Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/22/13

Game Forty-Five: Cubs (18-26) vs. Pirates (27-18)

  • Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
  • Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.49/1.20) vs. Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64/1.55)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will shoot to put back-to-back tough losses in the rearview mirror tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs lost another one run game on Tuesday in which a starter turned in a very good outing but the offense was not able to capitalize and the bullpen gave the game away. The Cubs have played 17 games decided by one run this season and own a 6-11 record in those games with 10 blown saves. It is very easy to see how, based on the numbers, the Cubs should be a .500 team … not a team that begins play tonight eight games under and tied for last place with the Brewers in the central.

The Cubs have to make Francisco Liriano work tonight. As Bruce Miles pointed out, the Cubs are not exactly taking their walks but if the lineup can resist the urge to swing early and often, Liriano will give them plenty of chances to put runs on the board.

The Cubs are 13-13 in the last 26 games and tonight it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off his best start of the season since his eight-shutout innings against the Pirates on Opening Day. After a rough start, Samardzija settled down and gave up just two runs on five hits in eight innings to the high-powered Rockies’ offense. Samardzija completed eight innings for the second time this season and struck out seven batters while walking only two … his best strikeout to walk ratio since his start in Atlanta on April 7. Samardzija is 1-1 in his last three starts with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija makes his second start of the season against the Bucs tonight. Samardzija pitched a gem against the Pirates on Opening Day. Samardzija tossed eight innings of shutout ball while allowing two hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. For his career, Samardzija is 4-0 in 14 games, three starts, against the Pirates with a 0.92 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP … at PNC, 4-0 in eight games, three starts, with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Pedro Alvarez – 2-for-10 with a double
  • Clint Barmes – 0-for-9
  • Garrett Jones – 1-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Starling Marte – 0-for-6 with a walk
  • Russell Martin – 1-for-4
  • Andrew McCutchen – 4-for-13 with a double and two walks
  • Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-10
  • Travis Snider – 0-for-1
  • Jose Tabata – 1-for-3
  • Neil Walker – 2-for-10 with a home run and two walks

The Cubs will get their first look at Francisco Liriano in a Pirates uniform. Liriano is making his third start of the season and is coming off a win over the Brewers. Liriano gave up one run on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Liriano has not completed six innings in his first two starts and the key to beating Liriano is patience.

The Cubs must make Liriano work tonight. He will get himself in trouble if the Cubs allow him to do so. Liriano has walked five batters in 11 innings while surrendering 12 hits.

Francisco Liriano makes his second career start against the Cubs tonight. Dale Sveum’s team beat him last year in Minneapolis. The Cubs scored four runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings (6.35 ERA, 1.24 WHIP).

Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
  • Julio Borbon – 0-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-3 with a double
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-15 with a walk
  • Dioner Navarro – 0-for-3
  • Cody Ransom – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Ryan Sweeney – 0-for-4

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Borbon – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Hairston – RF
    Castillo – C
    Ransom – 3B
    Barney – 2B
    Samardzija – P

  • 07GreyDigger

    Here’s hoping Scott Hairston starts raising that average. Yikes.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Shawn Camp did not disclose the injury

    From Comcast SportsNet – Why didn’t Cubs DL Camp earlier and keep Bowden? Sveum: “Because we didn’t know about it.”

    • DWalker

      How about: “RT @CarrieMuskat: Sveum met with relievers to define roles. No long man. Villanueva can be used whenever needed. “, So far Sveum hasn’t shown he even knows how to use a long reliever……

    • 07GreyDigger

      Sounds like Camp should be DFA’d now!

