Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Red Sox – 06/15/12

Game Sixty-Four: Cubs (21-42) vs. Red Sox (31-32)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 177/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31/1.03) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20/1.20)

The Chicago Cubs open a three-game series this afternoon with the Boston Red Sox in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final start at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform. Ryan Dempster is winless at the old ballpark this season and it would be nice, for more than one reason, for Dempster to post a win this afternoon.

With Dempster being in demand (10 teams rumored to be interested), Epstein and Hoyer figure to get more in return if they deal Dempster sooner rather than later. Ryan Dempster is pitching on regular rest this afternoon. Jeff Samardzija was pushed back a day in order to give him a little more time in between starts.

Theo Epstein will face the team he grew up rooting for and the organization he led to two World Championships for the first time this weekend. There figures to be a lot of good sound bites from both sides this weekend.

The Red Sox took two of three from the Cubs at Fenway last year … and the Cubs took two of three from the Sox at Wrigley in 2005. After Ryan Dempster this afternoon, Dale Sveum will send Jeff Samardzija and Paul Maholm to the hill in game two and three while Bobby Valentine will counter with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

Today it all begins with Ryan Dempster …

Ryan Dempster has posted wins in each of his last two starts. Dempster has not allowed a run of any kind his last 15 innings while the Cubs have scored 18 runs in Dempster’s last two starts.

Dempster tossed eight innings of shutout ball in his last start in Minnesota. Dempster allowed only four hits, all singles, with one walk and six strikeouts (maintained 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio). While many said it was “just” the Twins, basically the same lineup recorded 32 hits (16 in each game) in the first two games of that series.

Ryan Dempster is 0-2 in five starts at Wrigley this year with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Today will be Dempster’s fourth career start and fifth appearance against the Red Sox. Dempster owns a 1-1 record with a 7.13 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Dempster has not faced Boston since June 11, 2005 … and he picked up the save in a 7-6 Cubs win. Todd Wellemeyer beat Wade Miller in a game started by Carlos Zambrano. Jeremy Burnitz, Aramis Ramirez, Todd Walker and Todd Hollandsworth had multi-hit nights for Dusty Baker.

Red Sox Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Adrian Gonzalez – 2-for-14 with two home runs and three walks
  • David Ortiz – 1-for-3
  • Scott Podsednik – 7-for-18 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and four walks
  • Nick Punto – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 1-for-1 with a double
  • Ryan Sweeney – 1-for-3

After spending a majority of last season on the shelf (3-3 in eight games, seven starts with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP), Daisuke Matsuzaka made his 2012 debut six days ago against the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper and company scored four runs on five hits off Matsuzaka in five innings. Dice-K walked one and struck out eight.

Matsuzaka has not been the same pitcher that broke onto the big league scene in 2007 since he participated in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. Matsuzaka has struggled with his health and his command.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has never faced the Cubs and will pitch at Wrigley for the first time this afternoon. Dale Sveum’s offense must be patient and make Dice-K work today.

Cubs Career Numbers against Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • David DeJesus – 4-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-3
  • Luis Valbuena – 3-for-9 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: Valbuena to get most of the time at 3B for now. 

    • CubsForever

      Mr. Jeff Baker, your Greyhound ticket is ready……

    • Ripsnorter1

      He’s not the future, either. 5 years in the league already. 

      • Tony_Hall

        He is only 26 and has only 2 years of service time.

        If he ever figures out how to hit like he has done in the minors, we will have to find a spot for him to play…3B is wide open, right now.

  • CubsForever

    Did Stewart have this wrist injury before he came to the Cubs?…if so, what Quack Doctor gave the Cubs Mgmt. the “All Clear” on Stewart?

    Neil – Did Christian 2334 ask you where you got that last Cubs game Dempster information?……

    Why hold on these players longer?….nothing to prove anymore……injuries might happen…….and more Sellers could hit the market by the end of July……trade now is what I would do……

    Stewart is arbitration player this year….I would release him….nerve damage stays with you……I should know….I was told on get on many  people’s nerves here, and it seems they never will be able to recover by their remarks……..

