Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 05/22/12

Game Forty-Three: Cubs (15-27) vs. Astros (19-23)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184/914
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Travis Wood (0-0, 4.50/1.00) vs. J.A. Happ (3-3, 4.96/1.52)

Updated 3:56pm CDTTravis Wood Recalled from Triple-A Iowa, Welington Castillo Placed on 15-day DL

The Cubs will try to put the last seven games behind them tonight and end their longest drought of the year behind Travis Wood. Wood has been with the team for several days and will be activated prior to game time. The Cubs must make a roster move to clear a spot for Wood to make his second big league start of the season.

According to reports, Blake Parker could either be optioned back to Iowa or placed on the disabled list to make room for Wood or the Cubs could place Welington Castillo on the DL with an MCL sprain. Another option, not brought up by the mainstream media, would be to send Randy Wells back to Iowa. After tossing five innings on Monday night, Wells figures to be unavailable for the next five days. That would give them time to make a decision on both Blake Parker and/or Welington Castillo. Wells could always be recalled to fill Parker or Castillo’s spot on the roster if either one has to be placed on the DL.

After Monday night’s loss, Dale Sveum mentioned that Bryan LaHair would probably be given Tuesday night off. LaHair is 1-for-his-last-20 and Sveum said he could use a “mental day off.” With Houston sending a southpaw to the hill it would be the right time to give him a break … but Sveum should mix his lineup tonight and not use an all right-handed lineup against the Astros’ lefty.

Tonight is all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood will make his second start of the season. With the way Chris Volstad did not perform this year, Wood figures to remain in the Cubs’ rotation … it is pretty much his spot to lose. The Cubs need him to step up and pitch the way he did for the Reds in 2010 (5-4 in 17 starts with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP).

Wood’s last big league start came against the Dodgers on May 6 at Wrigley. Wood was called up to fill in for Matt Garza. Wood put together a quality start and allowed three runs on three hits in six innings. Wood walked three, served up a homer and struck out four.

Travis Wood posted a 3-3 record in seven starts for the I-Cubs with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP … in his last two Triple-A starts, Wood posted a 2-0 record with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Tonight will be Travis Wood’s six career start against Houston. Wood owns a 1-1 record in the first five with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … last season, 1-0 in three starts with a 1.02 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Wood is 1-1 in three starts at Minute Maid with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-2
  • Matt Downs – 2-for-2 with a walk
  • J.A. Happ – 0-for-2
  • Chris Johnson – 2-for-10 with a double
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-10 with a walk
  • J.D. Martinez – 1-for-2

J.A. Happ is coming off a very good outing against the Brewers. The southpaw tossed six innings of shutout ball in Houston and surrendered seven hits and a walk while striking out four. In his last four starts, Happ is 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.

Happ has pitched much better at home this season (3-2 in five starts with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP) than on the road (0-1 in three starts with a 6.19 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP).

The key to beating J.A. Happ is patience. The Cubs must make him work and Dale Sveum must mix in his lefties and not use an all right-handed lineup. Southpaws are hitting .302 against Happ this season with a .333 OBP (.726 OPS) while righties are hitting .275 with a .348 OBP (.778 OPS).

J.A. Happ is 0-1 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.67 WHIP. Happ did not face the Cubs last season.

Cubs Career Numbers against J.A. Happ

  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-5 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with a double and a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 1-for-2
  • Travis Wood – 0-for-1

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Johnson – CF
    Castro – SS
    Soriano – LF
    Mather – 3B
    Baker – 1B
    Barney – 2B
    Lalli – C
    Wood – P

    • CubsTalk

       OMG…we are going for 8 in a row tonight.

  • cubtex

    Volstad got a win today! 18 runs is a nice little cushion to have :) Volstad gave up 4 runs in 6IP.

    • Zonk

      The entire Iowa Cubs team struck out only twice……half as much as B-Jax did last night.  He didn’t play today.  Rizzo hit his 15th homer, was 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs and 5 runs scored.

      The gap between Rizzo and B-Jax widens every day

  • Neil

    Travis Wood recalled from Triple-A Iowa, Welington Castillo placed on 15-day DL

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Tennessee – Jeffry Antigua (1-0, 3.86)

    Peoria has the day off’

    As reported earlier, Iowa wins 18-8 over Tacoma. Valbuena and Rizzo with HR’s. Rizzo 3-for-5, 3 RBI, 5 R. Volstad 6 IP, 4 ER, 6 K.

