Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Giants – 04/12/13

Game Ten: Cubs (3-6) vs. Giants (7-3)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35/1.20) vs. Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38/1.45)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will look to get back in the win column on another cold day at Wrigley Field. There is a 30 percent chance of rain with with highs expected in the upper 40s.

While the players try to stay warm, the Cubs offense will have to deal with Matt Cain. Granted the Giants’ ace is off to a rough start to the season, but he is still Matt Cain.

The Cubs are just 1-7 in their last eight games with the Giants with four of those losses being decided by one run … and six of the losses being decided by two runs or less. The Cubs have played close games with the Giants with either a mental or physical error ending up the difference.

The Cubs moved up Darwin Barney’s Gold Glove presentation to this afternoon. The ceremony was originally scheduled for Saturday but Darwin Barney is having the stitches removed from his left knee today and reporting to Iowa for rehab games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Cubs are expected to activate Barney from the 15-day DL prior to Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. Barney should help a team that currently leads the majors in errors committed this season (10). Barney has been missed in the field over the first ten games.

Speaking of bad stats, the Cubs’ pitching staff started having problems retiring the opposing pitcher a couple of years back. The problems have not improved and seem to be getting worse. The entire staff appears to be losing focus with the bottom of the lineup … the Cubs staff is allowing the opposing pitcher to reach base at a .364 OBP clip over the first nine games.

Can the Cubs beat one of the best in the game this afternoon? It all starts with Carlos Villanueva …

Carlos Villanueva is coming off a very good outing against the Braves. Villanueva was impressive in his Cubs’ debut and appeared to be well on his way to posting a win … but Kyuji Fujikawa and Carlos Marmol could not hold the lead. Villanueva takes the hill at Wrigley for the first time this afternoon in a Cubs’ uniform. Villanueva is 1-2 in 12 games, one start, at Wrigley with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.

Villanueva makes only his second career start against the Giants today. Villanueva is 2-1 in 13 appearances, one start, with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Giants Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Matt Cain – 0-for-1
  • Angel Pagan – 1-for-1
  • Hunter Pence – 7-for-21 with a double and a home run
  • Pablo Sandoval – 0-for-1
  • Marco Scutaro – 1-for-3
  • Andres Torres – 1-for-4 with a home run

Matt Cain has not been Matt Cain yet this season. Cain tossed six innings of shutout ball on Opening Day against the Dodgers while allowing four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. But in his last start, he could not complete four innings after the Cardinals scored nine runs on seven hits off Cain in 3 2/3 innings.

The Cubs could be exactly what Cain needs to get on track. Cain has owned the Cubs over his career. In 13 starts versus the Cubs, Matt Cain is 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP … last year, 1-0 in two starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Cain is 1-1 in six starts at Wrigley with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Matt Cain

  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-13 with two walks
  • Steve Clevenger – 1-for-5 with a double
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-11 with a double, a home run and two walks
  • Alberto Gonzalez – 1-for-5 with a triple
  • Scott Hairston – 3-for-15 with a home run and four walks
  • Dioner Navarro – 0-for-1
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-10 with two walks
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-14 with a double, two home runs and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Schierholtz – RF
    Castillo – C
    Clevenger – 3B
    Valbuena – 2B
    Villanueva – P

    • InterestingLineup

      I like this lineup a lot. I’d like it a lot better if Barney was at 2B. I hope Clevenger can have success at 3B the Valbuena experiment should be coming to a close.

      • 07GreyDigger

        You know your team is bad when you’re looking forward to your great fielding and .255 hitting 2B to come back.

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

          Gold glover?

          • 07GreyDigger

            I addressed that in great fielding, but he’s really just an average to below average hitter. But still better than Lillibridge and Gonzalez.

    • triple

      I think it’s about time that Svuem puts Schieroltz and Castillo in the 3 and 4 spots and drop Rizzo and Soriano down to the 5 and 6 spots, at least until Rizzo and Soriano are hitting more consistently. It just seems like a waste to get a couple guys on and then make outs. We might as well have the 4 guys who are hitting and getting on base all at the top of the order.

