Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 10/02/12

Game One Hundred Sixty-One: Cubs (60-100) vs. Astros (54-106)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus- Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (3-11, 6.64/1.68) vs. Bud Norris (6-13, 4.82/1.39)

The long, hard season is just about over for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs play their penultimate game of the year tonight in what will be the first match-up of 100 loss teams in 50 years (Cubs and Mets in 1962). The Cubs and Astros have also achieved another dubious record. For only the second time, two teams in the same division have lost 100 games (Royals and Tigers in 2002).

Starlin Castro played in his 160th game of the season on Monday night and tied the franchise mark for the most games played at shortstop during a single-season. Ivan DeJesus played in 160 games twice during his Cubs’ career, 1978 and 1979. If Castro plays in the final two games he will be the first Cubs’ infielder since Ron Santo in 1968 to suit up for all 162 games.

In other newsDale Sveum and his coaching staff will hold their exit meetings with the players on Tuesday morning. Sveum will meet with each player to give a list of goals for the off-season. During his pre-game show Monday night, Sveum said the meetings will not last long and will be quick and to the point. Sveum met with his veterans prior to Saturday’s game and had more detailed meetings.

Alfonso Soriano hopes all of the young players realize it’s not fun, no matter how much money a player makes, when the team loses.

Tonight it all begins with Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad has gone back to being Chris Volstadbut with more walks. Volstad showed a lot of improvement after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa in August. Volstad pitched with confidence, threw quality strikes and posted a 2-2 record in six starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. But as soon as the calendar flipped to September, Volstad lost both his confidence and command.

Dale Sveum has spoken publically that Volstad has not been following the game plan or pitching to the scouting reports … and the proof is in his numbers. Volstad is 1-2 in his last five starts with an 8.74 ERA and a 2.43 WHIP. Volstad has walked 16 batters with only nine strikeouts in his last 22 2/3 innings. Teams have hit nearly .400 against him (.394) and Volstad has given up 39 hits with seven home runs.

Volstad lasted just three innings in his last outing and gave up seven runs on 10 hits in Denver.

Chris Volstad is a non-tender candidate this winter, even for the pitching starved Cubs’ organization.

Chris Volstad beat the Astros in Houston back on September 10. Volstad allowed one run on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts in five innings. The Astros beat Volstad at Wrigley earlier in the month (four runs on eight hits in five innings) and for the year, Volstad is 1-1 in two starts against the ‘Stros with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Volstad owns a 4-1 record in seven starts against Houston with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Jose Altuve – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Brandon Barnes – 0-for-2
  • Brian Bogusevic – 1-for-4
  • Jason Castro – 1-for-4 with two walks
  • Matt Dominguez – 0-for-3
  • Tyler Greene – 4-for-13 with a double
  • Anderson Hernandez – 1-for-5 with two walks
  • J.D. Martinez – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Fernando Martinez – 2-for-7 with a double and a walk
  • Justin Maxwell – 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and a walk
  • Scott Moore – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Chris Snyder – 3-for-10 with a home run
  • Brett Wallace – 3-for-11 with a double, a home run and a walk

Bud Norris is coming of his first win since he beat the Cubs at Wrigley on May 21. Norris went 18 straight starts without a victory and the Astros were 1-17 over those 18 games. Norris is a very good pitcher that has been with a bad team during his career.

Bud Norris shut out the Cardinals for 7 1/3 innings in his last start, allowed just two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven. Norris is 1-2 in his last four starts with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

Norris has been a different pitcher outside of Minute Maid Park. Norris is 4-1 in 11 home starts this season with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP but on the road, 2-12 in 17 starts with a 7.41 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP.

Tonight will be Norris’ fourth and final start of the year against the Cubs. Norris is 1-2 in the first three with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP … at Wrigley this season, 0-2 in two starts with a 9.64 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP. For his career, Bud Norris is 3-4 in eight games, seven starts, against the Cubs with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP … at Wrigley, 0-3 in four games, three starts, with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-11
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Adrian Cardenas – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 5-for-16 with a home run
  • Steve Clevenger – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk
  • David DeJesus – 5-for-9 with two home runs and a walk
  • Brett Jackson – 1-for-2 with a triple
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-6
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Dave Sappelt – 2-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-14 with a double, two home runs and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 2-for-4 with a double and a home run
  • Josh Vitters – 1-for-3

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon