Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Red Sox – 06/16/12

Game Sixty-Five: Cubs (22-42) vs. Red Sox (31-33)
Game Time – 6:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 177/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96/1.35) vs. Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57/1.36)

In order for the Cubs to post their second victory in as many days as well as their first series win since sweeping the Padres (May 28-May 30), Dale Sveum’s team will have to accomplish a rare feat this season … winning a game started by a left-handed pitcher. The Cubs are just 3-13 in games started by lefties this year and they will face one of the best in the American League tonight in Jon Lester.

The Red Sox will get their first look at Jeff Samardzija as a starter. Boston had their way with Samardzija a year ago but he’s a different pitcher now … and one that is in need of a good outing. Some think Samardzija’s last two outings tell more about Samardzija than his previous 10. The Cubs pushed Samardzija back a day and it is easy to say, tonight is a big outing for Jeff Samardzija.

The Red Sox announced a pitching change for Sunday night’s finale. Josh Beckett was scratched due to shoulder soreness and lefty Franklin Morales will take the hill instead.

In other newsCarlos Marmol is the Cubs’ closer again, at least for now. Marmol was shaky in the ninth inning Friday but said he felt more comfortable late in the inning … right around the time he and Dale Sveum had their little “chat”.

The Cubs are toying with the idea of keeping Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo with the team when Geovany Soto is ready to return … likely Monday’s opener on the South Side. The thought is if they keep three catchers on the active roster that would allow Sveum to play Clevenger at first base.

Tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off a horrible outing against the Twins and one Dale Sveum and the coaching staff saw coming. Samardzija struggled with his release point, repeating his delivery and command of his secondary pitches, specifically his splitter. Sveum said Samardzija has also fallen in love with his fastball again, which has gotten him in trouble.

Samardzija is in need of a good outing tonight. After posting a 3-2 record in six starts in May with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, Samardzija is 0-1 in his last two outings with a 10.38 ERA and a 2.54 WHIP … teams are hitting .390 against him and Samardzija has walked (6) almost as many has he’s struck out (7) over his last two starts (8 2/3 innings).

Like the rest of his teammates, Jeff Samardzija has performed rather well at Wrigley this season (3-1 in five starts with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP) and will make just his second start at home tonight since May 23.

Jeff Samardzija has faced the Red Sox once in his career. The Sox lit up Samardzija at Fenway last May (five runs, three earned, on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in one inning).

Adrian Gonzalez (1-for-1), David Ortiz (1-for-1 with a double), Dustin Pedroia (0-for-1), Nick Punto (1-for-1 with a walk), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (one walk) and Kevin Youkilis (0-for-2) have limited at bats in their career against Jeff Samardzija.

Jon Lester has struggled this season and has not done much to put last September (1-3 in six starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP) behind him. The very talented southpaw was 1-2 in his first five starts with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP then posted a 2-2 in his next six outings with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP while teams hit .293 against him. Lester has been a little better of late (0-0 in two starts with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP) and makes his first road start tonight since May 19 (2-2 in six road starts with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP).

Jon Lester gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings in his last start to the Nationals. Lester struck out nine and over his last 13 innings, Lester has struck out 14 and walked only three.

Jon Lester beat the Cubs last year but it was not pretty (five runs on 12 hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings) and tonight will be Lester’s first appearance at Wrigley Field.

Right-handers (.278/.336/.405) have had similar success as lefties (.258/.305/.333) this year against Jon Lester. David DeJesus has struggled against Lester in his career so look for Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson in tonight’s starting lineup.

The Cubs will have their work cut out for them tonight.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Lester

  • Jeff Baker – 4-for-4
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-4 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-4
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-15 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-6
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Johnson – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Soriano – LF
    Baker – 1B
    Mather – CF
    Castillo – C
    Valbuena – 3B
    Samardzija – P

    • matthew8510

      only 2 stooges left johnson and baker

      • Ripsnorter1

        Johnson is not a stooge….

        1. He’s a very, very good fielder.
        2. He’s hitting .298 (what’s wrong with that?)
        3. He’s slugging .433 (more than Campana and Adrian Gonzalez).
        4. He’s got a .792 OPS.The guy is not the problem with this team. 

        • J Daniel

          Agree!

        • matthew8510

          actually he is very bad in clutch under pressure and batting 298 only because he has 104 ab give him 400 ab and see what he hits just my opinion its time to go

        • gary3411

          Johnson is very valuable, especially because he can produce even without regular AB’s and has his entire career. Great guy to have on the bench and spot start vs lefties.

  • BosephHeyden

    I keep seeing articles on CNNSI.com and MLBTradeRumors.com that the Cubs and Red Sox are having preliminary talks on Dempster.  My question, besides “why would Dempster waive his no-trade clause to go to a team that isn’t just in last in their division, but is also a bit on the hostile side of things?” would be what do the Red Sox actually have in terms of prospects that would be worth trading arguably one of the best pitchers on the trade market for?

    I feel like if the Red Sox had good pitching prospects, they’d have brought them up instead of needing to trade for Dempster.  And that’s not even mentioning the assorted articles out there that feel like they’d trade Dempster under value to call these stupid, already resolved compensation talks squared.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree and have seen the same articles, what could be even worse is if they trade for Youk(cant spell it).
      I would not understand any trade with the Red Sox for any reason.

      • Ripsnorter1

        The Boston system is bankrupt. The former GM bankrupted the system in acquiring Mr. Adrian Gonzalez. And it was pretty weak anyway, since the only draft picks he hit on was the #1 picks. He had only a couple of other draft picks make the team. 

        • Zonk

          You’re right, except for Papelbon (4th rnd) Pedroia (2nd rnd), Cla Meredith (6th), Wil Middlebrooks (5th), Anthony Rizzo (6th)….if it wasn’t for this collection of stiffs, Theo would only have success in the first round.

