Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 05/04/13

Game Thirty: Cubs (11-18) vs. Reds (16-14)

  • Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.35/1.17) vs. Tony Cingrani (2-0, 1.50/0.89)

After back-to-back tough losses, the Cubs will try to get back on track this afternoon behind Jeff Samardzija … and it will not get any easier with Tony Cingrani on the mound for the Reds.

The Cubs are 3-5 in game started by lefties this season. The Cubs lost their first four games against southpaw starters and have won three of the last four. Look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup with Cingrani on the hill. Sveum is happy with the production he is receiving from the Luis ValbuenaCody Ransom platoon at third base. Will Sveum insert Ransom in the two-hole and move Starlin Castro back down to the five-hole today?

Anthony Rizzo has turned it on of late and is hitting very well at Wrigley Field. Rizzo has a .260/.351/.500 slash line with six doubles and two home runs at Wrigley with a .851 OPS … and against LHP this season, Rizzo is hitting .308/.386/.615/1.002 with three doubles and three home runs.

In Other News

The Cubs made the official announcement that Kyuji Fujikawa will start his rehab assignment on Sunday with the Iowa Cubs. The Cubs also announced that Matt Garza will make his second rehab start on Monday with Iowa. Garza is scheduled to throw 70-75 pitches in what the Cubs view as his third rehab outing.

The Cubs announced their minor league player and pitcher for the first month of the season on Friday. Rock Shoulders was named the organization’s player of the month for April while lefty Eric Jokisch took home the minor league pitcher award for April.

According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Brett Jackson could be placed on the DL in the near future. Jackson has been dealing with a jammed right big toe and was scheduled to have an injection on Friday.

Juan Carlos Paniagua is still waiting for his visa according to a report from Baseball America. The Cubs signed Paniagua last July after Major League Baseball approved his contract. The U.S. Consulate has not granted him his visa yet and there is not a clear timetable for when Paniagua will be able to pitch in the Cubs’ system this season.

This afternoon all starts with Jeff Samardzija …

Jeff Samardzija is coming off his shortest start of the season. Samardzija lasted just five innings against the Padres last Monday night and allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. Samardzija did not use it as an excuse, but admitted after the game that his outing was affected by the cut he received on the index finger of his throwing hand in his previous start against the Reds … the Reds actually auctioned off one of the bloody balls from Samardzija’s game in Cincinnati. The Cubs ended up winning the game and are 2-4 in Samardzija’s six starts.

For the most part Jeff Samardzija is off to a good start to the season. He has not thrown the ball as well over his last three starts as he did in the first three outings of the year. The walks have increased, which is not a good sign. Samardzija walked six batters while striking out 27 in his first three starts, and has issued eight walks with 16 strikeouts in his last three games.

Samardzija faces the Reds for the second time in three starts this afternoon. Other than running up his pitch count early in the game and cutting his hand, Samardzija made only one mistake over six innings against the Reds. Todd Frazier took Samardzija very deep in the sixth for the only run in the game.

Jeff Samardzija is 1-2 in 17 career games, three starts, against the Reds with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Jay Bruce – 3-for-11 with two doubles and a walk
  • Shin-Soo Choo – 1-for-3
  • Zack Cozart – 2-for-9 with a double
  • Todd Frazier – 3-for-6 with two home runs and two walks
  • Chris Heisey – 3-for-7
  • Cesar Izturis – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Devin Mesoraco – 1-for-3
  • Xavier Paul – 1-for-4 with a home run and two walks
  • Brandon Phillips – 2-for-16
  • Joey Votto – 2-for-14 with two walks

The Evergreen Park native makes the first start of his career at Wrigley Field this afternoon. Tony Cingrani has been very, very good over his first three starts subbing for the injured Johnny Cueto. Cingrani is likely in the majors to stay, even when Cueto returns from his latest injury. The Reds have shown how important it is to have a deep farm system. When a team in the hunt for a division title can replace a Johnny Cueto with a Tony Cingrani, they are providing the right depth for the big league to succeed when injuries occur.

Tony Cingrani is coming off a big time performance against the Washington Nationals. Cingrani pitched six innings of shutout ball while allowing only two hits, one walk and striking out 11 batters. In 18 innings, Cingrani has struck out 28 batters while walking only four.

The Cubs had minimal success against Cingrani when they faced him on April 23. Cingrani allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Carlos Villanueva outpitched Cingrani that night but Carlos Marmol gave up the lead in the ninth before Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep in the tenth.