    All those Tigers fans cheering at Wrigley irked LaHair……Don’t worry Bryan, your time with the Cub is coming to an end……I hear Cleveland wants you. 

     

  • Dorasaga

    Good battle first inning; the Cubs lineup must learn to do the same. Though I recently added DiceK to my fantasy team (rebuilding, haha), I’ll say this: Knock him out!

  • Chadaudio

    You know Paul, one of the brightest spots of this years Cubs team is Tony Campana. :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Patience and a Clevenger double … 

    • EqDoc

      I see that many people are not that high on Clevenger but when he is in there, he just seems to keep hitting…  Not spectacular but steady.

      • BosephHeyden

         I think it’s because he’s not a power guy.  Nothing he hits has been hit especially hard, which is fine because, like you mentioned, he hits it and hits it well.  I think Cubs fans would like another power threat and, ideally, that comes out of the catcher spot.  Clevenger’s just not that guy.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dempster with a standing triple … 

  • paulcatanese

    Horrible at bat for Castro first time up, takes two down the middle and swings at a pitch 2 feet outside.

    Campana not much better after Dempsters triple, swings at the first pitch, has to make this guy work, let alone give Demp a breather,

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wow. Bryan LaHair is outperforming Adrian Gonzalez this year.

    • cubtex

      They are going to regret that contract. He is about as slow a runner as there is in the league and he will not age very well. imo

      • Tony_Hall

        How many contracts of 5+ years, that take players well into their 30’s do teams not regret?

  • EqDoc

    Marmol closing?  Hold on to your hats…

    • BosephHeyden

      Well, at least they have him on a short leash.  Problem is that their alternative to Marmol is Randy Wells.  Our bullpen is just awful.

      • EqDoc

        Bases loaded…  I don’t think the leash is short enough.

      • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

        It was obvious the team didnt care about the bullpen or the season when we traded Sean Marshall…..he was awesome in his role and when he left I knew the pen was going to be a disaster.

  • BosephHeyden

    Val~bueno!

    • BosephHeyden

       And he throws in a just awful play to negate that really good play.

  • CubsForever

    Hey, a Top Ten play for Baseball Tonight.

  • CubsForever

    Marmol just throws now…mechanics are so off….lets hope Marmol can throw a few shut out innings so Theo can trade him off.

  • CubsForever

    Those easy grounders just kill us.

  • CubsForever

    Here comes the Grand Slam…..

    • Tony_Hall

      All in all, a good outing by Marmol.  He actually threw some strikes, walked only 1, and could have been out of the inning with just 1 baserunner on a single, if not for the error.

      We need to hope he can figure it out, so some team will take a chance on him.

      • CubsForever

         Really?….

        • Tony_Hall

          Compared to what he has been doing.

          0 Runs – That is what counts.

          If Valbuena doesn’t make an error, he only faces 4 batters, and he could have turned 2 and faced the minimum.

          • BosephHeyden

            Yep, had Valbuena played that ball properly, that eliminates that wild, low Castro throw that resulted in no outs, and likely gets two.  Marmol’s command isn’t great, but like Bob said:  if he gets a guy 0-1, the hitter’s approach is thrown way off and Marmol is that more likely to get an out.  The problem is that he’s just not getting that 0-1 start.

          • paulcatanese

            Tony, Valbuena dosent make that last play
            and catch the ball, he would have been singing the National Anthem tommrow with
            a very high pitch tone in his voice.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat Red Sox 3-0 Friday afternoon – Ryan Dempster: 0R, 4H, 2BB, 3K, 7IP; Steve Clevenger: 1-for-3,2B,2RBI; David DeJesus: 1-for-3,RBI,BB
     

  • CubsForever

    Cubs Theo – 3

    Red Sox Theo – 0

  • gary3411

    Now let’s get a legit prospect for Demp! Hopefully this was that last peak a team wanted to pull the trigger. He can be a 4-5 game difference in standings by the end of the year for someone if he keeps pitching like this.

    • Tony_Hall

      Dempster is not a 8-10 WAR player, which is what he would have to be to win 4-5 games for a team in a little over 3 months.

