Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 05/24/13

Game Forty-Seven: Cubs (18-28) vs. Reds (29-18)

  • Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184/844
  • Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Scott Feldman (4-3, 2.19/1.16) vs. Bronson Arroyo (4-4, 3.28/1.11)

The Cubs difficult eight game road trip continues tonight with the first of three against the Reds. The Cubs will shoot to end their four-game losing streak behind Scott Feldman and kickoff the weekend series on a positive note.

The Cubs have beaten the Reds just once in six tries this season (1-5) and it will not get any easier for the offense over the next three days. After tonight’s matchup of Scott Feldman and Bronson Arroyo, Travis Wood faces Homer Bailey on Saturday afternoon. Matt Garza is scheduled to wrap up the series on Sunday against Johnny Cueto.

The Reds are playing very good ball right now and enter play tonight behind the Cardinals in the central.

Look for Dale Sveum to load his lineup with as many lefties as he can tonight. Bronson Arroyo struggles with left-handed hitters to the tune of a .270/.308/410 slash line while right handers have managed only a .227/.256/.333 line this season.

Tonight it all begins with Scott Feldman

Scott Feldman is coming off his fourth straight victory and his second outing in three starts in which he did not allow a run. Feldman picked up the only win in the series with the Mets and was the winning pitcher the last time the Cubs posted a victory. Feldman kept the Metropolitans off the board over 6 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits. Feldman made the big pitches when he needed to and walked one batter while striking out six. Feldman must not make the same mistakes he has over his last two starts. If he does, the Reds will cash them in and Feldman’s final line will not look as good.

Feldman is 3-0 in his last four starts with a 0.94 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. Feldman has been more than serviceable outside of Wrigley Field. Feldman is 1-2 in four road starts with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Feldman faces the Reds for the first time this season and for the first time in his career tonight.

Shin-Soo Choo (1-for-8 with a walk), Jack Hannahan (3-for-20 with a double and a walk) and Cesar Izturis (2-for-11 with a walk) are the only players on the Reds active roster that has faced Scott Feldman in a regular season game.

Some of the best starts of Bronson Arroyo’s career with the Reds have come against the Cubs. To say Arroyo has owned the Cubs since 2006 would be an understatement.

Bronson Arroyo is coming off back-to-back shutout performances over the Phillies and Brewers and will be looking for his third straight shutout tonight. Arroyo had a rough four start stretch in which he lost three of his four games. But he has been at the top of his game … and that is not good news for the Cubs.

Bronson Arroyo is 3-1 in five starts at Great American this season with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Tonight marks the 27th time that Bronson Arroyo has started a game against the Cubs. Arroyo is 11-9 in 28 games, 26 starts, with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Arroyo was 2-1 in three starts against the Cubs a year ago with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bronson Arroyo

  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-15
  • Starlin Castro – 5-for-20 with a double and a home run
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-19 with two walks
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Dioner Navarro – 0-for-5
  • Anthony Rizzo – 3-for-8
  • Nate Schierholtz – 3-for-10 with two doubles and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-50 with five doubles, a home run and three walks
  • Ryan Sweeney – 0-for-3
  • Luis Valbuena – 3-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

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  • Tony_Hall

    Here is something I just came upon that has a visual of the strike zone and what we talked about ad naseum the last few days.

    Here is the text.

    “My first rule of hitting was to get a good ball to hit. I learned down to percentage points where those good balls were. The box shows my particular preferences, from what I considered my “happy zone” – where I could hit .400 or better – to the low outside corner – where the most I could hope to bat was .230. Only when the situation demands it should a hitter go for the low percentage pitch.

    Since some players are better high-ball hitters than low-ball hitter, or better outside than in; each batter should work out his own set of percentages. But more important, each should learn the strike zone, because once pitchers find a batter is going to swing at bad pitches, he will get nothing else. The strike zone is approximately seven balls wide (allowing for pitches on the corners). When a batter starts swinging at pitches just two inches out of that zone (shaded area), he has increased the pitcher’s targets from approximately 4.2 square feet to about 5.8 square feet – an increase of 37 percent. Allow a pitcher that much of an advantage and you will be a .250 hitter.”

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.thecrosshairstrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ted_williams_strike_zone.png&imgrefurl=http://www.thecrosshairstrader.com/2009/05/stock-traders-and-ted-williams-happy-zone/&h=590&w=667&sz=207&tbnid=JvpMGtrhYj7TPM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=102&zoom=1&usg=__yGqO4hGK3CewEUnk84yh-vE_vE8=&docid=1FzYv4IHqgol7M&sa=X&ei=JMufUanUCajSywGUjIHQCw&ved=0CDAQ9QEwAA&dur=1522

    The hitter is the one and only Ted Williams and he knew long before sabermetrics that there was a “happy zone” as he called it and a good (average) zone and a zone only swing when you have to defend the plate. Now we have all the stats to back up his claims.

    • John_CC

      Great stuff. Go to the link, you can’t beat Teddy Baseball’s knowledge of hitting. What a machine, and to think that this was way before player even had film to watch. He just knew.

      O, and check out his lifetime OBP – .485!! He got on base nearly every other time he came up!

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

        Lifetime .485 is beyond belief! If a guy did that today we would be calling him the greatest hitter ever.

        • John_CC

          Err, yes. Which is why many still call Williams the greatest hitter ever. I know I do. .344 life time BA, .485 OBP, 500+ HR = greatest hitter ever, arguably of course.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think he knew that, and was using it as a play on words.

          • paulcatanese

            Watching him play several times
            I have no doubt he was. And, and if he chose to go to left field once in a while, I suspect he could have hit .500.

          • Brp921

            And he missed several of his prime years for the war. He may have gotten close to the HR record of the time had he not left for the war.

        • Tony_Hall

          Votto OBP

          2012 – 474
          2013 – 484

          Career 420

          And Votto is one of the best of this era…..think about that.

          • John_CC

            Get back to me in about 10 years. But I agree Votto is muy impressive.

          • Tony_Hall

            That’s my point, his career OBP is 65 points behind Williams and his 2 best years, 2 of the better years out there and they are just in line with Williams career average….hard to comprehend.

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

      Thanks Tony…

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, I knew who that was in the second paragraph , I read the book. As soon as Williams quoted the low outside pitch I knew it was him again, he would never swing at that pitch unless to protect with two strikes. Being the pull hitter that he was, I would think he would spit on that pitch. Good article though.
      Musial had another if you get the chance to read it.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Starlin Castro says ankle is fine after awkward slide.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ian Stewart will make his debut at first base tonight. Scheduled to play first and hit 6th.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Does this mean Brad Nelson will get less at-bats at Stewart’s expense? (Not that it matters)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

    • 07GreyDigger

      Ryan Sweeney batting 4th. Yikes.

      • Ray Ray

        And this is the problem again with 4 LH outfielders. As I said….Borbon will now sit for the next week so Sweeney can play. As Tony said last time, you don’t want to disrupt the entire lineup for Soriano. They are keeping the top 5 hitters in their normal spot and just inserting Sweeney for Soriano.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I agree Ray. Bringing up Sweeney made no sense whether he deserved it or not. I just don’t get why its such a big deal to flip the lineup around.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree on the lineup, but it is a pretty common practice across the majors.

            Sweeney may have had a clause in his minor league contract that required them to put him on the 25 man roster by x date or he could ask for his release. Pretty common among guys with MLB experience.

  • Ray Ray

    Mark Appel will be getting his final regular season start tonight against UCLA. Jonathan Gray had one of his best starts of the season the other day and many are saying that with that start he might have swayed the Astros to draft him with the #1 pick. If you are on the West Coast this could be a good opportunity to see the Cubs draft pick.

  • Ray Ray

    Of course his contract plays into it but I am glad to hear Sveum admit that.

    Gordon Wittenmyer
    ‏@GDubCub
    Sveum on EJax struggles:
    “We’re going to stick with him. Still another 20+ starts to fix this.
    … [$52m deal] is a part of things, too.”

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course it plays into things, do you think Soriano stayed in the lineup during those years when he was struggling on his good looks.

      That doesn’t meant that with pitchers you won’t send a guy to the bullpen for awhile to clear the head. If Tim Lincecum can be sent to the bullpen then Jackson can sure be sent to the bullpen. Of course with SP, it is pretty easy to DL a guy and give him a couple of starts off.

      • Ray Ray

        No that is what I am saying. Everyone knows his contract is the reason why he is still in the rotation now instead of Villanueva. It is refreshing to hear it come out of the managers mouth.

