Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Twins – 06/09/12

Game Fifty-Nine: Cubs (19-39) vs. Twins (23-34)
Game Time – 1:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 179/914
Location – Target Field, Minneapolis

Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.13/1.28) vs. Scott Diamond (4-1, 1.86/1.19)

Dale Sveum’s Cubs will try to put one in the left-hand column this afternoon behind Jeff Samardzija and end their current three-game losing streak. The Cubs are nearing the end of a very difficult 10-game road trip. They are just 1-7 in the first eight on the current trip and have lost 19 of their last 23 games.

The Cubs’ offense will face southpaws for the next two days. The Cubs are just 2-12 in games started by lefties this season. Dale Sveum should try to avoid an all right handed lineup against Scott Diamond this afternoon. While Diamond has been very good, lefties have put together a .342/.342/.632 line against him and right handers have managed only a .254/.283/.333 line.

Jeff Samardzija will not be able to help himself out at the plate this afternoon. Samardzija has driven in a run in three out of his last four starts … and the Cubs are 1-3 in those four starts. Samardzija has shown a lot of improvement at the plate this season but will have to rely on his teammates to put runs on the board today.

Today it all begins with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija struggled with his secondary pitches in his last outing. Samardzija tied a season-high in walks with five but still kept his team in the game while he was on the mound. Samardzija left after five innings due to the elevated pitch count.

Samardzija allowed two runs, with the second one being a little tainted, on seven hits with five walks and six strikeouts. Samardzija received a no decision in the Cubs 3-2 loss and the Cubs are 7-4 in his 11 starts this season.

For as good as Samardzija has been this season he has struggled on the road. Samardzija is 2-2 in six starts away from Wrigley with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija has never faced the Minnesota Twins and only Jamey Carroll (0-for-1), Ryan Doumit (0-for-1) and Josh Willingham (0-for-2) have faced Samardzija.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, they get their first look at a very good southpaw this afternoon. Scott Diamond is off to an excellent start to his season. In six starts he has not allowed an earned run in three of them and the Twins are 5-1 when Diamond takes the hill.

Diamond held the Indians to three unearned runs on seven hits without a walk and two strikeouts in seven innings.

Scott Diamond has not lost a game at Target Field this season and is 2-0 in three starts with a 1.33 ERA and a 0.98 ERA.

No one on the Cubs’ roster has faced Scott Diamond. Lefties have hit .342/.342/.632 against Diamond this season while right handers have managed only a .254/.283/.333 line.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Johnson – LF
    Castro – SS
    DeJesus – RF
    Soriano – LF
    Baker – 1B
    Mather – CF
    Clevenger – C
    Barney – 2B
    Stewart – 3B

    Samardzija – P

    • RMercer69

      How bout sitting Stewart. Sick of watching his crappy ab’s and imo his defense has been overrated on this site. Put Mather over there and get Campana in the lineup.

      • Zonk

        The Cubs are committed to seeing if Stewart can turn it around.  He has hit into some tough luck in his defense, and he does play a good 3B.  He may or may not be any kind of long-term answer. 

        Joe Mather is definitely not a long-term answer.  He’s basically roster filler. 

        I think we’re thinking for future, because Mather has clearly hit better than Stewart so far, no question

        • paulcatanese

          Stewart plays because the Cubs brought him in, as well as a lot of other DFA’s. There would be egg on thier face’s if they don’t succeed, and by gosh they are not.
          The only one that has showed any talent at all has been DeJesus, period.
          Johnson and Baker are clearly not the future and should not even be there.
          What is holding this team together (if one could say that) are Castro, DeJesus, Soriono,
          Barney, LaHair, Campana, Shark, Dempster, Garza, Clevenger, and thats it. Wood shows promise, other than that, forget it.

          • BosephHeyden

             Yeah, Stewart’s no long term answer.  Like Paul said, Stewart’s here because Theo wanted to obtain guys who had a bad year last year in the hopes they’d rebound.  So far, it has worked with DeJesus and Camp, not so much anyone else.  Stewart constantly floats between .190 and .200, which, yeah, he had some tough outs at the beginning of the season, but recently his approach has been pretty awful, and the times he does make good contact, they become hits, which isn’t that great a thing when you consider he’s still at .200.

            Still, so long as Theo is determined to run this team as a business rather than a baseball team and not bring up the rookies, Stewart is the option by default since Mather can be a bit of a butcher at third.

  • BosephHeyden

     Cubs get a head start over the Padres today in the race to not be the last team to win 20 games.  Though, if they lose to the Twins today, the Padres seem to be pulling the trigger on reconverting Andrew Cashner to starter today, so hopefully for their sake they score fast and often.

