Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 06/22/13

Game Seventy-Three: Cubs (30-42) vs. Astros (28-47)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (5-6, 2.74/1.00) vs. Bud Norris (5-7, 3.64/1.42)

The Cubs will try to make it two in a row over the Astros this afternoon behind Travis Wood. The offense did just enough on Friday and Matt Garza took care of the rest. It would seem with the way the offense has struggled of late, Wood will need to pick-up where Garza left off to have a shot at a victory.

Dale Sveum said Friday he is unsure when the Cubs will make a roster move to add a bat to the bench and get back to a 12-man pitching staff. According to reports, the team was mulling over possible roster moves but has not decided which way to go. Based on the players used by the I-Cubs in Friday’s doubleheader against the Sounds, the roster moves will wait at least one more day.

Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena will be back in the starting lineup this afternoon along with Welington Castillo. But will Starlin Castro? If Castro plays today, a day off on Sunday would give Castro basically three full days (night game in Milwaukee on Tuesday) to clear his head. Castro could have used a break a couple of weeks back, now he really needs a breathier.

This afternoon all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off a solid start against the Cardinals and another outing he did not receive any run support. Wood recorded his 13th quality start in 14 tries the last time out after allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts over seven innings. Wood put his team in position to win the game but the offense could not figure out Shelby Miller before he left the game. The Cardinals pulled away with two in the seventh and cruised to a 5-2 lead.

Travis Wood is a perfect example of why a win-loss record and ERA are not the best ways to determine how well a pitcher is performing. Wood is 0-3 in his last three starts with a 2.70 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP with nearly a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio (14 strikeouts, four walks) and five fewer hits (15) than innings pitched (20).

For as good as Wood has been this season, likely the Cubs’ representative in the Mid-Summer Classic, he has been better at Wrigley. In nine home starts, Wood is 3-4 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP … 41 strikeouts, 20 walks and 42 hits allowed in 61 innings.

Wood makes his tenth career start against Houston this afternoon. Wood is 3-2 in the first nine with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Jose Altuve – 2-for-11 with a home run
  • Brandon Barnes – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Jason Castro – 0-for-3
  • Ronny Cedeno – 4-for-9 with two doubles and a walk
  • Carlos Corporan – 1-for-3
  • Matt Dominguez – 0-for-6
  • J.D. Martinez – 3-for-10 with a double
  • Justin Maxwell – 2-for-7 with a double
  • Bud Norris – 1-for-2 with a double

Bud Norris has struggled of late and is coming off a loss to the White Sox. Not only did Norris pitch poorly but the comments he made about possibly being traded to the Giants did not sit too well with his manager.

Norris is a very good pitcher that has struggled with consistency throughout his career. Norris has teams, like the Cubs, that he has had success against and even dominated at times, but he struggles with putting together long stretches of pitching to his ability.

Even with the poor outing against the Sox, Norris has put together eight quality starts in his last ten games. Bud Norris is 1-3 in his last four starts with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP … 26 hits allowed in 26 innings with five walks and 23 strikeouts.

Bud Norris is 4-4 in nine career games, eight starts, against the Cubs with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Norris was 2-2 in four starts against the Cubs a year ago with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP and in five career games, four starts, at Wrigley, Norris is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-14
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 7-for-19 with two doubles and a home run
  • Scott Hairston – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Dioner Navarro – 2-for-6 with a double and two walks
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-7 with a walk
  • Nate Schierholtz – 0-for-2 with two walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-17 with a double, two home runs and three walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 2-for-6 with a double and a home run
  • Travis Wood – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice." - Bob Proctor
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Valbuena – 3B
    Castro – SS
    Schierholz – RF
    Soriano – LF
    Rizzo – 1B
    Sweeney – CF
    Castillo – C
    Barney – 2B
    Wood – P

  • Bryan

    Nothing like a good Cubs fan lively exchange to start the day. Go Cubs…and Go Hawks tonight!

