Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 08/04/12

Game One Hundred Five: Cubs (43-61) vs. Dodgers (57-50)
Game Time – 8:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 180/914
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94/1.65) vs. Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95/1.06)

The Cubs have dropped the last three games, have been outscored 19-5 in the process and will turn to Chris Volstad to end the losing streak. Volstad has not won a game at the big league level in over a year (July 10, 2011) and it does not figure to get any easier tonight for Volstad or the Cubs’ offense.

The Cubs are 12-18 in games started by lefties this season and it will be interesting to see the lineup Dale Sveum runs out against Clayton Kershaw tonight. This is the first game against a southpaw since Reed Johnson was sent to Atlanta. Kershaw is equally as good against right-handers (.222/.273/.303) as he is against lefties (.208/.283/.309).

In other news … Matt Garza’s bullpen session was cut short Friday. Matt Garza is expected to throw again today and his status for Tuesday will be determined following his bullpen session. Dale Sveum acknowledged Friday that it could be “pushing it” to expect Garza to start Tuesday night in San Diego.

According to multiple reports, Chris Volstad will remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season, regardless of the way he pitches.

Darwin Barney tied Ryne Sandberg’s franchise mark Friday night for the longest single-season errorless streak by a second baseman. Barney has not been charged with an error in 90 games (April 17). Sandberg’s streak ran from June 21, 1989 through the end of the season and was picked up the next year. Sandberg’s franchise record 123-game errorless streak ran until May 17, 1990. The N.L. single-season record is held by David Eckstein. Eckstein was not charged an error for 113 straight games while he was with the Padres in 2010.

Tonight it all starts with Chris Volstad

It has been just over a month since Chris Volstad started a big league game. Volstad was rocked in Atlanta and could not compete five innings of work. Volstad allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Volstad was bitten by one huge inning again and it unraveled rather quickly.

Chris Volstad is coming off his best start of the year, with the Iowa Cubs. Volstad tossed eight inning of shutout ball against Oklahoma City. Volstad walked three, struck out five and gave up only four hits. Since returning to Triple-A, Volstad posted a 1-2 record in four starts with a 6.97 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Volstad faced and lost to the Dodgers during the series at Wrigley in May. Volstad allowed five runs on four hits with three walks and a strikeout in five innings. For his career, Volstad is 3-4 in seven starts against the Dodgers with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP … at Dodger Stadium, 2-1 in three starts with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Dodgers Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Mark Ellis – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Andre Ethier – 3-for-14 with a double and three walks
  • Tony Gwynn Jr. – 1-for-9 with a walk
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. – 5-for-16 with a double and a walk
  • Matt Kemp – 5-for-19 with a home run
  • Clayton Kershaw – 1-for-2
  • James Loney – 5-for-17 with a double and two walks
  • Juan Uribe – 0-for-3
  • Shane Victorino – 9-for-32 with a double, a triple, two home runs and two walks

The reigning NL Cy Young award winner is coming off a complete game shutout win in San Francisco. Other than a bad outing against the Cardinals on July 24, Clayton Kershaw has been, well … Clayton Kershaw. Arguably the best young lefty in the game has allowed one earned run or less in five of his last 10 starts and posted a 3-2 record in six starts last month with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Clayton Kershaw is 5-3 in 12 home starts this season with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

Kershaw has dominated the Cubs over his career. Kershaw is 2-1 in three starts with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (20 strikeouts and two walks in 21 innings). The loss came on May 25, 2010 when he allowed one unearned run on four hits in six innings at Wrigley Field.

Cubs Career Numbers against Clayton Kershaw

  • Jeff Baker – 4-for-11 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-4
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-10
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-3
  • James Russell – 1-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-8 with two home runs and a walk
  • Chris Volstad – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Baker – RF
    Castillo – C
    Mather – CF
    Valbuena – 3B
    Volstad – P

    • paulcatanese

      Wow, interesting to say the least. Like it.

    • triple

      Hopefully we get some production out of the top of that order…. if not it may be a long night. But I think this lineup has potential.

  • paulcatanese

    Interesting: Darwin Barney has tied Ryan Sandberg’s record for errorless games (per Neil).
    I now hope people will kind of get off Barney’s back as far as always looking for a replacement for him.
    Barney will never replace Sandberg, but should be looked at as
    a player in his own right. He brings an element to the game that has been missed since Sandberg retired. Hustle, intellegence,
    and the ability to come up with the big hit or defensive gem at the most opportune time.
    A new position for Barney and he worked hard to improve himself from last year and has come into his own.
    I give him credit and so should Cub fans, he is a gem.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I can get off his defensive back somewhat….nice errorless streak. How’s he look on the double play? Last year Castro/Barney had one half the double plays of the Pirates tandem of Cedeno/Walker. So this year?

