Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 09/06/12

Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven: Cubs (51-85) vs. Nationals (84-52)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC

Justin Germano (2-5, 6.30/1.38) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.01/1.16)

The Cubs wrap-up the series and season series with the Washington Nationals tonight (1-5). The Cubs have been outhit and outpitched over the first three games of the series. The Nationals have launched 13 home runs, 12 over the last two games, during this series while the Cubs have hit only two out of the park. The Nationals are squaring up everything the Cubs throw at them, especially Adam LaRoche. The veteran first baseman has hit four home runs against Cubs pitching over the last three games.

The Cubs have been outscored 22-7 over the first three games of this series … and according to Dale Sveum it has looked like men playing against boys for the last three games.

Justin Germano must keep the ball in the park tonight in order for the Cubs to salvage one game of this series and finish the year with two wins in seven games against the Nationals.

In other news Darwin Barney ran his errorless games streak to 121 games on Wednesday. Barney enters play tonight two games short of the Cubs’ record for consecutive games by a second baseman without an error held by Ryne Sandberg (123).

The Cubs begin the night 34 games under .500 with 26 games left on their schedule. The team is focused on not losing 100 games this season. The Cubs are just 1-19 on the road since the trade deadline and are 8-27 over their last 35 games. The Cubs have to post a 12-14 record over the last 26 games in order to avoid a 100-loss season.

Tonight it all starts with Justin GermanoJustin Germano has gone from serviceable to horrible in his last three starts. Germano was able to give the pitching-starved organization a couple of decent starts but more importantly he was eating innings for the Cubs. Germano allowed two earned runs per game in three of his first four starts while pitching into or through the sixth inning. While Germano has completed at least five innings in two of his last three outings, he has allowed 17 runs on 24 hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings (10.43 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP) over his last three outings … and it does not figure to get any easier for him tonight.

Justin Germano is 1-4 over his last six starts with a 7.03 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP … and on the road this season 0-2 in three games, two starts, with a 6.92 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Justin Germano has faced the Nationals just once in his career. Germano beat the Nationals back on June 2, 2007 after allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings in a Padres’ uniform.

Mark DeRosa (0-for-1), Chad Tracy (one walk), Jayson Werth (2-for-2 with a home run) and Ryan Zimmerman (1-for-3) are the only players on the Nationals’ active roster with limited at bats in their career against Justin Germano.

Jordan Zimmermann has struggled of late after a good first half and the Nationals are concerned about his drop-off. Zimmermann posted a 5-6 record in his first 17 starts of the season with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. In 110 1/3 innings, Zimmermann struck out 74 batters while walking 22 and allowing 102 hits. Since the break, the talented right-hander is 4-2 in 10 starts with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP … but just 1-2 in his last six starts with a 6.16 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP.

Jordan Zimmermann is coming off a loss to the Cardinals in a start he lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Zimmermann gave up eight runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Even with his recent issues, the Nationals are 7-3 in his last 10 starts … and the Cubs’ offense could be what Zimmermann needs to get back on track.

Tonight will be Zimmermann’s fifth career starts against the Cubs. Zimmermann is 0-3 in the first four with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP and the Cubs beat him back on April 8 (two runs, one earned, on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in seven innings).

Cubs Career Numbers against Jordan Zimmermann

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
  • Tony Campana – 0-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-10
  • Steve Clevenger – 1-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2
  • Dave Sappelt – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-11 with a triple and a home run

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Accuscore gives the Cubs a 28% chance of winning tonight. The reason the figure is that high is that Zimmerman has been shakey in his last 3 starts…..

    Germano is Germano: Over his last 14 IP….he has given up 24 H, but only 2 for HR.

    Barney is hitting .255 vs RHP and .254 vs LHP for the year. Consistent.

    Soriano has 26 HR and 88 RBI. I want him to get 30 HR and 100 RBI.

    Play Sappelt and bench DeJesus. He can’t be any worse….

    Put Vitters on the field, too.

    Sappelt
    Vitters
    Rizzo
    Soriano
    Castro
    Clevenger
    Jackson
    Cardenas
    Germano

    Now that’s a winning lineup!

    • RMercer69

      Woooowww…in what might be an understatement…the Nats have just beaten the blood out of us in the last 4 days……..I don’t remember a team dominating a four game series to this extent in my almost 40 yrs of being a Cub fan.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Too bad you missed the Mets in 1969…

        • RMercer69

          Yes, I was born in May of ’69…am definitely glad I missed that!

          • Ripsnorter1

            I wish I could show you the tape….Cubs ahead…bases loaded with Mets…Bill Hands on the mound…Tommy Agee at bat….Randy Hundley calls from a brush off pitch, and jumps behind Agee, putting his mitt right at his midsection. Agee dives out of the way….a pitch or two later…..GRAND SLAM….and the Mets win…..