  • Ray Ray

    I am just throwing this out there for debate. At what point does Sveum get held accountable for this teams lack of improvement in critical areas? He has now had 2 spring trainings to work on fundamentals. The team currently has the fewest walks in the NL. The pitchers have given up the most walks in the NL and leading league in errors. At some point you need to hold the manager accountable and at what point does everyone think that should be?

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

      I don’t necessarily think that is the manager’s fault. The problem is lower in the system where these fundamentals are taught. Once a player is at the big league level a manager can help him tweak things to get out of a slump but I think whether or not they play fundamental baseball is something they either do or don’t do by the time they get to the show. And throwing balls and strikes I don’t think is a manager’s task necessarily. All he can do is send a guy down for more seasoning or bring in specialists to work with them

      Basically I think it’ s a manager’s job to get the best out of what he has. He has to play to a guy’s strength’s and minimize exposure to his weaknesses. Whether or not he’s doing that well is up for debate, but he is new to the job and still learning.

    • Cubs_8

      When 4 or 5 of the starting position players are still stop gaps, I’m not criticizing the Manager. When the 25 man roster is built to win now, then I will judge how Sveum is doing.
      I think the walks issued and the walks not taken are an issue as well, but if you were an opposing pitcher, wouldn’t you pepper the strike zone against this lineup? Maybe they’re not getting walks because pitchers are forcing the hitters to beat them.
      That said, if the young core that they hope to build around (Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, etc.) start to show signs of regressing, then I’d consider a change at the helm.

    • GreatDebate

      The game has turned into a business and like all businesses someone has to be held accountable for poor returns. Unfortunately for coaches its the nature of the beast that coaches and managers are held accountable first for poor performances. I would like to see players fined for poor execution. Too many times already this season the Cubs have failed to score runs with bases loaded and NO outs. Time to get the message across.

      • calicub

        I think the ideal contract would guarantee a minimal level of money, say league minimum, a million, two million and 5 million depending on the type of player, then allowing incentives to raise their contract over the course of the year to say 20 – 30 million. That way a player, no matter who they were could earn their pay based on the way they perform.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent throw by Castillo

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castillo with a six-game hitting streak

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Valbuena has now walked at least once in six straight games

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    DeJesus with a wind blown homer

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with his first HR of the year

    • Ray Ray

      As much flack as Castro gets about how he doesn’t walk or makes careless errors…..how many 23 year old shortstops have the ability to get 200 hits in a season, hit .290 to .300 every year and hit 20 HR’s?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        You are preaching to the choir on this one.

      • Tony_Hall

        Watch it, you may start to get excited about the future…

      • gary3411

        Who cares about how many hits you have. He plays every game and hits at the top of the order that’s all that means. So I guess it’s good that he stays generally healthy. And when exactly has Castro hit 20 HRs?

        I personally give him flack for lack of IMPROVEMENT in the plate discipline and carelessness. Notbody suggests he isn’t a valuable player right now at barely 23 years old. But to get to the next level and be a perennial all star he needs to improve in those 2 areas and he has not in 4 years.

        The question should be, how many 23 year old shortstops produce the same amount as they did when they were 20?

        • Brp921

          I must agree somewhat in that I really thought after his rookie year that once he learned a little plate discipline that he could consistently hit in the .330 range. I won’t say he’s regresed, though his rookie year is his best so far, I am a little disappointed that he hasn’t progressed much.

          • Dorasaga

            Even if Castro can’t improve with plate discipline, he’s still a solid SS, because he can stay healthy and play every game. Many couldn’t and can’t. Look at Boston, now they are trying the “other Drew bro experiment.” Bosox have been looking for a sustainable SS for years, but all in vain. I guess the Cubs were lucky to have a solid, truly “everyday” player who can produce in more ways than just being another glove.

