Game Eighty-Four: Cubs (32-51) vs. Mets (45-39)
Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184/914
Location – Citi Field, Flushing
Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77/1.37) vs. Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34/1.28)
The Cubs have won eight of 11 and with a victory today Dale Sveum’s team would guarantee themselves a winning road trip for the first time this season. The Cubs are playing their best ball of the year heading into the All-Star break. While the overall record is still one of the worst in baseball, the Cubs have shown improvement and enter play this afternoon in fifth place in the NL Central
The Cubs will receive a little extra boost Sunday in the last game before the All-Star break. Ryan Dempster is expected to be activated from the DL to start the finale against the Mets. Dempster will be on a pitch limit (70-80 pitches) in his first game since June 15. Chris Volstad should be sent back down to Triple-A to make room on the active roster for Dempster. Once Volstad is optioned down, he has to remain in the minors for 10 days barring an injury. Volstad could not be recalled early to replace a player on the active roster that has been traded.
In other news … Brett Jackson missed his second straight game Friday night. Jackson is dealing with back spasms. Josh Vitters extended his hitting streak to eight games Friday night with a 1-for-3 performance that included a pair of walks and a run scored. Vitters is hitting .375 with a .990 OPS in July.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs released RHP Shane Lindsay and LHP Hung-Chih Kuo.
Today it all begins with Jeff Samardzija … It will be interesting to see how Jeff Samardzija responds to a Mets’ team that shelled him two starts ago. Samardzija is coming off one of his best outings of the year. After struggling for the entire month of June (0-4 in five starts with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP) that ended with his worst performance of the season against the Mets, Samardzija was more than impressive against the Braves. Samardzija allowed one run on seven hits with a walk and a career-high 11 strikeouts. Samardzija picked up his first win since May 29.
The remainder of the season figures to be more of the same for Samardzija. He will have his good starts, not-so-good stretches, and excellent outings. Samardzija needs to work on consistency and forming habits for the remainder of the year.
Jeff Samardzija has struggled outside of Wrigley this season (3-4 in nine starts with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP) and three of his last four road starts have been a struggle. The walks have really hurt Samardzija this year, especially on the road (21 with 49 strikeouts in 48 innings, 14 walks and 47 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings at home).
Jeff Samardzija will make his second career start against the Mets this afternoon. Samardzija is 0-1 in seven appearances, one start, with a 9.00 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP … at Citi Field, no decisions in three games with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP.
Mets Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-2
- Ike Davis – 2-for-3 with a double and a home run
- Lucas Duda – 1-for-3 with two walks
- Scott Hairston – 0-for-2
- Daniel Murphy – 2-for-2 with a double and a home run
- Ruben Tejada – 2-for-5 with a double
- Josh Thole – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Andres Torres – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Justin Turner – 1-for-2
- David Wright – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk
The Cubs beat Dillon Gee two starts ago and ended his streak of seven consecutive quality starts. Gee is coming off a loss to the Dodgers in which he allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits in six innings. Gee walked two batters and struck out four.
Dillon Gee is 2-4 in nine home starts this season and is coming off a 1-3 record in five starts last month with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Gee is 1-1 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP … both starts came at Wrigley … today is the first time Gee has faced the Cubs in his home ballpark.
Cubs Career Numbers against Dillon Gee
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-6
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Steve Clevenger – 1-for-3
- David DeJesus – 2-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-2 with a double
- Bryan LaHair – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-3 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3 with a double
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