    Daytona over St, Lucie 8-5 in 10 innings. PJ Francescon 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 K. Matt Szczur hitting .316 for his last 10 games; now at .270 for the season with 19 SB.

    Other notes:

    Expect some movement on the 40 man roster. After PJ Francescon was promoted yesterday to Daytona, LHP Eric Jokisch was promoted to Tennessee and LHP Brooks Raley promoted to Iowa today.

    • Dorasaga

       Let’s see if Antigua can put it all together…

  • CubsTalk

    Poll Question of the Night…..

    What should the Cubs do with Garza?

    A – Sign him to a long term contract for $16 per year
    B – Trade him for top notch prospects this July
    C – Lets wait next year to decide Garza’s fate
    D – Let him walk as a free agent after 2013

    • Aaron

      I choose “B”. His value is at its peak. His start last night shoed that he is not ace caliber, but yet he’s had a great year aside from that. Ace starters simply don’t have games like that, and historically, he has not pitched up to his potential.

      The Cubs will NOT be competitive for at least 2 years (including this year), at which point he will be a free agent. After this season, his value decreases, because the acquiring team has less control over him. 

      The problem is, there are few teams who have the pitching talent necessary to make a deal worthwhile from the Cubs’ perspective: the Rangers and Blue Jays. The Rangers might have interest with Feliz’s injury, but the Blue Jays really have no incentive, considering their young pitching currently is good with Morrow, Drabek, Alvarez, and Romero in the fold, plus guys like Syndergaard, etc. waiting in the wings.

      They might view Garza as a good 2nd or 3rd starter to their rotation, but he already has experience in the AL East, with fairly average results. Again, his potential has never been reached, and the Cubs, along with the Twins and Rays before that have yet to see it.

      Originally I thought it might be good to build around Garza, considering the emergence of Samardzija, but the more I think about it, if a team is willing to give up 2 good arms you’d have to consider it from a group such as:
      Rangers-Perez, Ramirez, Buckel, Loux *both Perez and Ramirez are having bad years though
      Jays-Syndergaard, Nicolino, Sanchez

      If the Jays traded Syndergaard, Sanchez, and a low level hitting prospect for Garza, I’d jump at that deal.

      Do you really need a solid #2 starter like Garza anyway if you’re going to lose about 100 games and take 2-3 years to rebuild? 

      Why would you pay a starting pitcher $14-16 million/year, which is what Garza would likely ask for if you’re going to be that bad of a team?!? 

      That’s PRECISELY why Team Theo didn’t sign the likes of Beltran, or bid high enough for Darvish….because they didn’t want anymore Soriano situations to take place, where they’re paying a veteran about 20% of the total payroll.

      If the Cubs continue their losing ways, and nobody steps up in the minor leagues other than Rizzo it seems….you have to think they would trade just about anyone with significant trade value, other than perhaps Castro, Samardzija, and Dolis in order to re-tool.

      It’s a foregone conclusion they will look to deal Dempster, Maholm, Marmol, Soto, Soriano, and DeJesus before the season is over. Bench players like Baker and Johnson are virtually assured to be gone by then as well. Aside from perhaps Dempster, you’re not going to get much, so that’s why you figure they’ll look to trade Garza.

      • Smcneil

         Ace starters simply don’t have games like that:

        Didn’t Verlander get lit up by the Rays and the Yankees? He must not be an ace either. Those are just the first 2 I thought of without digging. When has an “ace” gone an entire season without a bad start or 2?


        • cubtex

          see below

      • cubtex

        I probably agree that Garza should be dealt this year since they are so far away from contention but I have to disagree with your statement that Ace starters simply don’t have starts like this. When you pitch on a pathetic team like the Cubs, you know you make 1 mistake and the game is over. He probably totally let down once he made that mistake to Jason Castro. Look at these numbers from a true Ace one week ago. Same thing with this pitcher who pitches on a poor team.

        Felix Hernandez- May 16th

        3.2 IP 10 Hits  8 Runs 6 ER  ….I would consider Felix Hernandez to be an ace……wouldn’t you?

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

         Well Aaron maybe Texas will trade one of their young starters to get him

      • Smcneil

        true. Never even thought about that cubtex. U have to be perfect all the time

      • Jim_Tinley_Park


        Think Theo will sign Hamels?

      • Smcneil

        It’s a foregone conclusion they will look to deal Dempster, Maholm, Marmol, Soto, Soriano, and DeJesus before the season is over:

        So who is gonna replace them? It is always easy to complain, and your right. What could they do realistically?  Trade Castro? Garza? B-Jax? Chose your poison. They r gonna struggle for awhile. They are not trading anyone but castro and maybe garza for a top prospect.


