Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mets – 07/08/12

Game Eighty-Five: Cubs (32-52) vs. Mets (46-39)
Game Time – 12:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184/914
Location – Citi Field, Flushing

Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11/1.02) vs. Jon Niese (7-3, 3.35/1.22)

Ryan Dempster Activated from 15-Day DLChris Volstad Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

It is the final game before the break for the Chicago Cubs … and with a victory today Dale Sveum’s team would not only finish the first half with their first winning road trip of the season but with a winning record against the Metropolitans for the year (3-2 in first five).

Ryan Dempster, and not Chris Volstad, will take the hill this afternoon. Chris Volstad was scheduled to make his second straight start today but after Wednesday’s bullpen session, Dempster said he was ready to return. Dempster will be on a pitch count (70-80) this afternoon after spending the majority of the last month on the DL (June 15). With the four-day break on the horizon, Sveum will have his entire bullpen to choose from once Dempster hits his limit this afternoon. Chris Volstad is expected to be optioned down to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the active roster for Ryan Dempster.

Anthony Rizzo has not disappointed over his first 11 games with the Cubs. Rizzo is 12-for-25 on the Cubs’ current road trip with two doubles and three home runs … and has reached base safely in all 11 games. Rizzo has shown the ability to make in-bat adjustments but his real test will come after the break when the league starts adjusting to him.

One of Jon Niese’s best starts of the season came at the Cubs expense on June 27. Dale Sveum ran out a right-handed lineup that included Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena. Following Saturday’s game, Sveum said that both Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker will be part of the starting nine this afternoon … Left handed hitters (.246/.303/.313) have had success against Niese this season while right handers (.234/.299/.352) have performed about the same in five times as many plate appearances.

In other news … The 14th Annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game begins at 4:00pm CDT this afternoon. XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the game that can be seen on ESPN 2 and MLB.com. Jae-Hoon Ha will represent the Cubs’ organization as part of the World Team managed by Bernie Williams. George Brett will call the shots for the US Team. Both rosters are rather impressive and feature some of the top young talent in all of baseball. Nick Castellanos, one of the players rumored to be in the talks with the Tigers for Matt Garza, will also participate in the game.

Brett Jackson was held out of his third straight game Saturday with back spasms.

The final game before the break all starts with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster was lights out in his three starts prior to his surprising trip to the DL with tightness in his right lat. Many thought Dempster was on the verge of being traded at the time, especially with the way he treated his last start at Wrigley against the Red Sox. Dempster figures to be traded soon, some think it could come before the end of the break depending on how he pitches today.

After just a miserable outing on May 30 against the Padres (six runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings) in which he allowed three home runs, two to Carlos Quentin, Dempster was as good as it gets for his next three starts … while apparently dealing with the injury.

Ryan Dempster was 3-0 in three starts with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP in June … only 12 hits and three walks in 22 innings with 12 strikeouts. And Dempster has been very good on the road this season to the tune of a 2-1 record in six starts with a 1.06 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP (34 strikeouts to only six walks in 42 1/3 innings).

Ryan Dempster missed the Mets when they were at Wrigley and owns a 10-5 mark in 26 career games, 15 starts, against the Metropolitans with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP. Dempster won his only start against the Mets a year ago after allowing one run on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in seven innings (1.29 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP) … today will be the first appearance for Dempster at Citi Field.

Mets Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Ronny Cedeno – 6-for-17 with a double and a walk
  • Ike Davis – 2-for-3
  • Lucas Duda – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-5
  • Daniel Murphy – 2-for-5 with a double and a walk
  • Jon Niese – 2-for-4
  • Ruben Tejada – 3-for-5 with a double
  • Josh Thole – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Andres Torres – 2-for-13
  • Justin Turner – 0-for-3
  • David Wright – 2-for-3 with three walks

Jon Niese built off his best start of the season against the Cubs (one run on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings) and put together an even better one against the Phillies. Niese pitched a season-high eight innings and allowed one run (a solo homer by Carlos Ruiz) on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

Niese has been the benefactor of a ton of support from his offense. While Niese has allowed two runs in his last two starts the Mets have scored 28 runs (17 against the Cubs, 11 against the Phillies).

After posting a 3-1 record in five starts in June with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, Niese is 4-1 in his last six outings with a 1.74 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP (38 hits, seven walks and 37 strikeouts in his last 41 1/3 innings). Like Johan Santana, Jon Niese has been very good at Citi Field this season (4-1 in eight starts with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP), his only loss came on June 16 (Reds) and the Mets are 5-3 in his eight home starts.

Jon Niese is 2-2 in five career starts against the Cubs with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese

  • Jeff Baker – 4-for-9
  • Darwin Barney – 4-for-6
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-9 with a triple
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-3
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-4 with a walk
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-1
  • Joe Mather – 3-for-8 with a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Jeff Samardzija – 0-for-1
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-11 with a double and two walks
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-8 with a double, a home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-3 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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  • RICK

    Something is wrong when Dale Sveum even thinks about Volstad ever pitching for the Cubs again.

    • Tony_Hall

      What makes you think it is his decision…alone? I would say Theo and Jed make the decisions on the 5 guys in the rotation. Sveum, obviously has input.

      I would like to see Volstad sent to the minors and converted to a 7th/8th inning guy. Let him work on throwing harder and on just 2 pitches and see if he can be successful that way. There is truly, nothing to lose.

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

        Volstad seems to be better in short amounts so converting him to the middle guy that Marshall used to be may not be a bad idea. Marshall when he first came up wasnt the most affective starter but thrived in the roll of the long reliever who got spot starts. It cant hurt to give volstad a shot at that, It seems more like the 3rd time around a lineup is when he gets jammed up. If we do move 2-3 pitchers soon we will be fed a healthy diet of Volstad, Wells, and Coleman depending on where the prospects we get back are in their development.

      • cubtex

        Yep. Theo and Jed make the call on the roster. Sveum plays the hand he is dealt.

        • Tony_Hall

          Which is true of all teams.

          • cubtex

            Yes. I am not disagreeing.

      • John_CC

        Agreed. Volstad is a miserable starting pitcher…I have hard time even calling him a starter. But you never know, he could be a completely serviceable bullpen arm. He has the frame to take the day to day, and to probably throw harder two innings at a time.

        The problem is and what I am afraid of -for the rest of this season- is that there will a lot rotation shuffling if and when Demp and/or Garza are traded. There are a lot of “ifs” and depending on what the deals look like there just aren’t many options for starters in the organization at the moment.

    • CubsRumblings

      Volstad should be consider a set up guy or a closer…..I believe his starting pitching days are over.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Not a closer. Hasn’t got the gas, the movement, the stuff, or the control.

        Other than that, he’d be a great closer.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Casey Coleman is better?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • paulcatanese

      Obviously this part of the “platoon system” works for Sveum, he should just bench LaHair and DeJesus pemanantly and play Baker and Johnson, Clevenger needs to stay on the bench also. And if Rizzo and Valbuena dosent hit today, move Mather in there.
      The leftys just not do it for Sveum, and release Stewart
      another useless left handed hitter.
      (post entirely in jest) :):)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Volstad was optioned down to make room for Dempster

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

      Like that update, but unfortunately if or when Demp Garza and maybe even Maholm are moved we will have to see alot more of him. At least for the majority of this season depending on what level the pitching is that we get back.

  • Tony_Hall

    If Dempster can show he is healthy, he may not make it back from the break in a Cubs uniform.

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

      Tony, where do you think he lands? I still think the Dodgers make a move for him and Lahair. Or the Yanks look at him as a cheaper just as effective option as Garza and avoid a bidding war.

      • Tony_Hall

        I have no idea. I will speculate on the FA market, and the Cubs roster, but I just don’t go there in the trade market. There are just too many variables in play, and there is no way to try and come up with fair trades, without true negotiations.

