Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Marlins – 04/28/13

Game Twenty-Four: Cubs (9-14) vs. Marlins (5-19)

  • Game Time – 12:10pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
  • Location – Marlins Park, Miami

Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53/0.75) vs. Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81/1.27)

The Cubs wrap-up their 10-game road trip (4-5) this afternoon with a chance at a .500 record. After giving away the first four games, the Cubs have won four of five including the last three over the Marlins. The Cubs have not won four straight games since sweeping the Pirates in Pittsburgh and winning the first game in Houston last September (Sept 7 – Sept 10) and the last time they swept a four game series was in August of 2011. The Cubs swept the four-game series in Pittsburgh (Aug 1 – Aug 4) that started a six-game winning streak.

The Cubs have set a new franchise record by having 20 of their first 23 games decided by three runs or less … and a new franchise mark of all 23 of their games being decided by four runs or less to start the season.

It is pretty safe to say that Carlos Villanueva has been the biggest surprise for the Cubs this season. Villanueva has put together four excellent outings and will look to match Travis Wood for the team lead in quality starts this afternoon. Wood has five quality starts, Villanueva four, Jeff Samardzija three, Edwin Jackson two and Scott Feldman one.

Dale Sveum said Saturday that Dioner Navarro would get the start behind the today. Sveum is looking to give Welington Castillo a breather with a day game after a night game, plus Navarro is 7-for-10 with two doubles and a home run in his career against Ricky Nolasco.

The Cubs open a now 10-game homestand on Monday with the first of four against the Padres. After the three-game series with the Reds next weekend, the Cubs and Rangers will make up the game from April 17 on Monday, May 6 then the homestand wraps up with two against the Cardinals.

There were reports that Ian Stewart could be activated during the upcoming homestand. Stewart is struggling with Iowa. Stewart missed Friday’s game after being hit by a pitch on Thursday. Stewart went 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday night … and is 3-for-30 in nine games with Iowa that includes four walks, one double, three runs scored, three RBI and 10 strikeouts.

This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva.

Carlos Villanueva is coming off an excellent start against a very good Reds team. Villanueva came within two outs of the first complete game of his career. Dale Sveum pulled him in the ninth after he walked Shin-Soo Choo and a sac bunt put Choo into scoring position. Villanueva did not look happy when he gave up the ball. Joey Votto singled in the tying run and sent the game into extras. Darwin Barney recorded the game winner with his the first home run of his career outside of Wrigley Field. Villanueva said after the game he was happy the Cubs won the game … the Cubs are 3-1 in Villanueva’s four starts.

Villanueva has made four starts this season and posted four quality starts. Of the five runs he’s allowed, four have come via solo home runs … Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Chris Heisey. Sveum credits Villanueva’s success with his ability to execute a game plan.

Carlos Villanueva has recorded 21 strikeouts with only six walks with 16 hits allowed in 29 1/3 innings this season. Not bad for a guy that was penciled in as the swingman when pitchers and catchers reported to Mesa back in February.

This afternoon will be Villanueva’s third career start against the Marlins. Villanueva is 1-1 in 10 appearances, two starts, with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.

Marlins Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Chris Coghlan – 1-for-2 with a triple
  • Gregg Dobbs – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Austin Kearns – 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk
  • Miguel Olivo – 1-for-6 with a home run
  • Juan Pierre – 2-for-12 with a walk
  • Placido Polanco – 2-for-9 with a walk
  • Chris Valaika – 1-for-1

Ricky Nolasco has pitched his best ball against the team that traded him away for Juan Pierre in December of 2005. While consistency has been one of Nolasco’s problems during his career, Nolasco has been consistently dominant when he has faced the Cubs.

Nolasco is off to a decent start to his season. Nolasco beat the Twins the last time out after allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings. Nolasco has not pitched past the six innings in any of his five starts.

Ricky Nolasco is 4-2 in eight career appearances, seven starts, against the Cubs with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … and won the only game he pitched against the Cubs a year ago. The Cubs need to be ready to get the best that Nolasco has to offer this afternoon.

