Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 05/23/12

Game Forty-Four: Cubs (15-28) vs. Astros (19-22)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00/1.16) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24/1.09)

The Cubs, without Dale Sveum, look to put an end to their miserable eight-game losing streak tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. Sveum will not be with the team for tonight’s finale in Houston. The Cubs skipper has gone home to Arizona for his son’s high school graduation. Jamie Quirk will call the shots and look for Starlin Castro to get the night off.

Starlin Castro had one of the worst games of his young career Tuesday night and is just 1-for-11 with a walk in his career against Wandy Rodriguez. Castro struck out swinging four times and his frustration appeared to mount after each at bat. Castro has stuck out eight times in his last four games after striking out just three times in the seven games prior to Saturday’s contest with the White Sox. Castro is the only player on the roster that has played in all 43 games this season.

As for the rest of tonight’s lineup, Wandy Rodriguez has been just as effective against right-handers (.227/.274/.324/.577) in three times more at bats as lefties (.226/.268/.304/.558). The Cubs are just 1-7 against games started by southpaws this season.

The last time the Cubs lost eight games in a row was around this time a year ago. The Cubs dropped eight straight from May 30 – June 7 and entered play on June 8 with a 23-36 record (13 games under .500).

Tonight all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off another good outing. Samardzija made only three mistakes last Friday against the Sox … and two of them left the yard. Samardzija allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Samardzija was the last Cubs’ starter that kept his team in a game.

Like Matt Garza, Samardzija has struggled on the road this season. He is 2-1 in four starts outside of Wrigley with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP (2-1 in four home starts with a 1.52 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP).

In his last four starts, Samardzija is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija will make his first career start against the Astros tonight. In 15 games, Samardzija is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP … last season, 1-1 in nine games with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Samardzija has not recorded a decision in three games at Minute Maid. In five innings of work, Samardzija has allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts (3.60 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP).

Astros Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-1
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-1
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-4
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • Jed Lowrie – 0-for-1
  • Wandy Rodriguez – 1-for-1
  • Chris Snyder – 1-for-2 with a walk

Wandy Rodriguez is off to another excellent start. Rodriguez has held teams to three earned runs or less in eight of his nine starts this season. Rodriguez is coming off a loss to arguably the best team in baseball in which he allowed three runs on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Texas beat Houston 4-1.

The veteran lefty is 2-3 in six starts at Minute Maid this season with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. In his last four games, Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Wandy Rodriguez is 5-6 in 19 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP … last season, 0-2 in three starts with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 8-for-20 with four doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-10 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-11 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-23 with a walk
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-7
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-35 with a home run and three walks
  • Ian Stewart – 2-for-5 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Jose Rosario (3-4, 4.37)
    Daytona – Frank Del Valle (3-1, 4.18)
    Tennessee – Nick Struck (4-4, 4.09)

    Iowa lost 8-3 to Tacoma today. Brooks Raley, 5 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 K in his first Triple-A start. Anthony Rizzo 2-for-4 with his 16th home run.

    Other notes:

    RHP Starling Peralta was assigned to Peoria from EXT.

    Expect Travis Wood to be up for a while. The organization had plenty of arms to fill Iowa’s rotation if Wood, Coleman, or Wells were coming back soon. They wouldn’t have promoted starters Brooks Raley and Eric Jokisch just to cover for a short period of time.

    With Rubi Silva, Arismendy Alcantara, and Elieser Bonne seeing some time at lead-off, expect to see a position player promoted from Daytona soon.

    • CubsTalk

       I don’t what is worst….losing 8 in a row or living in Tacoma.

      • Ripsnorter1


    • Nathan

      Hey Tom, 

      I read something earlier today that said Javier Baez was going to be assigned to Peoria soon and Robert Whitenack being placed on Daytona’s roster soon as well. Have you heard anything? Also I wanted to get your take on who you think the Cubs should draft if available this year. My first choice would be Kevin Gausman out of LSU 

      • Tom U

        Nathan, I would be surprised if either of those moves happened.

        Peoria is currently stocked with Marco Hernandez and  Wes Darvill at short, with vet’s Brad Zapenas and player-coach Kenny Socorro on the DL. Further, Peoria was slated to open the season with Dustin Geiger at third, but he broke his hand. He is now taking part in games in his rehab assignment. That’s a lot of bodies to climb over for someone who, at times, has shown a lack of maturity.

        I explained in a post yesterday that when you have a pitcher in the first year off of TJ surgery, you don’t want to rush him. Use Dae-Eun Rhee as an example. He had the surgery and sat out 2010. His first year back was last season at Daytona, and now he is at Tennessee. I expect something similar with Whitenack.

        As far as the draft, I leave that to others who are better schooled in that area. Aaron is out resident draft expert. Some of the weak areas in the system are power pitching, power hitting, third base, and catcher.

        • gary3411

           I wouldn’t be surprised i f Baez replaced Hernandez at short and Hernandez was sent to Boise. He’s been hot lately, but even that hasn’t lifted his stats out of the cellar. Boise could be good for him anyways and Baez is probably ready for Peoria.

