Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 07/02/12

Game Seventy-Nine: Cubs (29-49) vs. Braves (41-37)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta

Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 5.05/1.42) vs. Tommy Hanson (9-4, 3.59/1.35)

The Cubs are coming off their best homestand of the season can they begin their last road trip before the break with their fourth straight win? The Cubs open the final week of the first half with the first of four against the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs took two of three from Chipper Jones and company at Wrigley nearly two months ago (May 7 – May 9). The Braves enter play tonight in third place in the NL East, 4 1/2 back of the first place Washington Nationals.

After tonight’s opener of Jeff Samardzija against Tommy Hanson, which is a rematch of the game back on May 7 that the Cubs won 5-1, Chris Volstad will make his return to the Cubs rotation on Tuesday to face Jair Jurrjens. Paul Maholm and Randall Delgado are slated to start the game on the 4th of July … and Matt Garza and lefty Mike Minor are scheduled to start the finale on Thursday night. The Cubs will miss Tim Hudson in this series.

Alfonso Soriano received a much-needed day off Sunday and look for him to be in the lineup for the next four games. Soriano loves hitting against the Braves and at Turner Field. In 52 career games (212 at bats) against the Braves, Soriano owns a .325/.377/.679/1.056 line with 17 doubles, two triples and 18 home runs … at 24 games at Turner Field, .317/.364/.644/1.007 with seven doubles, a triple and eight home runs.

In other newsStarlin Castro and Bryan LaHair were named as reserves for the NL squad in the upcoming Mid-Summer Classic. Castro and LaHair, along with Dave McKay, will represent the Cubs in Kansas City in the 83rd All-Star game next Tuesday. Starlin Castro will make his second straight appearance in the All-Star game while Bryan LaHair will make his first trip. Both Castro and LaHair were voted in by the players … and Bryan LaHair is just the third Cubs’ first baseman in the last 30 years to be voted onto the NL All-Star roster (Derrek Lee, Mark Grace).

Ian Stewart has apparently elected to have surgery on his left wrist. The Cubs have not confirmed the news that Stewart announced on his Twitter account Sunday night. According to Ian Stewart, he would miss six to ten weeks but is hoping to return in September.

Tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Hopefully Jeff Samardzija’s last outing proves to be his low point of the season. Jeff Samardzija seemed to be pitching toward his outing against the Mets after losing three starts in a row with a couple of his worst performances of the year. But no one saw Samardzija pitching as bad as he did.

Jeff Samardzija allowed nine runs on six hits with four walks and one strikeout in 4 1/3 innings to the Mets in the embarrassing 17-1 loss last Wednesday. Samardzija has not shown the ability over the last six weeks to make the right adjustments the second and third time through the lineup. Samardzija is falling behind then trying to throw his way out of trouble instead of pitching is way out of jams. It appears Samardzija has slipped back to old habits that got him into trouble in the minor leagues and made him more of a candidate for the pen than the rotation.

After a promising April (2-1 in four starts with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP) and an outstanding May (3-2 in six starts with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP), Jeff Samardzija posted a 0-4 record in five starts last month with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP (33 hits, 15 walks and 20 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings).

Samardzija really needs a good outing tonight, but it doesn’t help that he will be outside of his home park where he has struggled mightily this season (2-4 in eight games with a 6.37 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP).

One of Jeff Samardzija’s best starts of the year came against the Braves on May 7. Samardzija tossed seven strong innings and allowed just one run on five hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts. Samardzija is 1-0 in seven games, one starts, in his career against the Braves with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP … at Turner Field, no record in four games with a 8.31 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP (six runs, four earned, on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings).

Braves Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Michael Bourn – 4-for-7 with a double and a walk
  • Matt Diaz – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Freddie Freeman – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Tommy Hanson – 0-for-2
  • Jason Heyward – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Eric Hinske – 1-for-2 with a triple
  • Chipper Jones – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Brian McCann – 0-for-4 with a walks
  • Martin Prado – 0-for-5
  • David Ross – 0-for-1
  • Dan Uggla – 1-for-11 with a home run and two walks
  • Jack Wilson – 0-for-1

When Tommy Hanson is going good he is one of the best young right-handers in the game … and unfortunately for the Cubs, he’s been very good of late. After struggling a little in May (2-2 in six starts with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP), Hanson has not lost a game in his last five outings. Hanson is 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Hanson is coming off a win against Arizona (three runs on seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings) and has held opponents to three runs or less in eight of his last ten starts.

Tommy Hanson has struggled at Turner Field this season. He is 3-2 in seven starts with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP compared to a 6-2 mark in nine starts on the road with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … teams are hitting nearly 60 points better against Hanson at home (.287) than on the road (.231).

The Cubs beat Tommy Hanson back on May 7 at Wrigley. Hanson allowed two runs on five hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in six innings. For his career, Hanson is 0-3 against the Cubs in three starts with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Tommy Hanson

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-2
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Jeff Samardzija – 0-for-2
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • scottm

      Neil, sorry to ask, but you know what MLB team has a two story bullpen? I want to say Phillies but not sure. Solve this familys disagreement?

      • Neil

        Citizens Bank Park in Philly

        • scottm

          thnx. sorry to bother you.

        • Neil

          No bother … you are more than welcome.

  • Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Ryan Dempster threw 40 pitches in bullpen session Monday and felt good.
    Said wants to see how he feels tomorrow. The plan is to throw another bullpen Wed

  • Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: DeJesus has a sore neck. Slept wrong. Out of lineup today. Could be back tomorrow.

  • Neil

    Update on Stewart from Carrie Muskat: Ian Stewart will have surgery on left wrist next week and is likely done for the season

    • CubsInsider

      And done with the Cubs also…..he will be released.

  • matthew8510

    any guess on whos gonna be first be be traded?any guesses

    • BosephHeyden

      Dempster is going to be the most sought after for sure, but his being on the DL seems to have temporarily stopped trade talks. Garza’s too inconsistent to get the value the Cubs are looking for. I’d say LaHair, especially now that he’s got the All-Star tag and is playing the outfield. There are a number of teams that will love getting a left handed power bat they can play at first and in the outfield. Though I will say that this platoon nonsense the Cubs did has probably limited LaHair’s value to the point where he might get a good prospect in return, but that’s it.

    • CubsInsider

      Tampa, Miami and the Dodgers are close to hitting the panic button…….Tampa sent scouts to look at both Soriano and Soto according to their reports…….look for July 16th date on something to happen……maybe a Baker or Johnson will get the first ticket to leave town.

  • Tom U

    The Cubs just named Logan Watkins and Nick Struck their minor league player and pitcher of the month

  • CubsInsider

    Going to do something different tonight….

    Instead a Baseball Poll….I will do a Baseball Quiz…

    Tonight’s Quiz….

    Name the only baseball player who has over 500 hits with four different clubs?

    • Cory

      Rusty Staub

      • CubsInsider

        Congratulations… are a winner!

        Did you know the answer or did you cheat?
        Be Honest…..

        If you knew it….you are a baseball scholar….
        if you cheated…..are you running for office this November as a Republican or a Democrat?

        • Rational Logic

          Dude, look – we come here to banter and debate about the Chicago Cubs and nothing more.

          Comments should be relevant to either (1) the subject of the thread or (2) a response to someone else’s comment.

          Random poll questions that are of no importance to the discussion on hand are a waste of everyone’s time who uses this great resource. They’re annoying to read and you sound like the new guy at work who says random stupid things to try to impress people. Nobody likes that guy, he is never invited to parties, and people talk behind his back. Unfortunately for you, we can’t talk behind your back so we’ll say it to your face. So please stop wasting space…nobody cares. Go post your polls on Twitter #nobodycares.

    • justsayin

      Why don’t you do something really different and GFY

      • CubsInsider

        I am reporting you to Neil……

        Oh Neil…….

        Someone is talking bad…..and I think I know who it is.

  • Neil

    Very good at bat by Rizzo …

  • Tony_Hall

    Very poor effort by Castro…

    • Neil

      I’m still trying to figure out what he was thinking. Samardzija was not happy, Sveum greeted him as he came off the field.

      • Tony_Hall

        It was bad enough that he was flat footed and didn’t charge it, but then to “showboat” and wait to throw it made no sense.

        • cubtex

          Rizzo was late getting to bag because of shift.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’ll buy that, but as an infielder he should of charged it and done a little shuffle step to keep in timing, and put himself closer to 1B and buy the time needed.

