Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 07/01/12

Game Seventy-Eight: Cubs (28-49) vs. Astros (32-46)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (2-3, 3.54/1.20) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-5, 3.52/1.26)

Weather permitting … Can the Cubs complete the sweep of the ‘Stros this afternoon behind Travis Wood? The Cubs have a shot at their second series sweep of the season (Padres, May 28 – May 30) … but first they will have to figure out Wandy Rodriguez and post their second consecutive win in a game started by a southpaw (5-17).

Dale Sveum should send out a majority of his everyday lineup once again. Wandy Rodriguez has struggled of late and lefties (.258/.313/.381) have hit just as good as righties (.269/.304/.411) against him this season. Jeff Baker (10-for-23 with five doubles and a walk) has hit Rodriguez rather well and Sveum could use this afternoon as a way to give Alfonso Soriano (4-for-38 with a home run and three walks) and that bad knee a break.

In other newsRosters for the 83rd All-Star game will be announced today. The selection show airs on TBS beginning at 12:00pm CDT. Starlin Castro is expected to be the Cubs’ lone representative in the Mid-Summer Classic … but Alfonso Soriano could sneak in on the NL Roster.

The Cubs announced Saturday that Chris Volstad will get the start Tuesday in Atlanta against Jair Jurrjens. Volstad will be officially recalled Tuesday afternoon, no word yet on which pitcher will be sent down to make room for Volstad on the active roster.

Ian Stewart is expected to make a decision soon whether or not to have surgery on his left wrist. The wrist did not respond to the cortisone injection and Stewart is still feeling quite a bit of pain. Dale Sveum indicated Saturday there is some calcification on the bone that is causing some of the problem and Jed Hoyer said there is a strong likelihood that Stewart will have to have surgery on the wrist.

The final game at Wrigley before the break all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off his best outing of the season. Wood tossed seven innings of shutout ball against the Mets with only one walk and six strikeouts. Wood threw strikes and only one runner reached third base while he was on the mound. Wood has appeared to be more comfortable and confident of late.

Wood has posted wins in his last two starts and is 2-2 in his last five outings with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Wood has posted quality starts in each of his last three games … and four of the last five.

Travis Wood’s second start of the season came in Houston back on May 22. Wood allowed two runs on two hits with a pair of walks in 5 2/3 innings. The Cubs lost 2-1 because the offense could not figure out J.A. Happ. Wood is 1-2 in six career starts against the Astros with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Jose Altuve – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Matt Downs – 2-for-2 with a walk
  • Chris Johnson – 2-for-12 with a double
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-12
  • Jed Lowrie – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • J.D. Martinez – 1-for-4
  • Jordan Schafer – 0-for-2
  • Chris Snyder – 2-for-7

Wandy Rodriguez’s last start was one of his worst of the season. Wandy Rodriguez allowed five earned runs over 6 2/3 innings to the Padres. San Diego pounded out eight hits with no walks and Rodriguez struck out six. The veteran southpaw started June with a horrible outing against the Reds (nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits with four home runs, two walks and three strikeouts in five innings) and finished the month with a rough start against the light-hitting Padres.

In his last five starts, Wandy Rodriguez is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Rodriguez has been slightly better on the road (3-1 in six starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) than at Minute Maid Park (3-4 in 10 starts with 3.60 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP) this season … and has already beaten the Cubs this year. Rodriguez held the Cubs to just one run on eight hits without a walk and five strikeouts over seven innings back on May 23 at Houston.

Wandy Rodriguez owns a 6-6 mark in 20 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 2-4 in 11 starts with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 10-for-23 with five doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-13 with a walk
  • Tony Campana – 0-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-15 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 7-for-26 with a home run and a walk
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-10 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-38 with a home run and three walks
  • Geovany Soto – 9-for-21 with three home runs and four walks

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • paulcatanese

      Again with the platoon. Ugh!