          Wouldn’t you agree Marco hasn’t hit for avg, hasn’t gotten on base, and his slugging is in the 200s. Not good. At the same time, Darvill is not much of a shortstop I don’t believe, and DeVoss is a developing second basemen at best. I think it actually makes great sense for Baez to get the call to Peoria.

          • Tom U

            I agree that Hernandez seems to be a bit offensively challenged at this time, and that he’ll probably go down once Geiger is ready. However, Darvill will probably move over to his more natural position of Shortstop.

            Don’t let Darvill’s shear numbers fool you. I’ve seen him and he’s very poised at the plate. He’s spent half of his time hitting out of the three-hole, and has generally hit no lower than sixth. He has outstanding range and more than enough arm for short. He isn’t in the defensive class of Hernandez or offensive class of Baez, but is a very rounded player.

            If Hernandez goes down, Baez will probably open in Arizona, and then possibly at third. Presently, he would be a defensive liability at Peoria.

          • Dorasaga

            Thanks for the observation, I need to know that. I don’t have access to watch minor league games, and I don’t have patience to go through the whole organization for players who might not one day exist on the Cubs big league roster. It’s quite a dedication you have.

        • Nathan

          Thanks Tom,

          Like I said I was reading something about those two moves possibly happening soon but who knows. Always good to hear your take on things.

  • Tom U

    In response to Redlarczykg from the previous thread:

    I don’t think Neil will be too upset in promoting another site in this case. For news of what’s happening in Arizona see

    Arizona Phil covers everything that happens in the organization out there from Spring Training to the Fall Instructional League.

  • matthew8510

    johnson baker hill 9 in a row here we come

    • CubsTalk

      Look at the bright side of all of this….next year we get the #1 draft pick!

  • ldsteam

    So do I pick up Rizzo in my fantasy league?  Suggestions? 

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think he’ll be up by June 8. 

    • CubsTalk

       I picked Kate Upton in my fantasy…. :)

      • Ripsnorter1

        She can’t hit.

    • JimBo_C

      I picked him up two weeks ago. He is currently riding the pine and waiting for his chance to be inserted into my lineup.

    • Trevor Petersma

      I just pulled the trigger on picking him tonight.  Are you in a keeper league I presume?  I picked him up hoping he will be successful enough the second half of this year to warrant keeper consideration.  Castro is already one of mine.

  • paulcatanese

    That all right handed lineup got them nowhere last night.
    Except for DeJesus.

  • John_CC

    Rizzo with number 16.  Clevenger behind the plate…good news. 

  • John_CC

    Castro really needs that rest Neil mentioned, but it looks like he is in the 3 hole again.

  • cubtex

    Look at the Cubs lineup today and there are only 2 players who you would want starting on the team beyond next year. That is how much work needs to be done. Who in the system besides Rizzo is ready to be a starter? You have Shark,Castro,Garza and Rizzo who you could pencil in as starters beyond 2013? That is all folks. 4 players. 2 pitchers and 2 position players.

    • Ripsnorter1

      When you are on a 104 year long losing streak, such things don’t matter very much. Obviously the Cubs are not in this thing to win.

  • RMercer69

    Did I miss the lineup being posted somewhere, don’t see it?

    • WisespreadHisPanic

      There’s not much there :

      • RMercer69

        I still don’t see it? Has it been posted on here?

    • CubsTalk

      Tribune has it.

  • Cubfanpete

    Where is the best place to find the probable starters for the Smokies for the next 4 days.  They are in Mobile and would like to see Mcnutt pitch.

    • Tom U

      Cubfanpete, McNutt had moved back for his last start, and in now #3 in the rotation. Here’s Tennnessee’s rotation as it stands now:

      However, since Jokisch last pitched on Saturday, don’t be surprised if he is inserted after Beeler in the rotation. This would give McNutt an extra day. Struck starts tonight, so it may be


      Which means McNutt would start either Friday or Saturday. Keep checking here, and I’ll try to keep you posted.

      • Cubfanpete

        I hope they don’t move him back he wont pitch here

  • CubsTalk

    Lineup came in by Jamie Quirk….same lineup as always.

    I would do something different for the day. Just to have fun… here is my starting lineup if I was coach of the day.

    C – K Hill…………….lets get the slowest hitter out of the way early
    SS – Campano……..I bet he wouldn’t make an error
    1B – Soriano………..give the knees a rest at first
    3B – T Wood……… hitter lately
    P – Samardzija…….got an RBI in his last game
    2B – Cardenas……..still better than Barney
    LF – Garza………….last game he didn’t play much
    RF -Bowden……….can’t pitch, so maybe he is an Ankiel type!
    CF – Wells………….hitting .333

  • CubsTalk

    Tonight’s lineup ………oh boy.

