Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 07/23/12

Game Ninety-Five: Cubs (38-56) vs. Pirates (54-40)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.57/1.38) vs. Erik Bedard (11-4, 3.27/1.52)

The Cubs will try to end their three-game losing streak in the first of three against the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs have won a season-high five straight and begin play tonight a half game back of the division leading Cincinnati Reds.

The Cubs had a miserable weekend in St. Louis. Dale Sveum’s team was outscored 23-1, shutout over the last 25 innings and was 0-for-13 with RISP over the three games. The Cubs have struggled on the road this season (14-35) and it does not figure to get any easier for them over the next three days.

The Pirates are one of the biggest stories of the baseball season to this point. Clint Hurdle has his team playing the game the right way while riding a very good pitching staff. After tonight’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija and Erik Bedard, Paul Maholm will face James McDonald on Tuesday night with Ryan Dempster penciled in against Kevin Correia in the finale.

The Cubs have really struggled against the Battlin’ Bucs over the past three-plus seasons. The Pirates swept the three-game series over Memorial Day Weekend, the only match-up between the Cubs and Pirates this season prior to tonight. The Cubs face the Pirates six times over the next nine games and Pittsburgh is looking at these games against the Cubs as a way to pad their win total.

In other news, and rumors … With the non-waiver trade deadline still eight days away, the Braves and Nationals are still in the mix for Ryan Dempster. According to multiple reports, the Cubs are not close on any deals involving Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers appear to be out on Ryan Dempster due to the Cubs’ asking price.

The interest in Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker appears to be picking up but any deal involving one of those two players would likely come right before the deadline next Tuesday.

Tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Updated 3:37pm CDTThe reports of Ryan Dempster being traded to the Braves on Monday appear to be premature at this point. The Cubs and Braves reportedly agreed to a deal that would send Dempster and cash to the Braves for RHP Randall Delgado. The depth of the proposed deal is unknown at this point. The two teams are reportedly still discussing a deal. Ryan Dempster shot down the reports on his foundation’s twitter account and refused to discuss the reports/rumors with the Chicago media in the Cubs’ clubhouse in Pittsburgh. There is speculation that Dempster has not waived his 10-5 rights and agreed to be traded to Atlanta.

Jeff Samardzija is coming off a no decision against the Marlins. The Cubs ended up winning the game 5-1 (3-7 in Samardzija’s last 10 starts) but Samardzija could not get quick outs and nine strikeouts, along with three walks, ran up his pitch count and he was out of the game by the fifth inning.

Samardzija has shown signs this season as being a big part of the Cubs’ rotation moving forward. Now he just needs to work on his consistency and putting batters away when he is ahead in counts.

Samardzija has struggled on the road this season (3-5 in 10 starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP) and will have his hands full against a very confident Pirates’ team. Samardzija is 1-0 in 11 career appearances against the Pirates, all in relief, with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … at PNC Park, 1-0 in five outings with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Clint Barmes – 0-for-2
  • Josh Harrison – 0-for-1
  • Garrett Jones – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Andrew McCutchen – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Casey McGehee – 1-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
  • Alex Presley – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Neil Walker – 1-for-4 with a home run and two walks

The Cubs could not figure out Erik Bedard on May 27 and allowed the veteran southpaw to put together one of his best outings of the season. Matt Garza and the Cubs fell behind big early in the third and final game of the series and Bedard was pulled after tossing six innings of shutout ball and allowing only two hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

After losing back-to-back starts to the Cardinals and Giants, Bedard beat the Rockies in his last outing. Bedard held Colorado to two runs, one earned, on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Bedard is 1-2 in his last three starts with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP.

Erik Bedard has faced the Cubs’ organization only once in his career … and it was back in May at PNC Park.

Cubs Career Numbers against Erik Bedard

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-9 with five walks
  • Reed Johnson – 7-for-31 with a double and two walks
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    More updates on Dempster …

    From Sun-Times: Sveum: Front office said there was no agreement with Atl for Demp. NOT a matter of deal awaiting his approval.

