Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 09/03/12

Game One Hundred Thirty-Four: Cubs (51-82) vs. Nationals (81-52)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC

Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.03/1.26) vs. Ross Detwiler (8-6, 3.32/1.17)

Happy Labor Day from the CCO!

As summer unofficially comes to an end, the Cubs kick off a 10-game, three-city road trip this afternoon with the first of four against the first place Washington Nationals. The Cubs will spend the weekend in Pittsburgh and wrap up their penultimate road trip of the season with three in Houston … the Cubs last visit to Houston while the Astros are a National League team.

The Cubs will face an excellent team for the next four days that’s entire focus is on when Stephen Strasburg will be shut down for the year instead of the fact the Nationals are 6 1/2 games ahead of the second place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The Cubs will not face Strasburg during this series but will still see four excellent starting pitchers. The Cubs dropped two of three to the Nationals during the first series of the season (April 5, April 7-April 8).

After this afternoon’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija and Ross Detwiler, Chris Rusin is scheduled to square off against Edwin Jackson on Tuesday night. Chris Volstad against Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday and Justin Germano is expected to take on Jordan Zimmermann in the finale on Thursday night.

Jeff Samardzija could be making one of his final starts of the season. The Cubs have discussed shutting Samardzija down in a couple of weeks. Samardzija has already completed 158 2/3 innings in his first full season as a big league starter. Samardzija threw a combined 130 2/3 innings in 2010 (Iowa and Chicago). The most innings Samardzija has thrown in one season was in 2007. Samardzija pitched 107 1/3 innings for Daytona and another 34 1/3 innings for the Smokies (141 2/3 innings).

While the Cubs have played .500 ball at Wrigley Field this season (34-34), Dale Sveum’s team have struggled mightily on the road (17-48) and have really had problems with left-handed starters. The Cubs are 14-21 in games started by southpaws this season and will face two over the next four games.

In other newsDarwin Barney ran his errorless games streak to 118 on Sunday. Barney enters play this afternoon five games short of the Cubs record for consecutive games by a second baseman without an error held by Ryne Sandberg (123).

This afternoon starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off an excellent outing against the Brewers. Samardzija was hung with a meaningless loss due to zero support from his offense. Samardzija and the defense gave the Brewers extra opportunities in the seventh and it cost them a game in the end. Samardzija struck out 10 in his last outing without allowing a walk. The Brewers high-flying offense managed three runs, two earned, on seven hits in seven innings.

Jeff Samardzija appears to be taking the next step in his development as a big league starter. Samardzija has notched seven quality starts in his last 10 games and has completed at least seven innings in six of his last 10 outings.

Jeff Samardzija is 1-4 in his last six starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP … since the break, 2-4 in nine starts with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija dominated the Nationals in his first start of the season. Samardzija was electric over 8 2/3 innings. Samardzija allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits without a walk and eight strikeouts. For his career, Samardzija is 1-0 in eight appearances, one start, against the Nationals with a 1.56 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP … at Nationals Park, no record in four relief appearances with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

Nationals Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Roger Bernadina – 1-for-4
  • Mark DeRosa – 1-for-2
  • Ian Desmond – 3-for-7 with two doubles
  • Danny Espinosa – 0-for-4
  • Jesus Flores – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Adam LaRoche – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Michael Morse – 0-for-1
  • Chad Tracy – 0-for-1
  • Jayson Werth – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 0-for-8

Ross Detwiler has been very good this season on an excellent Nationals’ staff. Detwiler posted a 4-3 record in 12 starts in the first half with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Since the break, Detwiler is 4-3 in nine starts with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.

Ross Detwiler is coming off a win against the Marlins. The southpaw allowed three runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Detwiler is 3-2 in his last six outings with a 3.53 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP … 16 strikeouts with only eight walks and 26 hits allowed in his last 35 2/3 innings.

For as good as Detwiler has been this season, he’s been even better at home. Detwiler is an average 2-4 in 13 games, 10 starts, on the road with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. But in his home park, Detwiler is 6-2 in 14 games, 11 starts, with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Ross Detwiler did not face the Cubs in April and is 1-1 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 4.35 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Ross Detwiler

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
  • Dave Sappelt – 2-for-5 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-4 with a double

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne