Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 06/21/13

Game Seventy-Two: Cubs (29-42) vs. Astros (28-46)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (1-1, 4.98/1.22) vs. Dallas Keuchel (4-3, 4.23/1.45)

Weather permitting … The Cubs open a three-game series against their old division rivals the Houston Astros this afternoon. After a late night in St. Louis, the Cubs will play and complete two games within 24 hours thanks to the schedule makers and will need a solid outing from Matt Garza to avoid hitting a new low mark on the season. After this weekend’s games, the Cubs begin a nine-game road trip with stops in Milwaukee, Seattle and Oakland.

The Cubs are 6-2 in their first eight Interleague games this season which bodes well for this series but the Astros are playing very good baseball right now … and most of that has to do with their pitching staff. The Astros are coming off a walk-off win against the Brewers and are 6-4 in their last ten games. While the Cubs are 6-11 this month, Bo Porter has the Astros playing .500 ball in June (9-9).

The offense will not catch a break over the next three days. After today’s matchup of Matt Garza and lefty Dallas Keuchel, Travis Wood is scheduled to face Bud Norris on Saturday afternoon. Jeff Samardzija will square off against Jordan Lyles in the finale on Sunday.

The Cubs won eight of the 15 games against the Astros last year and this weekend is the only time this season the two teams will square off. For the first time since 1962, the Cubs will not travel to Houston to play a regular season ballgame.

The Cubs have quit hitting, especially Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Until those three start producing the results will be similar to the four-game series in St. Louis. Look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup today.

If the Cubs take Houston lightly they will be swept by their old division rivals this weekend. The Astros are pitching and playing with a lot of confidence … and from a far they seem to be playing better than the Cubs right now.

And the Cubs’ shortest homestand of the year starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza tossed seven innings of shutout ball the last time he took the hill five days ago. While Garza was not as good as his line, he still threw zeros on the board over seven innings while allowing just three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in New York. Garza received a no decision after he was Marmol’d for about the sixth time since he’s been in a Cubs’ uniform. Garza did struggle with his command but worked around a rather weak Mets’ lineup and did his job. Garza will face a similar lineup this afternoon but one that has been producing of late.

Matt Garza likes pitching in his home park but did not fare too well the last time he was on the Wrigley mound. Garza is 1-1 in two home starts this season with a 8.25 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and for his career, Garza is 10-7 in 26 starts at Wrigley with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Matt Garza makes his seventh career start against the Astros this afternoon. Garza is 1-3 in the first six with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-5
  • Jason Castro – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-6
  • Carlos Corporan – 1-for-3
  • Joe Inglett – 3-for-20
  • J.D. Martinez – 3-for-7 with a walk
  • Jimmy Parades – 0-for-4

Lefty Dallas Keuchel is in the middle of an excellent stretch of baseball. Keuchel has not allowed more than two earned runs in a single start since he faced Oakland on May 26. Keuchel is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP and he is coming off a win over the White Sox.

Keuchel held the Southsiders to two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Keuchel has been very good outside of Houston this season (1-1 in five games, three starts, with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP) and will be making his second career start against the Cubs this afternoon.

The Cubs managed only one run on six hits over four innings last September 10 against Keuchel in Chicago. Keuchel walked two and struck out one while the Cubs beat the Astros 4-1.

Cubs Career Numbers against Dallas Keuchel

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-2
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-2
  • Cody Ransom – 0-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2
  • Dave Sappelt – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-1 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Barney – 2B
    Ransom – 3B
    Soriano – LF
    Rizzo – 1B
    Castro – SS
    Navarro – C
    Hairston – RF
    Sweeney – CF
    Garza – P

    • TheWrongGuy

      Good to see Navarro catching Garza even though W. Castillo had a good game last night hitting. I think the grind of catching is getting to him (W. Castillo). He going more away from calling the pitchers pitch that ends up in the dirt. I think that is why he’s been having problems with Garza and the other pitchers recently. I noticed this only recently. I could be wrong.

      • Ray Ray

        I think Sveum is smart to have Navarro catch Garza if he feels more comfortable throwing to him. Sveum couldn’t come out publicly and say he would do it because that would show concern about Castillo’s ability behind the plate. If Garza mentally feels better throwing to Navarro and they are planning on trading Garza let him throw to him the next couple of starts.

        • paulcatanese

          Totally right, and if I recall, there have been many pitchers that have a preference to who they have behind the plate, and most have been allowed that choice.
          And Robert Deniro was the first choice in “Bang the Drums Slowly” :)

          • paulcatanese

            Ray, got to throw this in there.

            Pitchers and catchers. Have actually played with a catcher that was so upset with the pitcher not throwing what he called that between innings he took the pitcher down the way and decked him.

            Also played with a pitcher that complained to the umpire about his calls, the umpire stormed to the mound and began arguing with the pitcher, so close that he was spitting on the pitcher, pitcher stepped back and hit the umpire so hard he lifted the umpire off the ground, breaking the umpire’s jaw. Needless to say the pitcher was suspended from that league for life.

          • Ray Ray

            :)

    • Ray Ray

      Barney at leadoff and Rizzo and Castro 4,5? Wow!

      • TheWrongGuy

        I agree WOW!! But remember of qualifying hitters for the CUBS right now Sori has the HIGHEST batting ave.

        Barney recently has fouled off about 3 pitches an at-bat = higher pitch count. Good for the lead-off hitter.

        Rizzo is trying to slug everything he see’s at the plate.

        Castro just swings at EVERYTHING!!!

        • Ray Ray

          Seriously. Look at those names and how can a team like this win many games? A couple of those names will be playing in the Independent League in a year or 2.

      • paulcatanese

        Lot’s of dead weight at the top end of the lineup. However going on the premise that these guys will break out of whatever it’s called, and start pumping out base hits, does not appease what has already gone down the tubes with them in the lineup where they have been.

        Going by what the “Cub way” of not looking at the past and only what they can do in the future, may be ok, but what’s not ok are the loss’s that pile up waiting for them to get it right and autograph the book.

        By the look of it, things may get worse with them before they get better, and another season down the tubes.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Astros 18-16 since May 15. In that time,
    their rotation has a 2.96 ERA, best in the American League.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes, and you have made that assertion about the Astros just a few days or just a day ago.
      As you, I would not underestimate them as a
      “softie”. They may not be looked at as a team to build a few wins on.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs have 42 quality starts, 5th-most in NL. Cubs are 24-18 in those games, 5-24 otherwise.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jorge Soler will come off Daytona’s DL today but likely won’t play tonight as Cubs ease him back.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    As reported here last weekend

    From Carrie Muskat: Cubs Jason McLeod also says college kids signed from the Draft will likely go to Boise Hawks

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Buster Olney:

    Have heard this from rival evaluators: The Cubs have started the process of exchanging names with other teams on some of their players.

    • Ray Ray

      Sell Sell Sell. Don’t wait too long on some of these pitchers. Injuries can happen if you wait too long. If Garza has a good start today try and move him now.

    • paulcatanese

      Boy is that going to be a lot of work. Possibly three or four hundred on the list.:)

    • Ripsnorter1

      What took so long?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Bruce Miles:

    Cubs still carrying 13 pitchers and Sveum said he’s not sure when they’ll make a roster move to go back to 12 and add a position player.

  • Brp921

    I’m beginning to think that with the new rules on the draft, not being able to give lower round guys the financial incentives to convince them to sign out of high school and the lack of quality guys in free agency, that it will take longer for this rebuild. So I think the wise thing to do is trade whomever will bring back the most talented prospects. Samardziga, Wood, Rizzo, Castro, whatever it takes. Between the prospects we trade for and the high draft picks we’ll be drafting for at least the next two or three years and what we have in the system now that could fix this mess we’re in now. By the time we’re ready to compete most of those guys will be thirty plus anyway.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree about trading whomever except to do so for this franchise will significantly DROP sales for the team. If say we were the Marlins then sure why not they already destroy’d their fan base. The CUBS can’t afford to do that.

      Though I do agree Samardzija and/or T. Wood could be the best to trade and get a full range of prospects in return. But the current FO wont trade either at last report. Yet who knows what they have up their sleeves.