      He will be traded very soon.

      • gary3411

         “If he keeps pitching like this” which is 2.20ERA and going deep into games. That is a 8+ WAR player. What is the difference between Doc Halladay and what Dempster has done the first 2 months? What else is needed to achieve 8+ WAR if not that? I see he’s listed as a 2.0 right now but I don’t understand how that can be.

        • Tony_Hall

          This year Halladay is a 0.6 WAR, so far, so he is a head of the great Doc.

          Dempster is 2.0 so far, if he continues all year, just like this (highly unlikely), then he will be 4.0-4.5 range.  He has not pitched as well as 8 WAR dictates, nor has he looked as dominant as 8.0 WAR would need to look like.

          Clayton Kershaw’s best years have been 5.4 and 6.3 WAR and no way has Dempster been better than Kershaw’s best seasons.

          • gary3411

             Oh ok I didn’t realize the WAR was real-time. Anyway, by my calculation this was game 64 and I believe Dempster missed 2 starts so let’s say game 54 for him that is 1/3 of the season.

            His 2.0 will go up when updated after today to let’s say 2.2.

            2.2 * 3 = 6.6 WAR

            Now, he still has well over half of the season remaining (half would be 3.3 WAR) so he’s worth right around 4 wins by my calculation (if he pitches the same of course).

          • gary3411

             If only my Calculus II homework I’m currently working on was that easy!

          • Tony_Hall

            I applaud you and wish you well on Calculus, as that was where I drew the line with math. 

          • Tony_Hall

            There isn’t 2/3 of the season left, so you can’t multiply by 3.  

            No team is going to trade for Ryan Dempster, thinking of him as a 6-8 WAR type player at age 35.  He has been over 4 only once in his career (2008).

  • CubsForever

    We should be hearing about a Dempster trade in the next few hours….Yankees, Dodgers, White Sox, Orioles, Rangers, Nationals, Angels are all lining up now……..

    • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

      It’s great that Dempster is doing so well…not only for himself but for his trade value as well.  Hopefully he keeps it up for a few weeks…and we get a great steal from someone who will give up a little extra because of their desperation.

      If Ryan loves it here…he can give us the Kerry Wood discount next year to be here and I am sure it would work out.

      • CubsForever

        Joe – I love San Diego….Coronado….Seals Beach…LaJolla…..but ball players are not giving out hometown discounts anymore…..and Dempster is not returning to the Cubs….unless he can be 23 years old again.

  • Vivid_Reality

    Demps to the Dodgers for Zach Lee, similar to the Beltran trade from last year. Its most likely a reach but hey, anything can happen.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs and Paul Blackburn agree on $911,700 (full value). Calif HS RHP, clean delivery, 90-94 FB, potential 3 + pitches.

  • paulcatanese

    Enjoyable win for the Cubs today, even moreso for me listening to the Red Sox announcers moan and groan all day.
    They made several points about Wrigley being a dump and poorly designed, Great lengths to show the visitors clubhouse and the long trek to the dugout along with distaste for the ivy.
    While Dempster pitched a gem today, one must not forget the Red Sox displayed why they are in last place today.
    May be different tommorow but today was the Cubs day.

    • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

      Hey…haven’t caught many games lately….why did the outfield grass look as messed up as it was?  Was there a concert or somehting?

      • CubsForever

        When you have a Country singer hold a concert at Wrigley, you will get drunken Hillbillies start using the lawn instead of going to the restrooms.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Joe, great to hear from you!

        There were two concerts last weekend (Roger Waters and Brad Paisley) at Wrigley.

        • dawson08

          Thanks Neil…

          Seems they ought to keep the concerts out if it makes their field look that awful for games.

        • dawson08

          Thanks Neil…

          Seems they ought to keep the concerts out if it makes their field look that awful for games.

      • SuzyS

         They had a concert last week Joe.

  • paulcatanese

    Another thing, the announcers for the Sox had to mention how long it took for them to get into the park, even with their badges on, they were delayed by the gate attendent.

    Smart guy, that gate attendent, and as Ozzie had once said, there were enough rats running around Wrigley. I agree, dont need two more.

  • paulcatanese

    Great bet for Dempster with Campana on who gets the first triple.

    Got to say though,if Campana had hit the same ball it would easily been his second inside the park HR for him, but still would lose the bet.

    Good hit for Dempster, although Red Sox announcers were quick to point out that its ten years between triples for Demp. (no class).

  • matthew8510

    neil did you hear anything on what sveum said to marmol

    • paulcatanese

      I know you asked Neil, but have to throw in here that Marmol with the camera on him after looked like he was talking to himself, you could see his lips moving.
      I think we all have to worry if he hears answers from himself.

    • CubsForever

      Lots of swearing by Dale that was connected to the message of throwing the ball over the plate.

      • matthew8510

        i was thinkin more  of ” dempster is gonna be pissed if you mess this up for him again”

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Basically throw strikes or I’m going to take you out, with a few expletives mixed in. I would imagine similar to the “pep talks” Lou had with Dempster and Marmol in 2007 and 2008.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Campana – CF
    Castro – SS
    DeJesus – RF
    Soriano – LF
    LaHair – 1B
    Clevenger – C
    Barney – 2B
    Valbuena – 3B
    Dempster – P

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: Cubs considering going to three catchers when Soto returns. Opens options to pinch hit Clevenger and use him at 1B at times.

  • Aaron

     Wouldn’t that spell the end of Baker on the team? Baker can only play 3B, 2B, and 1B, while Cardenas can play it all, except catcher and CF

  • paulcatanese

    I posted earlier that I thought Clevenger should get the majority of playing time and Soto as backup. Upon further review I agree that Clevenger would be just as valuable used in that form, catcher, first base, and pinch hitter, his bat needs to be used as much as they can.

    I also think that teams are likely to be interested in Clevenger, he has huge upside, and if handled correctly could bring a great return, however, that would hurt the Cubs.

  • CubsForever

    As long as Koyie Hill is not one of them, I have no problem with having 3 catchers.

  • CubsForever

     I do believe Barney is our emergency 4th catcher.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Yes it would

  • gary3411

    I don’t think there’s much trade value for an unproven backup catcher that’s already 26 to be honest. Cubs I believe are better off keeping him as the backup for the next 3 years at a cheap price. I don’t see any indication that Clevenger can be an effective starting catcher at this level. Average to below average defense, and below average offensively. Maybe a single year a team can get by with him as the starter but that’s about it. If he develops more power then his starting stock could rise, but his swing just doesn’t profile to hit the longball, so I’m placing his chances of being a starter in this league for more than a year at about 2%.

    This 3 catcher business is only a very short term option I am sure. I see Castillo going back down eventually and Soto traded sometime after that if he can gain back some of his value here. There just isn’t enough versatility especially when Clevenger bats from the same side as LaHair. Unless they want to try Castillo at 1B against lefties then it might work for a bit.

  • cubtex

    I agree Gary. Clevenger is a platoon catcher. Doesn’t hit with enough power to play everyday and is average defensively. Not much trade value. I would like to see Theo try and bring back a catching prospect from another organization if the opportunity presents itself.

  • paulcatanese

    You may be right on Clevenger,but I still like him as number one, Soto is too unpredictable with hitting and his ability to stay off the DL.
    And if memory serves me correctly Castillo has spent a little time over at first base and would be a viable option.

  • DWalker

    Castillo is worrisome, I kept hearing he was our catcher of the future, but he looked so lost when he came up. I think his behind the plate abilities actually disappointed me far more then his batting. either he was having a lot of trouble adapting, or he still has a lot of basics he needs to be working on. If it was trouble adapting, I guess I can see why he they would want to let him spend some more time up.

     I can’t say any of the three really excite me, which brought up the thought that perhaps Castillo and Soto are both on the trade block. Perhaps there is a deal already in the works that will bring back a higher prospect catcher.   

