Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 03/29/13

Spring Training Game Thirty-Seven: Cubs (16-18-1) vs. Astros (14-16)

  • Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: MLB.TV – Radio: Cubs.com
  • Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Edwin Jackson (1-2, 4.05/1.15) vs. Alex White (1-1, 6.86/2.03)

Countdown to Opening Day in Pittsburgh: 3 Days

Only two practice games and a day off on Sunday before the Cubs open the 2013 season in Pittsburgh on Monday. After winning four straight in the Cactus League, the Cubs are winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and are looking to end the spring on a positive note.

The Cubs will square off against their former long-time division rivals, the Houston Astros, for the next two days. The Cubs and Astros ended last season’s 100-loss campaigns against one another at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won game No. 162 and finished the season series against the ‘Stros with a 8-7 record in 15 games. While both teams are building for the future, the Astros have a tall task ahead of them now they reside in the AL West.

Bo Porter is now calling the shots for the Astros after being hired in the off-season. Houston’s front office made a bold, but very smart move, when they announced on Thursday they would be using piggyback pitchers throughout their system. Piggyback pitchers are pretty common in the lower levels of the minor leagues but historically have not been used that often in Double-A and Triple-A.

This is the Cubs only trip to Houston this season. The Astros play three at Wrigley Field in June (June 21 – June 23).

Starlin Castro is expected to be back with the team tonight after missing the last two days. Castro left the team to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their child.

Travis Wood is scheduled to face Brad Peacock in game two against the Astros on Saturday afternoon.

Tonight’s exhibition all starts with Edwin Jackson …

Edwin Jackson is coming off a rough outing against an Angels’ split squad. Jackson picked up where he left off against the Padres and made quick work of the Angels’ travel team over the first two innings. Jackson started elevating his fastball in the third inning and the Angels took advantage. Jackson pitched into the sixth inning, as expected, and gave up five runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

Jackson has shown this spring how good he can be, but he has also shown the inconsistency that has labeled his career. Jackson makes his sixth spring start tonight. In the first five outings (20 innings), Jackson allowed nine runs on 18 hits with five walks and eight strikeouts.

Alex White was told on Thursday that he will not be part of the Astros’ rotation at the beginning of the season. Bo Porter will use White as the long-man out of the pen. Houston acquired White from the Rockies in the off-season, along with Alex Gillingham, for Wilton Lopez and a PTBNL or cash.

Alex White had a rough time of it in the Grapefruit League. White made six appearances, five starts, and gave up 16 runs, 15 earned, on 33 hits with seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Schierholtz – RF
    Castillo – C
    Valbuena – 3B
    Barney – 2B
    Navarro – DH

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good at bat from Rizzo

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good, long at bats in the first inning. Castillo with a two-run double.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rough first for Jackson, a HBP, a walk and a two-run double so far for the Astros

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Navarro with his fifth longball of the spring

    • Ray Ray

      A little better offensively than Koyie Hill was as a backup wouldn’t you say? Ha

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yea, just a little bit …

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Navarro was a savvy signing. He’s gonna bring back some players at yhe deadline.

          • Ray Ray

            I think it was a good signing but how much value do you think a 30 year old backup catcher has? A team will give up good prospects for a player who can get them to the playoffs and/or help them win in the playoffs. Players like Navarro,Valbuena,deJesus,Feldman are not those type of players.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Who would have thought Maholm was that type of player? Baker or Soto? Those guys all brought something back and I think fall right into the category of the guys we’re speaking of. With Navarro and Dejesus probably better. With the exception of the Nationals (lol), most teams will pay a price to get one specialty player coming off the bench to help down the stretch and in the playoffs. Depending on how these guys play they will bring back prospects of differing levels. If Schierholz or Hairston can hit near .300 either one will bring back a good haul. Navarro could put a team over the top and an on base guy like Dejesus is always valuable.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Also, think about this. For two years the plan has been to sign mediocre free agents to club friendly deals, see who outperforms expectations and flip them at the deadline for prospects. Last year it couldn’t have worked out better. So given the track record I think Theo and Hoyer deserve the benefit of the doubt until it goes bad. The same scouts that saw something in Maholm said to get Schierholtz. I just think that until they mess up, don’t bet against them.

          • Ray Ray

            Maholm had a 3.66 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP with Pittsburgh before he was signed. Schierholz is another platoon player as is Hairston. You need to have better players to trade to get better prospects. Who cares if they trade one of these guys for a prospect who never sees the majors or who projects to be a career backup at best

          • Ray Ray

            Look how Navarro has performed in the majors the last couple of years. He is going to be a backup. If he hits .280 with 7HR’s at the all star break in 175 AB’s…..how much will a team give up for him? That is what I am trying to say. Dempster was one of the top pitchers in baseball for the 1st half last year and he didn’t bring back a huge haul. Maholm had a successful track record and he needed to be paired with Rees Johnson and we got back a former top prospect coming off TJ. Do you see my point? Feldman was brutal last year and if wins 4 games by all star game…..he could bring back a low level prospect like what Baker or Soto brought back. deJesus is a platoon outfielder with zero power and speed who cannot hit lefties. How do you imagine a team will give up a top 10 prospect for him? Carlos Beltran was a difference maker and that is why the mets got Zach Wheeler for him.

  • Ray Koenig

    Colvin’s going to the minors before enshrinement in Cooperstown.

    • Tony_Hall

      At least he will be joined there by DJ.

      Marwin Gonzalez is the backup to Ronny Cedeno, even with his 3 run blast just now. The same Cedeno who was just released by the Cardinals, who were needing a SS after Furcal was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.

      At least Flaherty is secured of a roster spot in Baltimore after Wilson Betemit got hurt and will miss 6-8 weeks, albeit as the 2nd utility guy behind the backup 2B Casilla.

      • Ray Ray

        Do you wish failure for every ex Cub prospect?

        • Tony_Hall

          No, I wish them luck. This off-season so many on here thought that all 4 of these guys would be starters for their new teams in 2013, and yet, the closest one to starting is Gonzalez and they had to bring in Ronny Cedeno to be the starter.

          Maybe these weren’t that big of a deal after all.

          • Ray Ray

            No. I think many were saying 2 or 3 could have been starting for the Cubs this year instead of Valbuena/Stewart and Schierholz.

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes and no. Many thought Flaherty would start at 2B for Baltimore, because he was in the playoffs. Colvin was a sure thing in Colorado and so was DJ at 2B, since he started games at the end of the season, and Gonzalez was in a ST battle to be the SS for the Astros.

            None of them have proven they are better than a replacement level player which is all that Valbuena is at this point as well.

            If Stewart was healthy this isn’t even a discussion as he would be the starter over all of them.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Very true. Stewart deal wasn’t great but as I’ve always said, with the excption of maybe LaMahieu the rest of these guys are utility and back-ups.

  • Tony_Hall

    The Rockies had no room for DJ or Colvin, but made room for Volstad in their bullpen….

    And the Rockies are carrying an extra infielder over keeping 5 OF’s which is why Colvin was sent down. Yet DJ Lemahieu was still not kept as one of the extra infielders. I am sure both will see some action for the Rockies this year.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good 4th for Jackson, 1-2-3, 3 strikeouts

  • Ripken Boy

    Travis Blackley just got DFA from the A’s. This is the guy the Cubs should pick up to round out their bullpen.

    • Ray Ray

      Agreed. He had a solid season last year although he had a terrible spring. He will give you more than Takahashi.

    • Tony_Hall

      I am sure they are looking at him. They are looking at every DFA, I’m sure they won’t miss a LH arm that has some experience out of the bullpen.

      The only thing that sticks out to me is why he has spent so much time in the minors.

      Minors
      239 games – 179 starts – 1124 Innings

      Majors
      36 games – 23 starts – 142 innings

      At age 30 to have stayed in the minors all through his 20’s is something to find out why.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good job by Camp pitching out of that jam …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs and Astros played to a 6-6 tie in 10
    innings on Friday night in Houston- Edwin Jackson: 5R, 5H (1HR), 1BB, HBP, 9K in 4IP (80/48 strikes)

    Castro: 2-4, 2R, SAC; Soriano: 1-4, 2RBI, SF; Castillo: 1-3, 2B, 2RBI; Navarro: 1-2, HR; Valbuena: 1-3, 3B, BB, R