Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 07/05/12

Game Eighty-Two: Cubs (31-50) vs. Braves (42-39)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta

Matt Garza (4-6, 4.01/1.16) vs. Mike Minor (4-6, 6.20/1.47)

Weather permitting … Can Dale Sveum’s team finish the season series against the Braves with a victory and post their third straight series win? The Cubs have already won the season series against Atlanta (4-2) but a win tonight would go a long way to a strong finish to the first half.

The Cubs have shown improvement of late, even in games started by lefties. The Cubs are 6-17 against southpaws this season and will face three left handers over the next four games. Dale Sveum should send out his everyday lineup tonight. Mike Minor has struggled all season and right handers are hitting .272/.342/.451 against him while lefties have managed a .267/.356/.375 line.

The Braves are one of many teams rumored to be interested in Matt Garza. Atlanta has actually been connected to Garza and Ryan Dempster as well as Zack Greinke. The Braves are looking to add pitching and a good outing tonight for Garza would go a long way to help his value … that is, if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are actually looking to move him.

In other newsRyan Dempster, not Chris Volstad, could be starting Sunday’s finale in New York. Multiple reports early in the week indicated that Dempster would not return until after the break. Following another side session Wednesday, Dempster said he felt great and would like to start in the final game before the break. Dale Sveum said they will wait to see how Dempster feels Thursday then make a decision by Friday.

The surgery on Ian Stewart’s sore left wrist has been scheduled for Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic. With Ian Stewart likely done for the year, look for the Cubs to transfer him from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL soon in order to clear a roster spot on the 40-man roster.

Tonight it all begins with Matt GarzaMatt Garza is coming off his second win in three starts in a game that he did not have his best stuff. Garza could not put the Astros away last Saturday, ran up his pitch count and left with one out in the sixth inning. Garza allowed two runs on nine hits with three walks and one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings. The Cubs won the game 3-2 thanks to a two-out RBI single off the bat of Starlin Castro and a two-run shot from Anthony Rizzo. Garza needs a better outing tonight in his last start before the break.

Garza finished June with a 2-3 record in six starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP … a step forward from May (0-2 in four starts with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP) but nowhere near his first five starts of the season (2-1 with a 2.67 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP).

Matt Garza is still maintaining a better than 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio (31 strikeouts and seven walks in last 36 1/3 innings) but the deep counts have shortened his outings. Garza averaged nearly seven innings per start in April (6 2/3 innings), just under five in May (4 2/3 innings) and right around six in June.

Garza did not face the Braves back in May at Wrigley and is 0-1 in two career starts against Atlanta with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP … no record in one start at Turner Field with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP (four runs, two earned, on six hits with one walks and five strikeouts in five innings).

Braves Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Michael Bourn – 10-for-17
  • Matt Diaz – 1-for-3
  • Juan Francisco – 0-for-3
  • Freddie Freeman – 2-for-6
  • Jason Heyward – 0-for-4
  • Eric Hinske – 2-for-7 with a walk
  • Brian McCann – 1-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Martin Prado – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Dan Uggla – 4-for-13 with two walks
  • Jack Wilson – 1-for-1

Mike Minor began June on a positive note after just a horrible May (0-2 in five starts with a 9.95 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP). Minor allowed one run on four hits with five walks and four strikeouts in five innings to the Fish and picked up his first win in nearly two months. Minor then held the Yankees to one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings … arguably his best start of the season. But it has been all downhill for Minor since.

Minor has not completed six innings of work in each of his last three outings while allowing four earned runs in each of those starts. Minor picked up a win against the Nationals in his last start (four runs on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts in five innings) but is 1-2 with a 7.05 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Minor has walked 11 batters with just 13 strikeouts in his last 15 1/3 innings.

The Cubs must be patient against the very talented, but underachieving southpaw tonight … something they have not done in the past. Minor is a perfect 3-0 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Minor has 24 strikeouts and just two walks in 16 2/3 career innings against the Cubs.

One of the keys for the Cubs is that Dale Sveum must use his everyday lineup and leave the right-handed platoons for the opening of the Mets’ series against Johan Santana. Right handers are hitting .272/.342/.451 against Minor this season while lefties have managed a .267/.356/.375 line.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Minor

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-8 with two doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-4
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-9 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-6
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-8 with a double and a home run
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-4

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • John_CC

    Neil, what is your sense of the Cubs plan for 3B now? Will they try to ride it out with Valbuena?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Right now, I think they will stick with Valbuena. I don’t see them bringing up Vitters until maybe September … again maybe.

      • WidespreadHisPanic

        Anything can happen, but do you think Vitters is more of a A) full season at AAA candidate or B) will develop this season to force the regime’s hand.

        • Ripsnorter1

          You probably are not asking me, but I’ll throw in a few facts about Vitters…..

          .300 BA….13 HR…..508 slug

          #1 He started slow, but the last month has really played well offensively. He hit .324 in June with 7 HRs. So far he’s hitting .412 in July.

          #2 But remember…this is the PCL. Stats get inflated here. Cardenas is hitting .325–that’s more than Vitters. How did Cardenas fare in MLB?

          #3 He has made some improvement with the glove, but he needs more.

          #4 He’s hitting .287 vs RHP…needs improvement here, too.

          #5 Only 21 BB in 83 games, 303 AB or 330 PA. If that isn’t good enough for Castro, is it good enough for Vitters?

          Conclusion: needs seasoning and may not even get a Sept call up.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I think Vitters will remain in Triple-A all season … maybe a September call-up but that is all. They seem committed to him playing a full year with the I-Cubs.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Bringing up Steve Swisher made me think of the Santo deal.

    Santo was dealt to the Angels for
    Bruce Heinbechner, a highly rated prospect, and Andy Hassler. Both were pitchers. Santo vetoed the deal. But let’s check the stats on these two pitching prospects:
    Bruce Heinbechner never made it to the bigs. He hurt himself in AAA right after the trade was vetoed.

    Andy Hassler: 44-71. 3.83 career.
    He would go 0-4, 7-11, 5-12, 3-12 the next four years as a starter, and move to the pen where he would occasionally spot start.

    Instead Santo moved to the Sox where Tanner didn’t want him. Bill Melton started at 3B, so Santo had to DH, and Santo didn’t want to do that. Santo hit .221 and retired.

    The Cubs got Swisher, LHP Ken Frailing (who never panned out–10-16 career, 1.543 WHIP), Jim Kremmell (0-2, 1.774 WHIP in his only year with the Cubs, then out of baseball) and Steve Stone.

    Ironically Stoney had his best years away from the Cubs.

    • carmelo

      Yes, Bruce Heinbechner never made it to the big leagues—he was killed in a car accident during spring training 1974 with the Angels.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Very sad.

  • Ripsnorter1

    WInd blowing in tonight, at 15-20 mph.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

    With the Braves mentioned above as possible suitors for one of our SPs does anyone know what kinda prospects they have. Aside from Teheran, and Vizcaino, what do they have. I dont know their farm all to well. And realistically do you think the Braves would part with either of those pitchers i mentioned above.

    • SirGladiator

      The Braves have a really high quality catcher prospect, Bethancourt, at this point I’d trade Garza for Teheran, Bethancourt, and Venters, straight up. I know thats not enough for Garza, but he has just been so sickening to watch lately, the sooner we get rid of him the better I’ll like it.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Heyword’s HR was hit into the face of that wind.

  • Ripsnorter1

    CRUSHED!

    Right into that 20 mph wind!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    This note from Captain Obvious … Garza is serving ‘em up tonight.

  • CubsTrader

    Lets trade this guy asap…..and some of you want Garza to be a Cub for $16 million per year for the next 6 years…..tells me allot of who knows baseball here.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      ‘$16M’ a year? c’mon man…

  • Ripsnorter1

    Manny Corpas warming up. 43 pitches by Garza in the first and still not out of it….

