the batting order, where to make changes.  They came to the fact we all know, it doesn’t really matter all the much with the players they have.  Both agree that Castro is NOT 3 hitter.  Len said he’s a number 7 hitter in a good lineup.

    • cubtex

      I think Kasper has resorted to drinking in the booth if he said that. Yea….a kid who had over 200 hits as a 21 year old and hit over .300 is a #7 hitter on a good team? Ridiculous!

      • John_CC

         Cano was hitting the 7th spot just 3 years ago.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I don’t understand Sveum.

      Sveum has a no-speed guy leading off. 
      He has his speed guy batting #2, taking pitches so his no speed guy can get gunned down trying to steal 2B. 

      Genius. Simply genius. 

      Meanwhile bat your singles hitting SS at the #3 hole. Last year Castro hit .225 while batting #3. He hit .327 batting #1, and .335 batting #2. So why install a singles hitting SS as your #3 hitter? 
      This isn’t genius. 

      • GaryLeeT

        I hear what you are saying, but the team’s best hitter usually bats 3rd, and at this moment, that happens to be Castro. Too many holes, and not enoguh players to fill the roles.

  • GaryLeeT

    The Cubs have scored in 2 of the last 34 innings they have played. That’s pretty bad, right?

    • CubsTalk

      And you want to give Garza $14-16 million per year.  I sure hope you are not someone’s accountant.

      • GaryLeeT

        You’re right, #2 starters do grow on trees. Anyway, I think what’s become evident is that a very bad bullpen causes a team to quickly fall into wide spread despondency. It’s evident that the players start to ask themselves, what’s the point in trying, if the pen is going to give it up in the end?

      • Calicub

        What does garza’s contract desires have to do with the cubs in ability to score runs?

        • CubsTalk

          why spend $16 million on a pitcher who can’t win if the team is not scoring runs!

          Garza trade can bring in players that can help this club down the road.

          • GaryLeeT

             Why not spend that money? Does it come out of your paycheck? The Cubs stink now, but some day they will need Garza. It’s a lot easier, and cheaper, to have him on hand when needed, than it is to start looking for him out of desperation.

  • CubsTalk

    I bet Ryne Sandberg is laughing these days.

  • jw

    Help, we need somebody,
    Help, not just anybody,
    Help, you know we need someone, help.

    • CubsTalk

       At this point, let the wolves come to us…..better to wait for trade offers than seek them out…..Cubs scouts need to hit the road and review minor league teams……by July, teams will be desperate to overpay if they believe they can win this year….Theo knows that.

    • Dorasaga

       The Beatles?

      • jw

         Looking at the scoreboard the song just popped into my head

        • Dorasaga

          Haha. Great song. One of my all time favorites. I think it was in my English textbook from elementary school. Must be a hippie or anti-Vietnam War who wrote it in! LOL

  • CubsTalk

    Cubs are paying $15 million to Zambrano now….how many games did he win so far for us?

     

  • brent carmona

    That’s two home runs ive missed, now down by eight I think ill leave now.

    Two shutouts in a row? Eeeek

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hey, Reed broke up the shutout.

  • GaryLeeT

    Yet another game with meaningless 9th inning runs. I guess it’s like that birdie on the 18th after a bad round, it helps keep you coming back for more.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 8-4 to Astros Monday night

    Matt Garza: 7R, 5H (2 3R-HR), 2BB, 2K, 3IP; Starlin Castro: 2-for-5; Adrian Cardenas: 2-for-4, 2 2B, R; David DeJesus:
    2-for-4, RBI, BB, R

  • matthew8510

    just keep running them out there

  • GaryLeeT

    Wow, 10 LOB. We need a hero.

  • Ripken Boy

    I bet Sveum puts Soriano at lead-off by the weekend.

  • matthew8510

    brett jackson 0-5 tonight with 4 so now has 58 so in 158 ab thats about 38% of his ab he strikes out now leading the paciific league in strikeouts by 10 just thought id bring that up

    • matthew8510

      until he gets that ratio down to about 15% or 20% i say leave him down there we dont need any more strikeouts on the big league club

      • Ripsnorter1

        Then you aren’t bringing him up.

  • cubtex

    What do you expect with this team? .260 hitter batting leadoff who can’t steal. A #5 outfielder batting 2nd. A leadoff or #2 hitter batting 3rd. A career minor leaguer is your number 4 hitter. Soriano at 5….A guy who hit .150 last year is your number 6 hitter………You get the point. This is probably the worst lineup the Cubs have had in my 45 years of watching this team!