          • Brp921

            It’s great that the Cubs have a solid shortstop, if he remains there, or a solid infielder if he’s moved. A guy who can hit .290 with some power is a valuable player to have. I think that he has the ability to be better than that though, and I think he can acheive more of an “elite player” status. He did make the majors at a very young age so there is still time for him to raise his level of play.
            I just thought we would see it before now.

      • Roland Bowman

        I will be thrilled if he turns into a 20 HR per year guy. However I will be completely happy with .290, 10 HR and a decent amount of doubles and triples.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Clevenger with a nice reaction on the sinking liner by Scutaro

    • calicub

      From what i saw i was pretty impressed with Clevenger defense today

  • GaryLeeT

    I think everybody really liked the Schierholtz signing, and he hasn’t disappointed. If all the stop gap players like Valbuena, Sapplett, Lillibridge, Navarro, and Gonzales had been of his caliber, the season would look a lot different.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure where you get the “I think everybody really liked the Schierholtz signing…”

      Schierholtz is doing better than almost all expected.

      Valbuena is fine as a bench infielder, if Stewart can ever get healthy he will be put back into a role he is better suited to play.

      Sappelt is fine as the short side of an OF platoon.

      Navarro is fine as the 2nd catcher

      Lillibridge – I agree, and needs to be cut when Barney comes back.

      Gonzalez – was never suppose to make the team and most likely will be gone when Bareny comes back.

      The bench players are not the problem with this team. The starters need to start performing better.

      • GaryLeeT

        Most people that commented here at chicagocubsonline.com about the Schierholtz signing generally liked it. You nitpick too much, and you are wrong about Sapplet, Valbuena & Navarro.

        • Tony_Hall

          I have not seen many people praising the signing. So when you say everybody really liked, I am not sure where you have seen that. I really liked the signing, but have been in the minority.

          I may be wrong about those 3, but I think all 3 are good enough to be on a MLB bench.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent outing from Villanueva

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The I-Cubs placed Josh Vitters on the DL with a sore back

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good turn on the inning ending double play

  • Roland Bowman

    Two very good starts for Villanueva.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Agreed …

  • Tony_Hall

    Who knows the final outcome, but I am soooo much more relaxed with Fujikawa on the mound than Marmol……………and as I type this 2 balls by the catcher…..

    • Ray Ray

      You were saying?

      • Tony_Hall

        Not so much anymore…

        • Ray Ray

          I put my foot in my mouth the other day about Marmol too:)

          • Tony_Hall

            Yeah, when we post things and opinions, they are bound to come back at us sometimes.

    • GaryLeeT

      Because he’s pitched so well this year?

      • Tony_Hall

        No because he is not Marmol.

  • calicub

    excruciating, just excruciating…

  • cloycub13

    UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wasted another excellent outing by Villanueva

  • Ray Ray

    Next candidate for closer?

  • GaryLeeT

    Let the Russell as closer era begin.

  • BosephHeyden

    This isn’t a team that needs a closer. They’re playing like a team that isn’t going to need one on most days. Let the best pitcher pick up the last three outs and be done with it. When they start winning more, then they can worry about closers.

    • Dorasaga

      Can’t agree more. Closers are the last thing for a rebuilding team to worry. Good game with a good finish, though.

  • Ray Ray

    Poor Villanueva! That’s twice he’s gotten screwed by the bullpen. To pitch as well as he has without getting a W is a crying shame!

    • Tony_Hall

      Agree with you on that one.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Navarro with a HR … tied at three.

  • cloycub13

    DIONER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cloycub13

    CUBS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with a walkoff double …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Giants 4-3 on Friday -Carlos Villanueva: 0R, 3H, 1BB, 3K in 7.1 IP (93 pitches, 55 strikes); Fujikawa: 3R, 3H, HBP, 0BB, 0K in 1IP … DeJesus: 3-5, HR, 2B, 2R; Castro: 2-5, HR, 2B, 2RBI, Navarro: PH HR;
    Castillo: 2-4, Valbuena: 1-2, 2BB