Game Ninety-Nine: Cubs (40-58) vs. Cardinals (54-46)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.25/1.30) vs. Joe Kelly (1-3, 2.78/1.37)
As the non-waiver trade deadline nears the Cubs will look to end their five-game losing streak against the Cardinals behind Jeff Samardzija this afternoon. Samardzija is coming off arguably his best start of the season. But can he cool off the Cardinals’ offense? The Redbirds have scored 32 runs in the last four games against the Cubs while Dale Sveum’s offense has put just seven runs on the board … and six of those came in Friday’s loss.
In other news … The Cubs plans for Matt Garza could have changed Friday. While rumors have persisted that the Cubs could just keep Garza and try to sign him to an extension, the Cubs are looking to add pitching to a very weak system and the thought was that Garza could net them the best return. The Cubs announced Friday that Garza would not pitch again until after the deadline. An MRI showed a trace of fluid in Garza’s triceps area but nothing is wrong with his elbow. The Cubs are not expected to place Garza on the DL but the earliest he would return is Friday’s opener in Los Angeles.
The Cubs announced their rotation for the upcoming Pirates’ series. Right now, to be determined is scheduled for Monday, Ryan Dempster is penciled in for Tuesday’s start and Travis Wood is slated to pitch Wednesday’s finale. Justin Germano could end up getting the start on Monday.
Blake Parker threw off a mound for the first time Friday since being placed on the 60-day DL.
This afternoon all starts with Jeff Samardzija … Jeff Samardzija is coming off one of his best starts of his season. Samardzija held the high-flying Bucs offense to one infield hit over eight shutout innings. Samardzija struck out five, walked one and kept his pitch count low. If not for a 27-minute top of the ninth, Samardzija might have had a chance to finish what he started.
Samardzija has shown signs of being a viable starter option for the Cubs going forward. Samardzija must work on his consistency moving forward. After just a miserable June (0-4 in five starts with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP), Samardzija is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 1.67 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP … 29 strikeouts and seven walks with 18 hits allowed in 27 innings.
This afternoon will be Samardzija’s third start of the season against the Redbirds. Samardzija is 1-0 in the first two with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP … Samardzija pitched better against the Cardinals in his no decision than in the game he posted a victory. For his career, Samardzija is 3-2 in 15 games, four starts, against the Cardinals with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Number against Jeff Samardzija
- Carlos Beltran – 3-for-6 with a walk
- Lance Berkman – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Matt Carpenter – 2-for-5 with a triple and a walk
- Allen Craig – 2-for-4 with a double
- Daniel Descalso – 0-for-6 with two walks
- David Freese – 2-for-8
- Rafael Furcal – 0-for-6
- Matt Holliday – 3-for-11 with three walks
- Jon Jay – 5-for-10
- Yadier Molina – 6-for-12 with a double and a walk
- Skip Schumaker – 3-for-11 with two walks
The Cubs will get their first look at right-hander Joe Kelly this afternoon. The Cardinals took Kelly in the third round of the 2009 draft. Kelly made his big league debut back on June 10 against the Indians and has done a good job for Mike Matheny.
Kelly gave up three runs, two earned, to the Dodgers in his last outing in six innings. Kelly has completed at least six innings of work in each of his last six starts. Kelly has struggled with issuing walks (17) but has limited his hits allowed (45) in his first 45 1/3 big league innings.
Joe Kelly is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP … on the road, 1-1 in three starts with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
No one on the Cubs’ active roster has faced Joe Kelly at the big league level.
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