          • Ripsnorter1

            In those days, men would come home from work and find their wives crying on the couch. “The Cubs lost another heart breaker, honey. Oh, boo hoo!”

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Suzuki’s homer was the 14th by the Nats this series

  • BosephHeyden

    Just for the sake of doing it, since we’re thankfully close to the end of the regular season, and since I’m sure none of us are actually watching this game, I figured it might be interesting to see, if the season ended today, which former Cubs would make the postseason (and, of the bunch, which you’d like to see win a World Series ring). Starting in the National League:

    Washington: Mark DeRosa. Most of us liked the guy, and trading him away was the day most of us realized we were in for a downward spiral. Obviously, he’s injury prone, and he did squeeze out a World Series ring (along with Mike Fontenot) with the Giants, but I’m hoping he actually gets to play in the postseason and has success.

    Braves: Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson. Maholm, unlike DeJesus, did what he was signed to do: play good enough to get traded. Whether what we got for him is going to work out is something to see next season, but Maholm was a champ for us. And Reed Johnson will probably re-sign with us again anyways, so it’d be nice if he did so with a ring.

    Cincy: Sean Marshall. I liked Marshall, but hate the Reds. Them winning the World Series would offset the pleasantness of Marshall getting a ring.

    Giants: Ryan Theriot. Again, it’s a player I really liked and wish there would have been room for him, but he won one last year, so he’s just a bit above Marshall for me.

    In the American League:
    Yankees: Casey McGhee. I find it odd that Jim Hendry didn’t see fit to bring him back, it bit us, yet he was apparently key to the Yankees getting him (I guess I should also put Hendry and Rothschild up there?). Anyways, I couldn’t be any more indifferent towards the Yankees than I am, except for the fact Jim Hendry works for a team that has a manager we should have taken and a backup third baseman we should have hung onto.

    Orioles: Ryan Flaherty. This is a situation where, typically, I’d get on this new front office for not protecting a guy on a team that is making a nice September callup, but apparently the Orioles hid Flaherty on the DL. I’d like to see the O’s win it all, personally, and Flaherty would probably be the greatest thing in the world for him since it would remind him how many bullets he dodged because the Cubs didn’t protect him.

    Texas: Soto and Dempster. Rough feelings the Cubs fanbase might have towards Dempster aside, more than any of the other PLAYERS, I’d like to see Dempster get a ring the most. A Baltimore/Texas ALCS would make me happy. And Soto would be yet another ex-Cubs starting player from that 2008 team that won a ring before the Cubs did.

    Did I miss anyone? Anyone got any favorites out of that list?

    • calicub

      i believe angel pagan is on the Giants as well…

    • Ripsnorter1

      I’m tired of Texas, Hamilton, and Dempster, so I am not rooting for their ascension to the WS.

      Orioles? They can’t hit, pitch, or field.
      NO.

      Yankees? Doesn’t seem to be their year this year. Too many injuries. I like Casey McGahee, but ….no.

      White Sox….Kenny Williams–foul mouth and all–seems to get the job done. And you missed #1 Cubs pick Donnie Veal, who is doing a fine job as a LOOGY. So…..yes.

      In the NL…
      You forgot Mr. Jeff Baker of the Atlanta Braves. And Mr. Reed Johnson was simply a great Cub. Maholm also did a fine job for us. So the answer is: YES.

      And let the Braves win the WS while they are at it.

      • BosephHeyden

        I think that’s why I picked the Orioles: they can’t hit, pitch, or field with any consistency. And that seems to be what’s winning games in this game. Just looking at the enitre majors, and there’s only four teams that seem to show consistency; three of them the Padres, the Astros, and the Cubs…not the good kind, obviously, but consistency is consistency (the Nationals are the fourth, because they won right away and did not stop).

        It seems like every year I have to ask how it is so hard to win the NL Central. This year, I have to widen that league-wide. Outside the Nationals, no team has shown themselves to be good at any one thing. A lot of games seem to just come down to which team is the least incompetent.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Correct. There are no great teams in MLB this year.

    • tecubnut

      Always liked Sam Fuld @ Tampa Bay which also has Carlos Pena and Kyle Farnsworth.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another walk to another pitcher

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bo Porter should have been ejected. Now Mike Gonzalez should be ejected.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Manny Corpas and Clevenger ejected. Time for a Nationals player to get tossed.

  • Aaron

    Neil,

    Did anyone get ejected from the Nats? I was watching during the Porter incident, and heard that, but muted it and left the computer for awhile thereafter, and missed all the commotion.

    Since this game is out of hand, can you take the time (or anyone else for that matter) to describe what exactly happened. I turned back on the sound, and heard Len and Bob talk about Harper being thrown at, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Porter still hasn’t been ejected, or Desmond for that matter, as they said something about him charging at Clevenger or whatever.

