Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 08/03/12

Game One Hundred Four: Cubs (43-60) vs. Dodgers (56-50)
Game Time – 9:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.19/1.31) vs. Chad Billingsley (6-9, 3.89/1.35)

After a stretch of 29 games dating back to June 25 in which the Cubs posted a 19-10 record, the Cubs dropped the final two games of the homestand to the Pirates. The Cubs showed life at the end of Wednesday’s game and will look to get back on track tonight.

The Cubs begin a very difficult six-game West Coast trip with the first of three against the Dodgers. The trip concludes Wednesday after with the last of three in San Diego. The Cubs played good ball against both the Dodgers and Padres earlier this season at Wrigley Field.

Dale Sveum’s team took two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley in May (May 4-May 6) … but they will face a much-different Dodgers’ team over the next three days. Matt Kemp was also hampered during the series and was unable to play in Sunday’s finale. After surviving and thriving for a majority of the season with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and the rest of the roster, Don Mattingly can now fill out a lineup card that includes Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. The Dodgers enter play tonight a half game back of the Giants in the West. The Dodgers are 29-23 at home this season while the Cubs are only 16-36 outside of Wrigley.

The Cubs have not fared too well against the three starters they will face this weekend. After tonight’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija and Chad Billingsley, Chris Volstad will oppose Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night with Justin Germano facing Aaron Harang in the finale on Sunday afternoon.

Matt Garza was penciled in to take the hill in tonight’s opener against the Dodgers but after a bullpen session, and with missing time for the birth of his fourth child, Garza has been pushed to at least Tuesday. With Garza unable to go, Dale Sveum will turn to his next best option Jeff Samardzija.

In other news … According to multiple reports, Dale Sveum and the front office were expected to discuss the roster during Thursday’s off day. Several reports suggested that Josh Vitters and/or Brett Jackson could soon be called up from Triple-A Iowa. The shuttle between Iowa and Chicago should be very busy over the next month before rosters expand.

A report from the Sun-Times late Thursday afternoon indicated the Cubs could be looking at adding Derek Lowe to the roster. The Indians designated Lowe for assignment earlier in the week and the Cubs have very few starting pitching options … plus there is an obvious relationship between Lowe and the Cubs’ front office.

Tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off a no decision in his last outing. Samardzija gave up two runs on three hits to the Cardinals and was lifted after six due in large part to issuing a season-high six walks and striking out seven batters. Samardzija has pitched a lot better of late but still needs to work on his consistency. While Samardzija has only one win to show for his efforts over his last three outings (1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP), the Cubs have won all three games.

After just a miserable June (0-4 in five starts with a 10.41 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP), Samardzija posted a 2-1 record in five starts last month with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.

Samardzija missed the Dodgers back in May at Wrigley and is 1-0 in two career relief appearances against the Dodgers with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.00 WHIP … five strikeouts in 3 1/3 perfect innings. Samardzija has pitched in just one game, two innings, at Dodger Stadium in his career.

Dodgers Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Andre Ethier – 0-for-2
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. – 0-for-1
  • Matt Kemp – 0-for-1
  • James Loney – 0-for-1
  • Hanley Ramirez – 6-for-12 with a double
  • Juan Uribe – 0-for-2
  • Shane Victorino – 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run and a walk

Chad Billingsley had a good month of July and will make his first start at Dodger Stadium in just over a month tonight. Billingsley tossed 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball in his last start against the Giants. Billingsley gave up just four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out two.

Billingsley posted a 2-2 record in his last four starts with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP … in his last two, 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. Billingsley has been much better on the road (5-5 in 11 starts with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP) than at home (1-4 in nine starts with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP) this year.

The Cubs beat Chad Billingsley back on May 4. The Cubs scored four runs on eight hits over six innings (three walks and four strikeouts). For his career, Billingsley is 4-4 in 11 career appearances, nine starts, against the Cubs with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chad Billingsley

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-10 with a double
  • Tony Campana – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-4 with a double and a triple
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-3
  • Joe Mather – 2-for-3 with a home run
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-5
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-23 with a double and two walks

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth