Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 10/01/12

Game One Hundred Sixty: Cubs (60-99) vs. Astros (53-106)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jason Berken (0-2, 6.00/2.07) vs. Lucas Harrell (10-11, 3.88/1.39)

This is it, the final series of the year for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs begin the three-game series with the Astros with one goal in mind … avoid losing 100 games this season.

The Cubs and Astros square off for the last time as division rivals. Houston will make the trip to Wrigley Field next season for three games with new manager Bo Porter calling the shots. The Cubs have won seven of the first 12 (7-5) with the Astros this season and the next three games should be very challenging for the Chicago Cubs.

After tonight’s match-up of Jason Berken and Lucas Harrell, Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Bud Norris on Tuesday night with Travis Wood and Edgar Gonzalez squaring off in game 162 on Wednesday afternoon. Many think the next three games will be easy ones for the Cubs, after all, it is just the Astros … but the Cubs will face three very good young starters and two of them have dominated the Cubs in the past. While both organizations are building for the future, the Astros have a better crop of young starters than the Cubs.

In other newsDale Sveum and his coaching staff will conduct the exit meetings with the players on Tuesday morning. Sveum and his staff met with several of the veterans prior to Saturday night’s game then with the entire team. Tuesday’s individual meetings will focus on goals for each player during the off-season.

Matt Garza voiced his support of Dale Sveum and the coaching staff prior to Sunday’s game in Phoenix.

Starlin Castro has a shot at becoming the first shortstop in Cubs’ history to play in all 162 games. Ivan DeJesus holds the record for the most games played at short during a single season for the Cubs (160 in 1978 and 1979) and if Castro plays out the schedule he would be the first Cubs’ infielder to appear in all 162 games since Ron Santo in 1968.

Tonight all starts with Jason Berken

Jason Berken makes his fourth and final start of the season tonight. Like Justin Germano, Berken has been overmatched in his short time with the Cubs and he should be making his last appearance in a Cubs’ uniform. Berken has really struggled and if not for his start against the Reds (Louisville Bats) where Chris Speier gave the regulars the day off, his numbers would be a lot worse.

Berken lasted just four innings in his last start. The Rockies scored six runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Jason Berken has faced only two big league rosters in his three starts … his line in those two starts: 12 runs, eight earned, on 17 hits with three walks and four strikeouts in eight innings (9.00 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP).

Jason Berken makes his first career start and appearance against the Astros tonight. Jed Lowrie (0-for-3) and Fernando Martinez (0-for-3) are the only two players on Houston’s active roster that have faced Berken in a big league ball game.

Lucas Harrell has put together a good season for a bad team. Harrell has good peripheral numbers. He has allowed less hits (183) than innings pitched (187 2/3) and has given up only 13 homers in 31 starts. Harrell has a bright future, if he can stay healthy.

Lucas Harrell is coming off a loss to the Cardinals. Harrell allowed two runs on seven hits with six walks and a strikeout in five innings … the six walks marked a season-high. Harrell is 0-2 in his last five starts with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.

After posting a 7-6 record in his first 17 starts with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, Harrell is 3-5 in his last 14 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

Lucas Harrell has already dominated and beaten the Cubs this season. Harrell tossed eight innings of one-run ball back on August 14 at Wrigley. The Astros pummeled the Cubs 10-1 and Harrell surrendered one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. For his career, Harrell is 1-0 in three games, one start, against the Cubs with a 0.93 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Lucas Harrell

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-1
  • Adrian Cardenas – 0-for-1
  • Welington Castillo – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Brett Jackson – 1-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 0-for-1
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-1
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-4
  • Dave Sappelt – one walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-1
  • Josh Vitters – 0-for-4

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • John_CC

    Gotta love Castro’s durability. While many of us here were calling for a day off a couple months ago when he was mired in his slump, it’s an impressive feat in the contemporary game.

    Garza’s comments were quite interesting. I wonder how many shared his experience of last year? I imagine quite a few. A cynic might question his ulterior motives that he may be angling for an extension, but then I wonder … why would an ultra-competitive guy like that want to stay with this club. Maybe he sees something that the average onlooker doesn’t.

    A sweep to this season!

    • paulcatanese

      John, I think Garza feels it’s a great challenge for him and truly enjoys being with the Cubs. I think he feels relaxed here on the North Side, and also in his mind can be a 1-2-3 pitcher with this straff,and I would be somewhat surprised if he were to ask for an extension for himself to stay for more money,an increase yes ,but not out of the moon, maybe in a incentive program, he can compete even more that way.
      Just a thought from watching him all year and his person he takes in each and every game.
      One never knows, some players find a home they like..

