Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/11/12

Game One Hundred Twelve: Cubs (44-67) vs. Reds (67-46)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet- Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (4-8, 4.77/1.29) vs. Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 4.05/1.26)

Updated 12:13pm CDTLendy Castillo activated from 15-day DLScott Maine optioned to Triple-A Iowa

Dale Sveum was not happy with his team following Friday’s sloppy loss to the Reds. Sveum voiced his displeasure publically and it will be interesting to see how a very young team responds today. Sveum’s statements suggested that more than one player could receive a day off this afternoon.

The Cubs have lost nine of ten and it does not get any easier for them today.

Today’s game figures to be challenging for Travis Wood and the young Cubs’ roster. Travis Wood has the tough task of facing the organization that selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft for the first time while the offense has to deal with Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is due for a good outing and he usually saves his best effort for the Chicago Cubs.

In other newsLendy Castillo has rejoined the Cubs. Castillo has been on the “disabled list” since May 16 with a groin injury. The Rule 5 draft pick completed a rehab assignment and is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL at some point this weekend.

Brett Jackson’s struggles have apparently cost him playing time. When Jackson was called up last weekend, the Cubs said he would play 90 percent of the time. Dale Sveum amended that statement on Friday. Jackson “will probably sit against left-handers” now.

This afternoon all starts with Travis Wood …

It will be interesting to watch how Travis Wood handles himself this afternoon. Wood needs a good outing today after dropping his last five starts. But it will likely be difficult for him to control his emotions facing his old team for the first time. If Wood struggles early, the Cubs could be looking at another ugly loss.

After just a miserable stretch coming out of the break, Wood has shown improvement in his last two starts. Wood is still having trouble locating his breaking stuff and he must pitch from ahead in the count in order to be successful. Travis Wood limited the Pirates to two runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in five short innings back on August 1. In his last outing, Wood put together his first quality start in a month. Wood allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings. The Padres beat the Cubs 2-0 in the first of three in San Diego.

Travis Wood is 0-2 in his last two starts with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP … since the break, 0-5 in five starts with an 8.78 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. Wood owns a 2-4 mark in eight starts at Wrigley this season with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.

Ryan Ludwick (2-for-6 with two walks) and Wilson Valdez (0-for-3 with a walk) are the only two players on the Reds’ roster that have faced Travis Wood during their career.

The Cubs will face an old nemesis this afternoon. Bronson Arroyo has owned the Chicago Cubs since Theo Epstein traded him to the Reds prior to the 2006 season. The Cubs finally beat Arroyo back on May 2 at Great American Ball Park and he has been struggling of late. But this is a much different Cubs’ team and Arroyo should be at the top of his game this afternoon.

Arroyo is coming off a loss to the Brewers. Arroyo allowed five runs on 10 hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. The longball did Arroyo in like it has so often throughout his career. After posting a 3-1 record in five starts last month with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, Arroyo is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 7.15 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.

Bronson Arroyo is 9-9 in 26 career appearances, 24 starts, against the Cubs with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP … at Wrigley, 6-3 in 13 games, 12 starts, with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bronson Arroyo

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-7
  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-14 with a home run
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-11 with two walks
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-45 with five doubles, a home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

    • paulcatanese

      Neil, I suspect Clevenger was benched yesterday as a short lesson for being tossed the day before.
      And Castillo looks as he will emerge the number 1 behind the plate. Awsome power.

    • BosephHeyden

      It”s hard to say whether Vitters sitting is because of the insistence on the stupid platoon or to punish Vitters for having an error when, clearly, Valbuena never has them. Either way, that’ll show them!

      • cubtex

        God forbid he plays back to back games. He needs to sit and observe and learn from Valbuena. When you have a veteran like Valbuena, who has had such a successful mlb career, Vitters is much better off just watching a player of that status.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Yeah, I’m sure that’s the logic. Good lord…

      • Dnuge44

        I agree with the stupity of the platoon deal with both Vitters & Jackson ! These guys might be the future so lets find out something about them. Let them play !

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Cubs lost 4-2 to Reds Saturday afternoon – Travis Wood: 1R,5H,BB,8K,HBP,7IP
          (99/69); David DeJesus: 1-for-4,2RBI; Luis Valbuena; 1-for-,2B,R; Cubs: 2R,5H,BB

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Miles: Brett Jackson is sore after collision yesterday. Upper body

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Lendy Castillo activated from 15-day DL, Scott Maine optioned to Triple-A Iowa

  • cubtex

    At the beginning of the year…..I thought it would be extremely unlikely that this team would lose 100 games…..but now I would be surprised if the didn’t. You take Dempster,Garza and Maholm out of the rotation. Sveum using these ridiculous platoon lineups. With 51 games left……my guess is that will win 16 to 18 giving them over 100 losses.