      BTW, Seattle is #1 MLB in fielding with just 41 errors. How does that translate in the standings? Last place of course. The Cubs are #15 in MLB.

      Now back to the double play…62 for Darwin Barney, which is good for #9 in MLB at 2B. Walker? 64. Barney is closing the gap. Dan Uggla leads the way in 2012 with 77.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Oh Paul, Bruce Levine was on Talking Baseball today and Barney’s name was brought up by a caller, and Levine said he thought Barney didn’t fit the Team Theo mold: doesn’t hit with enough power; doesn’t take a walk; doesn’t look at enough pitches.

        I’d like to see how Campana is on the double play. Maybe he could be the 2nd baseman of the future….LOL.

        • J Daniel

          Barney does not fit the long term plans I do not think. He is a solid player and might end up in a trade. I would like a little more power as well but it really does depend on what the rest of the lineup is.

          I do think you can win with a player like him though.

          • Dnuge44

            Teams have won with guys like Barney for years & now Barney is a personal project for our manager, trying to help him with his hitting.

          • paulcatanese

            You are correct. The winner for a team is a strong middle, catcher, 2b,SS, and Center fielder, when that happens on a regular basis,
            you will a post season team.(of course good
            pitching helps).

          • J Daniel

            Hey, I like Barney a lot. Just what I think they think. They want guys that are going to work deeper counts with higher obp.

        • paulcatanese

          Rip, thats interesting, as MLB had that very same conversation regarding middle infielders.(none by name) but the point was it used to be outfielders that provided all the power, and now its changing to the infielders, they are becoming more power efficient and not just small defensive experts.
          The reverse is coming to the outfielders, more stress on defense and less on offense.
          Their opinion, I am just relating what was said.

        • triple

          I think Barney easily can contribute for the Cubs. No, we won’t see the power we’d like, but if other positions can provide that he will still be a good piece to the puzzle. Even though he totally doesn’t fit the “Theo mold,” he only strikes out 1 in every 10 AB’s, and is a pretty good clutch hitter that can make a living in the bottom 3rd of the batting order and not be a rally killer, as he is a decent clutch hitter just because he puts the ball in play, especially when there is pressure on the defense. Also, his .270ish BA is above the league avg, and he’s hitting .316 since the all-star break so his offseason weight-lifting program may prove to be helpful to endure through a long season. If his numbers continue to trend upwards and he proves to be a strong finisher, that plays well on a postseason caliber team. Unfortunately the Cubs are not one.

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, Barney has done a 180 in the turn at second, a 100% improvement over last year when he was learning the position. Castro plays a big part also as he has improved, and now with Rizzo it will continue to go forward.

      • triple

        Also, your number for Barney turning DP’s in 2012 isn’t totally accurate. You overlooked that he’s played SS 3 times this year and helped turn 2 more double plays there. If he was playing 2B in those games, I’m sure the outcome would be the same. So it looks like there is in fact NO GAP between the defense of Walker and Barney for double plays. But Barney’s fielding % is slightly higher, and his dWAR is 3.3 compared to Walker’s 0.1. in fact, Barney’s WAR is also higher than Walker’s (4.4 to 2.7).

        • Ripsnorter1

          Oh yes. I was trying to show that Barney has closed the gap with Walker from last year. Thank you.

    • Dnuge44

      Kind of strange that Sandberg helped Barney convert to 2b while in the minors, Barney has done well and will make Castro a better SS.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I would like to see Soriano drive in 100 runs this year. And hit 30 taters, too.

    • J Daniel

      Increase his value!

    • paulcatanese

      Rip, he may just do that.

  • Tom U

    Javier Baez starting at shortstop and batting third for the Daytona cubs tonight.

    • DWalker

      Offensively, about time!

      at what point are they going to start converting him to another position? still in Daytona?

      • Ripsnorter1

        I am beginning to think that Team Theo will trade Castro away during this offseason, or next year. Baez may not move positions…..

        • brent carmona

          Conspiracy theorist eh rip? This isn’t too far fetched, being that he is not a high percentage obp guy. But I cannot see them trading him, he’s just too good!

