Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 07/31/12

Game One Hundred Two: Cubs (43-58) vs. Pirates (58-44)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Casey Coleman (0-1, 7.32/1.93) vs. A.J. Burnett (12-3, 3.52/1.25)

The Cubs are playing their best ball of the season (19-10 since June 25) and it will be interesting to see how the team responds tonight will all of the changes. Casey Coleman will make his first start of the year tonight in the place of the recently traded Ryan Dempster. Coleman, along with Welington Castillo and Adrian Cardenas were recalled from Triple-A Iowa following Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger will split time behind the plate and Coleman will join Justin Germano in the rotation. Matt Garza’s next start was pushed from Friday in Los Angeles to Tuesday in San Diego.

More roster changes could be on the horizon for the Cubs over the final two months of the season.

Tonight it all starts with Casey Coleman

Casey Coleman will make his first start at the big league level this season. Coleman has shown he can get Major League hitters out but has been inconsistent, mainly due to his inability to throw enough strikes. Coleman does not have the “stuff” to pitch from behind in the count and if he does tonight, the Cubs could end up on the wrong end of a blowout.

Casey Coleman does not have a record in three appearances, one start, against the Pirates (1.23 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP).

Pirates Career Numbers against Casey Coleman

  • Clint Barmes – 1-for-3
  • Josh Harrison – 0-for-3
  • Andrew McCutchen – 0-for-2
  • Alex Presley – 3-for-3 with a double
  • Neil Walker – 0-for-3

A.J. Burnett is one of the main reasons the Pirates enter play tonight behind the Reds in second place in the central. Burnett is coming off back-to-back wins against the Marlins and Astros and is 3-1 in his last five starts with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … but in his three starts since the break, 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.

For as good as Burnett has been, he has struggled on the road. Burnett is 5-3 in eight starts outside of PNC Park with a 5.70 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.

A.J. Burnett shutdown the Cubs and Ryan Dempster back on May 25. Burnett tossed 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Burnett has never lost to the Cubs and is a perfect 5-0 in six starts with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 3-0 in four starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 4-for-6
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-19 with a double and three walks
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-4
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-3
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-15
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than you fear of failure." - Bill Cosby
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • scott

      Any truth to the rumor that Arizona is/was closing in on a Upton for GArza trade?
      Just curios

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        From what I can tell, no. D’Backs were pushing but Upton was not in the conversations.

        • scott

          thnx Neil

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            You’re welcome

  • triple

    Wow! I really like the look of that lineup now, especially knowing that we’ve made changes that make the future look a little brighter. We will miss Reed Johnson’s bat off the bench and his defense in the outfield. But this leads to seeing a little bit of what Cardenas can do to give Barney and Soriano an occasional day off, as well as him hitting in a bench role. I expect that we’ll see BJax and Vitters brought up in September and hopefully they will get to play full time then. I also believe that we won’t be seeing much of LaHair anymore either, but then again, who will replace him? I will also say that I am concerned about the catcher position a little bit. Castillo still has some learning to do behind the plate, and doesn’t help his pitchers very well. Especially as our pitching staff is getting less experienced, that will be important. But I do like that our bullpen is still intact. If our offense shows a little more of the spark we showed last night, hopefully that can be enough to get the ball into the bullpen’s hands and defensive replacements on the field. If that plays well, I think you do have to tip the cap to the coaching these young players have received, as well as the FO for putting these players together on this team.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bob Nightengale: The Rangers will pay all of Dempster’s salary, while the Cubs agreed last night to pay all of Soto’s salary, making it a virtual wash.

    • Dorasaga

      WGN just flashed Brigham as the prospect received for Soto.

      • Dorasaga
      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
        • Dorasaga

          Yea, missed that one. Too many new CCO pages for trades on one day!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            No worries man. Thanks for posting. You are right … lots of info.

        • Dorasaga

          J.B. seems to be an interesting prospect. He reminds me of one of those “Rule V kids” who skipped AA and tried at the big league. Do you know any upsides of him?

          • Dorasaga

            While looking through baseball reference, I saw “n/a” for the ballpark of the Frisco RoughRiders, for whom Brigham played. Their official site got Dr Pepper Ballpark. Maybe it’s a hitter’s park; plain hunch. It’ll be interesting to dig in what value Hoyer saw from this player.

          • cubtex

            I have been there. Cool stadium in Frisco. Not anymore of a hitters park than Round Rock.

          • Dorasaga

            Gotcha. It must be fun going there. I like its colonial style.

          • cubtex

            He gets crushed by left handed pitching. He leads the entire league in HR’s allowed with 19 and he is considered more like a ROOGY. I don’t get paying all of Soto’s salary for a player like this. They should have just kept Soto.

