Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 08/01/12

Game One Hundred Three: Cubs (43-59) vs. Pirates (59-44)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (4-6, 4.98/1.29) vs. Jeff Karstens (3-2, 3.88/1.24)

Updated 10:03am CDTCubs Recalled Chris Volstad and Alberto Cabrera from Triple-A Iowa – Casey Coleman Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs and Pirates square off this afternoon in the rubber game of the three-game series. Dale Sveum’s team is 3-2 on the homestand with one left to play before spending Thursday’s off day winging their way to the West Coast.

After pounding out 14 runs on 14 hits Monday night, A.J. Burnett held the Cubs to one-hit on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how the young Cubs’ team responds this afternoon after the last two days.

The Cubs are expected to make an addition to the active 25-man roster prior to today’s game. The Cubs played a man short Tuesday after trading Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to the Braves and sending Ryan Dempster and Geovany Soto to Texas. Dale Sveum said the roster would be discussed following Tuesday’s game but would not comment after the shutout which player or players would be brought up. The Cubs are expected to add a relief pitcher and Sveum mentioned that Chris Volstad could soon return to the Cubs’ rotation.

In other newsDarwin Barney is listed as day-to-day after being hit in the head with an A.J. Burnett breaking ball Tuesday night. Barney wanted to stay in the game but was lifted. X-rays were not taken.

Matt Garza could be headed to the DL. Garza was expected to start Friday’s opener in Los Angeles but was pushed to Tuesday’s game in San Diego.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs are considering bringing up Brett Jackson.

The Cubs are 19-11 since June 25 (7-1-1 in last nine series) and finished July with a 15-10 record.

This afternoon all starts with Travis Wood

After a sensational end of June and beginning of July, Travis Wood has been horrible over his last two starts. Wood is not locating and when he does the ball is leaving the park. Wood allowed one home run during his four-game winning streak and over his last three starts, Wood has served up nine home runs. Wood even ended up in the history books for all of the wrong reason after his last outing.

Travis Wood served up five home runs to the Cardinals, one each in the first five innings. Wood left after giving up seven runs on eight hits (five home runs) with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings. Wood has faced St. Louis in his last two starts and must be looking forward to seeing another team this afternoon.

Travis Wood is 2-3 in seven starts at Wrigley this season with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … and today is his first start of the season against the Bucs.

Wood has struggled against Pittsburgh. In four career outings, three starts, Wood is 2-2 with a 6.59 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Rod Barajas – 1-for-7 with a double and a walk
  • Clint Barmes – 1-for-11
  • Josh Harrison – 2-for-2 with a triple
  • Garrett Jones – 0-for-3
  • Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-6 with a double and a walk
  • Alex Presley – 1-for-2
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-1 with a walk
  • Neil Walker – 3-for-7 with a double and a walk

Jeff Karstens is having another solid season. After posting a 9-9 record in 30 games, 26 starts, with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP a year ago, Karstens has put up similar peripheral numbers this season for Clint Hurdle.

Karstens is coming off a no decision against the Astros. Karstens allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in five innings … his shortest starts since June 25. Karstens is 2-0 in his last four starts with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

For as good as Karstens has been, a majority of his success has been at PNC Park. Karstens is 2-0 in three home starts with a 0.43 ERA and a 0.86 … on the road, just 1-2 in six starts with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Jeff Karstens has given the Cubs fits since he was acquired from the Yankees at the deadline back in 2008. Karstens is 4-3 in nine career games, seven starts, with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 4-2 in six games, five starts, with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Karstens

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-2
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-8 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-16 with two home runs
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Barney is out of the lineup today. No updates
    yet on his condition after being hit in the head last night.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Updated 10:03am CDT – Cubs Recalled Chris Volstad and
      Alberto Cabrera from Triple-A Iowa – Casey Coleman Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        From Levine: Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson may be called this month. Both would play every day according to Sveum.

        • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mcmeekan Scott McMeekan

          Interesting. It certainly seems as if the front office is ready to let the kids play, regardless of the results. From what I’ve ready around here over the years, that’s the only way to bring along younger players if you’re going to bring them up to the show. And it also seems as if this front office might actually be able to not put the sort of ‘Corey Patterson’ pressure on them to perform right away or be sent back down. I’m sure there are divergent opinions on whether this is true, and whether it’s the right thing to do, but I can say I’m honestly enjoying this process as it unfolds. It may be that we lose 100 games now, but if it produces results down the road I believe it’s worth it.

          It may very well affect gate receipts though, because it’s tough to take 3 guys to the park and spend $350 on beers and food, and watch the Cubs lose. : )

          Then again, some would say ‘What’s the difference? You’ve been doing that for years!’

          • SomeGuy27

            There is precedent for bring up waves of rookies and letting them play. The Dodgers brought up Cey, Lopes, and Russell to play with Garvey in ’72. The Twins did likewise in the early ’80’s.

          • http://www.facebook.com/scott.mcmeekan Scott McMeekan

            Warning…you’re dating yourself! I was a kid when the penguin came up with Davey and even though I was a Cubs fan I kind of enjoyed watching them.

          • DWalker

            Might as well. I understand the argument for keeping them down still, I’ve made it a few times, and both still have issues. I still want to see them play though so bring em up, and this will probably be the strongest offense and no worse defense this team has fielded so far this year.
            The Pitchers musical chairs though is going to get old fast, forget bringing up Volstad, start bringing up some of these other guys and give them a taste. The won’t do anyworse then the flops.

      • BosephHeyden

        Maybe this time Volstad won’t suck…ha, yeah right.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      From the Trib: Brett Jackson call-up will be considered, Sveum says. But “he has to play everyday.” Odd man out would be LaHair?

      • nickbaird757

        I’d rather have LaHair in the lineup instead of DeJesus.

        Jackson – CF
        Castro – SS
        Rizzo – 1B
        Soriano – LF
        LaHair – RF
        Vitters – 3B
        Barney – 2B
        Clevenger/Castillo – C
        Pitcher

      • nickbaird757

        I’d rather see DeJesus out of the lineup than LaHair.

        Jackson – CF
        Castro – SS
        Rizzo – 1B
        Soriano – LF
        LaHair – RF
        Vitters – 3B
        Clevenger/Castillo – C
        Barney – 2B
        Pitcher

        • triple

          I don’t know about DeJesus over LaHair, especially to be replaced at the top of the order with a guy who strikes out every third at bat in AAA. He may get exposed really quickly. I think it would be much safer to bat Jackson and Vitters at the bottom of the order first. Or maybe try one of them in the 5 hole in place of LaHair.

          Nice Castro homerun!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    LaHair – RF
    Baker – 2B
    Castillo – C
    Valbuena – 3B
    Wood – P

  • paulcatanese

    Without pitching, I dont care if Ruth, Dimaggio, and Ted Williams
    came back from the heavens to play for the Cubs, it wouldn’t help.
    Sapplet, Vitters and Jackson would be a start in the right direction for the Cubs though, and at the least, they would get
    to practice their defense.
    And why worry about Jacksons K rate, a long way for him to go and catch up with LaHair in that department, and certainly better with the glove.
    To make it complete, LaHair, Baker, and probably my buddy
    Campana should go.

    • Zonk

      I think Campana has a role in the majors as a 5th OF/pinch runner. Not sure that’s what we need, and not many teams can carry a player whose only plus skill is base stealing.
      I bet he hangs around, because I don’t think we have alot of OFers right now banging on the door

      • paulcatanese

        While I like that Zonk, and it is hard to dismiss someone who with very limited playing time is still in the top 4-5 stealing bases.
        Plain fact, no one has seen him in almost a month and only in a very limited role. Even Brenly, who sits above the dugout in the broadcasting booth has pushed Tony for the lineup.
        It would be difficult for Campana to compete for a spot on that basis.
        Just hate to watch him sit with that “put me in coach”
        look on his face, I would like to see him play………
        Somwhere.