    • Tony_Hall

      Cashner is pitching only 2 innings, then going to the minors to be stretched out.

    • cubtex

      As we all know….Cashner has the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter. Arms like that don’t grow on trees!

      • Tony_Hall

        As we all know…his could fall off trying to be a starter….

  • RMercer69

    Also, why not Lahair? Lefties hit Diamond 100 pts higher and Baker is nowhere near our future. I equate starting him like when we starting Byrd.

    • Zonk

      I would have put LaHair in too, but Baker does mash lefties, and the Cubs may be playing him to trade him. 

      • paulcatanese

        Not to sound like a downer Zonk, but the Cubs have been  “Playing guys to trade them since last year”.
        And beyond.
        Whats the point? (of the Cubs) not you.

    • Zonk

      PS:  LaHair is 8 for 61 lifetime in ML vs. LHP, for a .131 avg.  Not sure if his split was that pronounced in minors or not. 

      Baker has a career .900+ OPS vs. LHP.  It’s his only real skill (well, he does play a pretty good defensive 1B as well)

      • RMercer69

        Not sure of Bakers numbers vs lefties this year, but I bet they are down from last year. And Lahair needs to be run out there vs Lefies continuously to learn to eventually have some success. If he gets spot starts against lefties and ab’s late in games vs lefties out of the pen he will never get better. His ab’s are too sporadic vs lefties and not continuous.

        • BosephHeyden

           .222.  That’s how he’s doing against lefties this year.  Considering that he’s started almost every single game the Cubs have had versus lefties, I think it is safe to say he’s not getting better anytime soon.

      • paulcatanese

        Zonk, that whole deal is a “catch 22″. LaHair better hitter and Baker better with the glove.

        OK, I’ll give with Baker against leftys, if they switch with LaHair when a righty comes in.

        Point is, they are darned if they do and darned if they don’t.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Kyler Burke (1-2, 2.37)
    Daytona – Frank Del Valle (4-1, 4.36)
    Tennessee – Dallas Beeler (1-5, 4.15)
    Iowa – Brooks Raley (1-1, 6.00) game 1
             Chris Rusin (4-4, 3.93) game 2 projected

  • Suzy S.

    For Dorasaga…from yesterday’s previous thread….Re Blylevan’s statement that ” once a cub’s fan….always a cubs fan ” (paraphrased).

    To me …it’s an obvious statement…from the department of the redundancy department.

    I have a yearly duty coming up…just havn’t picked the game or time yet….Once a year, I grab a six-pack and go to the cemetary…It has to be a nice summer day…afternoon game….and I bring a radio to listen to the game.
    Both my parents are gone now…(several years ago)…but both were (and are) Cubs fans…So picture someone sitting next to the headstones, sipping a beer and sharing the play by play with their most loved ones…lost in the mist of Cubs/family memories. That person would be me…honoring my folks…sharing a Cubs game with them…just like I used to do when they were around.
    The Cubs run extremely deep in my family history…so no matter what…..I am a Cubs fan…sometimes…most unfortunately.

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks for sharing a fine family story, a true Cubbie tradition. I know you are a longtime Cubs fan, by destiny, as you once said here in the community-blog.

    • paulcatanese

      Very nice, and touching Suzie.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Suzy, thank you for sharing.

      • SuzyS

         Dorasaga, Paul and Neil…Thanks for the kind words.

        Looks like I might make a game this year after all….
        Red Sox/Cubs…Either I can’t lose…OR…I can’t win.
        Hard to tell…You pick em’…(I’m born in Boston and raised here.)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    John Gaub has been claimed off waivers by the Cardinals. Gaub was with the Rangers after being DFA’d by the Rays.

    • Aaron

      Esmil Rogers was DFA’d by the Rockies…guy throws mid-to-upper 90’s, but lacks control….with the pen problems, maybe the Cubs should take a flier. He has starting experience too

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I thought of that this morning as well.

      • Zonk

        I suppose we have nothing to lose, but he is very unimpressive.  He was OK at AA Tulsa in 2009, but since then has been shelled at every level.  He has never been effective at AAA, let alone the majors.  He probably advanced purely based on stuff.

        Maybe he and Dolis can get together and swap notes on how you can throw mid-90s and still not be good

  • Dorasaga

    That was scary. Reed Almost jammed his wrist.

    • Dorasaga

      Morneau’s very good read of the ball right off the bat, advanced from 1st to 3rd on a shallow single. Textbook baserunning.