      • Brp921

        I don’t know about anyone else but I probably won’t be going to Wrigley for awhile. I’m not interested in spending the money it would cost to see this team play with or without the guys I mentioned. I think I would be more excited about seeing some great prospects picked up in a trade play in the minors.

    • K_Gripp

      Samardzija and Rizzo are not moving. There is a chance that Castro and Wood could be traded but honestly they are young servicable players with team favorable contracts.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Hank Schulman

    If Buster Olney is right, and Cubs are open for business, I have to think the Giants will look at Burlingame’s Feldman

    • TheWrongGuy

      And Garza I believe.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I have heard rumblings about the Giants being interested.

    • John_CC

      The Oriole’s are in the market as well and have stated no interest in Garza.

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

        Which probably means it’s assured he’ll end up in Baltimore!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The start of today’s game will be delayed by rain. A start time has yet to be determined.

    I will post updates

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    As of 2:03pm CDT, there is not an estimated start time

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update at 3:03pm CDT – From Carrie Muskat: Announcement at Wrigley that rain and storms still in area, and waiting for bad weather to pass.

    • John_CC

      Looks like they are getting an unscheduled 3:05 Friday start!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Shooting for a 4:35 pm CDT start time

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Game on … play ball after 3 hrs and 18 min delay

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Somehow they managed to get Rizzo out.

    Castro will pick him up.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with a bomb onto Sheffield … first homer since May 18

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Barney with a solo homer

  • Ray Ray

    Lillibridge to the Yankees for a PTBNL.

    • TheWrongGuy

      Or cash =)

      • Ray Ray

        Hopefully the PTBNL isn’t AROD. LOL

        • TheWrongGuy

          HAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

          • paulcatanese

            Seriously, personally I wouldn’t want him, he nay not be around much longer at any rate.

    • paulcatanese

      And now he will be off the charts:)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Garza strikes out the side in order in the eighth

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with a ground rule double

    • Ray Ray

      Call timeout and give him the ball. Whew! It’s been a long time

      • TheWrongGuy

        too long!!!

      • paulcatanese

        Triple gold stars for that one.

  • Ray Ray

    So Tom or Neil….. Any guesses who would take Lillibridge’s roster spot at AAA? Lillibridge was basically a super utility guy there as well and was playing all over. Anyone from AA that you think deserves a promotion? Matt Szcur? Alcantrara?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Ian Stewart will be activated tomorrow

      • TheWrongGuy

        pbbbt!!!

      • Ray Ray

        OH yeah. Forgot about him. Thanks

      • paulcatanese

        Oh boy, can’t wait for that one:)

    • TheWrongGuy

      Either one in my opinion. But I would choose Szcur. But that’s just me.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Ian Stewart will be the man.

      • Ray Ray

        Szcur has about 450 PA in AA now between last year and this so hopefully he gets a promotion in the second half to AAA.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 3-1 on Friday afternoon – Matt Garza:
    1R, 4H, 2BB, 8K in 8+ IP (98 pitches, 63 strikes)

    Barney: 3-4, HR, 2B; Rizzo:
    2-4, HR; Castro: 1-4, 2B; Hairston: 1-3, HR, BB

  • paulcatanese

    And that’s the way to do it.
    Bash Barney, he hits a home run.
    Bash Castro, he hits a double.
    Bash Rizzo, he hits a home run.
    You just have to know how to do it.

    • Ray Ray

      Yep. Both of Rizzo’s hits were on 1st pitch again(I believe). Just guess and if you guess right…..take a rip! That’s what he is there for. Swing the bat. I was listening to the broadcast on XM and Moreland and Pat Hughes were saying how Barney has made an adjustment to pull the ball more. He has moved closer to the plate and is looking to turn on the ball more. It has been working for him hence the 2 HR’s the last couple of days.

      • paulcatanese

        He has been making better contact the last few games.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Yes he has.

        • triple

          Yes he has, but let’s see what happens once opposing pitchers make an adjustment.

      • paulcatanese

        Yup, when they go against the book,

        “the cubs way” they seem to do alright.

        But they better produce when they do,

        the author is watching:)

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          This is not directed at you specifically, your comment was the last on the subject.

          Here is a quote from Sveum today after the Cubs took 14 first pitch fastballs on Thursday.

          “We should be hitting to take not taking to hit.”