    • Ripsnorter1

      WE had pitching, until they traded 40% of it away. If the Cubs had just one more bat from the start of the season, we’d be up there with the Reds right now.

      • John G

        Now you sound just like Jim Hendry. Even if you’re right we would have no foundation for the future. And an overbloated payroll.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Hahahahaha!

          What foundation for the future did we acquire since Theo took over that we couldn’t have had otherwise?

          Michael Bowden? Well, he was DFA’d.
          Volstad? Do we need him for depth? Ha!
          Ian Stewart? Please……
          Valbuena? He’s the 3B answer for sure…
          Cardenas? He’s another answer for sure….
          Viscaino? He’s on the DL. He’s probably Cashner with TJ surgery. Who knows what he’ll be for sure….
          Jaye Chapman? Not going to make it at all.
          Jake Brigham? Not going to make it.
          Kyle Hendricks? Not going to make it.

          When all is said and done, Team Theo traded two starting pitchers and a pretty good 4th OF for Christian Vilanueva, who doesn’t have HR power or speed or any patience.

          It’s all simply wait and see for this guy.

          The Cubs could have picked up one bat in the off season and at this point of the season still done all the things that Team Theo has done. If the situation warranted, they could have dealt 40% of the starting pitching for one prospect at 3B.

          • Ryan

            funny that you left off rizzo dumbass

  • bphiatt723

    Where are the prospects that we got in the trades going to be in our system?

    • Zonk

      I personally would like to see Hendricks moved up to AA. He’s clearly doing well at A+, and the real question with him is whether he can continue to fool better hitters enough to overcome his middling stuff.

      Other than that, I think everyone else should stay put; Villanueva at A+ (Lake is at 3B in TN), Chapman at AAA, and Bringham at AA. You could make a case to move Bringham up.

      Vizcaino, the question is next year, and the real decision the Cubs have to make is whether to make him a starter, or reliever. If healthy, he’s probably ML ready as a reliever. To be a starter, he needs to be stretched out.

      • DWalker

        As a starter, he has a tremendous value to cubs in a pitching starved system, so I expect that unless there are indications he isn’t recovering from TJ surgery, thats where they will push him. He will be a reliever only if he can’t handle it as starter or can’t build up his changeup. Until he proves he can’t handle it or his arm breaks down, starter is his to loose.
        Depending on what report you read, he was either a health risk, which was why wren moved him to reliever and then traded him, or he is possibly really good as a releiver in a braves system that has a lot of arms to work with and thats what wren saw him as.
        Theo doesn’t have the luxery of a lot of arms, he had to trade another high injury risk high ceiling guy to pick up a cornerstone impact player. This is the replacement. Theo does see himself as having the luxery of another year of building (fans might not think so) so he won’t worry about rushing rehab and stretching him out. We will probably see him on an innings limit as well even into 2014 to get him ready for 2015.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Epstein said the reason Gerardo Concepcion has been out of action is because of mono

    • cubtex

      I thought it might be because of whiplash. lol

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes indeed.

    • Aaron

      he was kissing Hayden Simpson? Too soon? j/k

  • Dorasaga

    Curious if any friends here on CCo read about our newest acquisitions; educated opinions, of course:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/christian-villanueva-texas-rangers-third-base-prospect-sleeper/

    “For me, the best part of scouting a game in person are those rare instances when an unknown prospect forces me to take notice… Of those players, Christian Villanueva was the best of the bunch in 2011 and ranked only behind Jurickson Profar in terms of position prospects on that ball club.

    A comp to Braves Martin Prado is imperfect, but provides some insight into the type of value Villanueva projects for at the Major League level.”

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with #11 … a new single season high for Castro in
    homers

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another homer off Wood

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Matt Cerda was promoted to Double-A Tennessee. C Juan
    Apodaca, RHP Ty’Relle Harris and INF Greg Rohan were promoted to Triple-A Iowa

    • Tony_Hall

      It will be interesting to see the roster moves over the next 35 days or so. Which guys will be added when rosters expand, and who will be released to make room on the 40 man.

