Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 09/05/12

Game One Hundred Thirty-Six: Cubs (51-84) vs. Nationals (83-52)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC

Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06/1.47) vs. Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10/1.15)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to put one in the win column tonight behind Chris Volstad. While the Cubs’ offense tries to figure out Gio Gonzalez, Volstad must keep the ball in the park. The Nationals have hit seven home runs over the first two games of the series, three off the bat of Adam LaRoche.

The Cubs have struggled mightily on the road this season (17-50) and it’s been real bad for the Cubs on the road in the second half. The Cubs are 3-18 outside of Wrigley Field since the break and just 1-18 on the road since the trade deadline.

In other news Darwin Barney ran his errorless streak to 120 games on Tuesday. Barney enters play tonight three games short of the Cubs’ record for consecutive games by a second baseman without an error held by Ryne Sandberg (123).

The Cubs set a new franchise mark Tuesday night for the most players used in a single-season. Three more players made their Cubs’ debut Tuesday night and the 52 players used by 2012 version of the Cubs topped the previous franchise high of 51 set during the 2000 season.

The Cubs have used 20 rookies this season, tying the franchise’s 1902 record.

Tonight it all starts with Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad is coming off his second straight win as he continues to show improvement since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa a month ago. Volstad held the Giants to two runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Volstad posted the victory in the Cubs’ only win over the Giants this season.

Chris Volstad is 2-2 in his last six starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Tonight will be the 15th start of Volstad’s career against the Nationals. Volstad missed them during the first series of the season and is 5-3 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. At Nationals Park, Volstad owns a 2-0 record in seven starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP.

Nationals Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Roger Bernadina – 7-for-22 with a double and a walk
  • Mark DeRosa – 0-for-3
  • Ian Desmond – 14-for-25 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and three walks
  • Danny Espinosa – 3-for-13 with a triple and two walks
  • Jesus Flores – 0-for-2
  • Adam LaRoche – 4-for-13 with two walks
  • Steve Lombardozzi – 1-for-2
  • Michael Morse – 5-for-13 with a double and a walk
  • Kurt Suzuki – 1-for-3
  • Chad Tracy – 2-for-5
  • Jayson Werth – 3-for-33 with a walk
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 13-for-25 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk

Gio Gonzalez has had an excellent first season in the National League. Gonzalez has pitched better than many expected, especially at Nationals Park. Gonzalez is coming off and impressive complete game shutout against the Cardinals. Gonzalez held St. Louis’ offense to five hits with threw walks and eight strikeouts in the Nationals 10-0 thumping over the Redbirds.

Gio Gonzalez is 4-2 in his last six starts with two complete games and one complete game shutout. Gonzalez has struck out 39 batters and issued just 11 walks while giving up 41 hits in his last 44 1/3 innings (2.64 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP). Gonzalez appears to be righting his ship after a rough June and July.

Gio Gonzalez is 7-4 in 12 starts at Nationals Park this season with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP and will face the Cubs for the second time this year.

The Cubs knocked Gonzalez out of the game in the fourth inning of his first start of the season. Gonzalez struggled with his command and gave up four runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Gonzalez has failed to complete at least six innings in only five other starts this season.

Tonight will be Gio Gonzalez’s third career start against the Cubs. Gonzalez is 0-1 in the first two with a 9.82 ERA and a 2.73 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Gio Gonzalez

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-4
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-8 with a home run
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-1
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3 with a double and a walk
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-3 with a walk

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Quote of the Day

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