      • cubtex

        Yep…..they got a win yesterday against a lhp without the full blown platoon so Sveum needs to shake it :)

    • matthew8510

      ya the 2 stooges are playing we won

    • BosephHeyden

      Well, at least Rizzo is actually the every day starter. I dunno…I guess I’m fine with Mather or Johnson relieving Soriano every so often, too, because the man definitely needs a few off-days (not consecutively, of course). And, as Neil mentioned, Baker having good numbers against Wandy makes it smart to start him. But a Mather/Johnson/Baker outfield is should never be considered a major-league outfield. Especially since facing a left-hander seems to automatically make three guys that are not everyday starters starters. Today is one of the rare exceptions where having two of those guys in the outfield makes sense, but that third spot should be given to LaHair, DeJesus, or Campana, since two of those guys barely have a handful of ABs against actual left-handed starters (read: starters, not LOOGIES), and the third (DeJesus) was signed for the sole purpose of being an every day outfielder to showcase for the trade deadline.

      • paulcatanese

        You took the words right out of my mouth. It’s obvious Sveum has determined that DeJesus, Campana, and LaHair have had their “small sample
        size”. One of them should play,Johnson and Baker, no, Mather, well he did hit a home run his last game, and I understand a day off for Soriono and you’re opinion of that and agree. Soriono has not had good numbers against Wandy, but that shouldnt keep him from playing as “things change”. But his rest for a day is important, and hope that was the reason he does not play today.

        • SomeGuy27

          Regarding LaHair I want to see him everyday regardless of who’s pitching. He only has 14 AB’s vs LH starters (0 hits but 3 BB and only 2K’s) I know it’s not good, but what folks have to remember is that really the only way a LHP stays in an MLB bullpen is to be REAL good vs. LH hitters the other 24 AB’s LaHair has is against basically LOOGIES having faced only 3 of them more than once (Ohman, Chapman, and Rzepczynski). How can you tell if the guy is going to hit left-handers if the only ones he faces are specialists who are paid specifically to get left handed hitters out? I mean even Ohman had only .186 BA against. If he fails, fine. Just get him more than one PA a game vs. LH pitching for an honest assesment.

          • cubtex

            You misread the stats. It was 14 games against left hand starter. Actually 28 PA 2 hits 10 K’s and 5 walks.

          • SomeGuy27

            Actually no. His starts against leftys are as follows: Capuano (LAD) 5/1, Wolf (MIL) 5/11, Danks (CWS) 5/19, JA Happ (Hou) 6/30.

            Source:http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7979/batvspit;_ylt=Au4Sg9Y0BI9H9I.LRoZWJjKFCLcF

          • cubtex

            Check baseballreference.com. It breaks everything down. He started 4 games against lh starters but played in 14 games against lh starting pitching and 28 PA’s

          • SomeGuy27

            That’s my point. Starts and a full game of PA’s. Yes, he has AB’s late in games LH’s have started but he came in to pinch hit only to end up facing more often than not a LOOGIE. I’m talking about starting a game when a left hander is the scheduled starter.

          • SomeGuy27
          • cubtex

            I realize it is a small sample size. I tend to agree with you that I would rather play LaHair than Mather out there. LaHair is what he is. He is a 29 year old journeyman that had a FANTASTIC month. I was calling for him to be moved a month ago before the league figured him out. Not only is he not hitting in May and June….his power numbers have decreased terribly.

          • SomeGuy27

            I agree with you regarding production dropping off. I expected .270 23HR 85RBI for the season. I don’t think they are going to move him and based on what’s in the system, he can be a cheap power bat for this season and maybe the next two. But in order to determine if he can fill that role he needs to face everyone every day. I think platooning him (or any player for that matter) just takes him out of his routine or rhythm or whatever you want to call it and doesn’t allow him to make adjustments. I know when I played it was much harder if you didn’t know your role or if you were going to be in the line-up from one game to the next especially if playing time was being determined from pitch to pitch or at bat to at bat.

          • cubtex

            He would need 57 RBI in the 2nd half to reach 85. I don’t see that happening.

          • SomeGuy27

            Key word in my statement is expecTED.

          • cubtex

            Go to baseballreference.com. Click on splits 2012 and it breaks down LaHairs stats vs starting pitching and relief.

  • SuzyS

    Cool to hear Underwood is throwing in the Wrigley bullpen.
    of the draftee arms…he intriqued me more than most.

    • Cubsrant

      Typical for Cubs draftees to come to Chicago and throw a few pitches or hit a few balls in batting practice….makes them work harder in the minors to get back to Wrigley to play for the Cubs….enjoy the night life after the game….have a pizza with a good looking woman.

  • matthew8510

    is lahairor soriano gonna make allstar

  • BosephHeyden

    Wow…looking at the starters for the NL All-Star team versus the starters for the AL team…how is it so hard to win a division for this league?

  • BosephHeyden

    Cubs get two: Castro AND LaHair.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Bryan LaHair and Starlin Castro both named to NL All Star team.

  • calicub

    Clouds are gettin real dark over wrigley….

    • calicub

      Here comes the tarp…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Due to a bad storm, the beginning of the game will be delayed. No word on possible start time.

    • calicub

      Rain rain go away please come back another day
      i have just one day
      and i want to watch a game today
      please be no more rain delay!

  • cubtex

    I am very surprised LaHair got picked as a reserve. After his great great month of April…..he has been on a freefall. The month of May he hit .253 with 5 HR’s. 2 2B’s and 8 RBI and in June he hit .231 with 3 HR’s. 2 2B’s. and 6 RBI. He also struck out 25 times in 65AB’s. Not typical all star numbers.

    • Tony_Hall

      284/364/526 – 13 HR’s – 74 K’s in half a season.

      They don’t pick All-Stars, based on monthly stats, they look at the YTD. Not that I wasn’t surprised as well that he made it, but there really are not that many 1B in the NL worthy…they all went to the AL.

      • cubtex

        Yes they don’t….but 12 2B’s and only 28 RBI’s as a 1st baseman. I got to believe there haven’t been any 1st baseman in the modern era with 28 RBI picked for an all star game. The only 1 I can think might have would be Rod Carew but of course he was a way different type of hitter.

        • Tony_Hall

          Take a look at the NL 1B, not much to choose from, and depending on when they voted, had to help Lahair.

          Adam Laroche looks like the guy who would have made it, if Lahair didn’t.

          Laroche
          251/337/505
          15 HR’s 18 2B’s 49 RBI’s
          74 K’s

          • cubtex

            Maybe Paul Goldschmidt? The Astro announcers were talking about LaHair and how his numbers don’t warrant a trip. They compared his numbers to Jed Lowrie who is a SS and didn’t make it……but then they added that he was voted in by players and LaRussa didn’t pick him.

          • Tony_Hall

            He would be the other.

            293/368/542
            11 HR’s 21 2B’s 35 RBI’s
            61 K’s

            Both would have been better picks than Lahair.

        • Tony_Hall

          I always liked Rod Carew, he was one of the fun ones to imitate in the back yard baseball games.

          • cubtex

            Hahaha. Carew was a good one. Also Pete Rose, George Hendrick(remember him?) Bobby Grich, Freddy Patek. The late 70’s and early 80’s had some unique batting stances :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes there were, one of my friends I played with was a Cardinal fan, and he loved Hendrick. Jack Clark and all their jackrabbits in Mcgee, Herr, and Coleman’s stances.

          • Cubsrant

            Backyard Wiffle Ball….that explains everything now.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are such an idiot…never said wiffle ball, we had big yards.

          • Cubsrant

            “Name Calling” will not be tolerated on this blog……Be Classy!

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry that doesn’t apply to replies to you…

          • Be Nice

            You have lots of hate and anger built up inside of you……you need to deal with your issues.

          • Tony_Hall

            Look in a mirror…there has to be a a reason you post the comments you do too.