      Pitchers on the 40 man that will be up in September have to include Dolis, Coleman, Brigham and Chapman. And hitters on the 40 man would have to include Lalli (3rd catcher) Vitters and Sappelt. But others will be called up (BJAX) that aren’t on the 40 man roster.

      Should be fun to follow.

      • cubtex

        I will look forward to seeing Vitters and BJax….but spare me the pitchers you mentioned. We have seen Coleman and Dolis. I doubt Brigham will be called up since he is in AA. Chapman might be but he is a bullpen piece.

        • Tony_Hall

          You can turn the TV off, they you will be spared.

          I was looking at the 40 man roster and who looks like they would be called up. I would be shocked if they traded for Brigham and Chapman and had to put them on the 40 man and then not bring them up when rosters expand. Coleman and Dolis will both be up as well, sorry. But you do realize that this is part of the development of players. They come up, go back down to work on things, then come back to see if they have figured it out.

          It isn’t one strike and you are out in baseball.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Here’s something for Dolis to work on: additional pitches.

            He has one pitch: ONE. It’s a sinking fastball. He junked his slider when he could not throw it for a strike.

            One pitch pitchers do not succeed in MLB.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t remember what his other pitches were, but he abandoned them early on.

            I would assume, that that is what the Cubs having him work on…

          • Ripsnorter1

            He has a nice arm if he can add to the sinking fastball. He doesn’t fan enough batters to suceed, either. He needs a split finger fastball that he can throw for a strike.

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe, but with a sinker that runs in, he needs a curve or a slider in my book.

          • brent carmona

            I’ve rarely rarely seen him throw that slider for a strike. You are right, even though his sinker is a plus pitch he ain’t gonna make it. I think we should all have faith in him still though, needs a little more time.

          • cubtex

            I want to finally see Vitters play instead of that stiff Valbuena. You can watch Casey Coleman and Volstad and sell us all on how good they are and how they have figured it out. ha

          • Tony_Hall

            Who said they have figured it out? They are roster fillers.

            I’ve been ready to see Vitters, and it’s obvious that Valbuena isn’t blocking him, so since they are going over players tomorrow, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is on the way soon.

          • cubtex

            Since Hoyer said today he will be called up soon that is correct.

          • Tony_Hall

            Didn’t I just say that?

        • Ripsnorter1

          Lalli? Man, he can’t hit even .100. PLEASE! NO! NO! NO! AAHAHAHAHAHAAHAGGGGGGHG!

          [THUD]

          • Tony_Hall

            They will call up a 3rd catcher in September to mainly work in the bullpen. Remember how Chirinos, Castillo, etc have come up in September and barely ever made it into a game, because Koyie Hill was catching everyday.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Baker with two stolen bases

  • BosephHeyden

    Well, this is the exact wrong person we needed to get knocked around.

    • BosephHeyden

      Sveum is two batters too late. Camp has been our best reliever, and the worst thing you can do to him is allow him to get knocked around for four runs with no outs before you even get another reliever started.

  • Tony_Hall

    Alberto Cabrera’s big league debut

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Camp with a bad, bad outing. Here comes Cabrera …

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice sliders from Cabrera…all low and away.

    • cubtex

      He looks good in his uniform too

      • Tony_Hall

        I would say he looks dominant and should be our closer for years and years to come :)

        • cubtexa

          He has the strangest minor league stats. He has great K numbers but terrible hits per innings. In only 19.1 IP for Iowa he struck out 29(which is awesome) but he also gave up 29 Hits. It is either a strikeout or a hit with him.

          • John G

            Isn’t that what a reliever is supposed to do? Throw strikes.
            Jack Brickhouse once said “There is no such thing as a perfect pitch. If it’s perfect, it has to be in the strike zone. If it’s in the strikezone, it’s hittable. If it’s hittable, it’s not a perfect pitch.”

          • cubtex

            Usually John when a guy has that good of a K rate the hits per innings are not like that.

          • John G

            At least he’s not likely to walk the bases full before the hits come. Ala Carlos Marmol.