        • Tony_Hall

          You still stewing on that….I told you Feldman would stay in the rotation and Villaneuva would go to the bullpen, but you didn’t want to listen….

          • Ray Ray

            I am not stewing on that. Every team plays players based on contracts. Not often do you hear a manager admit that. Why do you think everything I post has an ulterior motive?

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t, just like reminding you that Feldman is still in the rotation and Villanueva is in the bullpen, where he has spent most of his career.

  • Ray Ray

    Theo and the rest of the Cubs front office is at the USD game watching Kris Bryant play USF right now.

    • Tony_Hall

      I think they are down to 3 players, Appel, Gray and Bryant and want to get it down to 2 and hope they get to actually pick between the 2 players, versus taking which one is left.

      • Ray Ray

        I agree

        • Tony_Hall

          I think the Astros will go to Bryant and make him an offer of a little more than #3 money and say that the Cubs will pass on him and this is the best way for him to maximize his draft payday.

          I don’t believe you can go wrong with any of these 3, doesn’t mean all 3 will make it but the Top 3 teams should be happy getting any of these guys.

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice sac fly by Darwin Barney.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice sac fly by Barney

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Feldman with a HR!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    First career HR for Feldman

  • Tony_Hall

    Feldman after getting all those change-ups and curveballs hammers a 3-2 breaking ball into the stands.

    What is not to like about this guy!!

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

      Right now Feldman is one of my favorite Cubs.

    • Ripsnorter1

      What’s not to like?

      His pitching performances.

      • Tony_Hall

        You have been waiting 6 starts to say something negative about him haven’t you?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Wow, really? He had a rough night, didn’t get a couple of calls against one of the best teams in the league. While you might not like him, you should really root for him to pitch well to increase his value.

        • Tony_Hall

          Exactly. People get on me and others for being willing to suffer through some losing seasons to rebuild this organization the right way, yet some people seem to openly root for our players to fail and seem to enjoy when they actually do.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs Scott Feldman with his first career HR, a 2-run shot
    in the 2nd inning. Cubs pitchers now with a league leading 15 RBI.

    • Tony_Hall

      15 RBI’s for our pitchers which is the same as our cleanup hitter, and only 4 regulars have more.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        While RBI are not the best stat any more, the lack of them when there are plenty of opportunities is very telling.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree completely

        • Tony_Hall

          I have always felt that a stat that showed the percentage of runs driven in from each base would be a good way to tell how productive a hitter is at driving in runs. Just like avg and OBP, it is all about the percentage.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wonder what Brandon Phillips thought about Barney’s last play

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Balkin’ Bob strikes again

    • Tony_Hall

      That was not a balk.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        No it wasn’t

  • Tony_Hall

    Tip your cap to Votto that was a good pitch that we went with the opposite way.

  • Tony_Hall

    I don’t believe I listened all that closely until lately, but as far as JD is concerned, I am moving into the camp that JD is just not that good. He starts to talk and then stops for no reason and doesn’t always pick it back up. Len seems to have to bring it back up. Len is carrying far more than his fair share on the telecast.

    It might be different if he was an ex-Cub that you felt some sort of connection with, but I just haven’t seen what is so good about him.

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

      I’m not big on JD. We’ve been spoiled though with the best (Stoney), and a dang good (Brenly).

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree, I enjoyed Stone and as time went on really appreciated Brenly and his brutal honesty on his thoughts. I hope JD just takes time to get use to.

      • paulcatanese

        And that’s a no-brainer:)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Two bad plays in one on the wild pitch. Navarro with a horrible throw and Castro has to stop the ball from getting past him

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That was a strike on the 3-2 pitch to Fraizer

  • triple

    In light of recent events, I believe the Cubs batting order should be:

    SS Castro
    CF DeJesus
    P Starting Pitcher
    1B Rizzo
    LF Soriano
    RF Scheirholtz
    C Castillo
    3B Valbuena
    2B Barney

    • paulcatanese

      And save the rest of the pitchers for pinch hitters.

  • Ray Ray

    Feldman has to be one of the slowest workers in baseball when he gets runners on base. I would hate to be an infielder behind him.

  • Ray Ray

    And the second time around the lineup. Teeeeeeing off!

    • Tony_Hall

      Pitchers have to get out of the inning, but when you throw strike 3 for the 3rd out only to have the ump say Ball 4, it can be tough to stay focused. The longer an inning drags on, the more likely the pitcher is to make a mistake.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      In defense of Feldman, he struck out two batters that were not called. He made the pitches.