          • triple

            And 7 minutes ago, you just said “perfect example not to just look at numbers for minor league pitchers.”

          • cubtex

            I meant ERA. You need to look at the stuff and not just look at a guys ERA. Sorry for the confusion. Hits per innings pitched is the stat I look at most as well as K’s per IP

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are right. Dumping Soto was all about dumping him before next year’s arbitration. Castillo is as bad offensively as Soto. Look at his PCL numbers and you’ll see he’s like Blake Lalli–not going to cut it offensively.

            And we got nothing back for Soto.

          • cubtex

            I don’t get these deals that we pay the entire salary for a player and don’t get back anything back that will help the team. This is Marlon Byrd/Michael Bowden part deaux

          • Ripsnorter1

            This is not good FO work. I don’t get it, either.

          • Tony_Hall

            So after all the activity of the last 26 hours, you are going to complain about getting rid of Soto and picking up anything more than a bag of balls. They were going to non tender him at the end of the year. Getting any player is better than nothing, and they had to pay him if they didn’t trade him. This opened up playing time for Castillo and Clevenger so they can get a better look at them going into the offseason.

            Soto had virtually no value.

          • gary3411

            It was a deal with Rangers where we pay all Soto and they pay all Dempster. Those were numbers were put together during the Dempster deal and originally we wouldn’t have paid all of Soto’s salary if he was traded to them only.

          • Dorasaga

            I believe you’re right. One of Neil’s reports confirmed so. The Cubs will pay less money (Soto’s) for more salary relief (Dempster’s) and three prospects (for both veterans).

    • Tony_Hall

      Am I missing something on this, because that is not a virtual wash. Big difference in salaries between these 2.

      • John G

        A note about late season trades. In 1987 the Detroit Tigers sent a AA pitcher with a 5.87 ERA and more walks than strikes to Atlanta for veteran Doyle Alexander to help down the stretch. Alexander went 9-0 in August and September. A pretty good trade for the Tigers for one year only. Alexander played two more years and went 20-29 with a 4.40 ERA. The pitcher they sent to Atlanta? Some kid named Smoltz.
        Morale of the story? You never know what you got till its gone. Or till you have it.

        • Dorasaga

          Well said.

        • cubtex

          perfect example not to just look at numbers for minor league pitchers.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        No, I didn’t get it either. You are correct.

        • Dorasaga

          Looks like a bullpen day.

          • BosephHeyden

            I feel like this game would be much closer if the Cubs had offense.

          • Tony_Hall

            They may have used it all up last night. Plus AJ has been pitching pretty well this year.

          • Brp921

            I told my wife last night that they should save some of those runs for later lol.

          • cubtex

            I feel this game would be much closer if the Cubs had a hit

      • tno13

        Doesn’t Soto have more time left on his contract? Dempster for 2 months. Soto for this year and arb eligible next yr. might make it a wash

        • Tony_Hall

          The Cubs aren’t going to pay for next years arbitration, just the rest of this year.. Plus, in all likely hood, the Rangers will cut him instead of paying him $5M in arbitraton.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Soto has one more year of arbitration eligibility. He will be under the Rangers control for next season until they non-tender him. The Cubs were not going to tender him a contract for next season.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Well, Casey is back.

  • RMercer69

    Wonder what the Cubs will do at the catching position in the offseason?

    • Tony_Hall

      Nothing if Castillo and Clevenger show in August and September they can handle the duties.

  • John G

    Here’s a reality check for you. Next season, assuming Soriano and Garza are gone. Who’s going to be the Cubs Veteran? Clubhouse leader by default?
    Starlin Castro! Or maybe Jeff Samardzia!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another smart play from Rizzo

  • triple

    Not to beat a dead horse about the Dempster dealing. Which I will point out that I did not post any negative comments towards Demp, even though I wasn’t happy with his choice to block that trade to Atlanta for Delgado. If he had accepted that trade, I wonder if the Rangers would’ve actually bit on Garza because they obviously wanted to add the best pitcher they could, and if Demp wasn’t available, it could’ve been him. Not to say it would’ve happened, but I wonder what the return would’ve been for Garza from the Rangers if he was their only option at the deadline?

    • cubtex

      Great point. Rangers might have upped the ante on Garza and we could have had Delgado and some very good prospects for Garza. At least they were able to deal Dempster for Villanueva. He is further along than the comp pick they would have gotten.

  • Dorasaga

    Coleman settled down for three innings with some good fastballs on the corners; dialed up to 94-95.

  • Tony_Hall

    Neil – Just getting in, and realized there was a game…who knew with all the trade activity going on.