          BTW, I only looked through 2008…..

          • BosephHeyden

            2008 is about where it stops, anyways, so there’s no real benefit of going further.

            But this opens up a rant I have to get out. Right now, I’m still trying to give Theo the benefit of the doubt, but his supporters keep using the same dumb argument:  he built two World Series teams.  No, he didn’t.  He took over the team in 2004 and THAT team happened to win the World Series.  The extent of Theo’s involvement was the trade that sent Nomar over to us and netted them Doug Mientkewitz and Orlando Cabrera, who were both good, but not necessary (well, Cabrera was necessary because they traded Nomar and had no quality backup in place).

            The guys listed above:  they were all hits for Theo.  Granted, as of right now Rizzo’s only historic value is the fact he’s a prospect who has been involved in two high profile trades, but those other guys mentioned helped the Red Sox out when they got to the majors.  They’re also, so far, the only ones of real note that are Theo picks.

          • Zonk

            I left out the first round picks, 2004-2008:  Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, Josh Lowrie, Clay Bucholz.  That’s a total of 4 all-stars so far, which is 4 more than we drafted in those years.  And still waiting on a couple guys….

            Theo’s draft record was excellent, there is no other way to slice it.  That’s why he gets the benefit of the doubt. 

            By his own admission, he made some FA signing mistakes, but nearly every spending GM has

          • BrutalTruth

            and I guess Theo’s haters keep using the same dumb argument: he’s a failure because he hasn’t turned 100+ years of futility around in less than a year. 

        • SuzyS

           I would have done the same for Agon of 2 years ago…and I think you might have also,Rip

      • J Daniel

        Maybe some of the talk is to drive up the return? You must engage as many teams as possible in order to increase return.

    • DWalker

       I wouldn’t rule out a multi team trade at some point for one or a combination of players.  I would expect theres talks already underway with a few teams, but theo has the upper hand right now. this early in the season with two in demand pitchers, he can set the price. Not only that, theres some potential package deals, and the cubs are in the position of picking up salary to sweeten a deal farther if there is the option to sweeten the return. For boston, with its salary concerns, that could be a huge factor.

       I agree with you though, can Boston put together a package?     

    • gary3411

       Matt Barnes their number one pick last year has absolutely done nothing but send guys back to the dugout (0.784 WHIP) his first year this year with big K numbers. I don’t think we’re getting him unless we send Garza though.

      I would be happy with any 2 of either Bryce Brentz (OF), Garin Cecchini (3B), or Anthony Ranaudo (RHP) for Dempster straight up.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Koyie Hill has cleared waivers and assigned to Triple-A Iowa.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro cuts down Ortiz at the plate …

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just gotta love the way Ortiz runs the bases. 

    I wonder if Bobby Valentine might set him down, like he proposed the Cubs should set Castro down last year, when Castro was eating his lunch with his back to the batter as the pitch was being thrown. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pitch counts:

    95/63 for Samardzija after five … 58/42 for Lester after five.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another rough outing for Samardzija

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The site had server issues tonight. I apologize, everything should be fine now.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Both Castro and Soriano fanned on pitches over the top of their shoulders.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Nick Punto pinch hitting! HA!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jim Buck, the announcer for Fox tonight, said he didn’t think Chicago Cubs fans should have to endure the kind of rebuild they are getting, ie, with the prospect of the Cubs setting a record for most losses per season.

    • DWalker

       they also suggested that the cubs have no hope of competing in 2015, at least 5 years and probably be 7-10 years before the cubs are competitive.

      • Ripsnorter1

        That’s a long time.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Cubs lost 4-3 to Red Sox Saturday night – Jeff Samardzija:
        3R, 4H, 3BB, 6K in 5.1IP; Luis Valbuena: 1-for-3, HR, 3RBI; Jeff Baker: 2-for-3, 2B, R; Welington Castillo:
        1-for-3, BB, R
         

  • Ripsnorter1

    Castillo has a gun at C.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes he does, that throw did not waiver one bit, a rocket.
      And I loved the camera work that followed the ball on the replay.

  • Ripsnorter1

    EVERYTHING by Acevedes is up in the zone. 

    He could give up a tater here REAL easy.

    • SuzyS

       Agreed…but we didn’t have the hitters.

  • Ripsnorter1

    LaHair often expands the strike zone. Just fanned on an outside fastball. 

  • cubtex

    Gerardo Concepcion with another Gerardo Concecion start tonight.

    4 IP   5 Runs   4 ER 

  • paulcatanese

    While Cub fans pay their money to get into the park they do so as fans of the home team.
    I found it highly distasteful that they booed Soriono for not running out the line drive to the third baseman.
    That was clearly the same as anyone who has played the game and hit a line drive back to the pitcher.
    Even if he ran to first he would still be out by 30 feet. 999 times out of a 1000 that ball is caught before the hitter can get out of the box.
    999 times out of a 1000 the hitter would not run in that situation.
    Hit to the outfield is a different thing, yes you run, But as a clear cut out that should have been caught before Soriono could even move and then boo him because it was dropped is way out of line. Bad.

    • J Daniel

      100% CORRECT!!!! Classless!

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks J, I knew someone had been there before.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Boise – James Pugliese (0-0, 0.00)
    Peoria – Gerardo Concepcion (2-4, 7.50)
    Tennessee – Eric Jokisch (3-0, 1.40)
    Iowa – Chris Rusin (5-4, 3.81)

    Daytona is on All-Star break. Austin Kirk starts for the North squad tonight. Radio coverage on MiLB.com.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Blake DeWitt has been activated from Iowa’s DL.