Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Padres – 05/29/12

Game Forty-Nine: Cubs (16-32) vs. Padres (17-33)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (4-3, 3.00/1.18) vs. Eric Stults (1-0, 1.54/1.20)

Updated 10:05am CDTSteve Clevenger Activated from 15-day DL – Blake Lalli Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

Can Dale Sveum’s Cubs make it two wins in a row this afternoon? After just a miserable stretch of games, the Cubs outhit the Padres on Monday afternoon and scored nearly as many runs (11) in one day than they did in the previous six games (12).

Two of the players the Cubs needed to step up did. Starlin Castro hit his fourth homer of the season and second in as many games. Bryan LaHair tallied three hits in four at bats, drove in a run and collected his first extra basehit since May 15. LaHair should be in today’s starting lineup, along with Ian Stewart, as lefties (.231/.286/.214) have hit a little better than right-handers (.216/.322/.258) against Eric Stults … granted, in a small sample size. The Cubs are 1-9 in games started by left-handers this season.

Alfonso Soriano has put his rough start to the season behind him. After managing just a .237/.250/.263 homerless April with only two doubles, Soriano is hitting .302/.355/.593/.948 in his last 23 games with seven doubles and six home runs … and he has walked six times.

If the game is close in the ninth, James Russell or Shawn Camp could be called on to close it out for the Cubs. Dale Sveum used Camp in the seventh inning Monday with the game on the line. Carlos Marmol was activated from the DL prior to Monday’s game but will not be used as the team’s closer for now.

On his bobblehead day, it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Despite picking up his third loss of the season, Jeff Samardzija is coming off another solid effort and quality start. Samardzija allowed just two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings to the Astros. The difference while Samardzija was on the mound, a bloop triple off the bat of J.D. Martinez that plated two runs.

Samardzija threw the ball well and could have gone out for another inning but Jamie Quirk lifted him for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.

Jeff Samardzija has “lost” his last two starts but both outings had more to do with the lack of support than his performance. Samardzija is 2-2 in his last five starts with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.

Like Matt Garza, Samardzija likes pitching at Wrigley and is 2-1 in four home starts with a 1.52 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.

Today marks the first time Jeff Samardzija has started a game against the Padres. In his other two appearances, Samardzija is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP (no runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings).

Padres Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Yonder Alonso – 0-for-1
  • Chase Headley – 0-for-2
  • Nick Hundley – 0-for-2
  • Cameron Maybin – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Carlos Quentin – 0-for-2
  • Will Venable – A walk in only plate appearance

Eric Stults began the season with the team on the South Side of Chicago. Stults was 1-0 in two outings, one start, with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP for the White Sox before being designated for assignment on May 15. The Padres claimed the lefty off waivers two days later (May 17) and today will be Stults’ second start for San Diego.

Eric Stults held the Mets to one run on four hits in five innings in his Padres’ debut. Stults walked one and struck out two and left the game after being hit in the arm with a line drive. Stults posted the win but his start this afternoon was in question until Sunday. Stults threw a 20-pitch bullpen session, said he felt fine and was cleared to pitch this afternoon.

Eric Stults last faced the Cubs in 2009 while in a Dodgers uniform and is 0-2 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 8.59 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP … both of his outings against the Cubs were at Wrigley Field.

Jeff Baker (1-for-3 with a walk), Reed Johnson (2-for-2), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-5) and Ian Stewart (2-for-5 with a double and a walk) are the only Cubs on the active roster that has faced Eric Stults.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball ….

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