    • BosephHeyden

      Right now the magic number is 18. If they win that much, then they can hold their heads…well, not high, but in whatever position they deem fitting for not losing 100 games?

      • cubtex

        I think it is 19 wins. If they win 18 more they will be 62-100.

  • BosephHeyden

    Just throwing it out there, but I’m coining the term “Blame Sveum”. It just seems like the Cubs set themselves up for failure by having a manager who’s name rhymes with any word associated with failure.

    • cubtex

      He is one of the most incompetent managers in recent history. He has moved one of the best young players in all of baseball all over the lineup. 3rd,2nd,5th. How many managers would do that to your building block? As I mentioned……I think they will lose 100 and hopefully this will put some notice on Sveum and they can hire a competent manager.

      • gocubs

        You have got to be joking right? Sveum has been great. His defensive shifts have given us one of the best defenses in recent memory, and his steady attitude is perfect for this young team. Theo and Jed know exactly what they want in a manager and after an exhaustive search process that Sveum won them over through, he has made good decision after good decision. especially for a rookie manager, but so far Im more impressed with Sveum than any other Cubs manager in recent history.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I completely agree gocubs. I think Sveum has done an excellent job given what he has to work with. Blame all the problems on Castro moving around in the lineup? The guy’s hitting has gone in the tank the past few months. Why shouldn’t Sveum shake things up a bit? It seems to be working because Castro is at least hitting slightly more. Sveum has a lineup of almost all rookies and is trying different things. Castro is in his 3rd year and supposedly a professional, so why should he not be moved to different spots based on his production? Personally I believe the future is bright primarily because of Sveum. Anybody blaming Sveum for the Cubs problems is delusional. Just plain, dead wrong. Use some common sense…

          • cubtex

            Lmao! That was awesome!!!!!

          • brent carmona

            Thank you sir I am with you

        • paulcatanese

          Don’t mean to be a downer here, but those defensive shifts have been around for a long while ( I refer to Lou Boudreau and Ted Williams) and a few others.
          It is not something that is new and is around both leagues, and has been.
          What should be looked at is the insistance of playing the infield in with a runner on third, even in the early stages of the game,that is totaly against the book, and has bit the Cubs more than once.
          The other is not playing for the double play, with Castro and Barney playing deep”to get an out”. I thought the double play was the pitchers best friend.
          And of course their is the “platoon system” constantly in play, how’s that working?
          He is of course Theo’s choice, as he believes what Theo is trying to do, and is sold completely on that theory.
          That is neccesary and needed for a success in the program.
          Sveum does make some good choices, but to say he is the best ever is a stretch.
          To say he is failing as a manager is saying Theo is failing as he is sold on Sveum and Sveum is sold on Theo, they are one, as it should be. But then the jury is still out on both.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            When you don’t have a proven player at a position many managers go to a platoon. When rookies are stinking the place up they have to sit. It’s plain as that. Not Sveum’s fault. Valbuena may not be the future but so far Vitters and Jackson have done zero to indicate they are either. When they make mistakes and don’t hit they deserve to ride the pine for a day or 2. That will help them more than going right back out to continue to flail away and lose all confidence. With the exception of Rizzo and IMO Castillo, the youngsters aren’t looking like the future. Not saying that won’t change but a day on the bench will probably help more than hurt.

          • BosephHeyden

            How has Vitters “stunk the place up”? He had a bad game defensively yesterday. Outside of yesterday, he’s been between serviceable to good. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that he was riding a hot streak in the minors, only to immediately hit the bench upon getting to the majors, so of course his offense is going to be off.

            Plus, a competent manager probably sees that Valbuena’s fluctuating batting average that gets dangerously close to, if not going below, .200 is the very definition of “late inning defensive replacement”.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Vitters has like 3 hits since his call-up and he’s bad on defense. Maybe “stinking the place up,” is harsh but he’s not doing much at all. You have to earn the right to play every day, especially when you’re young. I don’t believe management is committed to him so they aren’t going to run him out there everyday until he proves himself. If he were the future they might let him play but as of now he’s a question mark at best. I think the plan is to let him get a taste of the MLB and let the best coaches in our system work with him. If he gets hot then he plays but until then he sits and can pick the brains of the coaches. They’re letting him get the overall experience and if lightning gets caught in a bottle, great, if not then let him have a go in spring training. Not hitting is unfortunate but bad defense is an embarrassment, thus Valbuena gets to play.

