Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Diamondbacks – 06/22/12

Game Seventy: Cubs (24-45) vs. Diamondbacks (34-35)
Game Time – 8:40pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – U.S. Chase Field, Phoenix

Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 4.04/1.35) vs. Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44/1.38)

The Cubs resume play tonight after spending their off day in the desert. Dale Sveum’s team opens a three-game series against the Diamondbacks in a park that they have not fared too well in the past. The Cubs won four of seven against Arizona last year but that was before Kirk Gibson got his team going in the right direction. After a rough start to the season, Arizona enters play tonight a game under .500, third place in the West and 7 1/2 back of the Dodgers.

The Cubs have played better outside of Wrigley of late but are still just 10-26 on the road this season. They are coming off their first winning series on the road and are 3-3 in their last six.

Dale Sveum will send Jeff Samardzija to the hill tonight, followed by Paul Maholm on Saturday and Matt Garza in the finale on Sunday afternoon. The Cubs offense will have the tough task of figuring out Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy and rookie southpaw Wade Miley.

Look for Dale Sveum to run out as many right handers as possible tonight against Joe Saunders. Righties are hitting .302/.356/.441 against Saunders this season while lefties have managed a .224/.234/.260 line.

The Cubs are 3-15 in games started by left-handers this season … and they are scheduled to face three lefties over the four games. While many think Anthony Rizzo will make his Cubs’ debut this weekend, the pitching match-ups may allow the Cubs’ front office to push back his call-up.

Tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija showed improvement in his last outing but still took the loss against the Red Sox. Samardzija allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Samardzija ran up his pitch count and left with one out in the sixth.

Samardzija still struggled with the command of his secondary pitches but was more successful than in his previous start against the Twins in which he allowed eight runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Dale Sveum said he was happy with the way Samardzija mixed his pitches and liked the fact he wasn’t just trying to blow everyone away.

Jeff Samardzija, like a majority of his teammates has struggled on the road this season. Samardzija is a very impressive 3-2 in six starts at Wrigley with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP but on the road, 2-3 in seven starts with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP.

After a sensational May (3-2 in six starts with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP), Samardzija is 0-2 in his last three starts with an 8.36 ERA and a 2.07 WHIP.

Tonight will be Samardzija’s first career start against the D-Backs. In five relief appearances, Samardzija does not have a record against Arizona and owns a 3.86 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP (two runs on one hit with seven walks and eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings) … in four games at Chase Field, 0.00 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP (no runs, one hit, five walks and six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings).

Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Miguel Montero – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Lyle Overbay – 0-for-2
  • Gerardo Parra – 0-for-1
  • Ryan Roberts – 0-for-1
  • Justin Upton – 1-for-3 with a double and a walk
  • Chris Young – 0-for-3 with a walk

Joe Saunders has put together a good start to the season. The Cubs were rumored to be interested in signing Saunders in the off-season but Saunders decided to he wanted to stay with Arizona. After a rough May (1-2 in six starts with a 6.12 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP), Saunders is 1-2 in his last three starts with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Saunders has continued allowing baserunners to reach (26 hits and five walks in 18 2/3 innings) but is back to limiting the damage.

The veteran southpaw has struggled in his home park this season. Saunders was 3-6 in 15 home starts a year ago with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. This year, Saunders owns a 3-4 mark in seven starts at Chase Field with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP.

Joe Saunders has not beaten the Cubs in two tries. Saunders is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA and a 2.19 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Saunders

  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-6 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-22
  • Reed Johnson – 4-for-17 with three doubles and a triple
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • cubs1967

    no DH and against a lefty; and suddenly this line-up looks like the Bad News Bears, er Cubs. 

    • BosephHeyden

       Yeah, not having a DH doesn’t make this an attractive lineup.

      • J Daniel

        Maybe Cubs can go to the AL instead of the Astros.

        • Neil

          Joe Saunders has been scratched, Josh Collementer is starting.

      • Cory

        Wasn’t terribly impressive w/DH

  • Neil

    From Sun-Times: Sveum on Rizzo: “Not going to happen here.” On homestand? “I don’t know if there is a date but obviously it’s coming soon.”

  • Neil

    From Tribune: Sveum sticking with Randy Wells in rotation.

    • Neil

      From Tribune: Rizzo not coming up in Arizona. Stay tuned.