    • SuzyS

      Bryan, good thing you enjoy debates…we sure have plenty of them. I actually don’t mind them as long as debates are not personal attacks.

      Hope all is well in Atlanta these days.

      • Bryan

        All great here in Atlanta, Suzy…seeing plenty of Braves games while keeping up with the Cubs. And enjoying every bit of the Blackhawks chase for the Cup. Great for the city, fans, the club, and the NHL in general.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    No team needs 13 pitchers on it’s roster. The Cubs should add a position player.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LHP Sam Wilson, the Cubs’ eighth round pick, just announced on Twitter that he has signed with the Cubs. Wilson and Zastryzny are apparently roommates in Arizona before leaving for Boise.

    Cubs might want to think about splitting up the lefties …

    • Suzy S

      Is Sam any relation to Steve Wilson??? Steve
      was our Pacific Rim guy and pitched for the Cubs a few decades ago…anyone know???

  • RynoTiger

    and the 2nd trade as happened…Hisanori Takahashi has been traded to the Rockies for a PTBNL

    • Tony_Hall

      Hoping that we pick up some Int’l $$$ in these small trades.

      • calicub

        Hopefully… but I think he could have been useful on the big league roster once the big trades start happening, especially if they moved Russel. He had stellar numbers down in Iowa, and I’d prefer tthey used rusin as a starter than a reliever when they brought him up..

        • Tony_Hall

          Aug/Sept, I would rather see a younger player from AAA or AA brought up to fill any roles that are needed. You just can’t beat real experience. The biggest factor to consider is starting someones clock early and having spots on the 40 man. That is why Rusin or Raley could be brought up to fill the LH reliever role, if they don’t get a rotation spot.

          • calicub

            I would like to see young guys as well but at some point you have to imagine that having such a weak pen that blows so many games is really taking its toll on the rest of the players whose development is far more crucial than that of fringe major leaguers; see Rizzo, Castro, Castillo, Wood, Samardjzia, and Barney.

          • Tony_Hall

            Russell would take a really good return, as they don’t have to trade him. But if a team offered up another T Wood type pitcher, you take it.

    • Tom U

      Starting to create some room at the top.

      • Tony_Hall

        I would assume we will continue to see these type of players moves to help create room for players to move up to AAA and create openings all the way down.

        Any thoughts on who is moving up to take this spot, assuming Stewart is being activated to take up Lillibridge.

        • Suzy S

          I thought they were trying to get Clevenger a spot.

          • Tony_Hall

            He is already on the Iowa roster, since June 3rd.

        • Tom U

          Sorry for replying so late Tony. Zac Rosscup would be odds on favorite to move to Triple-A. They can use the left handers.

          • Tony_Hall

            No worries. I always appreciate you taking the time to answer questions. Thanks!

  • calicub

    Is anyone else having trouble clicking on the “see more” and “show 1 reply” buttons on their mobile devices or is it just me?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Long couple of weeks with all of the technical issues. Disqus is having problems and I’m working on it.

      • calicub

        Geez, one thing after anoher huh?!

        I can be patient :) Keep up the GREAT work Neil

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Thanks for your patience and thank you.

  • RynoTiger

    was there update on what happened with Almora leaving the game early the other night?

    • calicub

      I haven’t read anything official but on another site one commentor who was at the game stated it was beause he failed to run to first on a pop out not because he was hurt..

      Hopefully its the former as hes having a great year thus far

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Nothing official yet. From what I can tell, it was not an injury.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice DP started by Valbuena and turned by Barney to end the second inning

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Valbuena with a bat flip on a 2-run single

    • Tony_Hall

      2 RBI singles are pretty cool…

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        His bat flips kill me …

        • Ray Ray

          I agree 100%. I am counting the days until we don’t have to stomach Valbuena playing everyday.

  • Tony_Hall

    And yes that is one of those plays that not many SS will make. Incredible play by Castro going up the middle, all out dive and jumping up to throw out the runner.

    Kind of makes up for missing the slow chopper earlier.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And that is what Castro can bring to the table. Excellent diving stop to take a hit away from Corporan.