    1. David DeJesus, rf

    2. Reed Johnson, cf

    3. Starlin Castro, ss

    4. Alfonso Soriano, lf

    5. Joe Mather, 3b

    6. Jeff Baker, 1b

    7. Darwin Barney, 2b

    8. Koyie Hill, c

    9. Jeff Samardzija, p

  • cubtex

    Reed Johnson just gave the Cubs the first lead they have had in 59 innings. Can we call the game here? :)

  • cubtex

    Astro announcers just mentioned that Shark is only behind Strasburg in average fastball velocity for all major league starters! Garza was #1 in National league last year. 2 of the better power arms in all of baseball.

  • Trevor Petersma

    I don’t understand why they don’t give Sori some days off to try and heal his knee a little.  He’ll play through most pain, but that doesn’t mean they should let him.

    • John_CC

       It’s really bad. That ball in the right center gap, man that could have been bad in a number of ways. I was really surprised Sori got to it. Then when he stopped to turn and throw, I thought that weak knee might blow. Lucky the Astros are slow and fat, that should have been a  double.

      Mather needs to start some games in Left and give Soriano some rest. He looks awful out there.

      • Trevor Petersma

        Right, and isn’t the fault with the manager/management for letting him go back out there?  I don’t blame Soriano for fighting to get on the field, but after hearing Wood comment on how much Sori has been going through and the obvious pain he is in…I just wonder why a few days rest wouldn’t be in order. 

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Lets get a win!

    • cubtex

      Cubs are 1-7 against left hand starters…….so they are due :)

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    It feel so weird that the Cubs finally have  lead i dont know what to do

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    The Shark with a base hit

  • RynoTiger

    wow..did you see Soriano’s run to get that double by Castro?  that was the worst I have seen his knees look.

    it almost appeared as if he was running with one decent leg and running on tip toe as if something was broken or severly hurt to where he couldn’t put weight on it.

    • John_CC

       Yup. He’s a gimp at this point.

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

       a turtle could of run faster than that

  • RynoTiger

    terrible at-bat by Barney.  2-0 count and he swings at a pitch he could do nothing with.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

     Soriano almost fall down running for that ball that was ugly

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    what the hell barney you knock the ball out dejesus hand

  • Neil

    A bloop triple .. DeJesus caught it, Barney knocked it out of his glove

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

       i am furious with Barney what was he thinking he just cost us two runs

      • Tno13

         Seriously? You’re furious that Barney ran as hard as he could to make a play? You really think he had time to think about that play? Come on!

        • Kojak Osborne Jr.

           that ball was not his he cost the team two runs

          • Tno13

             OK   You’re right. That makes perfect sense.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    This game is over

  • Neil

    Second hit for Castro tonight

  • Neil

    Joe Mather is leading off an inning for the third time tonight

  • cubsron10

    Koyie Hill is the second worst hitter on the cubs, the only one worse is Garza.  I would have rather had Samardzija bat than Koyie.

    • cubtex

      If the Cubs gave the Reds more than $1 for Hill….it was too much.

      • cubsron10

        I wouldnt have taken hill even if the reds paid to give him to the Cubs.

  • Neil

    After six, Cubs are 0-for-8 with RISP and have left seven on base

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    They took the shark out of the game already

  • CubsTalk

    Cubs can have Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver and Tommy LaSorda as managers on this Cubs team, and they would still “stinks”.

    So the Poll Question of the night is….

    If the Cubs have the same record next season at this point in 2013, What should happen?

    A – Fire Sveum
    B – Become a White Sox fan
    C – Fire Jed & Theo
    D – Tell Ricketts to sell the Cubs
    E – Time to bring up Rizzo from Iowa

    • GaryLeeT

      If they don’t sit Soriano, and bring up Rizzo soon, I am hard pressed to come up with a reason to keep watching. So it’s E.

  • cubtex

    Even the Astro announcers are questioning our managers decisions. Wondering why you would pinch hit Campana instead of keeping his speed on the bench unti you can use him to pinch run and steal a base. Same thing we have been saying for a year.

  • cubtex

    Now they are talking about why would they bat DeJesus leadoff since he has a career 56% stolen base rate which they said is awful. This is hilarious. We are getting ripped by the Astros.

    • CubsTalk

      Houston is a dump….Cubs leave there after tonight, those announcers have to live there.

    • Tno13

       Did they mention OBP? Are they going to sign Hussein Bolt?
      Talk about hilarious.

      • cubtex

        David DeJesus .367 OBP
        Carlos Pena    .364 OBP

        Should Carlos Pena lead off?

        I understand about OBP….but I hate the fact that you have a non stolen base threat hitting leadoff.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    So for the second start in a row the Shark had a solid outing but will probably take a loss because this offense can’t to save their lives

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Everyone have good night i have had enough of watching this Cubs offense tonight , hopefully we come back on win but i doubt that we will do that

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    So bad.

  • RMercer69

    Oh my.

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 5-1 to Houston Wednesday night

    Jeff Samardzija:
    2R, 6H, 2BB, 4K, 6IP; Starlin Castro: 2-for-4; Johnson: 2-for-4, HR, HBP; Cubs: 10H, 0-for-9
    RISP, 10LOB