        But it sure seems like the teams that have the most need, don’t really match up well with what we need back. All I will say is I believe we will make a few trades, and it will take August for some of them to get completed. Just as there are few sellers, due to the new playoff wild card system, there may be lots of tire-kickers, but teams may want to wait longer to pull the trigger, before giving up prospects with the new CBA.

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

          fair enough!

      • John_CC

        For some reason I think it will be LA as well, Dodgers that is. Or the Braves. Just a gut feeling though. I depends on the return, of course.

  • cubtex

    Did anyone see Greinke getting tossed last night? He spiked a ball in the dirt after a close play at 1st after only 4 pitches. His personality and past problems have got to be a concern for teams thinking about trading for him. That could help the market for Garza. Garza has always been known as a great teammate whereas Greinke has isolated teammates in the past.

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

      Yeah he was totally showin up the ump when he spiked that ball, He shoulda just got to the bag quicker lol. But definitely could leave a sour taste in some of the teams mouths that have been lookin at him.

      • cubtex

        Supposedly a bunch of scouts were there to scout him and he gets tossed :) Maybe will help Garza/Dempster market.

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

          I did hear on MLBN that many were there to look at Wandy Rodriguez also, Hes controllable for more then just this year and would provide sandwich picks just like Garza if he left while being offered salary arbitration.

  • Pat Frisch

    I would of liked to see this cubs lineup with Tyler Colvin,Rizzo and LaHair. Colvin is doing well for Rockies

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I think Colvin benefits from curveballs not breaking as much in Denver. Someone mentioned a few days ago that Colvin was always a good fastball hitter.

      But who knows? It’s also possible that playing with other young guys could have helped him. Instead of being the youngster everyone is focused on he could have been one of several.

      • John_CC

        He’s been raking on this road series too, though. He is what a lot of us saw the potential for in 2010. Too bad he was misused and kicked to the curb last year.

        • Tony_Hall

          Still not sure he is going to be all that much. He k’s an awful lot (we have enough of that) and will never be even average at getting on-base.

          But I liked Colvin and would have liked to see him stay.

          • John_CC

            Not saying he is this good, but like in 2010 if given everyday ABs he can hurt the ball. But he could be a .265 with 30 HR power for sure. I’d take that in RF…or LF.

    • CubsRumblings

      Denver altitude is helping Colvin……would not see those numbers if he was in San Diego or some other dead air ball park.

      • John_CC

        His last 5 HR have come in Washington and St. Lewie. The kid has real power.

  • CubsRumblings

    I doubt if we see Volstad this year on this team anymore……someone tell Christian2334 my basement is packed with items and my mom passed away sometime ago…….I wouldn’t mind having my mom back in my life, even if I had to live in her basement……..when someone like Christian 2334 has to pick on a guy’s mother in a conversation, he became a “Lowlife” in my book………..RynoTiger, go on and dream whoever you like…..Rizzo is living in the Uptown area of Chicago…….I will dream about Jennifer Aniston………………In the past month, I saw reports on how the Tigers were interested with Garza, Barney and Soriano…..with a strong bat is the greatest need now for the Tigers lineup……..I said yesterday a trade “might” happen with these players with the Tigers….”might”……….Cubs have what the Tigers are looking for….and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski does make blockbuster deals…..and so does Theo…….Barney is another version of Ryan Theriot……lets not fall in love on an average player…..lets seek a “Sandberg” type of player who can play second base……..Aaron, I only read various names from other clubs on their prospects…..I cannot judge a player on their stats…..I need to see them play……I will let the Cubs experts (Theo, Jed & scouts) judge who the Cubs should get in a trade………I remember a proposed trade back in 1980 winter trade meetings with the Cubs and Expos involving Sutter, Thompson, Martz, Davis and others for Gary Carter, Sanderson & Dawson…….but the trade fell apart for various reasons…..and Sutter went to the Cardinals……..I remember watching Kevin Orie play with Daytona….I thought he was going to become the next Cal Ripken…….the ball off of his bat exploded ……but he failed at the MLB level……where will Dempster, Garza and others go?….I don’t care,…. just we get top notch prospects back….that what counts for the Cubs.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Jae-Hoon Ha is the starting CF for the World Team in the Futures Game. Also, Brett Jackson is not in the starting lineup … fourth straight day he has been out with back spasms

      • cubtex

        I know this has been discussed at length….but I really hope they bring up Vitters shortly after the all star break and see what we have with this kid. Look at how his numbers have risen each month and how well he hits with runners on base.
        April- .261 Avg
        May- .284 Avg
        June- .324 Avg
        July(small sample) .357 Avg
        And…..His average with Runners on Base is .324.
        Give him a shot!