  • carmelo

    Just a interesting item on Brett Jackson—last night was 3 for 4—all hits on 1st pitch of ab—in 4 total plate appearances saw 6 pitches total.  Guys like him with high strike out rates maybe better off going up there swinging at first pitch they like.

  • Chadaudio

    Totally agree.  Did you watch how he got injured?  He hurt his knee trying to track a Kerry Wood pitch – he can’t frame pitches, because he can’t even see them… it’s bad, real bad (that doesn’t even address how bad his game calling still is).

    Like you, I don’t know what I’m missing.  Why do our scouts like Castillo so much?  How could he be so bad?  Did he know how to frame pitches in AAA, and then just get overwhelmed at the MLB level?  All of his catching fundamentals and mechanics looked terrible when he was called up.  Maybe he looked a lot better in AAA?  Maybe Tom knows..

    I think the guy can hit, and he has a good arm… just don’t see him as even a serviceable catcher.

  • cubtex

    Clevenger has 68 PA this year. It is such a small sample size and just like the Joe Mathers and Tony Campana’s and Bryan LaHairs…….the more you see them the more you realize how flawed they are.

  • SuzyS

     Carmelo, I could see Jackson being included in a trade package for exactly that reason…He doesn’t really fit the mold of the type of players
    the Cubs are looking for…High contact grinders that work the count.
    Just heard a little while ago that Theo’s teams in the 10 years he was at Boston never ranked lower than 6th on the list of “Pitches per at Bat”.

    To me…that says high K guys are not long for the Cubs.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Suzy,

    When one fans, that’s at least 3 pitches.
    LOL

    But Jackson walks alot, too.

  • gary3411

     I’m not so sure Theo and Co. has ever stressed high contact rates, at least that I can recall (maybe he did before?). In fact, I believe hearing clips of Theo stating something along the lines that a strikeout is just another out.

    That said, it would seem Jackson is exactly the type of player they are looking for:

    1. sees pitches
    2. high on base pct
    3. high slugging pct
    4. good defense

    Sure he strikes out a lot, but those are built into these numbers already as outs just like a groundout or flyout.

  • Tony_Hall

    BJAX actually does see a lot of pitches per AB, which is why his K rate is so high, he gets deep into counts a lot.

  • Dorasaga

    I started to wonder if the scouts were doing a PR service to slip in “hope” into fans-mind…

  • gary3411

    Yes, the hitting and arm are what they are high on. Personally, I have not seen enough first hand of Castillo to accurately judge his fundamental catching skills yet as I was busy finishing up school during most of his playing time this year.

    As far as the framing of pitches goes, it is very important for a high school catcher to master to get calls as HS umpires are less skilled and don’t get reviewed very much (not to mention some guys even teach to give a benefit of the doubt to a well-framed pitch. As an umpire and speaking to professional umpires about this, that is not the case at this level. With technology these days, umpires and excruciatingly reviewed on their ball/strike calls based on video and computers and where the ball crosses the plate. They in fact work very hard at calling the correct pitch regardless of a well or poor framed pitch.

    That said, naturally a well-framed pitch may help you from time to time just because the umpires are human, but at this level it really is about the least important job for a catcher, and I’d say the difference between Castillo’s frames vs another catcher would be 1-3 calls a game, if that.

    Game calling, that is another story and it all depends from pitcher to pitcher and even organization to organization so it could be important.

    As long as we’re on this subject, to those coaching younger kids, you should have your catchers working on framing every single practice! The effect on inexperienced and umpires who care more about if they’re call looks good to the spectators than if they actually got it right, will make a profound difference. ALSO, teach them to sit as LOW to the ground as possible giving the umpire the best view of the plate as possible. That is the most overlooked skill of catching and rarely taught until upper level HS. If you’re legs don’t allow you to get super low, best to find another position you just aren’t going to get the calls as the umpire has to stand higher and his angle to view pitches just isn’t the same.

  • Texcubnut

    Dempster triples!!!

  • gary3411

     Yep

  • Dorasaga

    Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s what I’ve been saying: Technology (replays and pitch f/x) made umpires better.

  • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

    Bring back Hector Villanueva!!