Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 09/21/12

Game One Hundred Fifty-One: Cubs (58-92) vs. Cardinals (80-70)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26/1.62) vs. Chris Carpenter (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will spend their last weekend of the season at Wrigley Field hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs and Cardinals open a three-game series this afternoon with one team trying to make the post-season and the other team trying to avoid a 100-loss season.

The Cardinals enter play today 2 1/2 games up on the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card spot and are looking to receive a boost by the return of Chris Carpenter. Carpenter has been out all season and no one expected him to pitch in a game this season, much less start one. Carpenter supposedly had season-ending surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome on July 19.

After this afternoon’s matchup of Chris Volstad and Chris Carpenter, Travis Wood is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright on Saturday with Justin Germano and Kyle Lohse squaring off in the finale on Sunday afternoon. To say the pitching matchups over the next three games look lopsided would be an understatement.

The Cubs have played better at Wrigley than on the road this season but after dropping their last four in a row, the Cubs find themselves three games under .500 at home with six home games remaining on the schedule.

The Cubs are 6-8 in 14 games against the Redbirds this season … and the Cubs have an opportunity to make life a little challenging for their long-time rival over the next three days.

In other newsDarwin Barney has not committed an error in 135 games and is six games short of Placido Polanco’s all-time single-season record for the most consecutive games without an error by a second baseman. Polanco went 141 straight games without a miscue for the Tigers during the 2007 season.

Starlin Castro had a good series against the Reds and is hitting .285/.322/.431/.753 for the season. Castro has set single-season career highs in triples (12), home runs (13), RBI (76) and stolen bases (25). Castro is three short of his career mark in walks (35) and nine doubles away from the 36 he hit last season.

The Cubs have lost 23 straight games when they score three runs or less dating back to their 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on July 28.

This afternoon it all starts with Chris Volstad

After a stretch of three good outings in four starts, the old Chris Volstad returned in his last outing. Volstad received a no decision against the Pirates in a game he allowed six runs on a season-high 10 hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Volstad has really struggled with his command over his last three starts and it he pitches the way he has of late today, the Cardinals will keep the scoreboard operator very busy.

Chris Volstad put together six solid starts following his recall from Triple-A Iowa. Volstad posted a 2-2 record with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in six starts in August. Volstad pitched with confidence, most of the time, and avoided the big inning … but more importantly he threw strikes.

Over his last three starts, Volstad has struggled with his command and is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA and an outlandish 2.45 WHIP. Volstad has walked 23 batters and surrendered 23 hits in his last 14 2/3 innings. Volstad must throw strikes this afternoon … and keep the ball down.

Chris Volstad makes his third start of the season against the Cardinals this afternoon. Volstad is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (eight runs, seven earned, on 12 hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 12 innings). For his career, Volstad is 2-3 in six starts against the Redbirds with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.

Cardinals Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Carlos Beltran – 4-for-12 with a double and two walks
  • Matt Carpenter – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Chris Carpenter – 0-for-1
  • Daniel Descalso – 2-for-8 with a triple
  • David Freese – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Matt Holliday – 6-for-17 with two doubles
  • Jon Jay – 0-for-7
  • Yadier Molina – 6-for-17 with a double
  • Skip Schumaker – 3-for-10 with a double

Chris Carpenter’s last big league start was in the seventh game of the World Series against the Rangers almost a calendar year ago. Chris arpenter has been on the shelf all year and no one thought he would start a game this season. Carpenter posted an 11-9 record in 34 starts a season ago with a 3.45 ERA and 1.26 WHP.

Chris Carpenter was 1-0 in three starts against the Cubs last season with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. For his career, Carpenter is 11-6 in 25 starts against the Cubs with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 8-3 in 14 starts with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter

  • Darwin Barney – 6-for-14
  • Starlin Castro – 8-for-22 with a double and two walks
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 14-for-48 with a double, two home runs and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-3
  • Chris Volstad – 0-for-2

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