      • BosephHeyden

         I’m actually fine with this.  A road trip in Arizona isn’t exactly the ideal place to call up a guy that will be a mainstay on the team.  Not only do you let a guy stay accustomed to midwest weather, it gives Team Theo plenty of time to figure out how to clear up a spot for him; rather than just flat out cutting Jeff Baker, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, they may benefit from seeing if they can get a trade done…heck, if the Orioles really are willing to take Soriano and Dempster for 95% of the total salary, that clears up a roster spot AND gives LaHair a place to play while they figure him out. 

        That Mets series in Chicago, however, is very appealing to bring up the star prospect of the team, since we’d be dodging the R.A. Dickey bullet by a day.

        • Neil

          I saw this coming with them facing three lefties in four games. Dillon Gee is pitching the Tuesday game.

        • Cubs1944

          I don’t see the Orioles  taking Soriano.

    • Ripsnorter1


      • Neil

        Saunders might not be starting

      • Neil

         Thought you liked him.

        • Tony_Hall

          He is still waiting for him to win 15 games…

          • RynoTiger

            I wanted to watch this game on WGN tonight since it’s actually on WGN, but due to FCC rules, WGN is blacked out for the game..just because I’m in Tempe.  I hate FCC rules with this block out crap.

          • paulcatanese

            You didn’t miss anything, I had a split screen watching Andy Hardy(1938) and the Cubs, couldnt take my eyes off Mickey Rooney.more action there.

          • Tony_Hall

            Try paying for MLB.TV, having the game on WCIU, only in Chicagoland, and not being able to watch it on MLB.TV because you live in the the Cubs region, and have to watch it on a channel you don’t get.

            Hopefully major sports will understand that ads can be run on the internet and that these blackout rules are so outdated.  I have always said, just show me the feed from the channel that has the rights, with commercials and all.  Why should anyone care if it is viewed on my computer screen versus my TV screen.   And of course the computer screen versus TV screen is already merging and hard to tell the difference.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’m laughing because this is his chance to win 15 games…with this team! 

          Seriously, I think he’s not dedicated enough to stay in MLB.

          • Neil

            He has yet to take advantage of all of the opportunities. He’s got the stuff.

          • Dorasaga

            Man, Soriano is really showing his pain after that limbering 2b running.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Actually, it’s better than watching Volstad start in MLB…..

  • Dorasaga

    Long man Collmenter starting tonight. Another God-sent opportunity for the Cubs to score some runs. Do Not Fail This Time.

  • RynoTiger

    too bad the pitching change was made so late. forced Sveum to keep with this lineup instead of Campana and LaHair against the righty.

    i think if the other team switches the starting pitcher so close to start time that the other team should be allowed to make lineup changes without penalty.

    • RynoTiger

      Reed Johnson looks slower each time I see him play.

    • paulcatanese

      I may be wrong here, but I believe the lineup is not legal until the lineup cards are exchanged at home plate.
      Even Brenly was suprised that Sveum didn’t make changes.

  • Dorasaga

    Patience paid off. Two consecutive walks (Barney, Mather). Barney’s at-bat was especially good, fouled off tough strikes and earned a pass.

  • Neil

    Brett Jackson hit his ninth homer of the season a short time ago.

  • cubtex

    Sandusky guilty on 45 out of 48 counts! Lock his a## up for life!

    • CubsWisdom

      Sandusky is going to prison where shower areas & young men will be his new playground.   Sandusky can draw out new football plays of how to tackle young men who hide the soap.

  • RynoTiger

    the Dbacks announcer just said something that made me gag a little…he said “2-2 on Jeff Baker, the Cubs cleanup hitter tonight”…ugh

  • Neil

    Soto with a homer …

    • Dorasaga

      Deep center field, above the camera, says Grace. Finally, rock it!

  • RynoTiger

    I hear that Josh Collmeneter and Brad Ziegler are actually in the top 5 in the Cy Young race.

    • Dorasaga

      Most pitchers LOOOVe to go after Cubs hitters. No clutch, lack of power, and a limping cleanup (today he bats 3rd).

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 6-1 to D-Backs Friday night – Jeff Samardzija: 5R, 7H, 2BB, 6K in 5+IP; Geovany Soto:
    2-for-4, HR; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-4, 2B, BB; Cubs: 9H,10K,1-for-8 RISP,11 LOB