        • SuzyS

          I’d really love to see him called up as well…BUT…well, as you said, it’s been discussed at length…It is frustrating trying to be patient.
          There is a window for players being called up…for maximum results.
          IE. Do you think Jackson would have had the difficulties he’s having right now if he’d had a “cup of tea” last season…when he was raking? Now he has impossible KO numbers…AND back spasms.
          The mental aspect is so important. At what point does someone like Vitters get really frustrated…and start to decline because of it?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Don’t worry, Suzy. Jackson will be up by June, 2012.

            OH NO! June 2012 has past, and he’s not here yet!

          • CubsRumblings

            Jackson will be traded for a young pitcher……Soler will be the man!

        • brent carmona

          I’m starting to warm up to the idea as well. He has made adjustments at each level (although somewhat slowly at times) plus as tom has pointed out to us (mostly last season) that he has a knack for clutch hits, something the big league club has always lacked in recent years.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Tough to find “Sandberg type players.”

      • CubsRumblings

        I settle for a “Castro” type of player then…..would that be okay for you?…..the guy we got in the Marshall trade might be one in a few years.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Those are easy to find.

          • Tony_Hall

            You mean they don’t grow on trees….

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes. I was being sarcastic. Castro-type-players are very rare.

          • BosephHeyden

            After today’s game, I honestly can’t imagine a more attractive pitching option on the trade market than Dempster. What’s more is that he knows he’s on the block and seems to be pitching this well to better the team. I kinda hope that he gets one more start at Wrigley so fans can give him a much deserved ovation.

          • Tony_Hall

            So was I…about the post you responded to…

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I wouldn’t consider “Castro type” settling. At the rate he’s going he may join Sandberg in the HOF some day.

          I’d settle for a Steve Sax or Brett Boone type at 2nd base. For guys like Castro or Sandberg I would do a standing back-flip!

          • CubsRumblings

            Steve Sax…there is a player who knew how to party…especially with Belinda Carlise of the Go-Go’s when he was with the Dodgers…..did you ever see their tape?…..she was one wild girl.

      • William

        I was looking at Chris Volstad’s stats on fangraphs.com, and during his rookie season when he had a 2.88 era he threw his fastball and curveball over 90% of the time. Since then, he has lowered his usage of his fastball every year, and has essentially stopped utilizing his curveball, favoring a slider.

        Shouldn’t the coaching staff notice a stat that stands out that much. and you know tell him to throw a curve more? or use his fastball to get ahead? and ditch the slider?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          It would help if Volstad would follow the game plan and not shake off his catcher. This is not a coaching staff issue, this is a Volstad issue. He shook off Clevenger countless times in his last outing as well as not following the game plan he was handed. Can’t blame the coaches for everything, players have to perform. In Vostad’s case, he is not.

          • William

            Thanks Neil. Thats interesting. He sounds like a knucklehead.

        • Ripsnorter1

          The scouting report on Volstad–“from Boston!”–is that his curve is his best moving pitch, but he cannot control it. He has no idea where it is going, and cannot throw it for a strike. His fastball is middling and movement is not great. His slider is flat and very, very hittable. Lefthanders crush his stuff.

          NEWSFLASH!
          NEWSFLASH!

          A pitcher with only two real pitches–and both of them very pedestrian at that–does not make a good ML starter.

          The bullpen for him–if that.

    • Aaron

      ummmm….better check your own posts man, you said, “Cubs and Tigers working on a major trade”

      …it looks like you’ve since edited your post to say “might”, since I recall last night just the opposite

      • CubsRumblings

        No edit at all…you just missed how it was stated.