          • DWalker

            if he is pitching to contact, then they should be able to work the shift with him with solid scouting over time. if thats the case, his hits should go down from the minors. That might not have been the case a year ago, but with the scouting and shifts they are doing now, its possible thats what we’ll see.

          • cubtex

            It has been that way in all levels of the minors.

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice job by Cabrera…2 k’s

  • John G

    Lets hope that outing by Cabrera is a sign of the future.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Good job by Cabrera

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Pretty cool that Cabrera struck out Harrison … former teammates in the Cubs’ system.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jim Bowden: Grades for Teams at the trade deadline: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post?id=4705

    • Zonk

      What grade did we get, for those of us who are not Insiders?

      • Tony_Hall

        B+ Behind Angels and Dogers.

        Analysis: The Cubs were not able to move Matt Garza or Alfonso Soriano but still have a chance to do it during the waiver period in August or this offseason. They were able to get two power arms in Hendricks and Vizcaino, although the latter is recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Epstein/Hoyer administration continues to follow the blue print of building for the future and are making progress as demonstrated byAnthony Rizzo’s performance at the major league level.

        • Zonk

          Hendricks is a “power arm”?

          Actually, I am a little confused on him. Hoyer said he throws 93 mph, (probably the 4 seemer), and BA says he sits 89-90 (maybe that’s 2 seamer). Either way, doesn’t say POWER to me….

          • Tony_Hall

            Like with everything, you will read many conflicting reports.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Thanks, all I can do is post the link.

  • Tony_Hall

    Seems Castillo did bring his bat along…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castillo with a big blast

  • BosephHeyden

    Cycle in the 9th.

  • John G

    These kids just don’t give up do they. Win or lose, they’re fun to watch.

    • cubtex

      Did you not watch last night’s game :)

      • John G

        I did. It was a pretty awesome performance by AJ Burnette. I also saw the game the night before. Overall, I enjoyed all three games, even though we lost 2 out of 3. Like I said, win or lose, they’re fun to watch. I am simply anticipating more winning in the future. There seems to be too much need for instant gratification. And before you throw the 104 year line at me, I am starting the counting as of the hiring of Theo compared to the last 60 years I have been following the Cubs.

        • cubtex

          We better anticipate more winning in the future. Can’t get much worse than this year can it?

          • John G

            Patience, Grasshopper, patience.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 8-4 to Pirates Wednesday afternoon

    Travis Wood: 2R,3H,3BB,Balk,6K,5IP; Shawn Camp: 5R,7H,0.0IP; Starlin Castro: HR; Bryan LaHair: 2-for-4,2 2B,R; Jeff Baker: 2-for-4,3B,RBI,R,2 SB

  • Zonk

    Speaking of Cabrera, what is the scouting report on him?
    He was added to the 40-man roster under Hendry, which means they thought highly of him. He has a good FB (gameday says 94 mph-ish), but until this year his minor league results were not particularly good. This year, good Ks (and strangely high hits, but I think that’s an anomaly)

    Anyone know?

    We’ve sure had a parade of bullpen arms this year….

    • brent carmona

      From around the blogosphere I hear a plus plus sinker/two seamer and a above avg slider. I was really surprised he snapped off so many breaking balls today, didn’t know he had command of it like that. His ceiling is a power reliever in the 8th inning I would think…

  • mike

    Mike (Denver): Hi Jim. What are your thoughts on the return for Ryan Dempster (specifically Christian Villaneuva)? Where would he and Arodys Vizcaino fall in the Cubs Top 10 prospects? Thanks.

    Jim Callis: Getting Randall Delgado from the Braves for Dempster would have been better, but I like Villanueva. He’s a very toolsy third baseman. I think both he and Vizcaino would fit in the 5-7 range on a Cubs Top 10.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    10:13 update – Barney told the Trib he is okay this morning
    and there are reports that he does not have a concussion

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Read Hoyers comments regarding Vitters callup ‘likely’ happening ‘in the near future’. With the Trib reporting Jackson may get summoned soon who will get the call first?