          • Ripsnorter1

            Not a conspiracy theorist. Just look at the evidence. They are on his case privately and publicly. Not a big OBP guy. Doesn’t look at enough pitches for their tastes. OPS is too low. And he deserves some of the criticisms about his sunflower-seed-induced-coma while eating his lunch on the field during a game (if you recall).

            Add in the fact that they want more pitching, and they have Jr. Lake and now Baez as possible replacements, and we now have the possibility that Team Theo flushes Castro down the trade toilet.

        • gary3411

          I hope so

          • Ripsnorter1

            Soriano working on those 100 RBIs…now has 62 for a team that is #30 in offense.

            Not too bad. Not bad at all.

          • GaryLeeT

            In fact, I would say this is his best overall year as a Cub.

        • daverj

          I like Castro, but would deal him an equally promising young pitcher. Those types of deals or young star for young star are very hard to make though.

          • Ripsnorter1

            My policy would not allow it. I would never trade an established, rising star, everyday player for a promising young pitcher since pitchers suffer injuries so much more often, eg, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, et al.

    • Tony_Hall

      I’m a little bummed about his promotion. I am finally going to be able to see the Chiefs play quite a few games in Beloit over the next few weeks, and now Baez has been moved up. Love the promotion, just wish I would of been able to make a game first.

      • Cory

        Good excuse for a vacation to Daytona

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree, but not exactly in the budget right now. I will wait until next year (most likely the year after) and take a trip to Des Moines.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Houston is 35-72.
    They got in this mess by going 3-29 over their last 32 games.

    The Cubs have gone 18-13 since June 25.

    The Cubs are a mere 8 games ahead of Houston in the win column.

    Think of the mess the Cubs would be in without both streaks.

    • triple

      Wow! That really is mind boggling. It is what it is though. We were not supposed to win this year, and not next so if your gonna be bad, you might as well be bad and hopefully take advantage of the high draft picks.

      I do certainly hope we can finish out playing close to .500 ball the rest of the way (not on the season, just Aug/Sept), but this slow start in August is not looking promising. On another note, it will also be very interesting to see what happens in the offseason and how Theo/Jed attack this “restocking for the future, while putting the best on the field that we can today” approach. With a strong finish, Garza can bring a big return on the trade market. Will Soriano draw interest from AL teams if he stays healthy and finishes strong? And will those teams be willing to give up a good enough prospect if they are only left to pay Soriano $4 or $5 million/year?

      I remember you mentioning the possibility of Castro being traded. I don’t think they need to jump into that just yet. Might as well wait at least 2 years until we are sure that there are can’t miss players for 2B, 3B, as SS before thinking about trading Starlin. If over the next 2 years he improves to a 20+ HR hitter who bats .300 (especially if he starts to walk more), he will be very appealing to all teams and will also offer a much bigger return in trade value. The point being is that he’s already proved he can hit in the big leagues and he is showing more power, and is only 22. Barring injury, it is likely that he is a starting all-star shorstop throughout the prime of his career. All those other prospects we have between the ages of 18 and 22 haven’t proven a thing in the big leagues. I can see Castro being the kind of guy who can net a big return of future impact talent that helps to set the farm system up after whatever good prospects we have coming up in the next couple years have earned their way onto the big league team, and are producing like legitimate big league players. If 3 years from now, the Cubs look like perennial contenders and have better players at 2nd, 3rd, and one who’s proved he will hit big league pitching (and play solid D) as good as Starlin at SS, then I say we trade him for a king’s ransom.

      • Ripsnorter1

        The Cubs go .500 in Aug/Sept? Have a drink of reality, my friend.

        The starting pitching was the only real strength of this team. But Team Theo dealt away the best 40% of their starting pitching. They replaced them with Chris Volstad, “Mr. 0 for 20,” and Germano.

        Question: Can Volstad and Germano go .500? IF Volstad loses every single start (if anyone can do it, he can do it), then can Germano (1-1) win every single start?

        Answer: NO! LOL

        How about Garza? Is he a .500 pitcher?
        Answer: NO! (5-7) LOL
        His first half was horrible, just like last year. He is not an ace. He’s got good stuff when he shows up with it, which is about half the time.

        Samardzija: Is he a .500 pitcher? No. (7-9) He’s got good stuff, but he’s too inconsistent right now. He’ll improve. Next year should be better.

        And that brings us to our last starter: Travis Wood. Is he a .500 pitcher?

