Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/07/12

Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight: Cubs (51-86) vs. Pirates (72-64)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Travis Wood (4-11, 4.64/1.24) vs. A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.63/1.24)

Updated 3:42pm CDTCubs Claimed Right-Handed Pitcher Jason Berken off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. Blake Parker was placed on the 60-Day DL with Elbow Soreness

The long and winding road trip continues for the Cubs tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The struggling Cubs open a three-game series against the Battlin’ Bucs. The Pirates have taken care of business against the Cubs this season (Cubs are 3-6 versus Pittsburgh in nine games) and they are looking to use the Cubs as a way to stay in the Wild Card mix. The Cubs and Pirates square off seven times over the next ten games.

The Cubs are a miserable 3-20 on the road since the break with only one win since the trade deadline. Two of the Cubs three wins were at PNC Park but that was then and the Cubs are coming off their worst series of the season.

After tonight’s matchup of Travis Wood and A.J. Burnett, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face James McDonald on Saturday night. A pair of rookie southpaws are expected to face off in Sunday’s finale. Chris Rusin is set to make his third big league start while Jeff Locke is slated to make his fifth start at the Major League level.

In other newsStarlin Castro collected two more hits on Thursday night and enters play tonight just two hits shy of 500 for his career. When Castro collects two more hits he will become just the 28th player in Major League history to collect 500 hits before turning 23-years old.

Darwin Barney ran his errorless games streak to 122 games on Thursday. Barney begins play tonight one game shy of the Cubs’ record for consecutive games played by a second baseman without an error held by Ryne Sandberg (123).

Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off another loss in which he pitched well enough to pick-up a win. Wood held the Giants to four runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Wood left the game with the Cubs up by two but Manny Corpas could not hold the lead and the Cubs lost 7-5. Wood has pitched much better than his record and has allowed more than two earned runs in three of his last six starts.

Travis Wood has not posted a win since July 6.

Travis Wood is 2-6 in nine road games this season with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP and will face the Pirates for the second time this season.

Wood dropped the game against the Pirates on August 1. Wood allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings. Wood is 2-3 in five career appearances, four starts, against the Pirates with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at PNC Park, 2-1 in three games, two starts, with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Pedro Alvarez – 0-for-2
  • Rod Barajas – 1-for-7 with a double and a walk
  • Clint Barmes – 1-for-12 with a walk
  • Josh Harrison – 2-for-5 with a triple
  • Garrett Jones – 0-for-3
  • Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-7 with a double and three walks
  • Michael McKenry – 1-for-2
  • Alex Presley – 1-for-2
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Travis Snider – 1-for-2
  • Jose Tabata – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk
  • Neil Walker – 3-for-7 with a double and a walk

A.J. Burnett is one of the main reasons the Pirates are on the verge of finishing above .500 for the season while battling for a spot in the post-season. Burnett is coming off a no decision against the Brewers in which he allowed two runs on two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Burnett has not won a game since August 16 and the Pirates are 0-3 in his last three starts.

For as good as Burnett was in the first half (10-2 in 15 starts with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP), he’s actually been better since the break. Burnett is 5-3 in his last 10 starts with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP … 66 strikeouts with 20 walks and 62 hits allowed in 70 2/3 innings.

A.J. Burnett is 8-2 in 13 starts at PNC this season with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Tonight will be A.J. Burnett’s third start of the season against the Cubs. Burnett dominated the Cubs back on July 31 with a one-hit, complete game shutout. Burnett is a perfect 2-0 against the Cubs this season with a 0.00 ERA and 0.77 WHIP (no runs, seven hits, four walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings). For his career, Burnett is a perfect 6-0 in seven starts against the Cubs with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-4
  • Adrian Cardenas – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 4-for-10
  • Steve Clevenger – 0-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-22 with a double and four walks
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-6
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-19
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-5

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • Zonk

      Why Clevenger again? Welington Castillo has quietly had a very nice run recently, and looks like a possible ML starting catcher. Clevenger is at best an ML backup, and might not even beat-out Recker in ST next year.

      Here’s also hoping B-Jax doesn’t strike out tonight

      • paulcatanese

        Zonk, totaly agree on Castillo.
        And B-Jax, he’s playing tonight right? Wishful thinking on no K’s though.

      • skeldor

        I hope Vitters has thick skin and the lack of playing time does shoot his confidence. Not sure why they bring guys up and never play them. Same song and dance as the last regime.

        • Ripsnorter1

          If they play Vitters they will blow his confidence. He is way, way overmatched up here. The safest place for him is the bench….in Arizona.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree. They could send him home, could have not called him up. I am sure they knew he wasn’t ready, but nothing motivates a player in the off-season like first hand knowledge that you need to improve.

  • Neil

    Updated 3:42pm CDT – Cubs Claimed Right-Handed Pitcher Jason
    Berken off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. Blake Parker was placed on the
    60-Day DL with Elbow Soreness

  • cubtex

    Cubs have to go 12-13 over last 25 games or better to avoid 100 losses this season. How many think that is possible? Like I said a month ago….It is a lock! It is amazing how spot on I have been this year. Soriano, LaHair,Sveum etc.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, 100 is at least the figure,the rest you were right.

    • cc002600

      predicting that the cubs would lose 100 games a month ago is about as impressive as predicting that Saturday will come after Friday.

      I wouldn’t puff your chest out that much.


      • Cubtex

        Did you or anyone else? I know you predicted LaHair would hit more HR’s than Soriano. BFD

        • Neil

          Please end this conversation … thank you.

    • Ripsnorter1

      How about setting an all-time high for Cubs’ losses? I think that would be a most fitting achievement for Team Theo.

  • Neil

    Samardzija will be shutdown after tomorrow’s start. Recently acquired Jason Berken will take his place in the rotation.

    • Tony_Hall

      That is the smart move, but my fantasy team doesn’t like losing him for the fantasy playoffs about to start.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Travis Wood….#3 starter…Cubs are 0-10 in his last 10 starts. Wood’s record is 0-8 in those starts, with a 6.33 ERA……

    • Ripsnorter1

      Soriano working on that 100 RBI mark.

      • Tony_Hall

        That would be a nice accomplishment, that would hopefully make a team want to trade for him in the off season. Only 2 years left, they should be able to work on a deal.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jason Berken was a great pickup. LOL
    Looking at his 2012 AAA performance….144 IP….160 H…only 98 K.

    He’s Justin Germano, Jr.

    The real question: will he be DFA’d after one appearance?

    • Tony_Hall

      It also tells you that no one else on the 40 man, do they want to start the rest of the way, and no one off of the 40 man, do they want to start their 40 man clock.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Pittsburgh’s defense is quite leaky tonight.

  • Neil

    Castro with a nice 2-out hit

    • Neil

      Soriano with a leaping catch at the wall
      … robbed McCutchen of at least extra bases.

  • Neil

    Hit #499 for Castro

  • Zonk

    Tom Verducci over on SI.COM wrote a long article very critical of the Cubs for last night’s shenanigans.

    I have to say I basically agree; we were down 5-0 in the fifth inning. It’s very possible to come back from that. Why should the Nationals let-up, and stop stealing bases, or stop swinging at 3-0 pitches? Castillo might try throwing strikes if he doesn’t want to get beaten all the time.

    Porter should have been tossed, but I don’t believe in those unwritten slaughter rules. This isn’t Little League. Grow up.

    • Tony_Hall

      Porter should have been tossed. Harper should have just backed out of the box and got back in. Point taken.

      The shenanigans were caused by Porter and Harper. They are the better team and shouldn’t let the complaining of another team cause them to react.

  • Zonk

    And just to recap, here is our rotation once Shark sits:

    Travis Wood — Ace
    Justin Germano — #2
    Chris Volstad — #3
    Chris Rusin –#4
    Jason Berken — #5

    …..that’s not very good!

    • Brp921

      That’s a pretty good starting five pitchers to have if they want to be sure to have the number two pick in the draft.:)

      • Tony_Hall

        It does very likely lock that up and 100 losses.

        But, baseball is a strange game. 4 or all 5 of them could be pitching for their career to continue or to have a big league career, that is more than a September cup of coffee.

    • Tony_Hall

      And it is September in a season where they are finishing up the schedule.

      Would you rather it was Dempster, Maholm, Samardzija, Wood, Coleman?

      • Tony_Hall

        Nice catch by BJAX!

        Hope he is ok.

        • Tony_Hall

          I bet he dislocated his right shoulder.

          • Tony_Hall

            Did Len just say that is 6 errors?

            I figured the Pirates would fade in September, but 6 errors!

          • Tony_Hall

            Makes you appreciate how well Barney has played defense this year.

          • brent carmona

            I just watched the replay. The way his body slammed and whipped back amazes me, can’t believe he hung on. I thought shoulder like you but looks like a old fashioned body banger, plus bruised knee says Neil.

      • Zonk

        Nope, I understand the direction….it’s just a little crazy to see those names as our rotation. If I had told you that in April, would you have believed it?

        You probably would have said “Who is Justin Germano? And Jason Berken? “

        • Tony_Hall

          April…I just said it today!

  • Neil

    Starlin Castro singled with two outs in the 5th inning
    of Friday’s game. Castro becomes just the 28th player in MLB history
    to record 500 hits before turning 23 years old.

  • Neil

    Jackson is hurt. What a catch.

    • Tony_Hall

      Good sign the way he walked off.

      • Neil

        Yes it was.

  • Tony_Hall

    Make that 7

    • Neil

      Bruised right knee for Jackson. Taking precautionary x-rays

    • Neil

      Yes, 7 errors.

      • Tony_Hall

        For a team so close to the playoff hunt, that has to be nerves getting to these guys. I know they are a young team, but 7 in one night is hard to do.

  • Neil

    Cubs beat Pirates 12-2 on Friday night – Travis Wood: 0R,1H,3BB,5K,6IP; Starlin Castro:
    3-for-5, 2B, 4RBI, R; Alfonso Soriano: 3-for-5, 3RBI, R; Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-3, RBI, 2BB, R; Cubs:
    12 runs on 12 hits; Pirates: 7 errors

  • paulcatanese

    12-2-7errors, I’m afraid all the Pirates have done is
    “Awakened a sleeping Giant”.

  • calicub

    Excellent precap Neil, appreciate the Beatles reference to start it off.

  • Neil

    Thank you.

  • John G

    I think these two teams switched uniforms tonight.