        • Tony_Hall

          David Schoenfield of ESPN on the snubs and worst picks for the all-star game.

          “Wait, the Cubs got two players? Bryan LaHair is one of the nice stories of the season, but he made it only because a backup first baseman is required. The fact that a platoon player with just 28 RBIs made it speaks to the lack of depth at first base in the NL. However, LaHair’s selection also shows the player voting is done too early in the season. LaHair was hitting .388 through May 3 but is hitting .236/.313/.389 since. Basically, he made the All-Star team with one hot month. Paul Goldschmidt or Adam LaRoche would have been a better choice. ”

          http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/26316/all-star-rosters-full-of-hits-and-misses

          • cubtex

            Good points.

        • Be Nice

          Travis Wood looks like a Ted Lilly type of pitcher. The Marshall trade will be a plus for the Cubs in years to come.

          • J Daniel

            Agree . . . Maybe theo does know what he is doing???

    • Ripsnorter1

      LaHair stinks. No way on earth he should have made the All-Star team. He’s lousy.

      • Brp921

        He probably made the team because being a 29 year old rookie is a feel good story, but I think calling him lousy is a little unfair. He’s having a fairly decent season so far.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Boise – James Pugliese (0-2, 4.91)
    Peoria – Starling Peralta (1-2, 4.30)
    Daytona – Matt Loosen (6-2, 3.00)
    Tennessee – Nick Struck (9-6, 3.74) projected
    Iowa – Frankie De La Cruz – (1-2, 2.90)

    Tennessee has not posted a starter for today yet.

    Comments:

    Boise has released OF Eduardo Gonzalez

    More on Baez: In watching last night’s game, Baez has incredible hand/eye coordination, and probably get the bat on any ball thrown to him.

    Tennessee’s Kevin Rhoderick has been dealing with a blister issue, which has caused his ERA to spike recently. The good new is that while he has lost the feel for his slider, his change-up has gotten better with more use.

    • cubtex

      Braves signed Ben Sheets to a minor league contract. He could have been a good buy low sign by Cubs.

      • Cubsrant

        He is 33 years old….arm problems….not played for awhile….why not just sign Mark Prior again!

        • cubtex

          Because Sheets is a starter and Prior is now a bullpen guy.

          • Cubsrant

            Theo vision of the future Cubs does not include over 30 players who went through Tommy John surgery…….we all need to forget how the “old” Cubs use to put a team together…..the “new” Cubs are all about youth, fundamentals, strong healthy type of players…….not old broken down players looking for a paycheck.

          • cubtex

            Rodrigo Lopez?

          • Cubsrant

            Just filling a roster spot in Iowa……players like him, Wells & Dewitt will be gone after this season……..the New Cubs will be not like the team that your father & grandfather use to watch.

          • cubtex

            That’s all Sheets is right now. If they trade Dempster and Garza they will need starters for the last 2 months. Sheets could have been given some starts and if he did well could be traded for prospects. I was not talking long term.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Both Castro and LaHair can thank their peers. Castro was 1st among NL SS & LaHair 2nd to Votto in player ballots.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LaHair is the first Cubs first baseman to be selected for ASG since D-Lee in 2007 and third in last 30 years (Mark Grace)

    • cubtex

      Hopefully we will be seeing Rizzo in the not too distant future as a regular on all star team.

      • J Daniel

        Might not want to sign with Cubs. Let’s face it, who would you sign with? The only way you get him is to pull a JH, overpay.

        • J Daniel

          Meant for cubtex

        • cubtex

          True…… I just stated that he could be a really good buy low. It is a minor league contract so it wasn’t money. If they trade Dempster and Garza…Sheets could have had an opportunity here. Not sure if Cubs were even interested.

  • calicub

    They posted a 2:15 estamated start time

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs are shooting for a 2:15 first pitch

    • BosephHeyden

      Well, if they’re delaying the game based on threat of storm, this might be called, because it doesn’t look like this storm is going anywhere until at least 5 or 6.