    It kind of seems like a one-sided game in more than one way…umps against Cubs with calls/ejections, etc., and the whole “men among boys” thing.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, the recap will have more details. Working on that right now.

      Mike Gonzalez was ejected.

      It appeared to me that Jamie Quirk had issues with the Nationals stealing two bases up by five then Werth swinging away at a 3-0 pitch.

      Porter should have been thrown out, he left his position. Michael Morse and Ian Desmond should have been ejected as well.

      You know I always do my best to be objective. With that said, the umps have not called the last two games the same for both teams.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Excellent catch by Jackson to take away a hit from Harper

        • Zonk

          It’s too bad that he’s on another strikeout tear. He’s back over a 50% K-rate per AB. That would make Adam Dunn blush.

          I hope he turns it around, but he seems to have lost strikezone judgement this year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I think you are seeing exactly what he is right now. Sure, he could develop more. But I don’t expect those K’s to drop down to 20% of his ABs….and no one can survive at the ML level with this many K’s.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Cubs lost 9-2 to Nationals on Thursday night – Justin Germano:
            7R, 6ER, 7H, 2BB, HBP, 2K, 4IP; Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-4,HR; Starlin Castro: 2-for-4,3B,2B,R; Darwin Barney: 1-for-3,3B,RBI; Cubs: 7H, BB, 11K

      • Aaron

        Indeed, you are objective.

        Please see my thoughts on the series (and season in general), and see what you think. I know it’s a long post, but wondered your thoughts

  • Ripsnorter1

    Germano is exactly what you see.

    He’s Doug Davis.

    • BosephHeyden

      I will say this: if they’re keeping him on the roster purely so he can qualify for MLB pension, I can respect his being on the roster.

      • Ripsnorter1

        LOL.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Tom Gorzelanny…whom Jim Hendry gave away for nothing…has proved to be an effective LH reliever and spot starter.

  • Aaron

    A few observations from this game (and series):
    -the umpiring all around is horrendous. However, if you’re not a winning team, you get NO respect anyways. It’s unfortunate, however, that MLB umpiring is now resembling the mob-like NBA refereeing where they favor certain teams/players much more over others. It’s not the same game I grew up loving.

    -Cubs’ pitching is horrible…no question about it, but it’s been the offense that has taken its toll, as I’ve been mentioning the past few years. As a pitcher, I can tell you lineups that do not score runs put an infinite amount of pressure on you to prevent runs from scoring. I know the pitching is dreadful….walking pitchers at any level is unacceptable….but you simply can’t be scoring 1, 2, 3 runs a game….if that even, and expect your pitchers not to become basketcases on the mound. You could almost see it on their faces earlier in the year after they gave up a hit…or a run, and they just looked defeated on the mound, and it’d only be the first 3-4 innings.

    -I did my draft analysis a few years ago regarding Brett Jackson’s swing being too long and slow, and it sure looks like I was spot on. What fascinates me, however, is the fact that in a game against the Reds, he caught up to a Aroldis Chapman 100 mph fastball, and drove it to the fence. I’m not sure if that was a product of him simply starting his swing early, and lucking out, or if he really had the bat speed, but it’s difficult nevertheless to catch up to a high 90′s or 100 mph fastball. Yet, at other times, he can’t even catch up to a mid-90′s fastball. I just don’t think the kid has a future at the MLB level, even though I was high on him coming into this year, thinking he had improved his bat speed.

    -Lendy Castillo needs to be in the rotation…NOT the pen. He’s a lot like Samardzija, but without the awesome movement on his pitches. He’s got an above average fastball, and above average slider. He just needs to develop a change/splitter like Samardzija

    -Soriano is done offensively. While he’s had a somewhat resurgent season this year, he’s had a dreadful season outside of May and June. I think people get caught up in his overall numbers, and fail to realize that the numbers are largely inflated due to his two hot months:
    .290/.353/.591, 7 hr, 17 RBI
    .286/.369/.582, 8 hr, 18 RBI

    Outside of that, his numbers are:
    .237/.250/.263, 0 hr, 11 RBI
    .261/.286/.511, 4 hr, 15 RBI
    .226/.311/.452, 5 hr, 21 RBI
    .211/.211/.632, 2 hr, 6 RBI (incomplete for September)

    Those are pretty pathetic numbers outside of May and June if you ask me, and that can explain why there was only 1 team interested in trading for him (Giants), which he blocked a trade to, incidentally.