Cubs Career Numbers against Ricky Nolasco

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-8 with a triple
  • Julio Borbon – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 5-for-12
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-4 with two walks
  • Scott Hairston – 2-for-9 with a home run
  • Dioner Navarro – 7-for-10 with two doubles and a home run
  • Dave Sappelt – 2-for-4
  • Nate Schierholtz – 4-for-12 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-25 with two home runs

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • Tony_Hall

    Nice article by Joel Sherman on proper organizational mentality creates more winners than big splashy off season moves.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_sports/proper_organizational_mentality_N40s90JKREw0zA5NE0UkPL/0

    • Bryan

      Management 101.

      • Tony_Hall

        Yes sir, but yet we haven’t seen it around these parts for a long, long time.

  • Tom U

    Good Morning! Here are today’s minor league starters:

    Kane Co. – Felix Pena (0-0, 2.60)
    Daytona – PJ Francescon (1-2, 7.00)
    Tennessee – Eric Jokisch (3-0, 1.11) Game 1
    Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 4.05) Game 2
    Iowa – Brooks Raley (2-2, 3.22)

    Here are some looks at what’s happening down in the minors:

    Iowa saw Brett Jackson return to the line-up yesterday. He had been nursing a toe injury. Reports are that Josh Vitters may also be ready to return, as he has been out with quad and back injuries.

    If you are looking for some early moves, the most consistent players at Tennessee have been Jae-Hoon Ha and Rubi Silva. Silva is tied for the team lead in home runs and has batted consistently over .300. Ha has been the most versatile performer the Smokies, He has the qualities of a #2 hitter, but has been hitting in the three hole, moving down to fifth in the line-up to accommodate some of Tennessee’s speedy youngsters. All the time he has hit over .300 and played sparkling defense.

    Speaking of consistency, John Andreoli and Dustin Geiger have provided it for Daytona. Andreoli ranks among the league leaders in batting average, while Geiger has played leap-frog with two other players for the lead in RBI.

    Although no official transaction has been reported, it looks as if OF Trey Martin has been sent back to Arizona. Kane Co. will compensate by using Rock Shoulders and Wes Darvill, with the possibility of Willson Contreras also, in the outfield.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tom, I know you were out of pocket. Jackson was Iowa’s DH on Friday (0-for-4 with a walk) and drove in one of Iowa’s two runs yesterday (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI).

  • SuzyS

    Once a player begins a rehab assignment…ie Stewart,
    is there a specific amount of time in which we have to bring him up or can we keep him rehabbing as long as the Cubs wish?
    If it were up to me, I ‘d like to see him start hitting better than he is before bringing him up…after all, the guy missed most of ST with injuries…so it may take him more time just to develop whatever timing he’s capable of. (Tongue in cheek).

    • paulcatanese

      Do we have to bring him up?
      Stewart was supposed to be a filler.
      Vitters was supposed to be a filler.
      Clevenger was tried, but to be a filler.
      Valbuena was supposed to be a filler.
      Ransom was supposed to be a filler.
      I think the Cubs should just get a shortstop
      with more range and just leave the position vacant.
      All jokes aside, so far Valbuena and Ransom
      have filled third base pretty good. Bringing Stewart into the picture now could throw a monkey wrench into the picture.

      • SuzyS

        Paul, I agree that Valbuena/Ransom have done OK.
        Sveum has also shown he has no love for Stewart…However, if Stewart would begin to show any semblance of what the Cubs hoped he could do…then I think they’ll probably bring him up and use Valbuena as a utility sub…which is what he is MOST suited for.
        I don’t like it any more than anyone else…but that is what I think will happen.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here you go …

      A club may send a player on the DL to the minor leagues for a rehab assignment lasting a maximum of 20 days for position players and 30 days for pitchers.

      • SuzyS

        Thanks, Neil. In any event…even with the HBP, we’ll have to bring him up/DFA/or outright release him.

        Because of the injury aspect…the Cubs are on the hook for his salary.

        Best case scenario…is that he starts to hit and can be moved at the trade deadline.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          One can only hope he hits.