      • Dorasaga

        The Cubs can be competitive in 2 years. ANY ballclub can be so in one year. A few trades and FA signings. I’m not saying whom they should sign or when they will. It’s a matter of who’s available by then. I think you’ve been reading too much into the management’s head that they won’t spend. We are going through the shakeup and rebuild this year. Who knows? Next year, Hoyer & Co. has a totally new team on hand, then they’ll go out and add more talents.

      • GaryLeeT

         I don’t understand. How are the Cubs suppose to contend in 2 or 3 years, if they don’t start rebuilding now? Is the plan to just shuffle in young controllable players, and when they reach the end of their control years, trade them? I just don’t see how a team can have long term success without ever having long term contracts with core players. Garza is not an ace. So what? #2 and even #3 starters don’t grow on trees, but if you are going to trade Garza, why not Samardzjia, or Castro? After all, they are at peak value with lot’s of controllable years.

        • cc002600

          Could not agree more. This notion of just trading your best players “because you won’t be any good in the next 2-3 years” is so absurd.

    • RICK

      Get rid of him now along with Dempster. Proof of last nights game Garza is garbage.

  • Vivid_Reality

     Five mind-boggling stats at the quarter pole
    1. Aroldis Chapman has faced 84 hitters — and struck out 39 of them.
    2. Starlin Castro has twice as many errors (eight) as walks (four).
    3. Brendan Ryan has more runs (20) than hits (19).
    4. Asdrubal Cabrera has as many doubles (12) as strikeouts.
    5. Carlos Pena, who is hitting .209, has reached base more times (66) than Andrew McCutchen (64), who is hitting .340.

    Not Good.

    • CubsTalk

      At least we know now that Carlos Pena sucks in hitting whoever he plays with.

    • John_CC

      That is an interesting collection of stats, where did you find that?  I saw that Pena was going to hit leadoff – seriously. He has 54Ks!! Wow, now that is BAD.

      What’s not good?

      • Vivid_Reality
        • John_CC

           Right, it’s really bad.  4 flipping walks so far? So he’s on pace for 16 walks!  That is why he is not a #3 hitter.  Yesterday I mentioned that Bob and Len had an exchange about the lineup and where Castro should hit. He is not an ideal leadoff man because even though gets a lot hits, he swings at everything and has a low OBP. Think Soriano of old with a little better average and way less power. It’s really the reason he isn’t suited for the top of the order yet. 

          Len said he’s a 7 hitter in a good lineup.  Cubtex scoffed at that and maybe it’s too low. But maybe he should be hitting in the 5th spot.  There has been discussion about how LaHair is getting nothing to hit because he has no protection. Castro would lend that protection. 

          So how about:


          Yeah, still pretty crappy, I know. But it puts Campana in the leadoff where his speed is best taken advantage of; puts a good on base guy in front of LaHair and the team’s best contact hitter behind LaHair; and is a nice L-R-L most of the way through.


          • cubtex

            207 hits. .307 Avg. .341 OBP. 22 SB’s. You are right……looks like a #7 hitter to me.

          • John_CC

             DUDE. I did not say he was a 7 hitter…LEN DID.

          • Dorasaga

            34% on-base for Castro, that’s a #3 for me. I don’t feel like the sabermetric designs are “truth” or anything, at least here’s a thought:

            According to researcher Tom Tango’s big run expectancy chart, batting #2 requires an ability to walk (or at least get on-base consistently). That’s not Castro.

            He’s not a smart baserunner, either. I wouldn’t mind move him to leadoff, but Campana looks like the man for this roster. You know, between Castro, Dejesus and Campana, they can switch between each other’s role, batting leadoff, 2-hole, 3rd–it won’t matter. The result most likely stay the same. At least for this team.

    • cubtex

      Compare Chapman to these numbers for a full year.

      batters faced 332  struck out 138 of them and gave up only 40 hits.

      Can you guess the pitcher??

      Carlos Marmol 2010 stats

  • matthew8510

    johnson baker alli we definitely will continue our streak lets go for 10 in a row shall we

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with you, don’t know why they are even considerd for a spot in the starting lineup.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Are going to end this losing streak tonight?

    • CubsTalk

       Not tonight.

  • SomeGuy27

    Well…that’s game I guess.

  • CubsTalk

    Can I suggest putting a pitch over an Astros hitters head?

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

     eeek travis hitwood already sucks bring back Mark Prior

    • CubsTalk

       Prior got injured when he picked up the phone call from Theo.