          • cubtex

            Yes. I think Rizzo is trying to still learn shifts…..but as a 1st baseman he needs to not stray off too far where he can’t get back to bag.

        • Neil

          Rizzo with a dinger to left center …

  • Neil

    Horrible at bat by Campana … just over matched.

  • RMercer69

    I wonder what Castro’s avg. is since Jaramillo was let go? He seems to be having a lot of very quiet, uneventful at bats recently. I also wonder if the new regime trying to tweak his approach so far has been counter productive.

    • SomeGuy27

      18 for 75 since June 12th. .240 1 2b 2 3b 1 HR 6 RBI

      • cc002600

        perpective on how bad Stewart’s numbers are.
        Stewart – 5 HR, 17 RBI in 179 AB’s
        while valbuena has 3 HR, 13 RBI in only 60 AB’s
        Great job tonight by Barney.
        He’s not a big hitter, but he’s a nice little player. great glove. you have to really like him.

  • cubtex

    I know it only the 4th inning but if the Cubs continue to lead the game and win……that could be 3 straight game winning RBI’s for Rizzo. The kid has shown that he is a middle of the order bat so far.

  • GaryLeeT

    What’s gotten into, or out of Samardzija? The guy pitching tonight had not been seen for some time. I guess throwing strikes cures a lot of ills. It’s no coincidence that T. Wood has issued only one walk over his scoreless streak.

  • SuzyS

    I haven’t been able to watch…Shark is obviously having a good game…What’s he doing different guys?
    It’s incredible how one guy…Rizzo…seems to have changed the tone of this team since his arrival….Although you can’t credit one guy with doing it by himself…it does seem the demeanor of the entire team has changed since his arrival.

    • Neil

      Suzy, he’s pounding the strike zone and has a very good slider tonight.

      • SuzyS

        Thanks, Neil….It’s good to see.him bounce back against a decent team on the road. If Shark could develop into a consistent starter it will really help…as a dominant starting rotation isn’t even a glimmer on the horizon yet.

    • Neil

      Samardzija said his splitter was the difference tonight.

  • Neil

    Third time through for Samardzija starts with a double

  • Neil

    And now a RBI single …

  • Neil

    Good recovery to get Heyward

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Finally the Real Shark showed up tonight

  • Neil

    Valbuena with a bases clearing double

    • Neil

      Barney with two excellent plays

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    why keep the Shark in?

    • Tony_Hall

      He is just at 100 pitches, 101 to finish the 7th.

      • cubtex

        Hey Tony…..Did you notice Chris Archer’s start tonight back in AAA? He threw well but his command issues will continue to be a problem with him. 5IP 2 runs 4 WALKS and 7 K’s. That is why many feel he is destined for the bullpen.

        • Tony_Hall

          AAA…your worried about what he does against those guys? He has already dominated major league guys :)

          • cubtex

            Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t dominated AAA :) On another note…it is nice to take a look at the future. Castro and Rizzo could be a nice 2-3 for a long time. Now if we can find a #1 and #4 lol.

          • Tony_Hall

            Castro and Rizzo look real nice. At least I feel like there are options to be the #1 and #4 in the near future.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    This might of been the best start of the season for the Shark

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Braves 4-1 Monday night

    Jeff Samardzija: 1R,4H,1BB,11K in 7IP; Luis Valbuena: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 3RBI; Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-4,HR

    Season-high 4-game winning streak for the Cubs

  • Scott McMeekan

    Really happy to see the Shark pitch so well tonight. As Suzy mentioned, Rizzo seems to have given a spark to the team…and although they’re going nowhere this year, it’s good to see that. Vitters should be up by late August, which hopefully will add something too, and by that time some trades should have brought something as well. All in all I’m happy with how things are shaking out.

  • cubtex

    Great start by Shark! 11K’s in 7IP and only 1 walk. Outstanding!

  • Tony_Hall

    I like this kid…

  • cubtex

    He will be in the league a long time if he continues to take that pitch to left center. I like Rizzo too.

  • Tony_Hall

    We have been agreeing on way too much lately :)

  • Neil

    Excellent scoop by Rizzo on the backend of the 6-4-3 double play

  • texcubnut