        I know it…and so does everyone else.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Boise – Ian Dickson (1-1, 5.40)
    Peoria – Joe Zeller (0-1, 3.60)
    Daytona – TBD
    Tennessee – Trey McNutt (4-7, 4.67)
    Iowa – Randy Wells (3-2, 6.88)

    Comments and other info:

    For those who missed it on the last thread, Chris Rusin tweaked a hamstring prior to yesterday’s game.

    Jae-Hoon Ha has been out for the past few games, as he is in Kansas City for the Future’s Game.

    Tennessee is currently a man shy on their roster, as James Adduci was called to Iowa to fill in for Ty Wright, on the DL with a stress fracture.

    A caution about the instant media. There were no Twitter feeds on Dustin Geiger tying a Peoria record for home runs, nor of Yasiel Balaguert winning last night’s game with a three run homer, but they did mention Javier Baez hitting a home run.

    Boise has a cool promotion for kids on Tuesday nights. If you complete a math worksheet, you can trade it for a free hot dog and drink.

    Tim Saunders raised his average to .531 as he went 3-for-4 with a HR and 2 RBI last night, while lining up for the first time in centerfield.

    • gary3411

      Is he thought to be weaker at SS? Or do you think they were just moving him around to get guys in or try him out there?

      • gary3411

        Sorry talking about Saunders.

    • chipguy2030

      Has there been any rumblings about moving Jr Lake to 3rd base or right field this season in AA? If and when he gets called up he will not be at SS so why wait?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Lake played 3B last night and has 16 games there this season. Nothing in right this season yet.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Lake is starting at third today

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice start for the offense …

  • John_CC

    Single, single, sac fly. RBI single, RBI double. Men on 2nd, 3rd, one out, 2 RBI Single.

    Crazy game, eh? Baseball that is. They look so good.

  • John_CC

    Dempster looks good.

    Who is in the booth with Len? Where is Bob?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      It is Todd Hollandsworth, Brenly is taking time off to watch his son play.

    • CubsRumblings

      I asked the other day, and I got a smart a** remark back from one of your moody friends. Nice to see Neil was a professional to your answer.

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

    is the game not being broadcast on the radio today?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dempster out after five, Maholm in for the first relief appearance of his career

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Castro with a 3-run shot …

    • matthew8510

      any chance demp is moved this week

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes, there is … I did mention in the game preview.

      • matthew8510

        ok thanx i see it what was the idea of only pitching 5 inn that could come back to hurt cubs that shows other teams that he cant go 7 or 8 inn after he got hurt

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

          I think its better he goes 5 and gives up nothing then going 7 after being out 3 weeks and struggling in the end. Smart move pulling him after 5 with the shutout goin.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          After missing more than three weeks he was on a pitch count limit. Most pitchers throw a simulated game after a lat injury, Dempster did not. It was the right move. He threw 63 pitches after being on a 70-80 pitch limit. If anything he helped his trade value today, not the opposite.

          • matthew8510

            i guess that makes sense i just wish he would of went a lil longer he probly coulda went 1 more

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I wanted him to go one more too, but what if …

            It was the right decision and he looked good.

      • CubsRumblings

        I have a plane ticket for you to the Congo to be with the monkeys.

        I feel sorry what I just said…….those monkeys should not be put through that agony of having you around.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Mets 7-0 Sunday afternoon

    Ryan Dempster: 0R,4H,0BB,4K,5IP; Starlin Castro: 2-for-4,HR,3RBI,2R; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-4,RBI,R; Jeff Baker: 2-for-4,2B,RBI,R; Geovany Soto: 1-for-4,RBI

    • CubsRumblings

      Attention Score Card Scorers…….Soto had 2 RBI’s today

  • cubtex

    It will be interesting to watch the futures game today. Castellanos,Olt,Kolten Wong to name a few of the players. Set your DVR’s. Maybe a player or 2 fom this game could come via a Garza/Dempster deal.