          • paulcatanese

            Again, “earn the right” Vitters according to what you are saying will never earn the right because the Cubs are not commited to him for the future. And they are not going to run him out everyday until he proves himself, how exactly does a player go about doing that without the opportunity to play?
            I read between the lines and I see the fact that present management did not sign him from the beginning, so he does not figure in future plans.
            I guess if it wasnt for Stewart injuring his wrist,
            (pre-existng condition) he would still be over at third base, hitless for the most part, and Valbuena the same way.
            Look, I am not pushing Vitters or Jackson as I dont know them, but to put them behind in opportunity to prove their worth
            is just not fair.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I think you’re right that because current management didn’t sign him he’s not neccessarily in the future plans. That being said if he proves himself he can become a part of those plans. Team Theo won’t cut off the nose just to spite the face, if a guy can cut it they’ll adopt him readily. But anybody they didn’t sign off on is going to have more to prove. We’ve got arguably the savviest front office in baseball, these guys want to look good whether or not they signed a player. But guys like Rizzo, Villenueva, Almora and Soler are going to be less under a microscope than guys like Jackson, Vitters and others. The previous regime has given the current regime every reason to be skeptical of anyone they signed or drafted. The track record was just too poor. Anybody Hendry liked will be looked at by Team Theo with raised eyebrows, and I believe it’s with good reason. Hendry and his team were bozo’s when it came to drafting and development.

          • cubtex

            What opportunity has Vitters been given to stink up the joint? Volstad was lit up start after start and never taken out. They will lose 100 games and he is a terrible field manager.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Volstad is a guy who has proven he can pitch at the MLB level. He’s been off for a while but he’s done it in the past. Also you can’t shuttle starting pitchers from the bench to the mound as easily as you can substitute position players. Particularly the Cubs…we are very thin at pitcher. The Cubs had every reason to try and let Volstad try and work some things out and get back to being the pitcher he was in the MLB 2-3 years ago. He’s not particularly old so reasonable thinking says that there’s a better than average chance he can recapture the magic. With unproven youngsters that have been inconsistent at best in the minors that is not the case. Comparing letting Volstad take his lumps and try to work things out, especially early in the season, and letting unprovens like Jackson embarrass himself at the plate or Vitters embarrass himself in the field is a non sequitur.

          • paulcatanese

            Not arguing with you, but how is Valbuena and Stewart at third base being classified as proven players?
            And how are rookies stinking the place up? I assume you are talking about Vitters and Jackson, well they have not been here long enough to warrant that lable. Do you mean LaHair, he’s not a rookie, and his performance should be taken into account before Vitters and Jackson came up. Platooning just plain ruins young players.

          • Dorasaga

            That is not all true. Defensive shifts had been advanced in recent years, due to younger management adopting scouting reports and defensive stats, provided by third party. A lot are calculated risk, when and whom to shift (against right-hand batters as well).

            I’ve been reading “Fielding Bible” for years now. It’s quite inspiring. Just an example here: it shows what we can do by knowing the time, angle, and speed of each ball batted as related to the situation (state of bases, who’s on where, etc.). A lot of these information have been summarized to one stat: How many runs are saved? That’s all we really need, a line or two about the repeated performance from each position player.

            I recommend any fan interested at what the Cubs has been doing lately to read the latest release, a joint effort between Dewan and Bill James, “Fielding Bible III”.

        • BosephHeyden

          I dunno if that’s Cubbie Kool-Aid being drunk or something else, but I don’t know where these defensive shifts make him a good manager. His platoon system early in the season cost us at least 20 games, and should have been called off when it was proven to be ineffective early in the season. The idea was so bad that, without question, I would say it is the reason that LaHair is in such a freefall, since before Rizzo he’d have two or three games at a time he’d sit out because the starting pitcher was a lefty. Heck, had he gone without the platoon system, worst case scenario is that LaHair proves himself incapable of being a major league hitter,which probably forces the Cubs’ hand on Rizzo a bit earlier than it was.

          Right now, he’s in the process of ruining Vitters, because apparently Luis Valbuena’s “stellar” defense and near-nonexistant bat is a better option than playing a rookie every day that was a huge hitter in the minors. Because sitting a player almost every other day is a great way to ensure he stays hot.