  • Ray Ray

    The Cubs claimed Borbon off waivers on April 19th. This will be only the 4th game he will start. The majority of at bats have been as a pinch hitter just like Vitters last year. Here’s a breakdown on who he faced when he got a chance to start.
    April 24th vs Mat Latos
    May 1st vs Andrew Cashner
    May 21 vs Wandy Rodriguez (LHP)
    May 22 vs Francisco Liriano (LHP)

    Latos is one of the top pitchers in the division and Cashner is one of the hardest throwing starters(granted he was not sharp since he was just inserted into the rotation a couple of weeks before that start)
    And now 2 lefties. This is the problem when you carry 6 outfielders. Who plays and who sits(especially with 4 lh hitting outfielders) He is not being put in situations to succeed and it is based on the roster.

    • 07GreyDigger

      At least they’ve started him the past two games. They need to know what they have in him in case they trade DeJesus and Brett Jackson continues to stink in the minors.

      • Ray Ray

        I agree. They need to see if he can play. I am not faulting Sveum as much as carrying 6 outfielders and 4 lh outfielders. Now Sweeney sits for awhile with DeJesus so Borbon can play a couple of games. And then….I am sure Borbon will sit again so Sweeney can get a couple of starts and Borbon will rot on the bench and just be used to PH and pinch run. They really need to make a trade asap.

    • Tony_Hall

      When you are the 6th OF you know your place on the roster. He was not brought in to start, but to be an extra OF and depth if or when they trade any one of the OF’s in front of him.

    • Tony_Hall

      Another thought on this is by giving him AB’s against the tougher RH’s and the LH’s it is limiting the exposure that DeJesus or even Schierholtz has against these guys, which in turn should help keep their stats higher, making either of them more marketable for a trade this summer.

      SMART roster management.

      • Ray Ray

        LMAO. Always trying to defend the FO. Justified or not.

        • Tony_Hall

          It actually makes sense and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is true, since they have greatly limited DDJ against lefties this year.

          And it’s not like you and others need any help coming up with the negative slant on every move. Most of the time there is more than meets the eye on the moves.

          • Ray Ray

            I just want to get some of these young kids a fair shake. Borbon has had some success with Texas. He should be put in some situations to succeed. I am sure Sveum will even admit that carrying 6 outfielders with 4 being lefty is tough.

          • Tony_Hall

            Absolutely he would. My guess is after DDJ is traded Bourbon will take his place, until BJAX shows he is ready.

      • Ray Ray

        Julio Borbon…The sacrificial lamb.

      • willie smith

        because none of the other GM’s will notice the splits for dejesus and schierholtz???……….
        pleaseeee……….stop trying to defend this owner and GM……
        when they starting winning; if they have a winning record; then there can be debate.
        for now; it’s a joke……..as is the team.

        • Tony_Hall

          You are free to criticize, why do you have to tell me to stop defending the long term plan for rebuilding. Just because you don’t like the plan is just not a good enough reason.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Telling readers/posters how to think is not permitted on this site, you know that. Just because people do not share your opinion it does not mean they are wrong.

          We can all have different opinions without being talked down to for not sharing the same views as you.

          Thank you

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Harry Doyle: That’s all we got, one goddamn hit?
    Assistant: You can’t say goddamn on the air.
    Harry Doyle: Don’t worry, nobody is listening anyway

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tarp is being placed on home plate

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    First pitch scheduled for 6:15

  • Ray Ray

    Here is something probably some people didn’t realize. Matt Garza is only 1 year older than Samardzjija. Garza is 29 and turns 30 in Nov and Shark is 28 and turns 29 in Jan.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs six up six down, just 16 pitches for Liriano in two innings

  • Ray Ray

    Saw that tweet Neil. Had to laugh.

    RT @PWSullivan: Castillo now has 36 strikeouts and one walk. Said one scout: “That’s almost impossible in the majors.”

    • Tony_Hall

      That is true.

      Last year he had a 8.9% walk rate in his 170 AB’s in the majors and a 13.1% walk rate at AAA. He should start to get some more walks at some point.

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course he makes up for the lack of BB’s by having 6 HBP.

      That may be what is more unlikely, 1 BB and 6 HBP’s.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        His approach needs work, he is young and very inexperienced, so it should get better, it’s just not good right now.

  • Ray Ray

    This lineup today has 8 hackers in it. They all swing at anything close. We had that exhausting conversation about OBP and where you hit in the lineup. No patience anywhere. If Castro was patient he would have walked a run in. Only threw 1 strike to him and then Rizzo swung at a 2-0 with the bases loaded. As a hitter you need to know the pitcher and situation. Liriano has command issues.

    • Tony_Hall

      That is why the LH lineup has struggled more than the RH lineup. The RH lineup is 4 that get it and 4 that don’t.

      • Ray Ray

        I am sure they have the scouting report on Liriano. Wait him out. He will walk people.

        • Tony_Hall

          But most of these guys won’t do that, they go up their hacking at anything they can get their bat on. And if they do go up trying to be patient they let the meatball go by that they should have hit. Unfortunately that style was promoted for so long in our organization that it will take some time to clear most of it out.

          • Ray Ray

            Liriano has only thrown 48 pitches through 4. He usually throws that in 2.

          • Tony_Hall

            I really believe the RH lineup with more LH’s could have done better against Liriano, just by having a better approach to each AB.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I’m sure the players were handed a scouting report … but it does not look like they read it.

  • BosephHeyden

    I’m sure you can put a lot of the blame on the fact that it seems like no one in this lineup has any sort of plate disciple whatsoever today, but give credit where it is due: Francisco Liriano is dealing tonight.

    • Ray Ray

      Have you been noticing how many balls out of the strikezone they are swinging at?

  • BosephHeyden

    How did McCutchen advance on that strikeout? He stood at the plate for two or three seconds after he had already struck out. Castillo is just not looking all that great recently.

  • Ray Ray

    This will be it for Shark. Over 90 pitches and he will be up 2nd I believe next inning.

    • John_CC

      Hell I’d let him hit and then pull him if they are worried about pitch count. One stink in hit, give him the bat!

  • SomeGuy27

    Here’s the deal with Castillo as I see it. I like his bat and his arm is fantastic but he doesn’t like to work. His problems are that he doesn’t block down, he reaches and jabs with his glove hand, and he leans rather than moves his feet. These are all desire issues. You have to WANT to block down, you have to WANT to move your feet, you have WANT to not jab at the ball. He’s not the only one in the league with these issues, it’s just amazing to me that catchers are allowed to move through major league systems without mastering, for lack of a better term, catching.

    • Tony_Hall

      Nice analysis of Castillo. It truly is amazing that players can advance all the way to the majors without the basic skills to play defense.

      • SomeGuy27

        It’s about desire. I had a female catcher playing on a boys H.S. team a few years back and she did not allow a passed ball the entire season. Trust me, in H.S. that’s near impossible and with our pitching staff it was miraculous. She simply worked harder than anyone else and even the other coaches in the conference recognized it as she was named 2nd team all conference.

        • Tony_Hall

          I had a player last year in 14U who literally threw his chest at every pitch in the dirt or out of the zone wild. It was fun to watch him block pitches, because as you said, he had the desire to block the pitches and play catcher.

  • Ray Ray

    Hairston had a good at bat for 4 pitches and if he kept the bat on his shoulder for 1 more he was on 1st base to leadoff the inning. Ugh!!!

  • John_CC

    Its really pathetic to let Liriano get away with this. He’s always had great stuff but everyone knows his struggles over last few years. Make him work!

    • Ray Ray

      One stinkin walk off Liriano thru 7.

      • Tony_Hall

        Of course, ask Ransom how it feels to take a pitch off the plate for Strike 3.

        A wide Strike Zone is Liriano’s best friend.

  • Tony_Hall

    OK, that was a dumb comment by JD.

    “…Ironically Tommy John was the first guy to have Tommy John Surgery….”

    • Ray Ray

      did he really say that? hahaha

      • Tony_Hall

        Doubting me even on this I see….

        and Yes, I am sure Len wanted to say something, but let it fly.