  • CubsTrader

    About 45 pitches in that inning…..Garza should be done by the third inning tonight.

  • Ripsnorter1

    CRUSHED!

    AGAIN!

    You know, if Soto is going to hit .167, why didn’t we keep Koyie Hill to hit .179? Koyie Hill was a winner. He won more than 60% of the games he started.

    LOL

    • Ripsnorter1

      Freddie Sanchez out for the year with back surgery.

      He just can’t stay on the field.

      Kerry Wood at 2B.

    • brent carmona

      Good one rip!

  • BosephHeyden

    So…do you think the Braves are going to go after Garza after seeing this outing?

  • GaryLeeT

    I m trying to decide whether Garza is saying “get me out of here” or making himself worthless to the point where nobody will want him, so he can stay.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Duane Underwood on Twitter: Next week I will officially be a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs Organization #gocubs

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soto breaks up the no-no and the shutout …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That is the fifth walk by an opposing pitcher in the last 10 games.

    • J Daniel

      That is great, Neil! Not sure if we have seen that in awhile. The last team that looked patient to me was the 2008 team but they murdered it as well!

      • calicub

        neil, i don’t know if this is within your realm/control, but since the new diqus i’ve been having problems w/ the page loading all of the comments on the mobile site. I have an android, but i’ve also had problems with an iphone so i don’t think its the phone…

        Any ideas?

        your the man neil, thanks for all you do

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I will check with Disqus. Have you turned off your phones recently then tried?

          • calicub

            i’ll try that thanks Neil.
            As for details when you talk to disqus, it tells me how many comments are made but only loads about ten of them

  • Ripsnorter1

    Dan Uggla holds the MLB record for being the fastest 2B to reach 100 HRs. It took him 509 games.

    Who is #2?

    Not Joe Morgan.
    Not Ryne Sandberg.
    It was Mr. AL-fonso Soriano.

    Yup.

    Mr. Uggla is currently mired in a 2 for 30 slump with 15Ks in this current Braves homestand…….

  • John_CC

    who is sitting in for Bob?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 7-3 to Braves Thursday night – Matt Garza: 5R, 5H(3HR),
    3BB, 6K, 4IP; Geovany Soto: 1-for-3, HR, Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-4, R

    • paulcatanese

      Does this mean its back to the platoon system tommorow?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs and second round pick Duane Underwood agree on $1.05 mil bonus ($769,600 pick value). Georgia HS RHP hits 98, spins curve at his best.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs are still $276,200 under budget. So they can pay Almora up to $3,922,895 without losing a 1st-rd pick

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:
    DeJesus – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    LaHair – RF
    Soto – C
    Barney – 2B
    Valbuena – 3B
    Garza – P

  • SuzyS

    Garza needs to improve his stock tonight with a solid performance.
    Just checked Soto’s BA (.167)…He’s trending towards K Hill or Steve Swisher…His opportunities to play are going to begin to dwindle if he doesn’t pick it up soon….regardless of contract.

  • J Daniel

    Not being picky but 3b for value a

  • paulcatanese

    Right now,today, thats the best lineup they could put out there.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Thanks, corrected.

  • RickinMSP

    Hey, Steve Swisher was an All-Star back in 1976 as the Cubs lone representative.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Yes Suzie, he’s in the same category as Marlon Byrd, too.

    Koyie Hill hits for a higher average:
    2009….237
    2010….214
    2011….194
    2012….179

    Soto in 2012….167

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    No doubt.

  • CubsTrader

    And Sparky Anderson had him as the only player not used in the game. TV network kept the camera on him as the game ended with him sitting on the bench.

  • Ripsnorter1

    That Santo deal paid off, didn’t it?

    Swisher hit .236 in 1976, after hitting .214 and .213 his previous two years. Quite an all star.

    He hit .190 the next year (1977) and he was done as a Cub.