Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 06/18/12

Game Sixty-Seven: Cubs (22-44) vs. White Sox (35-31)
Game Time – 7:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 180/914
Location – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (2-5, 4.04/1.12) vs. Zach Stewart (1-1, 5.18/1.48)

Updated 4:11pm CDT – The Cubs placed Ryan Dempster on the 15-day DL on Monday afternoon and recalled Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa. Randy Wells will take Dempster’s place in the rotation and start Wednesday’s finale against the White Sox. Geovany Soto was activated from the 15-Day DL and Welington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

It is game one of round two of the City Series … The White Sox have already retained the BP Crosstown Cup with the three-game sweep over the Cubs back in May (May 18-May 20) but the Cubs have a chance of making life a little challenging for the Southsiders over the next three days. The Sox lost two of three over the weekend against the Dodgers and enter play tonight a game and a half up in the AL Central over the Indians and just three games ahead of the Tigers.

Dale Sveum will send Matt Garza, Travis Wood and for now Ryan Dempster to the hill over the next three games. Robin Ventura will counter with Zach Stewart, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd. The Sox altered their rotation slightly Saturday in order to give both Jake Peavy and Chris Sale extra time between starts. The Cubs might have caught a break with Stewart getting the start … that is if they make him work and take advantage of him making his first start of the season.

Over the last six years it seems every time the Cubs and White Sox square off drama has not been far behind, especially during the series on the South Side. The Cubs have lost nine of their last 12 games at the Cell and just a quiet three games, with a few wins, would be a step in the right direction.

In other newsGeovany Soto could be activated from the DL prior to tonight’s game. Soto was scheduled to catch all weekend, working up to a full nine innings in Sunday’s finale against Albuquerque. Due to the field conditions at Principal Park, the Cubs scratched Soto on both Friday and Saturday. Soto started and played a full nine innings behind the plate Sunday (0-for-4, one strikeout) and threw out a runner trying to swipe third. Dale Sveum has said that when Soto is activated they could keep Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger, along with Soto, and have three catchers on the big league roster.

If the Cubs decide to go with three catchers, Adrian Cardenas could be the odd man out.

Tonight it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza pitched better in his last outing than his final line indicates. Garza technically put together his third straight quality start but still took the loss after allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits without a walk and five strikeouts in six innings. Garza surrendered four runs in the fourth after an error by Joe Mather opened the floodgates. Garza struggled again with his defense and it cost him the win in the end.

After an excellent start to the season (2-1 in five starts with a 2.67 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP), Matt Garza struggled in May (0-2 in four starts with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP) but has gotten back on track of late (0-2 in three starts with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP). In his last 18 innings, Garza has struck out 17 and walked only two.

For as good as Garza has been at Wrigley this season (1-1 in five starts with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP), he’s been equally as bad on the road (1-4 in seven starts with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP) … maybe pitching in the same city as his home ballpark will help him tonight.

Matt Garza missed the Sox at Wrigley in May and is 1-3 in six career starts against the White Sox with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP (0-1 in two starts last season with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP) … 1-0 in three starts at the Cell with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.

White Sox Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Gordon Beckham – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Adam Dunn – 1-for-7 with two walks
  • Orlando Hudson – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Paul Konerko – 6-for-12 with two doubles, two home runs and two walks
  • Brent Lillibridge – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • A.J. Pierzynski – 3-for-11 with a home run and a walk
  • Alexei Ramirez – 0-for-5
  • Alex Rios – 5-for-25 with a double, a triple and three walks

After posting a 2-5 record in 10 games, eight starts, with a 6.22 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP a year ago, Zach Stewart will pitch in his 18th game of the season tonight, but only his first start. Stewart last pitched four days ago and tossed a perfect frame against the Cardinals. In his outing before, Stewart allowed two runs (home run) on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in two innings to the Astros.

The longest outing Stewart has had at the big league level this season was 3 1/3 innings against the Twins on the South Side. Robin Ventura has used him as his long man but it has been nearly a month since he completed at least three innings of work.

Zach Stewart is 1-1 in 14 games at the Cell this season with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Tonight will be Stewart’s first career start, second appearance, against the Chicago Cubs. Stewart faced the Cubs back on May 19 at Wrigley and Sveum’s team put up four runs on four hits with no walks and a strikeout in an inning of work … both Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather took him deep in the ninth inning of a 7-4 Cubs’ loss.

Jeff Baker (1-for-1), Darwin Barney (1-for-1), Starlin Castro (0-for-1), Bryan LaHair (0-for-1), Joe Mather (1-for-1 with a home run), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-1 with a home run) and Luis Valbuena (2-for-2) all have limited at bats against Zach Stewart.

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