        • paulcatanese

          Stewart hasn’t used the gnat in the eye ploy yet:)

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Keep in mind, they could use the HBP that cost him a game as a loop hole to get him more time down there.

    • Tony_Hall

      Here is another, now ex-Rockie 3B that may be worth picking up, now that the Rockies have brought up Nolan Arenado.

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/28/rockies-promote-nolan-arenado-dfa-chris-nelson/

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with a very nice double to right center

    • Tony_Hall

      And driving in yet another run.

  • Tony_Hall

    Stanton is pretty good, very young and going to be traded to some team. The replay of his HR from last night was incredible.

    • John_CC

      He could be awesome on a team that cared with an organization that cared. It’s what I was trying to say last week in that “is Stanton worth Castro” thread and others argued that power hitting OF are a dome a dozen. Stanton isn’t just a power hitting OF. He has enormous power, plate discipline, a cannon arm. I love the kid.

      • Tony_Hall

        It’s a worthy discussion to have, Castro at his age, his cost-controlled contract and playing a position, that there are not 30 players who can actually play the position defensively AND be a productive offensive player, make it a good debate.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree John, a diamond for someone to pick up. Total natural swing, he could be a difference maker. As he progresses he will be in the class of Pujols and Fielder.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, not only pretty good but excellent. I have thought all along that he will be pumping 40+ every year on a decent team. Watched his swing every chance I could but thought he would be untouchable for the Cubs, they would have to give up a lot to get him.
      But talk about a “core” player, he is one for sure.

    • Ray Ray

      That put him on pace for how many this year? lol

      • Tony_Hall

        Well since you brought it up he is now on pace to hit 26. Going into today he was on pace for 9.

        And that should tell any intelligent fan of baseball that he is off to a slow start. That is what on pace shows you, it is not a predictor of what they will do.

        • Ray Ray

          hahaha. Thank you. On pace in April is definately not a predictor of what they will do. Agreed 100%.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe anyone has ever said it was a predictor of what they would do.

          • Ray Ray

            One question. How did you get that he is on pace to hit 26 with 1 HR in 19 games and 67 AB’s. If he gets 500 AB’s this year and plays in all 162 tell me what formula you are using to get to 26?

          • Ray Ray

            Never mind. Didn’t notice he hit one today. Been out of town and haven’t followed what was going on for several days.

          • Tony_Hall

            He actually hit 2 today. And the formula is (HR/games)*162

          • paulcatanese

            And our conversation was early in the game and he had 2 more at bats. Guy is a stud. Clean shaven, short hair, would look good in a Cub uniform.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another excellent play by Castro, nice extension and timing on the diving catch

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with a two-run double. He is having a better series than his stat line.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That was a good recovery, with help from the Marlins. Replays showed Dobbs was out.

    • Tony_Hall

      I didn’t think he was out until that last replay. And yet we expect the umps to get it right, every time at full speed.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bad decision to pitch to Stanton

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And Soriano misses the cut off man

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro whiffed on that liner

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro’s error was changed to a hit

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano’s struggles continue …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 6-4 to Marlins on Sunday afternoon – Carlos Villanueva: 4R, 4H, 3BB, 8K in 6IP (100 pitches, 64 strikes) … Castro: 2-4, 2B, 2RBI; Rizzo: 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB; DeJesus: 1-3, BB, R; Navarro: 1-4, HR; Soriano: 0-4, 5 LOB

  • Tony_Hall

    A sweep would have been nice, but like most of the Marlins wins this year, they will be dependant on the bat of Stanton.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

      Exactly, and as Meat Loaf sang, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

  • Ray Ray

    Colorado has DJ LeMahieu playing SS in AAA. Hasn’t really played there since sophomore year at LSU. He has been playing very well. Hitting .366 with a .392 OBP. He should be able to stick with a club eventually as a super utility guy(3B,SS,2B,1B)

  • Ray Ray

    Andrew Cashner is back in the starting rotation with the Padres. Had a quality start against the Giants on his 2nd start. This is where he belongs and he has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter. It will be interesting to follow his progress there this year.

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