Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/15/12

Game One Hundred Forty-Five: Cubs (57-87) vs. Pirates (72-71)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jason Berken (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.72/1.26)

The Cubs will try to make it five in a row over the Pirates this afternoon behind Jason Berken. The 28-year old right hander is making his Cubs’ debut this afternoon. The Cubs picked Jason Berken off waivers from the Orioles last week and he will make his first big league start of the season.

Jason Berken is taking Jeff Samardzija’s spot in the rotation, at least for now. The recently shut down Jeff Samardzija finished his season last Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Samardzija went out with the first complete game of his career. Samardzija’s nine-inning performance a week ago was the first time this season a Cubs’ starter pitched all nine innings … and will likely end up being the only complete game of the year for the Cubs.

With the lefty on the hill for Pittsburgh look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup this afternoon. Today is the first of back-to-back days against southpaw starters for the Cubs.

This afternoon it all starts with Jason Berken

Jason Berken has appeared in just one big league game this season … and pitched one not-so-good-inning for the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers scored seven runs, two earned, on six hits and a walk in a single frame against Berken on May 7. Both Josh Hamilton and Michael Young launched two run homer of Berken in the ninth inning of a 14-3 O’s loss to the Rangers.

Berken spent a majority of the season in Triple-A. The 28-year old right hander posted a 5-6 record in 26 starts with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. In 144 innings, Berken struck out 98, walked 39 and allowed 144 hits.

Jason Berken has not been a starter at the big league level since the 2009 season. Berken was 6-12 in 24 starts for Baltimore three seasons ago with a 6.54 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. That season, Berken struck out 66 batters, issued 44 free passes and allowed 164 hits in 119 2/3 innings. Berken pitched in 81 games out of the Orioles’ pen in 2010 (41) and 2011 (40) with similar results.

It is unclear what the Cubs’ regime expects out of Jason Berken for the remainder of the season … other than a pitcher that could eat innings as a starter. Berken’s last big league start came on October 2, 2009 and he beat the Blue Jays in Baltimore.

Jason Berken has faced the Pirates once in his career and completed two perfect frames as a reliever on June 20 of last season.

Pirates Career Numbers against Jason Berken

  • Rod Barajas – 1-for-4
  • Michael McKenry – 0-for-1
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-2
  • Travis Snider – 1-for-5
  • Jose Tabata – 0-for-1

The Cubs will get their first look this afternoon at Wandy Rodriguez in a Pirates’ uniform. The long-time Astro has not faced the Cubs since he was dealt to the Bucs on July 24 for Colton Cain, Robbie Grossman and Rudy Owens.

Rodriguez has been solid for the Pirates. In nine games, eight starts, Rodriguez is 3-4 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. The Pirates are 4-5 in his nine starts and he’s coming off a no decision to the Reds.

After posting back-to-back wins against the Cardinals and Astros, Rodriguez ran into the Reds in Cincinnati and allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings … the Pirates lost, 4-3.

Wandy Rodriguez is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.66 WHIP (three runs on seven hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings) and will face the Cubs for the third time this season.

Rodriguez is 1-1 in two starts against the Cubs this season with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP and for his career, 6-7 in 21 starts with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. At Wrigley Field, Rodriguez owns a 2-5 mark in 12 starts with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Darwin Barney – 4-for-16 with a walk
  • Tony Campana – 0-for-1
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-17 with two walks
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-13 with a double
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-3
  • Dave Sappelt – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-38 with a home run and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Mather – CF
    Barney – 2B
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Castro – SS
    Castillo – C
    Vitters – 3B
    Sappelt – RF
    Berken – P

  • BosephHeyden

    So, I’ve almost completely moved on from baseball this season with football being here now, but I just saw something on ESPN that confused me, so I double checked to see if it was right. And, apparently, the Padres have gone from being the worst team in the majors to 7 games back in the Wild Card (which is close to unrealistic with double that in games left this season, but not impossible and pretty respectable). So, I guess I gotta ask again: how is it hard to win in this league?

    • Tony_Hall

      So when San Diego is losing, it’s look how bad Hoyer and McLeod must have been, but when they go on a winning streak that still leaves them 13 out of their division lead it is an example of how easy it is to win in this league?