Darwin Barney (0-for-2), Welington Castillo (0-for-3), Starlin Castro (0-for-3), Scott Hairston (0-for-2), Cody Ransom (2-for-3 with a double and a home run), Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3), Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a double) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3) faced Tony Cingrani in his second start of the season.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

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  • paulcatanese

    A test against a good lefty today. Rizzo is picking up against them, so maybe the project is working.
    Bummer for Jackson, nagging little injuries. He had it going in ST before the first one and now the toe.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Kane Co. – Felix Pena (0-0, 2.70)
    Daytona – PJ Francescon (2-2, 6.00)
    Tennessee – Eric Jokisch (3-1, 1.84)
    Iowa – Drew Carpenter (1-2, 7.77)

    Minor League Notes:

    With Ian Stewart now optioned and Josh Vitters returning from the DL, its time for the organization to approach Brad Nelson on an assignment to Tennessee. Vitters can take over first base and be adequately backed-up by Brent Lillibridge and Brian Bogusevic. The organization is doing all the players at Tennessee a disservice by not adequately replacing injured first baseman Justin Bour. Infielders Christian Villanueva, Arismendy Alcantara, and Roni Torreyes have all be hung with unfair errors that would have been plays an experienced first baseman would make. The Smokies have also lacked a consistent run-producer, and have had to place more emphasis on holding down their opponents. Nelson has 5 HR and 19 RBI at Iowa, but is only batting .238. At 30 years old, he doesn’t fit in with the team’s future plans

    Congratulations to Rock Shoulders and Eric Jokisch as being named the organization player and pitcher of the month. However, its time these accolades mean something, like a promotion, rather than just a pat on the back.

    The minors have had five pitchers take a no-hitter past the fourth inning this season. Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks and Dallas Beeler this past week joined Ben Wells and Starling Peralta as pitchers flirting with no-no’s.

    Although it hasn’t been reported though regular league transactions, Twitter accounts make it appear that Trey Martin has some sort of undisclosed injury or illness.

    • SuzyS

      Tom, Any word on what Paniagua is doing while awaiting the state department to issue him a visa?

      ie…Is he at the Cubs Dominican facility?
      Have a great time at Kane County!!!

      • Tom U

        I just read a report that additional documentation, including school records and documentation from his family, are being requested by the US Consulate. No word on whether he is working out, but its assumed he has been.

      • Tom U

        I’ll try to post some pictures from Kane Co. on Twitter.

  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

  • Tom U

    Here some more minor league info to chew on: Despite some uneven play both Tennessee and Daytona are 2 games out of first place. Kane Co. is 6.5 games out, but their next 4 opponents (Dayton, Burlington, Clinton, & Peoria) all have sub-.500 records.

  • Neil

    From Bruce Miles: Sveum on Ian Stewart: “He’s down there as a Triple-A player now. Valbuena and Ransom are our third basemen. That’s the way it is now.”

    • paulcatanese

      Smart move on the Cub’s side.

      • John_CC

        The honest truth from Sveum, I like it. Just as he said not long ago, no one is immune to be replaced. But then everyone went nuts when he said it called him names.

  • Neil

    Well, that didn’t take long. Choo with a hr on the first pitch of the game

  • calicub

    Darwin maybe cold swinging the bat, but his .OBP is .124 pts higher than his average. For a guy who has struggled in years past with first pitch hacks, he seems to be laying off (which unfortunately comes with far more strike outs) and its this approach which has really lowered his avg.

    Darwin has 1/4 the BB’s he had last year in ~1/10th of the at bats. (8 BB v. 33BB)

    Darwin is a competitor and has a character to him that gives me faith he will improve on his poor start. If not, Logan Watkins is a-knockin..

  • GaryLeeT

    Cingrani can’t get his curve over so everybody should be looking fastball.

  • Neil

    Soriano with a 2-run shot after Rizzo plunked on a 1-2 pitch

    • paulcatanese

      Well, maybe his streak is starting.

      • Ray Ray

        You know it will. He is a professional hitter.

        • John_CC

          Professional streak hitter :-)

          • Ray Ray

            I’ll agree with that

  • Neil

    Samardzija’s pitch count is very high, went to three 3-ball counts in the second inning … 44/28 strikes

  • Neil

    Brett Jackson was placed on the 7-day DL with turf toe

    • Tom U

      Iowa also replaces announced starter Drew Carpenter with Brooks Raley (3-2, 3.81)

  • Neil

    Soriano with his second two-run shot of the game

    • Denver Mike

      You don’t even need to look at a calendar to know it’s May!

      • John_CC

        No kidding! Just last night I posted his career May stats, more HR and RBI than other month.

    • Ray Ray

      Like Clockwork!

    • Tony_Hall

      So nice to see. Hopefully this is the beginning of him going on a hot streak.

  • paulcatanese

    Just a little hard on Barney by Sveum “he don’t have time for it” ( hitting struggles) and yet all of the extended courtesy to Stewart.
    It’s too early to say that about Barney, he needs a little time to get back on track.

    • Tony_Hall

      Barney’s weakness is the offensive side of the game and he needs to be doing better. I don’t believe he will be around for the long haul, even if he could repeat his 298 OBP.

  • Neil

    Rondon gets the blown save, not his fault.

    • paulcatanese

      Right, Marmol,Marmol,Marmol and his brother, Marmol.

    • GaryLeeT

      I think you mean it’s not all his fault. Rondon did have all fly ball outs when they needed ground balls, or strikeouts. And he issued a walk with the bases loaded. I know it’s standard procedure to issue intentional walks with runners at 2nd and 3rd, but given the pens troubles, I thought it was moronic of Sveum to intentionally add another base runner.

      • Neil

        No, the blown save is not his fault. Granted he could have done better, but the useless blown save stat should be given to Marmol.

  • Neil

    Long time readers will know that I usually refrain from this type of comment, but it is time for them to release Marmol.

    The money is spent, sunk costs, he is doing more harm than good. While they are not expected to win many games this season, they cannot continue to lose ones like today. These players need to know what it feels like to play a solid game … and to actually win it.

    • EqDoc

      I can’t agree with you more, but this is just as much on Sveum’s back as well. He should have pulled him after the first batter! This is just crushing team moral… and the fans…

    • Ray Ray

      If you look at Marmol’s stats from early April thru the end of April….he actually was pitching better. He needs to be used. I agree he is frustrating but I would still rather throw Marmol out there than Kameron Loe. I think Sveum needs to use him a lot. You can’t have him throw I inning in a week and expect him to come in and be sharp. Other pitchers can do that but definately not Marmol. Just throw him out there in the 6th,7th innings until he gets sharp again. It is not like they have all these options in Iowa ready to come up.

      • triple

        I agree… Marmol pitches better when he sees regular action. All we need is for him to have 2 good months and maybe some team decides they can give up a mid-level prospect for him in July.

        • Ray Ray

          He will still have his implodes but you cannot throw him once every 5 or 6 games.

    • Zonk

      Cutting Marmol, that’s a tough call. Not because of the way he’s pitched, but because he had the same problems last year and turned it around, and still has good stuff. It’s maddening. He has a higher ceiling than Blake Parker or Dolis or anyone else we would replace him with on the 25 or 40-man

      But you can’t run him out there either….

      Tough call.

      I sense a shakeup in our bullpen. Blake Parker is pitching very well at Iowa…good timing for him

      • Ray Ray

        If they had other arms who might be blocked then I agree….but they don’t. Sveum needs to use him. He has had only 2 appearances in 8 days for a total of 1.1 IP.

    • Brp921

      Agreed, it’s time.

    • Tony_Hall

      100% agree!

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 6-4 to Reds on Saturday afternoon – Jeff
    Samardzija: 2R, 1ER, 4H, 3BB, 5K, 6IP (111 pitches,65 strikes)

    Carlos Marmol was charged with 3 runs on 0 hits, 2 BB, HBP, 0K, faced 3 batters in the 8th

    Alfonso Soriano: 2-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB; Anthony Rizzo: 1-3, 2B, HBP, 2 R

  • paulcatanese

    Baker,DL,Garza,DL.Jackson,0 wins,Marmol(no comment),Stewart 0games, all for the small amount of 37mil this year.
    And the heat go’s to the 450,000,500,00 guys, I’m confused, what kind of equality is this?

  • Ray Ray

    I mentioned this during the first series with the Reds. Shin Soo Choo would be the ideal free agent signing for the Cubs next year. He has a career .385 OBP and would be the best leadoff hitter the Cubs have had in a long long time. DeJesus will be gone. Soriano will probably be gone. They need to add better players and Choo with Castro and Rizzo would at least be 3 good offensive players to build with over the next several years.