  • Neil

    Martinez crushed that ball

  • Neil

    James Russell with two shutout innings. Should be all for him this season, good year for Russell.

    • Aaron


      C’mon everyone….chant with me…LOL

      • Aaron

        The sad thing is, the Cubs are losing to the worst team in all of baseball, so any positives you might be able to take out of this season are pretty much out the window. You hear about a lot of teams coming back from last place to make the playoffs the following year…or damn close to it, but that usually happens to teams that have momentum going into the following season

        • Neil

          Cubs lost 3-0 to Astros on Monday night – 100th
          loss of the season – Jason Berken: 2R,4H,BB,2K,4.2IP; Cubs: 2 hits, 1 walk

      • cubs1967

        I’M STANDING………it’s a standing O……….congrats to team theo and the ricketts family. goal accomplished.
        what do you say when you’re beloved team doesn’t even TRY!
        ricketts should be ashamed to call himself a ‘fan”.

        • Scott

          Personally, I think the way that some “fans” on here should be ashamed of the way that they have acted this year.
          Maybe that’s just me though.

          • cubs1967

            yes-‘cuz losing 100 games on purpose is sooooooooo the way to keep it’s fandom happy…….please. how horrible; fans want a winner.

          • Scott

            They didn’t lose 100 games “on purpose”. But the team needed to be blown up so they could start over. It is impossible to take over a team with little talent at the major league level, no depth at AAA and little help at AA and “magically” turn that into a winner. It is going to take time for “Team Theo” to stock the system with their kind of player, from the ground floor up.
            No one is happy about this season, from the fans to the players to the front office to ownership.

          • cubs1967

            2002 cubs last place.
            2003 1st place under JH.
            they lost on purpose; rationalize it all you want; but 2013 will be the same. not one player from the trading deadline will help in 2013. anyone over 28 is a goner-see marshall, see garza., see not signing cespedes…..they are tanking it for higher draft picks, more international money, etc. & the owner isn’t forcing them to be competitive…..which will only make 2014 that more interesting w/o adding MLB talent from 2012 or 2013, the extra 25M in TV money will go where?…….losing is one thing; tanking it is another and only extends the timeframe to rebuild which will lead to waiting till 2016 when soler-almora-baez will be in the majors…… yes; they are losing on purpose.
            wait till you see the FA signed this offseason, 1 or 2 yr deals for guys like dejesus that contenders don’t want or guys like maholm who if they pitch well you can flip for a suspect. NO long term player will come from this year’s signings.
            104 yrs and counting…………and NOW we lose on purpose.

          • Scott

            Rebuilding is NOT the same as losing on purpose. Will moves be made this winter? Definitely. Will we break the bank? No reason to. The pitching staff needs to be upgraded. Maybe they do trade Garza. If they cannot extend him, they probably will. I would rather move him than watch him walk away. But I don’t think they move him this winter because of his injury. Teams will want to see him healthy (IMO). So at the start of the year, you would have Garza, Shark and Wood in the rotation with Vizcaino coming back at some point. Not a bad 1-4. (I know you HATE Wood, so I’m not even going to go there, but as a #4, he isn’t too bad.) Sign one decent starter to a 2-3 year deal. Pick up a few arms for the pen and all of a sudden, there isn’t a bad staff. Depth needs to be created at the upper levels, so you will see some flyers taken too. More “lightning in a bottle” guys.
            But other than Josh Hamilton (who I don’t see leaving Texas and would scare me a TON in Chicago), maybe BJ Upton and maybe Grienke, I don’t see anyone that really deserves a long term deal (David Wright will have his option picked up, so I didn’t include him). So I don’t see spending money just for the sake of spending money.
            In 2003, compared to 2002, you also had the benefit of the farm system helping the major league club – first full year of Prior and Zambrano. Wood at age 26. Patterson at 23. Fun team. I wish they had a LITTLE more luck.
            But moving forward from the 2012 team to the 2013 team. Please, please, tell me what you would do to make next year’s team a winner. I’m dying to hear….

  • GaryLeeT

    You would think that it’s nearly impossible for two teams in the same division to lose 100 games, but no. Tonight’s dynamic duo will only be the 2nd.