      I think it may be more an example that their young players are starting to produce.

      It also is scheduling, which is not different than the Cubs little run here. Play more teams at your own level or below, and you will improve your record. Catch teams more in the right part of the schedule (Pirates) and you get more wins.

      August/Sept Padres
      Mets 2-1
      Cubs 3-0
      Pirates 2-1
      Braves 1-3
      Giants 1-2
      Pirates 3-0
      D-Backs 3-0
      Braves 2-1
      Rockies 1-2
      Dodgers 2-1
      D-Backs 2-1
      Cardinals 3-0 (you always have to love the Cards being swept).

      • BosephHeyden

        I forgot why I’ve had an easy time to forget about baseball. Glad you could bring the pro-Team Theo nonsense to a topic that never even once came close to either praising or condemning them.

        • Tony_Hall

          And that’s what you took from my post…

          It is good to know that your post had nothing to do with anti Theo and the Cubs FO, and everything to do with a feel good story for the Padres.

  • Tony_Hall

    RT @thekapman Soler takes 3 out of 4 to Waveland Avenue and is showing tremendous power. 44 minutes ago

    Is there any reason to not think that Soler will move up through the system fast. He obviously is a raw talent, but talent is the key. His contract, the hype and the results so far, make him very likely to move quickly.

    Peoria – 338/398/513/910 – 14 R’s & 15 RBI’s in just 20 games

    And to think, there were people questioning him moving up to Peoria, “skipping” a level. He seemed to handle it just fine.

  • Neil

    Predictable start for Jason Berken

    • Tony_Hall

      2 runs is pretty good considering how big both innings could have been.

      Nice play by Castro off of Vitters chest.

      • Neil

        It was a good play by Castro. But man, Berken does not look good. It will be interesting the second time through.

        • Tony_Hall

          He seems to have a decent sinker, that he can get grounders from, but his fastball seems very hitable.

          • Neil

            Right now he is pitching the way he has in the past. As you pointed out his fastball is very hittable and a pitcher with his questionable stuff cannot pitch from behind. A very tight Pirates team is teeing off on him. One of the better teams would have already knocked him out of the game.

  • Neil

    Good at bat from Castro

  • Neil

    Barney with a 10-game hitting streak

  • Neil

    Vitters’ bad day continues … second GIDP of the game. He’s seen two pitches in twp at bats and made four outs. Grounded into two double plays

  • Neil

    Another excellent play by Barney … that was a good inning from Dolis

    • Tony_Hall

      Barney made even that play look so easy and smooth.

      • Neil

        He really did. His play this year is one of the bright spots, impressive.

    • Neil

      Barney again … WOW!

    • Neil

      From Carrie Muskat: This is a big outing for Alberto Cabrera. His mother Maria is at Wrigley from the DR. It’s the 1st time she’ll see her son pitch

  • Tony_Hall

    Barney just keeps making “Gold Glove” plays.

  • Neil

    Barney takes another hit away from Alvarez

  • anthony

    Do the Cubs go after BJ Upton this offseason?

    • Tony_Hall


      • Anthony Reed

        fair enough

        • Tony_Hall

          He is 28, and will be 30 before the team is competitive, and they have quite a few guys to cover CF in their system. I don’t see a Justin Upton being considered either.

          • Dorasaga

            I concur. JUp has better defense than I knew, but overall he will be overpriced. All said, the outfield is the least of the Cubs problem right now.

    • Neil

      I really do not think so

      • Anthony Reed

        If it was Justin instead of BJ then would you?

        • Neil

          To the best of my knowledge, Justin Upton is still under contract. It would take too much to acquire him to make a deal worth it. They are not a Justin Upton away, they need pitching.

          So, I would not.

          • Anthony Reed

            Thanks! appreciate the input Neil

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 7-6 to Pirates on Saturday afternoon – Jason Berken: 6R, 2ER, BB, 2K, HBP, 4IP;
    Starlin Castro: 2-for-4, 2B, R, BB; Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-5, RBI; Darwin Barney: 1-for-3, 2R, 2BB; Alfonso Soriano: 2-for-5, 2RBI