    From CSN: Sveum says Dempster could get traded at some point, but earlier reports about done deal to Braves are wrong.

    From Sun-Times: Sveum says “fabrication” turned Twitter sensation “unprofessional” and unfair to Dempster.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • Horatio

      Bryan LaHair 4-9 with 2 walks during the series with the Cards and now he’s back on the bench. He better have a sore groin or something to be left out of the lineup when it appears he might have broken out of his slump.

  • cubtex

    What a circus! Now we are hearing that 2 players are heading to Chicago and another could be going to Atlanta. Wow!

    • Brp921

      Where is that coming from?

      • John_CC

        the TWITTERVERSE!!!

        talk about a “crapshow”…

    • paulcatanese

      I am not surprised, it’s been musical chairs from day one,
      why should today be any different?:)

    • Tony_Hall

      That’s what happens when little parts of the deal are leaked by the Atlanta FO, before it should have been.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tigers just acquired Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins.

    • daverj

      Well, that will end the Garza to Detroit rumors. Nice pick-ups for Detroit.

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

        And hopefully Toronto now reacts to this move and pushes for Garza!

        • scott

          especially with the news that the Red Sox wamt Josh Johnson

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

            Yeah this could get very interesting very quickly.

          • cubtex

            Marlins are looking to dismantle the team so that is a possiblity.

          • paulcatanese

            Wow, that means that “Z” may be available:)

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Jacob Turner is one of the players going to Miami in the deal

    • Ale

      Tigers shipping out Jacob turner to marlins

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes, they did.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      From Peter Gammons on the Tigers-Marlins trade: 1st draft pick deal:A Sanchez, Infante and comp balance pick for Jacob
      Turner, Rob Brantly, , Brian Flynn and Det. comp pick.

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

        Nice pickups for the fish. Brantlys gonna be a good one i do believe.

        • cubtex

          I would have done that for Dempster and Barney in a heartbeat

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

            yeah me too, im hoping the 2nd player we get if there is one is Bethancourt.

          • cubtex

            I like Bethancourt. He is a difference maker behind the plate but the Cubs would also have to give up another top prospect for that to happen.

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

            maybe a Junior Lake, I wouldnt mind that, can always hope i suppose.

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe they weren’t offering that for Dempster and Barney.

          • cubtex

            I am not saying they were.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Hey guys, don’t shoot the messenger when I’m passing on news.

      • Denver Mike

        Does anyone know anything about the Savannah Sand Gnats, Single A affilliate of the Mets? I’m in Georgia on Business and they have a game staring in an hour…

        • Tom U

          Sorry Denver Mike, since the Cubs don’t have an affiliate in that league, I’m not too up on them

          Cool sounding name, though.

          • Denver Mike

            No kidding on the name, they are playing the Kannapolis Intimidators who are the White Sox affiliate down here

          • Dorasaga

            You’ve worked hard enough for us and this game. Take the night off and watch with some cool drinks.
            :-)

          • Tom U

            Thanks Dorasaga, but I’m happy to do it.

        • carmelo

          They play in a real old stadium in downtown—also, during the summer you’ll know why they’re called the gnats. Go to the game, you’ll enjoy the stadium.

        • Tom U

          Currently, the Savanah Sand Gnats are 13-17 in the second half, good for 6th in the Southern Division of the Southern Atlantic League (or SALLY league, as its known)

          Overall, they are 54-43. No starter named for tonight as of yet. They will be playing the Kannapolis Intimidators, the Single-A team of the White Sox.

          Leading hitter: SS TJ Rivera .33/14/1/8/37
          Leading pitcher: RHP Rafael Montero 6-3/2.52/71.1/87/16

      • John_CC

        my comments are certainly not directed at you Neil. I have issues with the instant gratification “news” media stuff. This kind of thing is when saying something went “viral” it actually means it.

    • John_CC

      Sanchez is a FA at the end of the season, isn’t he? Seems like a steep price for a rental, unless they agreed to an extension as well.

      Nice deal for the Tigers. I was hoping for Sanchez this winter as a rotation building block.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        You are right, Sanchez is a FA at the end of the year.