    Just wanted to say Thank-you for this great site, and all the work you do. There are many sites out there and some have decent articles and posters, but no site, for any sport, covers “breaking news” like you. You are the best, hands down.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tony, thank you very much.

      • Tony_Hall

        Are you going to get some sleep tonight…last night had to be a short one.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          That’s the plan … and it was.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hey, the Cubs have a runner on base …

  • Dorasaga

    I must say AJ stick with his game in face of a tight strikezone. Confirming with pitch f/x, I’m seeing a couple fastballs of borderline strikes that could have gotten Soriano and Rizzo, but called balls. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem with Coleman coming into the 5th.

    • paulcatanese

      Gonna be a long, long, hot summer. Grand slam,why not?

      • Dorasaga

        I think Coleman pitched well tonight. First inning might be an aberration, for the night, due to a small strikezone. His command against McCutchen’s last at-bat (5th inning) was good. He mixed in his curveball and gradually raised the eye-level; fooled McCutchen.

  • J Daniel

    Neil,
    With the additions of prospects from trades and the draft how do you feel the system is compared to a year ago?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      A lot better than a year ago.

      • J Daniel

        I guess we will see how many can make it and contribute. Also helps them with future trades.

      • Brp921

        Coleman didn’t pitch as badly tonight as the score would indicate.

        • BosephHeyden

          Like I’ve said: if they stick with him, he might prove to be a serviceable fifth starter. The key is that, until a better option emerges, they need to stick with him. The season’s pretty much over, most of us will stop paying as much attention to the Cubs in about 10 days (preseason football!), and we already know what Volstad is capable of at the major league level. They got to make these next two months count: see what everyone’s got and don’t waste time on the guys that you already know what they can do.

  • cubtex

    When you subtract 4 major league players from a team and add zero back…it is understandable why the team would respond like it has tonight.

    • Tony_Hall

      Yet they really didn’t give up any starters on offense. Reed was a bench guy and Clevenger was starting more than Soto, until recently, when they decided to play him more to make him tradeable.

      Offensively, they are running into a good pitcher having a good night.

      • cubtex

        Do you still think August will be their best month? I will take that bet if you still believe that.

        • Tony_Hall

          Actually I broke the season into thirds. Obviously the 2nd 3rd (June/July) has exceeded expectations and been better than the 1st, 3rd (April/May). So no, I don’t expect Aug/Sept to be their best record. But, I do expect the defense and offense to keep playing great, fundamental baseball that they have been. Even you have to admit that this team has been playing better every month.

          • cubtex

            Yep. The pitching will be ugly the last 2 months. Garza and Shark will be about it. I hope Travis Wood shows something the last 2 months.

          • Tony_Hall

            Of course you predicted ugly for the last month as well, so maybe we will just have to watch and see how they play.

            No one was predicting the record they have had since Rizzo came up, not even after a long night of drinking Cubbie Kool-aide.

          • cubtex

            Take Dempster and Maholm out and replace them with Coleman and Germano what do you expect?

          • Tony_Hall

            The offense to help win games…I hope.

          • cubtex

            They only have 3 hitters. Rizzo Castro and Soriano. You can’t beat good pitching with 3 hitters.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Cubs lost 5-0 to Pirates Tuesday night – Casey Coleman: 4R,
            7H (HR), 4BB, 5K, 4.2 IP; Cubs: 1 hit, 2 BB, 3 baserunners

          • Ripsnorter1

            And they wanted to deal Soriano, too….that would leave no one to protect Rizzo. That might hurt Rizzo’s development.

          • paulcatanese

            If the Cubs cant hit, they cant score, cant score they cant win.
            Simple game, go on to tommorow.End the LaHair, Valbuena experiment.

          • http://twitter.com/SirGladiator Frankie Newton

            Comparing a guy hitting 200 to an All Star isn’t one I would be inclined to make. LaHair’s only problem is he isnt getting regular playing time. Once he gets that, he will return to his All Star form. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

          • paulcatanese

            Frankie, are you saying LaHair is an All Star? He should have never been on that squad. He was added way too soon to the team(AS team) and has been in a slump since he was moved to right field.
            He is on the verge of 110 strikeouts and his defense lacks.

          • Tony_Hall

            Barney and DeJesus are productive batters. No they aren’t run producers, but both are types of hitters that lineup need. Valbuena and Lahair have not been hitting, Lahair at least sees a lot of pitches, which is why they are still going with him for now. A little offense from behind the plate would be nice.

          • cubtex

            LaHair might as well go up with a wiffle ball bat. He hasn’t hit for power in 2 months.

          • Brp921

            Bring up some of the young guys and see what they’ve got. Go for the draft choice .