        NO. He is 4-7. LOL

        Since we have no .500 pitchers, we cannot possibly go .500 from here on out.

        • triple

          Well obviously you feel very negatively about the outcome of the next couple months. Number one: I did not claim that they WILL PLAY .500, just that I HOPE they play CLOSE to .500 ball. Last year Garza finished the last 2 months going 6-2. On so many levels, the Cubs and Garza really need him to do the same for both their benefit. If Samardziija and Wood can find their groove again for even one month each those 2 can close out winning 50%. Like I said, I’m hoping the Cubs can play CLOSE to .500 the rest of the way. I don’t think someone hoping their team can play well enough in the last 2 months of the season is so out of touch with reality. Would I be a better person to say, “man this team really sucks and just got a lot worse. We won’t even win 60 games!” I say no, I’d be a miserable pessimist who puts out negative vibes.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Reality is the best place to live, imo. Not pessimistic or idealistic, but realistic.

            Garza is hurt. That makes 6-2 harder to do.
            But Wood might, could, maybe-just-maybe go .500. Nah. He won’t. Samardzija has the best chance, imo, to go .500. Volstad? Hahahahahhahaha! I don’t think so. Germano? He’s got a much better shot than Volstad, but it will be hard.

            Even if the starting pitching gives us the best starts in MLB, we have the #30th ranked offense in MLB. That’s out of 30 teams. Or to put it another way, it’s the worst offense in MLB. It’s hard to win without scoring runs.

            So .500 or 29-31 as Tony Hall wants, will be difficult.

          • triple

            Yes, I agree it will be difficult. But did anybody expect the Cubs to be the hottest team for a month? Yes, we’ve cooled off, and you are correct our 2 best pitchers are gone. But if you even look at Maholm, his results were partly due to good defensive positioning and play, as well. The Cubs offered that for Demp as well, but no run support. If they offer the same to Germano, and Volstad (ugh), they can win some games. Anyway, enjoy as I wonder if you are rooting for Volstad to get a loss or a win?

          • Ripsnorter1

            I expect the defensive strategies and play to remain constant with what it has been all year. So I do not expect any decline defensively.

          • Tony_Hall

            It isn’t necessarily what I want, it’s what their record needs to be to be better than June/July which was better than April/May. If they hadn’t gone on this “hot streak” this number would be more realistic and they very easily could of done what I said they would do. Realistically, 29-31 is going to be a long shot.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I understand completely.

          • Tony_Hall

            Remember I am a realistic person, with overly optimistic thoughts :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            Exactly. :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice strong throw by Castro to nail Kemp

  • Ripsnorter1

    Volstad has fanned zero tonight.

    • GaryLeeT

      Does he even have a swing, and a miss?

      • Ripsnorter1

        He’s in the game because he hasn’t walked anyone yet.

        • Tony_Hall

          6 innings 89 pitches is pretty good for him, but like you say, he has limited his walks (now 1)…plus 3 k’s!

  • GaryLeeT

    As someone who buys Directv’s MLB extra innings every year, I rarely enjoy the opposition’s broadcast team. But when it comes to the Dodgers, I never miss a chance to listen to Vin Scully. I am blown away by how sharp he still is at the age of 85. Never any dead air, and does it without rambling, with a voice as soothing as a crooner.

    • Tony_Hall

      I love listening to Vin Scully too!

    • Cory

      Scully is a master

    • texcubnut

      He is absolutely the very best.

    • daverj

      We agree on this one. I love listening to Scully.

  • Tony_Hall

    I know Volstad takes a lot of grief, but he has always been a victim of the big inning, obviously self-inflicted.

    He will never have over-powering stuff, but if he can find ways to limit those one big innings, he can be a productive #4/#5 guy in a rotation.

  • RynoTiger

    remember when Joe Mather was hitting so well in spring training…and then the real season started…so sad…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent outing from Volstad

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice outing for Volstad 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 BB, 3 k’s. One mistake to one of the best hitters in baseball…2 runs.

    • texcubnut

      Very nice outing. His best as a Cub.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 3-1 to Dodgers Saturday night – Chris Volstad:
    2R,6H,1BB,3K,7IP; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-4,2B,RBI; Darwin Barney: 1-for-4,R; Cubs: 3H,2BB,1-for-6
    RISP,4LOB

  • paulcatanese

    At least the Cubs gave the Dodgers a game, and were not walked over.