      • cubtex

        Cubs aren’t going to add any quality free agent pitchers. Hamels will not come here if he a FA also.
        Nice deal for the Marlins. They gave up a pitcher who they probably wouldn’t re-sign, and Infante for a potential top of the rotation starter, Rob Brantly a very good catching prospect and another decent AA pitcher

        • John_CC

          Sanchez is young enough that I hoped the Cubs would target him.

          Turner has the upside, but also the potential shoulder issue. Illich wants to win one, and I say good for him to go out and get a solid starter. I like the Tigers and they are poised for a solid run.

          Good deal for both teams.

          • cubtex

            Rumor is that the Tigers will extend Sanchez and he won’t reach free agency. That is why they were willing to give up a big haul to get him.

          • John_CC

            That makes more sense.

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Boise – Tayler Scott (1-1, 2.32)
    Peoria – Yao-Lin Wang (3-3, 3.29)
    Daytona – Matt Loosen (8-3, 2.79)

    Tennessee has the night off.

    Iowa lost 3-1 behind Brooks Raley (5 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 K, 0 BB). Brian Esposito 2-for-3, 2B, RBI

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

    Ichiro to the Yankees now, didnt see that one coming!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Latest on Dempster from Bruce Levine: The two teams agreed on a deal that would include Ryan Dempster and Randall Delgado. The news leaked from Atlanta before Dempster had a chance to approve the deal. The Cubs are not happy about the leak because Dempster is not sure what he wants to do and now has to make the decision in the public.

    The Dodgers are still interested in Dempster if the deal with the Braves falls through.

    Several AL teams are interested in Garza … Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Angels are among those still in the mix.

    • John_CC

      That really sucks. And I agree with Sveum, not fair to Demp, not cool for reporters to “report” on Twitter “reports.”

      It’s the age we live in.

    • BosephHeyden

      Plus side: because Atlanta leaked the deal, if Dempster does take it he’s definitely not resigning with them.

      • Tony_Hall

        Really? I doubt that is true. Atlanta is one of the few other teams, I could see Dempster actually wanting to finish out his career.

    • Dorasaga

      Ouch!

  • John_CC

    How about Ichiro leaving West Coast for the East Coast? I never thought it would happen.

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

      yanks are playing the Ms today too, i wonder if he starts for the Yankees tonite.

      • scott

        yes he in lineup

    • paulcatanese

      It just seems the Yankees just get whoever they want whenever they want. Bummer.

  • cubtex

    Hopefully this deal gets finalized during the game this evening. Delgado is still coming to the Cubs if this happens. He is a potential #3. Good K numbers throughout the minors. He is only 22. Since it appears that Theo doesn’t like Vitters and the Braves could use a 3rd baseman……maybe add Vitters if they can get a catcher like Bethancourt back. Bethancourt won’t be an offensive catcher but he is Yadier Molina like defensively.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Do you mean, that Bethancourt is Koyie Hill-like defensively?

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

        Is that a knock on Yadi?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ichiro is no big pickup for the Yanks. Sure, Gardener is hurt. But Ichiro is hitting only .261 with a .288 OBP. He doesn’t walk enough to be a Cub, let alone a Yank.

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

    Heyman says the deal has a 50/50 chance of gettin done now. Thank you for that bit of insight Mr Heyman.

  • Tony_Hall

    Just think, we have another week before the the trade deadline, and a whole month of players running through waivers and more trade rumors.

    • Dorasaga

      I’m past that thinking part. It’s pointless (for me in this kind of year) to analyze about rumors. Better stick with the plan; I want to see the result. World Series 2014?

      • Tony_Hall

        That might be a little early for a World Series, but the team is already more fun to watch than what we had to watch the last couple of years.

        • Dorasaga

          The philosophy change has propagated a new style of play. Remember the bunting discussion we had? Sveum was doing that bunting drill pre-season, methinks, to make these guys start thinking about pitches more, to watch more pitches, to recognize the pitches coming to them. While we’re on this topic, Castro walked.
          B-)

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree. My son learned this year that laying down a bunt, just like hitting to the right side, helps put runs on the board. He became one of our best bunters after never really bunting before this year.

            Yesterday we were up 3-1 with 1 out and a man on 3rd, and he just gave himself up and hit a grounder between the 1B and 2B, to score the run. He was smiling just like he hit home run, because he knew a 3 run lead with 1 inning left was big.

          • Dorasaga

            That’s fundamental 101 in baseball: Think for the team. I’m sure you’re proud as well, how quickly he learned to apply his new skill in just one season. Perhaps it’s tough for Major Leaguers to think that way. Most have big ego. They must have. That’s how they became successful. If Sveum ever wanted to change anyone to think again, it should be subtle.

          • Tony_Hall

            Just realized we were going H2H this week? Should be fun!

          • Dorasaga

            You’re stacked with young talent, while mine retreads to fill in for the rebuild. Try win it.
            :-)

          • Christian2334

            Soler with his 1st career pro HR!!!

          • Tony_Hall

            Yesterday…

          • Christian2334

            Thanks Tony, just saw that. But I’m glad to see him crack one!

          • Tony_Hall

            I was kind of hoping you saw him hit another one. Back 2 back nights would be fine with me.

          • triple

            Very nice 4 pitch sequence by Shark w/ McCutchen at bat.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano breaks up Bedard’s no-hit and shutout bid … Castro with a walk, leads to a run

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice hit and run for an insurance run.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Agreed. It was a good call. Castro has done well tonight … not to mention Soriano.

      • Tony_Hall

        I will tip my cap to Soriano, can’t believe a team isn’t trying to trade for him.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          It’s that contract and the Cubs not willing to pay as much as teams want without receiving a nice return.

          • Tony_Hall

            By reports, it sure seems like the Cubs are willing to pay most of his contract, but I bet they want a higher level prospect back. I bet the action on him heats up in mid-to-late August, when their are less trade options available.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano plates Castro again …

  • Aaron

    commence blown save

  • matthew8510

    are we ever gonna get a complete game this happens every single time

    • GaryLeeT

      With Samardzija at only 99 pitches, I just don’t get it.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija with an excellent outing

    • Aaron

      indeed. Too bad Marmol is about to blow it all, which is why the Shark was so pissed in the dugout

  • John G

    If Marmol blows this one, I don’t ever want to see him again.

    • Tony_Hall

      Nice outing by Samardzija and an easy 9th for Marmol!

    • Aaron

      it’s an effing miracle!!!! Marmol actually got a save without walking anyone…or blowing the game…WOW. TRADE HIM NOW!!!

      • triple

        I’m really hoping that Marmol can look like this for another year and be traded by next year’s deadline with a bigger return.

  • Aaron

    watch….2 run bomb

  • Tony_Hall

    Nasty stuff! One down

  • Tony_Hall

    Deuces!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Pirates 2-0 Monday night – Jeff Samardzija:
    0R,1H,1BB,5K,8IP; Starlin Castro: 1-for-3,BB,2R; Alfonso Soriano: 2-for-4,2 2B,2RBI

  • Aaron

    I bet the Shark will be kicking himself for not getting off the mound to cover first….would’ve been in line for a no-no, and Sveum surely would’ve left him in then

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      My thoughts exactly.

    • triple

      A good learning experience for him. Hopefully he never forgets about heading over there on a ball hit to that side again.

    • matthew8510

      dont be too sure about that

  • Tom U

    Albert Almora batting third and playing center.

  • paulcatanese

    Didn’t get the game tonight, but MLB with its extended coverage
    with whats happening with Dempster, I got quite a few glimpses
    as to what was going on with the Cubs.
    Saw the last inning with Marmol and sweated thru it. He did a nice job.
    The Shark did a great job, super outing.
    And Soriono, what can one say? Castro with a nice effort.
    Good win for the Cubs.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Garza: Cubs expected to start Travis Wood on Friday and give Matt Garza more time.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Albert Almora just tweeted he is making his pro debut today.