  • Brp921

    I know he wasn’t making a prediction but Brenly sure called it when he said Samardzija might lay an egg today.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jeff Samardzija’s final line from Saturday’s start:
    8R, 9H, 1BB, 1K in 3.2 IP (78, 52 strikes)
     

    • Zonk

      That is not good.  Any reason Shark is struggling now?  Still like him, maybe he’s wearing out and needs a break.

      • paulcatanese

        The only reason I saw was his inability to get it done on the road. Strange, it’s still 60’6″.

  • paulcatanese

    It’s easy to see why the Cubs are National favorites,, they instill confidence to the teams they are playing.

    Not hard to watch them this year if done in the correct context. Never count on them winning, simply watch and try to figure out how they are going to lose the game, 101 different ways to do it.

    Still a staunch Cub fan, but expecting them to win is just plain frustrating.

    At the very least 100 losse’s this year, but when they approach that number it will be almost over for the year and can start thinking
    “wait till next year”.

    • Zonk

      At beginning of season, SI predicted 66-96.  That’s about right IMO.  And though some players have done better than others, the way we are losing is in line with what many predicted:  Cubs will have OK starting pitching, lousy bullpen, and will struggle to score runs.  That’s pretty spot on at this point.  Our starting pitching is faltering a bit lately, but it’s actually been pretty decent all year (Volstad excepted). 

      Every other facet has been very bad

    • Dorasaga

      I really doubt they CAN lose a hundred. The M’s made such feat due to a powerless lineup (the worst among 30 Major teams); they didn’t have a Designated-Hitter (something like 20 different ones throughout the season).

      The Cubs got more talent, but there’s a glaring hole in left field, defensive liability from Castro to Baker, and NO bullpen.

      The first problem cannot be solved but with time, with Soriano’s contract ending. The second, again, needs time as Castro grows and lesser roster-fillers such as Baker walk away. The third is non-issue since nobody build a team around their bullpen. If needed when the Cubs decide to contend, then it’s a quick fix.

      Depends on which lefthanded pitcher is ready from the farm and performs. Rizzo, Bret, Vitters, et al. be called up, then if they become solid, next year they’ll contend. They can falter. Not next year, then you were right. Been saying this like every other educated observers, I remind myself such is the life of rebuilding Cubs.

      • cubtex

        Glaring hole in lf? Out of everything you can say about the 2012 Cubs you bring up Soriano as the glaring hole? Wow!

        • Dorasaga

          Defensively, Soriano has not been doing better than keeping balls drop in front of him. He’s hurt and the pain grows on him, you know.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano with another blast

    • paulcatanese

      I think Soriono is getting smarter, he knows it’s easier to trot around the bases instead of running on a single:)
      And their’s a guy who knows how to improve his stock as a DH.

      • paulcatanese

        P.S. As hot as Soriono has been lately, a team from the AL should be interested in him, and not with the Cubs picking up his salary.
        He is proving to be a bonified DH and certainly an asset to a team in the hunt.
        And not at a loss.

        • Aaron

          I think Soriano just proved to every AL team out there that he can be one of the better DH’s in the game. 

          Given his performance at DH, the Cubs might not have to pay 90% of his salary…maybe 75%, but not nearly all of it like we previously thought

        • cubtex

          Haven’t been watching lately. No point to watch but I do look at boxscores and look at this site. Soriano continues to prove he can still hit. If I was a team in the AL looking for a DH……I would definately take Soriano.

          • Dorasaga

            I watched every Cubs game this season (includes Spring Training), and we know the best time had past ol’Fonzi last month. He’s a DH heading to count his retirement fund.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 11-3 to Twins Saturday afternoon – Jeff Samardzija:
    8R, 9H, BB, K in 3.2 IP; Alfonso Soriano: 2-for-4, HR, 2RBI; Reed Johnson: 2-for-5, 2B, RBI; Cubs: 3R on 11H, 0BB

  • RICK

    I guess i didn’t miss anything today glad that i went to the beach. CUBS REALLY DO SUCK time to remove that cubs sticker from my car until further notice

  • SuzyS

    Just heard on the radio that we’re off to our worst start since 1981. If you think history sometimes repeats itself….It took until 1984 and a blockbuster trade (Sutcliffe) to reach the playoffs….That seems just about right to me…HOWEVER…Methinks we want to go beyond history and win it all.
    Remember 1985…when we were favored to finally take the prize…and the whole darn starting rotation went down on the DL. When we build it now…we ‘re going to have to overbuild to avoid the Cubluck.

    • Dorasaga

      Thank you for picking up the encouraging messages. I need them.