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

         lol that is a good one

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    The scary thing about this starting rotation  is at the end of the year the Shark might have the best era and the most wins on the staff

  • Tom U

    Junior Lake led off the game for Tennessee with a home run.

  • CubsTalk

    Future 2014 Cubs Lineup ?

    RF – Szczur
    2B – Lake
    SS – Castro
    1B – Rizzo
    CF – Jackson
    3B – Baez
    LF –  Vitters/Golden
    C – Clevenger


    • RMercer69

      That would be cool…quite an athletic lineup there.

    • cc002600

      wow, you are so delusional.

      Szczur in 2014 ? dude, the guy is hitting is .250 in A ball. He’s 3 to 4 years away. Minimium.

      Baez in 2014 ?  wow. you are kidding, right ?

      I don’t think you understand how long it takes for players to develop. That’s why I keep telling you its absurd to trade away your best players now for prospects, thinking that guys like Szczur and Baez are going to rescue you in 2014. By doing so, you will just assure yourself of 90+ losses every year for the next 5 years. Becuase there is very little talent in AA and AAA.

      Look no further than BJax. I wish I had a dime for every person who wrote that BJax should be in CF 2 years ago. Well, here we are 2 years later and he’s hitting .220 in AAA.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    breaking news a scoreless inning for travis hitwood

  • JimBo_C

    Wood showed some good D on that bunt.

  • JimBo_C

    Wood smoked that double.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Wait Wood just hit a double he is a better hitter than  an pitcher

  • cubtex

    What does it say when Travis Wood is the best hitter in the lineup :)

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

       that mean the other players suck

  • M22Ratcliff

    Can T-Wood catch for us?

  • John_CC

    End of 3; 2 H, 3 K, a solo HR.  You guy all act like he is getting killed.

    Have fun complaining and whining together tonight, gents. I’ll watch the game in peace.

    • cubtex

      I agree. Travis Wood looks good. Positive start from him tonight!

  • Neil

    Soriano ties it up …

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      clap clap clap

  • Neil

    Excellent play by Castro

    • JimBo_C

      Highlight reel material!

    • cubtex

      Great play! Expect to see that on ESPN tonight!

    • Zonk

      Runner was actually safe, but it was still a great play.

      • Neil

        Thanks for the correction

  • RMercer69

    Sportscenter Top 10 and a web gem tonight for Castro on that one!

  • CubsTalk

    Wood is nearing 100 pitch count.

  • JimBo_C

    Nice outing by T Wood.

    He hit well, fielded well and pitched well.

  • GaryLeeT

    I think the “number of innings it has been since the Cubs had a lead” count, is going to have to be measured in games pretty soon.

  • CubsTalk

    Wood did a nice job….he can stay longer with the team….no bus trip back to Iowa.

  • Neil


  • Neil

    Golden sombrero for Castro

  • BosephHeyden

    Castro needs the same type of mental day off that LaHair is getting.  Completely wasted a great play.

  • Neil

    First time Castro has struck out four times in a single game in his career

  • Ripsnorter1

    Twins whupped the ChiSox. That means they have tied the Cubs for least wins in MLB: 15. OF course the Cubs could pull this one out and stay in front of them. If they don’t, then we have the worst record because we’d have one more loss. (15-28 vs 15-27).

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 2-1 to Astros Tuesday night

    Travis Wood: 2R,2H,2BB,3K,5.2IP; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-4,HR; Cubs: 6 hits, 0-for-4 with RISP, 6 LOB

    7 of the last 8 outs by the Cubs were strikeouts

    • BosephHeyden

       That Cardenas AB was pretty sad, but it just feels like that’s the Cubs for you.  Brett Myers threw nothing but curveballs…never even pretended like he was going to throw anything else, and yet he swung at the three of them.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Bret Myers has a nice curveball.

  • BosephHeyden

    I feel bad for Pat Boyle more than anyone else.  You can tell every time he’s on CSN, he really, really wishes that football was closer to starting.  At least we can not watch this.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jason Marquis DFA’d tonight.

  • jw

    Mama said there’d be days like this.

    Where will this streak end…could be a whopper…this is what happens when you run a AA/utility player team out there. Oh well save some brown paper bags with eyeholes for the dog days of summer

    On the bright side we get the #6 pick in a few weeks and maybe top three next year and in three years Zambrano Byrd, Marmol, Soriono and Soto are off the books (probably Garza and Dempster as well but they have some value that will need to be replaced.