      • Cubsrant

        playing ball at 2:30.

  • Cubsrant

    Poll Question of the Day….

    With LaHair being named to the All Star Game, will this make……?

    A – Theo & Jed keep LaHair on this Cubs team longer.
    B – Theo & Jed ask for more in return in a LaHair trade
    C – More teams ask for LaHair in a trade
    D – LaHair celebrate his selection by hitting a home run today.

    • cubtex

      Someone tweeted that question to Kevin Goldstein about LaHair’s value increasing due to all star nod….. His response……Teams are not that dumb. It does nothing to his present value.

      • Cubsrant

        So you mean there are no more Jim Hendry GM types out there?

        • Ripsnorter1

          I wouldn’t say that….shoot, the ChiSox got Youklis for next to nothing. I know the posters here think Dempster is going to bring them a young John Smoltz in return, but I doubt it. Sox gave up a junk pitcher (Zack Stewart) and a bench player (Lillibridge) who fans almost as much as LaHair, and got at least a starting 3B (they had none themselves).

          • bpot92

            I feel like teams tend to pay more for pitching than hitting. Also, the Red Sox didnt pay for all of Youkalis’s contract and they had to make room for Middlebrook. Plus Youk was stuggling and hurt most of the year. Dempster will probably get one good prospect and one like the red Sox got, imo

  • Cubsrant

    Here is a name from the past….Justin Berg threw two innings in a game after TJ surgery according to Muskat.

  • Cubsrant

    I wonder how Randy Wells ego is these days ……he gets waived, no team wants him….Koyie Hill gets waived…signs with the Nationals………I wonder if the Cubs have a someone to talk with Wells and DeWitt.

    • Tony_Hall

      Teams had $1.3M or so reasons not to pick up Wells…

    • DWalker

      Wells is learning that he can’t just skate by and be one of the big boys. I had hoped earlier in the year would be a wakeup call and he’d get his act in gear. He didn’t, in fact it looks like he’s just given up.

    • J Daniel

      They do . . . Miller

  • Brp921

    Nice play by Barney

  • cubtex

    Wood can hit!

    • Tony_Hall

      And to think we got him and 2 other players for a set-up guy :)

      • cubtex

        Lol. I like Travis Wood. He is a very good athlete. He competes. He can be a decent back end guy.

    • Be Nice

      Doing better than Zambrano these days at the plate and on the mound.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good baserunning by Wood

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another good at bat by Castro …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with a RBI single … Castro to third.

  • Brp921

    Maybe Travis Wood will be the guy Theo and company were trying to find in all the trades for guys who were struggling but who had some success in the past.

  • Brp921

    Rizzo should have stretched. I hope he uses that bad call as a lesson, never assume anything.

    • Be Nice

      plus, the ump needs to get his eyes and hearing checked on!

      • Brp921

        It was a bang bang play. If he had stretched we wouldn’t be having a conversation about it.

  • cubtex

    Castro’s fundamentals are so much better this year.

    • GaryLeeT

      How about the 3 walks in 2 games?

      • cubtex

        Yes. As we have said…….he is 22 freakin years old. He is still learning and will even get better than he is now! He is special.

  • Be Nice

    Sox lost to the Yankees today…..

    Anyone sad on that news?

  • GaryLeeT

    T. Wood with a nice little 19 inning scoreless streak.

    • cubtex

      Yea. I heard Bruce Levine say that he is #2 on any team :)
      No……seriously. He competes and is a very good athlete.
      When he hits his spots and doesn’t walk anyone (like he has done recently)…..he can be very effective

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 3-0 Sunday afternoon … and complete the sweep

    Travis Wood: 0R, 3H, 0BB, 4K in 7.2IP,
    1-for-3, 2B, R; Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-4, RBI, R; Starlin Castro: 0-for-3, BB, R; Jeff Baker: 1-for-3,2B,RBI

    Third game winning RBI for Rizzo in five games.