          • cubtex

            agreed. lets see some new blood. What good does it do seeing Casey Coleman and Justin Germano pitch? Are they 2013 rotation pieces? Play someone else. This team will be bad in August

          • http://twitter.com/SirGladiator Frankie Newton

            So far Germano looks like one of the best pitchers on the team, very impressive stuff every outing, I look forward to seeing him pich for us for years to come. Coleman? No, I’d rather not see him pitch anymore for our big league team. Bring up somebody new for him, but theres no comparison between Germano and Coleman, Germano is awesome, Coleman is horrible.

  • John G

    September 9, 1965
    The last time the Cubs were no-hit.
    Sandy Koufax perfect game.

    • cubtex

      At least he is a hall of famer. AJ Burnett?

      • John G

        21 down – 6 to go

        • cubtex

          wow

      • Tony_Hall

        AJ has been pitching very well this year.

  • cubtex

    Of course that is an error on Clevenger

    • Brp921

      The scorers may go easy on Soriano at times but that error was definitely on Clevenger imo.

      • cubtex

        It was 3 feet up the first baseline and Clevenger let it go right under his glove.

      • BosephHeyden

        Agreed. Clevenger has looked, I don’t want to say lost, but not quite there while behind the plate lately. As lost as Castillo looked before, I think it’s his turn again.

  • BosephHeyden

    Times like these make me remember when the Phillies came close to no-hitting us back in 2004. And the Doug Glanville misplayed a ball in the outfield to break it up. And then the Cubs got that guy in to tie the game. They still lost that game, but I always felt bad for that pitcher, even though I don’t remember who it was.

    • BosephHeyden

      Eric Milton! And that was back when our offensive powerhouses were Michael Barrett, Corey Patterson, and Mark Grudzielanek.

  • BosephHeyden

    I’m thinking that that hit to the helmet affected Darwin only so much that that had to be a big ringing sensation in his ears, but I did not like how he seemed to try and avoid eye contact with the trainer.

  • cubtex

    Valbueana is brutal. How much more are they going to play this guy?

    • Brp921

      I agree.

      • cubtex

        Cardenas!

      • cubtex

        He is hitting .167 in July yet he plays everyday. He must have some dirt on Sveum. lol

        • gary3411

          There’s no one else. Don’t say Josh Vitters. Valbuena outproduced him by far in AAA this year and they’re not even in the same galaxy defensively. Cardenas will get some time maybe.

          • cubtex

            Bryan LaHair outproduced many people in AAA as well. Don’t give me this AAA arguement

    • Tony_Hall

      Short term, Cardenas will work.

    • Ripsnorter1

      It was announced that he’d start everyday the rest of the season when Stewart went down. And Stewart was brutal, too, btw.

      The Cubs COULD have been competitive in 2012 by just picking up a couple of bats during the off season. And for those crying that it would have stunted the Cubs’ rebuilding efforts, they are all wrong. Maholm and Johnson were signed in the off season, and they were dealt for something. (I know Johnson was here last year, but he could have been cut lose).

      The point is that a FA signing, if done right, can be traded for pieces if need be.

  • John G

    There it goes.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hey, the Cubs got a hit!

  • Brp921

    The night is not totally lost!

  • cubtex

    Burnett bitching out the ump for not getting the call on some close pitches

    • Tony_Hall

      That’s why you can’t always go by what players say. I wish all broadcasts had the k-zone, pitch trax, etcl, always showing in the corner.

    • Brp921

      He’s not got any complaints. He got the benefit on the one pitch and the others were balls.

  • BosephHeyden

    For a second, I thought the Cubs were going to revisit that Eric Milton game and start a two-out rally to tie the game. Then I remembered David DeJesus isn’t exactly the most patient clutch hitter we have. I figured he would have been traded before Johnson, but I guess his performance hasn’t exactly given him the same type of value Maholm gave himself.

    • John G

      They can’t trade DeJesus. He would probably take Kim with him.

  • cubtex

    Jim Callis from Baseball America ranks the top 10 prospects dealt this trade season. He has Vizcaino 3rd and Villanueva 5th. Said if Vizcaino is not durable enough to start….has the stuff to close. Other players Cubs aquired weren’t in top 10.

    • BosephHeyden

      That’s not too shabby to get two of them in the top 10, especially when you consider the haul that the Brewers got for Grienke and the fact the Phillies traded away two All-Star caliber outfielders.

    • triple

      Yeah I’d have to say that getting 2 of the top 5 prospects that were traded is a win for the front office, especially when you consider some of the big league talent that other teams traded, like Boseph mentioned.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with another fine play. Cut down McCutchen at the plate.

  • Dorasaga

    One good play follows another that required a very sharp instinct with very little reaction time. I’m impressed.