          His bullpen management has been below average, at best. Besides the fact he stuck with Marmol far too long both in games he pitched where it was obvious two batters in he just “didn’t have it” (which cost us four or five more games with the saves he blew) and at a role he wasn’t capable of filling at the time (because, quite honestly, when you’re bullpen has no identity in the first place, you don’t need to worry about people filling a specific spot). That he didn’t play some of the useless DFA pitchers Hoyer’s picked up just shows he’s not completely incompetent, but he’s also played pitchers against guys they shouldn’t pitch against and it’s cost them.

          His lineup creation is inexplicable. Castro moving all over the place aside, Darwin Barney has proven to be consistent, and yet he fluxuates between batting eighth, second, seventh, and leadoff depending on nothing in particular. What’s more, the fact that he can’t create a steady lineup with this team is inexecusable simply because HE SAW THIS TEAM MORE THAN MOST TEAMS OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS! Yeah, it wasn’t his job in 2010 to know what our hitters could do, but last year? He had to know Quade wasn’t going to last and that he was going to be sought after by every team with a job opening.

          And the defensive shifts are worthless. A lot of times, he’ll have a shift on where the guy will get the ball because he was in a spot an infielder would have been at had they played normally anyways. But besides that, most of the shifts we pull are getting out really slow guys that would have been out on a double play by the next guy anyways, and furthermore, these defensive shifts obviously aren’t helping out the team in any way since WE’RE STILL LOSING. Our problem is we’re not scoring runs, regardless of whether we have a one run deficit or six.

          At the end of the day, Sveum was hired because Theo wanted to show up Boston, because that was the only other team interested in him. And that gets all the more worrisome that they were the only other team, since their taste in manager is already proven poor since they immediately settled on BOBBY VALENTINE, who most of us knew was going to bomb anyways. His qualifications for management are completely overblown when you consider that, if you remove Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun from the Brewers’ offense, it becomes inept. Which is exactly the kind of offense we have right now.

          • brent carmona

            The platoon system cost us 20 games? I dont see this at all. You have to give your bench players at lease SOME playing time, plus it wasnt working out bc the bench guys just went cold at the wrong time (especially baker). It was just tough luck. I know we dont want to see guys like baker start, yeah i understand that, but the stats do not lie, he does better against lhp than righties, so it makes sense to start him more often if it is going to help your team succeed.
            If lahair is in a free fall just because he wasnt getting starts against lefties, why is the front office considering him a bench player now and are going to let him explore other options (japan in particular)? That right there says something about the player lahair is. I disagree the platoon system/Svuem ruined him. He is just not very good, period.
            Sure valbuena’s bat sucks, but he is STILL taking alot of pitches in the games he has been playing, something vitters needs to do. this might be another reason why he is in, not to learn off how to hit but how to grind out at bats. Plus his stats against RH are not that good and he might be too overmatched to play against them.
            Marmol yeah he sucked early on, i dont know what to say here. ‘but he’s also played pitchers against guys they shouldn’t pitch against and it’s cost them, ‘ oh, what do you mean by this? Im sure the cubs coaching staff has access to stats and video that we dont have. Were they put in a position to fail or something?
            Okay, Barney has quite possibly the best baseball mind on the entire team. Youre telling me just because he is in a different spot in the lineup it affects his play? He is going to have a different attitude? i disagree wholeheartedely with you here.
            Defensive shifts, i dont know what to say here. I mean, in the cubs blogosphere and the radio/tv commentators, it seems they praised the shifts early on in the season but i havent heard much now…

      • brent carmona

        I would love to hear why being moved around in the lineup affects a ball player. I know paul mentioned something the other day but i couldnt refresh the comments on my phone so didnt get a chance to read/resond. Like seriously, the guy is young but, he is a gosh darn professional. He is going to be doing his best every day when he puts on that uniform, why would he change something just because of a slot change in a line up card? Is it not going to try as hard or something? This is castro for goodness sake, he doesnt care where the heck he hits im sure.

        • paulcatanese

          Brent, Ive got to head out to a Wedding and would like to answer you.
          It does affect certain players as to where they hit in the lineup.
          Castro because he takes on the mental approach with the slot he is in. Its not that he doesent try, but what he thinks that spot in the lineup has to do.
          5 is an RBI slot, 1 or 2 is the get on slot,all they have to do is think about themselves.
          Quick and maybe not a complete answer, but best I can do with the time. Was not downgrading Castro at all.

          • brent carmona

            I see paul, thank you. Castro does seem to press which is odd, so i can see yours and bosephs argument that players change their approach, BUT should they be doing that? I do not believe so. Have fun at the wedding, we shall discuss this a bit later k

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I like your perspective on things Paul and you make your point, however I have to disagree. If Castro cannot change his mental approach to hitting then he is not the player I believe he is. If he is savvy enough to have a mental approach in the first place he should be smart enough to adjust. MLB is all about adjustments…guys that can’t make them don’t last. Whether it’s a rookie adjusting to the way he’s being pitched once word gets out on him or a veteran adjusting to batting in a different spot in the lineup. Acceptance and trying to be the best player you can be wherever you are put is what a big-leaguer does. At least one who’s going to be around for a while.

          • paulcatanese

            Theboardrider, you have touched on the one
            point that is what I believe. Castro has not changed his mental approach to hitting from day one, when he came up to the Cubs.
            He is still swinging and going after pitches far out of the strike zone.
            When it gets a step beyond swinging the bat at a thrown ball, he just dosent get it. He does hit, I am not saying he dosent. But his mental approach is for a pre-determined swing.
            Totally undisciplined as to what his role is with the bat.
            He dosent bunt, dosent care about covering runners when they have a base stolen, dosent care about taking a pitch. He has been with the Cubs in his third year now, and his approach has not changed.
            Yes he can hit .300, get 200 hits, but few people grasp that if he were a disciplined hitter , he would be better, not only for himself but the team.
            Which brings Sveum into the picture. Sveum knows this and is trying to change Castro’s approach, and Castro is trying but it is difficult tor one that has the mentality of hitting that he does, so, he slumps.
            As to where he bats in the lineup, it does affect the outcome of the game itself.
            If he leads off, he is comfortable, all he has to do is swing the bat(forget about working the pitcher) as the more pitches he sees the more that pre-determined swing comes into play.
            If he bats number two, he has the same approach, no-one in the world expects him to bunt the runner over, and Castro, in his own mind feels that he is there to swing the bat, period.
            So bat him fifth and what happens, the same thing, he is there to swing the bat,
            but now he is in a pressure situation, his hit can mean a run, and the pre-determined
            swing mode comes in even more.
            So where does he hit in the lineup that benefits the Cubs as a team the most?
            He does the least amount of damage to the game plan in the number one or two in the lineup.

        • BosephHeyden

          I don’t believe it affects the individual ball player as much as I would have to imagine it affects the guys above and behind the player. For instance, a guy batting ahead of, say, a Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp is probably going to be a little bit more motivated to get on base. Likewise, a guy batting behind a Rafael Furcal is probably going to want to push himself a little harder to get the run in. What’s more, knowing who you have surrounding you in a lineup is likely going to make your job a bit easier in the fact that you know what they can do and are going to do. So, if you have a homerun hitter in front of you, chances are you’re going to go up assuming the bases are either going to be empty or with a guy in scoring position.

          Instability in a lineup is going to lead to guys deciding for themselves what they’re going up to do, and since most athletes, by nature, are out their for themselves, chances are everyone is swinging for the fences (or just doing more than they need to), even if it doesn’t make sense for them.

          • brent carmona

            These guys have all kinds of access to video, scouting reports and stats. They study this so they can come to the ballpark prepared and have a certain gameplan against the pitchers. Why change their gameplan just because they are batting in front/behind a slugger/allstar or whomever? IM sorry, i am just having a difficult time grasping this concept.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    A five-pitch second inning for Travis Wood

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    DeJesus with a two-out, two-run single

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wood ties his career-high with eight strikeouts.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wood gets a no decision

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    All of the damage off Russell came on 2-strike pitches

  • paulcatanese

    See my post on Jackson on “the wind blown comedy of errors”.
    To me that says it all.
    And no wonder he is sore after the collision, he’s lucky he still has a shoulder.

  • BosephHeyden

    For a team with two hitting coaches, you’d think they’d have figured that out. Bringing him up seems like it was a pure desperation move to ensure people still buy tickets this season. Him being on the major league team does no one favors right now, and with the fact that Castro inexplicably wound up in a position that could have could serious injury, being with the major league team will likely hurt him in more ways than one than help him.

  • paulcatanese

    I agree Boseph, and after watching him on tape and in slow motion, that seems to be the problem.
    I think they have seen that in his swing(or at the least they should have) and the correction must be a long process for Jackson. But with so many K’s in the last two years, their is no other explanation.