    -Pitchers that likely punched their ticket off the roster next year:
    Bowden
    Dolis
    Corpas
    Germano
    Volstad
    T. Wood
    Rusin
    Parker
    Beliveau
    Cabrera
    ….others that likely don’t factor into next season but didn’t necessarily pitch their way off the roster, include:
    Socolovich
    Camp
    L. Castillo (but if he remains on the roster the rest of the year, the Cubs get to option him next year, which they’ll likely do)

    -Position players that likely punched their ticket off the roster next year, either due to age, performance, or likely a combination of both:
    LaHair
    Soriano
    Jackson (likely starts in AAA)
    Vitters (likely traded)
    Campana
    Mather
    Stewart
    Sappelt
    Cardenas (though he has virtually no starts on the year, so he might get the benefit of the doubt)

    ……so next year figures to be ugly, but since they only have about $45 million committed, they have a HUGE opportunity to improve the club immediately, and here’s where I’d start:
    ================================================
    ROTATION
    Edwin Jackson (averages nearly 200 IP/year, and has respectable ERA’s doing so. Cubs need a horse in the rotation, and he fits the bill)
    Liriano (would likely come cheaper due to poor performance this year, but would thrive in NL…at least in my opinion)
    McCarthy (due to head injury scare and injuries this year, he might be a “prove it” contract sort of guy, that could be had on a Maholm-esque deal…but slightly more)
    ================================================
    PEN
    Batista
    Rhoderick
    Zych
    *those would be the internal candidates I’d consider, plus, I’d give Dolis and Cabrera another shot, but I highly doubt the organization will do that
    Broxton
    Adams
    Lowe
    ================================================
    POSITION PLAYERS
    Youkilis (Team Theo is familiar with him, and he’s a “grinder”…would be great insurance if Vitters/Stewart/Valbuena can’t hack it or if they get traded/released)
    Delmon Young (I know he has issues, but he’s still young and is a run producer)
    BJ Upton (not a fan of the K’s, but he’s still young, is a run producer like Young, steals bases, and has played multiple positions in the past)

    About the only guys that might require multi-year, huge dollar deals would be E. Jackson, Young, and Upton….though even the latter two might be on “prove it” short-term deals

    All told, at about $10 million/year for each of the starters and position players (outside of Youkilis), that’d equate to $50 million more in salary. When you factor in raises for Garza and Samardzija, that’d put the Cubs’ payroll in the $110-120 million range, and like I said, not a single one of those guys would likely command a contract greater than 2-3 years. The Cubs are already loaded in the lower minors with talent such as:
    Maples
    Arias
    Rosario
    Wells
    Jensen
    Whitenack
    P. Johnson
    McNeil
    Blackburn
    Baez
    Almora
    Soler
    Vogelbach
    Candelario
    Saunders
    Alcantara

    …..but all things considered, you’re looking at 2-3 years for them to progress, and you need a bridge. Just look at the Cubs’ upper minors, and there is a clear talent void with only the following guys likely to even sniff success at the MLB level (either with the Cubs or another team):
    Lake
    Szczur
    Watkins
    Bour
    Dolis
    Cabrera
    Zych
    Kirk
    Batista
    Rhoderick

    Pretty pathetic isn’t it?

    If they go with the guys I just listed, they’re not exactly blocking anyone. All they’re doing is preventing another disastrous season from happening. You could make the case that Upton, Young, and Youkilis would steal AB’s from Jackson and Vitters, but neither has taken advantage of the opportunity this year, with Vitters being the worst of the two, and Jackson’s bat clearly not projecting for the future. Why not give them both another half season or so at AAA, or even a full season, signing those guys to 1-2 year deals at reasonable rates, and then dealing them at next year’s deadline if prospects like Jackson and Vitters finally figure things out, and hit .300+ at AAA with better plate discipline and pitch recognition.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, sorry for the delay in responding.

      I agree about the offense impacting the pitching staff. There is no room for error but at the same time, I would rather see them give up home runs than to walk so many especially pitchers. The lack of quality strikes being thrown is a concern. With that said, Castillo and Clevenger have made improvements but they have a long way to go.

      On Brett Jackson, let’s see what adjustments he makes during the off-season.

      I have thought about Lendy Castillo in the rotation. I would not mind that to see how he performs. His command is very concerning to me. When he misses his spots, it is not by inches but by feet.

      As for the pitchers on the 40-man. I agree on Germano, Corpas and possibly Bowden but I think Volstad, Wood, Rusin, Beliveau and Cabrera will remain. Rusin will get a shot at the rotation next year, same for Wood. I would not be surprised if they non-tendered Volstad and brought him back. As you know, there is zero depth in the upper levels of the system and I think you will see the young arms you mentioned in Iowa before making the jump.

      I could see them signing pitchers like Jackson and Liriano.

      There should be quite a bit of movement with the roster but I don’t think there will be as much as you do.

  • GaryLeeT

    Losing 9-2 is half as bad a losing 9-1, right?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • GKRAB

    When is the Cub Convention anyone know?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I have not had a chance to dig out my off-season notes yet. Should be the third weekend in January as usual.