      • Ray Ray

        It looked like a strike….but he still gave up 2 bombs and that awful pitch to the left fielder on 3-2.

        • Tony_Hall

          The one bomb was on a low and outside pitch, give credit to Votto.

          And it was a strike on the pitch tracks. When an inning drags on and you are forced to get 4+ outs to get out of the inning, you are bound to make mistakes pitching.

          I now you have been waiting for many starts to jump on him and now in the bandbox of Cincinnati you have something on him, he has given up 2 HR’s.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          You’re exactly right. He made the mistake to Hanigan. Len pointed out that Feldman probably did not know where to throw a pitch and get a called strike after that strange sequence.

          Bottom line, Feldman has to make the pitch when he needed to. And he did in his previous outings against inferior teams.

          • Tony_Hall

            Out of his 5 game run, 2 of the teams he pitched against were the AL Central leading Rangers and the NL East 2nd place and World Series favorite Nationals.

            Yes the Marlins, Padres and Mets are inferior teams.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, I’ll give you the Rangers in that stretch but can’t on the Nationals, not that day. Harper was not in the lineup. Feldman settled down after the first but not having to face Harper that day was a break.

  • Tony_Hall

    DDJ just said hello to Phillips for Barney.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs with back-to-back walks … there is a full moon there tonight.

  • Brp921

    Please excuse me in advance, but I’m Hoosier born and Hoosier bred, and I just gotta say “BEAT THE HEAT” !!!!

  • Tony_Hall

    I really don’t like Phillips, but he has shown a very good glove tonight and that was a slick move, even if he didn’t get the out.

  • RynoTiger

    so when Castro gets a day off, is it Barney who plays short?
    I’m just trying to figure out who can take Castro’s spot while he’s benched and takes some time to analyze his performance and practice how to be a selective hitter that has a purpose. Right now his bat wouldn’t be missed.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Based on statements during Spring Training, it would be Valbuena. Sveum said Barney was no longer an option at short unless there was an emergency because Barney is the Cubs’ second baseman

  • Tony_Hall

    A Sanchez just gave up his 1st hit to Joe Mauer with 1 out in the 9th, right back up the middle almost knocking Sanchez back.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Let the Soriano rumors begin …

    Yankees announce Curtis Granderson has a broken hand, lefty pinky knuckle.

    • Tony_Hall

      That guy can’t buy a break.

    • RynoTiger

      ok let me start..
      hey Neil, did you hear the Yankees might be interested in Soriano…apparently Granderson got hurt or something…who would you want in return?

      • Tony_Hall

        Honestly if we could get back 2 lower level arms and some cash back it would be a win win for all involved. Soriano really needs to move the AL to finish up his career.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        From the Yankees? Nothing much. The system is pretty bare.

        • RynoTiger

          oh Neil, I’m surprised you fell for my trap. It was a trick question. We all know Team Theo only signs or trades for ex-Red Sox players.

  • Tony_Hall

    And that gives Valbuena 15 RBI’s on the season…

  • Tony_Hall

    Wood: The one that got away.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2013/05/24/wood_the_one_that_got_away.html/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    It starts out like this: “Sean Marshall is back on the disabled list with another sore left shoulder, the same aches and pains that put him there in April. And it is somewhat ironic.

    Marshall relapsed onto the DL the same time as his old team, the Chicago Cubs, hit town.”

  • Tony_Hall

    Phillips is just not going to miss that pitch.

    • RynoTiger

      he would have missed it if Navarro would have thrown some salt or powder in his eyes

  • Tony_Hall

    Hairston with an actual hit.

  • Tony_Hall

    Give me a break….Feldman could have use calls in the strike zone, let alone that far off the plate,

  • Tony_Hall

    This is the problem with so many of the Cubs hitters. Soriano got his fastball right down the middle and took it, yet swings at pitches no where near the strike zone to strike out.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 7-4 to Reds on Friday night – Scott Feldman: 5R,
    7H (2 HR), BB, WP, 5K in 5.1 IP (104 pitches, 63 strikes); 1-2, HR, 2RBI

    Valbuena:
    2-3, 2B, RBI, BB, R; Sweeney: 1-4, 2B, R; Navarro: 1-3, R, BB; Barney: 0-3, SF,
    RBI