        • Ray Ray

          I am not doubting you. I was just commenting how funny that is. I don’t even listen to them. Can’t stand JD.

          • Tony_Hall

            I was joking, but don’t like the time difference between radio and TV. JD hasn’t bothered me that much, but he is just to dry.

            I liked Brenly’s brutal honesty on plays and players efforts.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    I got cable this spring to watch the Cubs, I’m blacked out of online games here in Indy. I feel so dirty for donating money to a Telecommunication’s company.

    • Tony_Hall

      I really dislike that about MLB.TV (let alone cable). If I am willing to pay for MLB.TV, I want to be able to watch all the games on it. Just play the feed from the channel that is showing it, commercials and all.

      • No Baseball In Indiana

        Exactly!

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Borbon!

    • No Baseball In Indiana

      He was fun to watch when I was down at UT.

      • Ray Ray

        He had that base stolen

  • Ray Ray

    Another tough game for Rizzo.

    • Tony_Hall

      Regardless of how well he has done against LH’s so far this year, he is going to have nights like this against lefties.

      • Ray Ray

        no doubt

      • RynoTiger

        seems like over the past 3-4 games he has had some nasty, ugly, “yes he decided before the pitch” swings. almost like he’s now in a funk like the beginning of the season.

        • Tony_Hall

          Like that really ugly strike 3 he just had.

          That looked to me like he was expecting a breaking pitch.

          • RynoTiger

            Tony, I bet he was told to strike out on purpose so the Cubs would love. I think someone with an insidious plan has gotten to him.

      • Ray Ray

        Rizzo had that nice string going on not striking out and he has had 8 K’s now over the last 3 games.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good team player Soriano is, taking a strike out by swinging at the wild pitch knowing that Martin would not catch it and wouldn’t be able to throw him out.

  • Ray Ray

    OK. 3-1 with runner on 1st.Take!!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      Regardless of location?

      • Ray Ray

        Yes

        • Tony_Hall

          Sorry, that is where we disagree (and we agree on so much)

          That is a hitters count and if you get your pitch you have to swing at it. The zone should be very small though.

          • Ray Ray

            You need to play the situation. Get the runner in scoring position. Make the pitcher throw 2 strikes and get the runner in scoring position. You are down 1 run. Man on 1st with no out. Take the walk. Make the pitcher come to you. Not only that….He swung at a ball in on him!

          • Tony_Hall

            3-1 is one of the best counts a hitter can have. If you get your pitch (not what he swung at), the one in your hot zone, you have to hit that, as that should be where your batting average is the highest. Taking meatballs is only acceptable on 3-0 and if the pitcher has been wild and you are taking a strike.

          • Ray Ray

            Don’t agree. You need to play game situations and percentages. You would rather have a runner in scoring position with no outs. You have a pitcher who just went 3-2 on Soriano and actually threw a wild pitch on strike 3. Schierholtz got him in a 3-1 count. Make that pitcher throw 2 strikes.

          • Tony_Hall

            At least we understand the difference in our thoughts…except it seems you are the one wanting a 5 hole hitter to take a pitch that he could hit and I am the one wanting him to hit it…..didn’t see that one coming.

    • Ray Ray

      Of course he swings

  • Ray Ray

    Cubs with 1 walk. I don’t know how many K’s and 0 for 1,000 with RISP. You deserve to lose

    • Tony_Hall

      11 k’s – 4 Hits – 1 BB

      The Pirates had only
      3 hits (2 by McCutchen) – 2 BB and 8 k’s in 8 innings.

      A pitchers duel that we lost due to a poor approach at the plate by not making Liriano work and knock him out of the game earlier.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs shut out 1-0 by the Pirates on Wednesday night – Jeff Samardzija: 1R, 3H, 1BB, WP, 8K in 7IP (113 pitches, 73 strikes)

    Cubs offense just four hits, all singles, one walk and 11 strikeouts … 0-for-6 RISP, 8 LOB