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.
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