    • triple

      Yes that was a really nice play, and regardless of how he is hitting, I just want him to play solid defense! The disappointment for me with him on the field is that with the error he made in the previous inning, he is right on pace with his error totals from his last 2 full seasons… and that he looks to be too consistent in making mistakes and will be flirting with 30 errors by year end once again.

      • Tony_Hall

        The play earlier in the game was an all or nothing type play. He had to make it happen fast on the slow choppers.

        There is no stat column for plays he just made, that would be a single if all but the very best range SS are on the field. But I bet they far outnumber his errors.

        • triple

          I know what you mean Tony. Those slow choppers can eat you up, but those same great SS’s who make that great play that Castro made, usually also make that other type of play, sometimes even bare-handed. It just frustrates me to see that he’s on pace for about 26 errors, and that his fielding % is within 2/100ths of a point from both his 2012 and 2011 seasons.

          Now I know those are more of the old school stats, and I’ll admit I’m not so up to the times with all the new defensive stats that probably speak more of the truths of the matter, but can you show me where Castro ranks against some of the best in the stats that I’m not hip too?

          • Tony_Hall

            Can’t say I am up on the defensive sabermetrics stats. I use my eyes on defense. My eyes see him make many great plays, to go along with his routine plays he turns into errors. I have no doubt he has a great play every 5 games which would put him on pace for over 30, outpacing his errors.

            To me they haven’t figured out how to do defense in sabermetrics quite yet.

  • Tony_Hall

    And Castro with another nice play going to the hole and barely getting Maxwell.

  • RynoTiger

    Len and the other guy were just talking about potential All-Stars….so who do you think would be the lone Cubs All-Star rep?

    • Tony_Hall

      It has to be a pitcher, and T Wood is having the best season.

  • Tony_Hall

    All 3 runs back on one pitch. First time the Astros have even had 2 runners on through 6 innings, and a 3 run blast ties the game.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Clevenger: Clevenger felt some tightness in his side. Doesn’t think he reaggravated it lat injury. Will take few days off and be re-evaluated

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jae-Hoon Ha has been promoted to Triple-A Iowa
    from Double-A Tennessee. Ha is in Iowa’s starting lineup tonight.

  • Tony_Hall

    How Barney is in a 3-2 count without 1 strike thrown to him is beyond me.

    • RynoTiger

      more like why it isn’t at the very least 4-3 Cubs is ridiculous

      • Tony_Hall

        When you add in Soriano being called out. I always use the hand touches the glove or the base on that play, and Soriano got his hand on the base and the tag was on the hand.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    More Iowa Cubs news: OF Brett Jackson placed on the DL with a right calf strain. INF Ian Stewart reinstated from the suspended list.

  • Tony_Hall

    How many more called strikes on balls are we going to see?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Official update on Almora:

    Albert Almora was pulled from last night’s game for not running out a flyball in the 5th. He’s back in the lineup tonight.

    • triple

      I’m not excited about hearing that Albert had a mental lapse and took a play off, but I’m really happy to hear how the Cubs have handled this with a guy who probably has many players looking up to him already and set an example. I’m sure Almora understands what he did wrong and will move on and continue to set a good example to his teammates throughout the rest of his minor (and hopefully major) league career.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 4-3 to Astros on Saturday – Travis Wood: 3R, 5H
    (HR), 1BB, HBP, 5K in 6+ IP (89 pitches, 55 strikes)

    Schierholtz: 1-3, HR,
    BB; Valbuena: 1-4, 2RBI; Castillo: 2-3, BB; Castro: 1-4; Cubs: 1-7 RISP, 8 LOB

  • triple

    You know if the Cubs hired Denny Green as our official post-game interview representative it would be much more entertaining after seeing another loss like today’s. And just think if we did have Bob Uecker calling our games as if it were “Major League” (the movie), watching the game and then the post-interview would be so entertaining even while losing.

    “They are who we thought they are… Crown their a**es… We let ‘em off the hook!”