Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/23/13

Game Forty-Six: Cubs (18-27) vs. Pirates (28-18)

  • Game Time – 11:35am CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76/1.52) vs. Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.78/1.21)

Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to salvage the third and final game in Pittsburgh behind Edwin Jackson. The Cubs are 2-3 in the first five games of the season against the Mighty Pirates and have been outscored 12-10. The Cubs have lost three straight one run games and each of their last four losses has been by one run.

The Cubs need for Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo to break out of their recent funks. Castro has just 10 hits in his last 42 at bats but only one single in his last four games (1-for-18). As for Anthony Rizzo, after going 39 at bats without striking out, Rizzo has struck out eight times in his last 13 at bats. The offense should get a little boost with David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena back with the right-hander on the hill for Pittsburgh. Dioner Navarro should also get a start with an early start time following a night game.

The Cubs must win today in order to avoid dropping to a season-low 10 games under .500 and it all starts with Edwin Jackson.

Edwin Jackson has pitched much better of late. Jackson is coming off his first true quality start of the season (three officially for the year), despite the fact the third run he allowed came on a single by Matt Harvey. Jackson allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Jackson made three mistakes, two left the park and the other one was to Harvey that ended up being the game winner.

After a miserable start to his Cubs’ career (0-4 in first six starts with a 6.27 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP), Jackson is 1-2 in his last three games with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Jackson’s struggles at Wrigley Field have been well documented but he has pitched a lot better on the road. Jackson is 0-4 in five starts at Wrigley with a 7.81 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP and is 1-2 in four road starts with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

Edwin Jackson lost to Wandy Rodriguez in the second game of the season back on April 3. Jackson lasted five innings and allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts. For his career, Jackson is 4-1 against the Pirates in seven starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … at PNC, 1-1 in four starts with a 3.20 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Edwin Jackson

  • Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-8
  • Clint Barmes – 3-for-13
  • Brandon Inge – 6-for-23 with three walks
  • Garrett Jones – 3-for-12 with a home run and a walk
  • Starling Marte – 0-for-3
  • Russell Martin – 2-for-12 with a walk
  • Andrew McCutchen – 4-for-13 with a double, two home runs and two walks
  • Michael McKenry – 3-for-5 with two double
  • Gaby Sanchez – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Travis Snider – 0-for-5
  • Jose Tabata – 0-for-6
  • Neil Walker – 2-for-9 with a double and two walks

The Cubs will get their first look at Jeanmar Gomez in a regular season game today. The former Cleveland Indian is off to a good start in his first go around with the Pirates. Gomez makes his fifth start of the season today and tenth appearance.

Gomez is coming off a short, but effective outing against the Astros. Gomez allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits with a pair of walks and one strikeout in 4 2/3 innings. Gomez kept his team in a game the Pirates won 5-4. The stat that stands out the most when looking at Gomez’s year to this point, the Pirates are 7-2 in the nine games he’s pitched in this season.

Jeanmar Gomez is 1-0 in his last four starts with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP … at PNC this season, 1-0 in five games, two starts, with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Jeanmar Gomez makes his first start against the Cubs this afternoon. David DeJesus (0-for-4 with two walks) and Ryan Sweeney (2-for-3) are the only two Cubs on the active roster that have faced Gomez in a game that counts.

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
    Valbuena – 3B
    Barney – 2B
    Jackson – P

  • Ripsnorter1

    At least he struck out the side…..even though he gave up 2 runs.

    • Ray Ray

      Always the optimist Rip :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jackson threw 29 pitches in the first, Gomez has thrown only 19 in two innings

  • Ray Ray

    Looking at the overpay of the contract that EJAX got from the Cubs this offseason must make Garza think that he should get alot more for his services if the Cubs try to extend him. How could he not? EJAX got 4 at 52 mil. Garza has to be thinking he should get a lot more than that. Garza is at least a #2 on this team more like the ace if you ask me and if EJAX is a #4 getting paid like that….how can you justify if you are Theo offering him less? That is probably the reason that the Cubs move him at the trade deadline. Which is a shame because I would rather have Garza over the next 4 years than Edwin Jackson.

    • 07GreyDigger

      How do we know its an overpay? It’s year one of the deal and two months into the first year.

      Yes, he’s been pretty crappy. But, I’m not ready to call this an overpay and a failure until the end of the deal. If he pitches to his abilities down the line, these first two months will look like an anomaly.

      • Ray Ray

        He’s a back end starter. You set the precedent with that contract. You are basically saying that a #4/5 starter on the Cubs is worth 13 mil per year. Therefore, if you are a #3 you should make 15 mil per a #2 X amount etc. You see my point?

        • 07GreyDigger

          I think they’re paying him as a #3 (that’s what I think he is, he’s pitching like a #5 however) and they gave him market value. Unfortunately in free agency, pitching is at a premium and you got to pay to play.

          Look at similar deals.

          Ryan Dempster 2/26.5
          Dan Haren 1/13
          Kyle Lohse 3/33

          Anibal Sanchez 5/80

          All of these guys are essentially #3 pitchers and we can argue endlessly whether they are or not, but based on their deals, they got #3 money.

          #4 or #5 starters got significantly less and going in, I think we can agree that Ejax is a better pitcher than any of these guys.

          Joe Blanton 2/15
          Kevin Correia 2/10
          Jeremy Guthrie 3/25

          Brandon McCarthy 2/15.5
          Joe Saunders 1/6.5

          What would you say Ejax is worth? 10 mil? I think that’s what he made the year prior and put up solid numbers, so he was going to expect a raise.

          • Brp921

            Hit the comment by accident.

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

          I do see your point Ray and you are exactly right that it could set a bad precedent. This will be something to keep an eye on.

    • Tony_Hall

      That is just not how salaries work. Garza is a much better pitcher, but his injuries are piling up. If we took offers from all the teams right now for Garza, I doubt anyone would go 4 years, buy they may go to $13M a year.

      Until a player is a true free agent, with out comp picks attached, will they truly know their real market value and Garza will not make it to free agency without a comp pick unless he is traded.

      If he pitches all of his starts and at his career levels, he will get paid very well this off-season, IF he gets traded. If the Cubs don’t trade him he will have the comp pick dragging down his offers. If he misses starts due to injury, he will have a hard time getting a big contract that covers a lot of years.

  • GaryLeeT

    What in the hell happened to this team? I know the Pirates have some good pitching, but the position players look dead behind their eyes. It’s still a little early to just be going through the motions, isn’t it?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs and Pirates in rain delay with two outs in top of 4th. Cubs down 4-1 with two on and Castillo due up

    • 07GreyDigger

      Any update on the delay?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Looking to resume at 2:45pm

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs-Pirates looking to resume play at 2:45pm CDT

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dolis will take over for Jackson in the fourth

  • paulcatanese

    Rain delay? Best thing that could happen to the Cubs.

    • Ray Ray

      You mean a Rain Out. They don’t come back too often from 3 runs down.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Game back on, about a 1 hour and 50 minute delay

    • paulcatanese

      Thanks Neil, I needed that:)

  • John_CC

    A little sabermetric conundrum…(first read the explanation of wOBA here http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/woba/ ), then

    this article that examines the current Cubs team. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-2013-cubs-better-than-we-think/

    A couple years ago this would have been known as a “cubbie occurrence,” boy do I hate that term! But maybe someone could create a sabermetric that simply explains the Cubs futility.

    • DWalker

      Those numbers are almost mind boggling. can any key indicators of where the problem be taken from this (aside from the cubs choke)? I keep coming back to the bull pen and its management being a major factor in the win discrepency catagory. Both in blown saves and in allowing extra runs to be tacked on that the cubs aren’t overcoming in late rally’s.

      • Sonate

        The major difference is in the bullpen. THey should have won 3-4 more games based already this year on runs scores/ runs allowed.

      • John_CC

        It is simply the “choke factor” as described by the “clutch” chart. Poor hitting AND poor pitching in the “clutch” i.e hitting w/RISP and pitching late in games with small leads.

        The question is, are the players putting pressure on themselves during these in-game positions, or are they just really unlucky?

        I’d say both.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Very good inning for Villanueva, struck out McCutchen, Jones and Walker swinging

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

      Villanueva is a good pick-up. As a long man out of the pen he is very effective. He can help some of these guys (TWood comes to mind) that are really effective for 6 innings but seem to cap off there.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Welington Castillo with his second walk of the season

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

      Are those pigs in the sky? lol

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice job by Sweeney … and what do you know, Castillo scored after working the walk

  • BosephHeyden

    There’s your new use for Villaneuva: platoon him with Jackson every game. If Jackson can make it through four innings without a run, he can pitch the fifth and Villaneuva takes the last four. If he can’t, Villaneuva pitches as long as he can until they need the pen.

    That way, Villaneuva can rack up some long saves, lower his ERA, and once again become an attractive trade piece at the deadline.

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

      My thoughts exactly. Can also take over for Wood after the 6th…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 4-2 to Pirates on Thursday afternoon (1:47 rain delay) – Edwin Jackson: 4R, 6H, 1BB, 6K, 3IP (64 pitches, 38 strikes) … DeJesus: 1-4, 2B, R; Castro: 2-4; Rizzo: 0-4, RBI; Sweeney: 1-1, RBI

  • paulcatanese

    Most think that Castro is a good deal. How many RBI’s does he have ? How many runs has he scored? I’m trying to figure out what true value he has to the Cubs as an offensive force, or is he simply a player that wants to swing the bat, not caring for situational hitting or trying to score runs, just swinging the bat and for the most part not coming thru In important situations.
    While it’s great to get 180-200 hits for the year, how has it impacted the overall effectiveness of the Cubs?
    Personally I don’t think he will ever be a 3-4-5 hitter,
    and think his impact would be best served as a leadoff hitter (even though he thinks walks are the worst thing going) or a 6-7-8 hitter where hits are a little less important and he is free to swing.

    • Sonate

      Agreed Paul. In a post yesterday I expressed the possibility that Castro was not what I thought (Barry Larkin) but what I feared (Shawon Dunston). (Not to malign Dunston, who was solid, but not the HOF that the Cubs thought.)

    • Brp921

      Something has messed him up. He’s not the hitter he was when he came up. I can’t see him getting the 180 to 200 hits this year unless he completely turns things around. He didn’t swing and miss nearly like he does now.

    • Ray Ray

      He just turned 23 in March. He is going through a tough stretch as is Rizzo who is also 23. Castro had 78 RBI last year 14 HR and hit .283. How many shortstops have that type of production? Cut him a little slack. He is not the perfect player(there aren’t any) but he is in rare company for what he has done in major league baseball already at his age. For those wishing to trade him….I should say the old phrase be careful for what you wish for. The Red Sox have been trying to find a shortstop since Nomar left and so are the Cardinals and many other teams.

      • Triple

        Totally agree, but can also understand people’s frustrations. At worst he’s a .280 hitter with15-20 HRs per year. If he can get a better grip on the strikes one and work counts to his favor, he has the potential to hit .300/30HR/100rbi and be a hall of famer.

      • John_CC

        Good column here for you and Tony_Hall regarding Castro and “are we expecting too much of him”

        http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/05/starlin-castro-are-we-expecting-too-much/

  • Ray Ray

    This is from Fangraphs 2013 SS Rankings. They rank him as the 5th best shortstop in all of baseball.

    Castro seldom walks, he’s prone to lapses in the field, and he isn’t
    much of an effective stolen-base threat. It is beyond easy to focus on
    the things that Starlin Castro doesn’t do well. But he’s a contact
    hitter with increasing power who plays a fine shortstop and who’s days
    away from turning just 23 years old. Last season he played in every
    game, and the season before he very nearly did the same. Castro might be
    one of those guys who frustrates because he doesn’t perform at his
    perceived ceiling, but his actual performance level is great, even if he
    doesn’t improve. And there’s reason to believe he’s improving.

    • Tony_Hall

      I believe this was a back handed positive comment….good job.

      • Ray Ray

        That was from fan graphs. I didn’t write it.

        • Tony_Hall

          That explains it :)

          • Ray Ray

            I don’t understand all this Castro bashing. He is 23 and is only going to get better. They could do a hell of alot worse.

          • Tony_Hall

            Preaching to the choir on this one….I don’t get how critical so many are on our young core players, yet worship the borderline 25 man and 40 man roster guys, like they are people we should build around.

          • Ray Ray

            We really only have Castro and Rizzo as young core players.

          • paulcatanese

            Yep, for better or for worse.
            Castro, Rizzo and EJax are the Cubs extended contract players, and supposed to be the core of the new deal.
            So really they are looked at very closely because of their stature.
            I don’t dislike Castro but get frustrated with the type of player he is.
            He does all the wrong things with the bat and still puts up decent numbers. the frustrating part is he could be that much better with an approach that he is capable of.
            With all the talent he has and not taking advantage of it is the part that’s frustrating.
            It’s four years and counting.

          • Tony_Hall

            And yet people want the coaches to leave him alone and let him be….

            EJAX is really not part of the core, as much as a complimentary part as a 4th/5th arm. To me core SP’s are Samardzija and Garza for sure and Wood is sure making it hard to not say he is as well. I don’t think control years and/or contracts make you a core player as much as who you would want to build around.