Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mariners – 06/28/13

Game Seventy-Eight: Cubs (33-44) vs. Mariners (34-45)

  • Game Time – 9:10pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 181/844
  • Location – Safeco Field, Seattle

Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85/1.00) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26/0.89)

The Cubs begin a three-game series tonight in Seattle after posting back-to-back series wins over the Astros and Brewers. The Cubs have won four of six but will face two big challenges over the next seven days in the Mariners and Athletics. While Seattle has their own problems, Eric Wedge’s team is a lot like the Cubs. The Mariners have a very good starting rotation, a not-so-good bullpen and an offense that will not be compared to the ’27 Yankees anytime soon.

The Cubs have played good ball against the Junior Circuit to this point and own an 8-3 record in Interleague play. The Mariners, on the other hand, are 3-5 in their first eight games against the Senior Circuit.

The Cubs and Mariners square off for the fourth series since Interleague play began tonight. The Cubs have won five of the nine games (5-4 record) against the Mariners. The Cubs dropped two of three the last time they were in Seattle back in June of 2010. Jason Vargas beat Ryan Dempster in the opener and Cliff Lee topped Randy Wells the next day. Lou’s Crew salvaged the finale with John Grabow picking up the win and Tom Gorzelanny the save in 13 innings.

Alfonso Soriano was held out of the final two games of the Brewers series but is expected back in the lineup tonight as the Cubs’ designate hitter. Dale Sveum will reportedly use Soriano primarily as the DH over the next six games with Brian Bogusevic getting the bulk of the playing time in left field.

The Cubs will catch somewhat of a break this weekend. They will not have to face Felix Hernandez but will have to kick-off the three game series after a long flight against Hisashi Iwakuma. Travis Wood will have to be on top of his game once again with Iwakuma on the hill. After tonight’s matchup of Wood and Iwakuma, Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face long-time Cubs’ nemesis, Aaron Harang, on Saturday night. The series wraps on Sunday afternoon with Edwin Jackson squaring off against Jeremy Bonderman.

Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood

It will be interesting to see how Travis Wood pitches tonight after the way his last outing ended. Wood was cruising right along until two-outs in the sixth inning. The Cubs were up 3-0 before a two-out single by Jose Altuve gave the Astros life and two batters later J.D. Martinez tied the game with one swing of the bat. Wood started the seventh but was removed after issuing a leadoff walk. Wood has responded positively this year to a bad ending in his previous outing … let’s see if he can do it again.

Travis Wood has been very good for Dale Sveum this season and could end up being the Cubs’ lone representative in the upcoming All-Star game. Wood has notched 14 quality starts in 15 tries and while he has not posted a win since May 30, Wood is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 3.12 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Wood has maintained a nearly 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio (19 strikeouts, five walks) while allowing less hits (20) than innings pitched (26). For the year, Wood has 69 strikeouts and 29 walks in 98 innings while allowing only 69 hits.

Travis Wood is 2-2 in five road starts this season with a 3.48 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Tonight will be his first career start against the Mariners.

Jason Bay (1-for-3), Raul Ibanez (1-for-4 with a triple) and Brendan Ryan (0-for-2 with a walk) are the only players on the Mariners’ active roster that have faced Travis Wood in a regular season game.

The Cubs will get their first regular season look at Hisashi Iwakuma tonight. The Japanese right-hander is off to an excellent start to the year and could be on his way to New York for the All-Star game.

Iwakuma is coming off back-to-back rough outings against the Athletics. Iwakuma will probably be glad to see another team considering the way the A’s beat him up both in Seattle and in Oakland. The A’s scored four runs off of Iwakuma in each game and beat him both times.

Hisashi Iwakuma is 3-1 in eight home starts this season with a spectacular 1.46 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP. Even with his struggles against the A’s, Iwakuma is 1-2 in his last four starts with a 2.67 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

No one on the Cubs’ active roster has faced Iwakuma during a regular season game.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • calicub

    Navarro looking at back to back starts, gotta hope that means the FO is getting alot of interest in him. Hopefully he can net us a decnt prospect like Soto did, or get packaged with Garza.

    Gotta love the hotstove seasons!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of prospects……

    “Unfortunately, the attrition rate is gruesome. Out of the entire pool of drafted and signed players, only about 18% of them ever get even one day in the big leagues, and only about 7% of them actually accumulate three years in the Major Leagues. It’s even scarier if you examine the rounds – fewer than 50% of 1st round picks get three years in the big leagues, and from rounds two through five that number drops to about 15%. After that it plummets to the low single digits. In short, it’s very difficult to scout, draft, sign, and develop Major Leaguers, so having a plan to do so isn’t enough.” –Paul DePodesta

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Perfect explanation of why it is important to have as much inventory of talent in the minor leagues as possible so that way an organization is just not banking on a handful of players.

      Good find … shows the importance of depth, exactly what the front office is trying to do.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Again, good stuff.

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

      Agreed Rip, shows what most of us on here talk about every day. But it’s nice to see some statistics.

      That’s why I say it’s good every time we get a guy with any potential, because you just never know. In baseball farm systems it’s quantity then quality because quality is a relative term.

    • Tony_Hall

      Doesn’t basic numbers lead to that fact. There are only 25 guys active at a time, 800 players. Yet, each year over 1000 players get added to the system, just from the draft, not even counting all of the international players. Considerng that players can play for over a 20 year stetch, that is over 20,000 players in a pool each year to fill the 800 spots. (I know that players retire and get hurt, etc).

      Tough odds, to make the show.

      • paulcatanese

        And that’s why I say stay in school, unless the offer is unbelievable, even then it’s a stretch with so many variables that come into play.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Valbuena – 3B
    Castro – SS
    Schierholtz – RF
    Soriano – DH
    Rizzo – 1B
    Sweeney – CF
    Navarro – C
    Bogusevic – LF
    Barney – 2B

    Travis Wood pitching

  • triple

    You gotta wonder if Sveum rested Soriano for those 2 days hoping that his legs will be rested and produce some power while playing DH. If he does well there over the next 6 games, you’d think some AL team’s interest in him could raise a little higher.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes …

  • Ripsnorter1

    Hisashi Iwakuma has thrown 56 percent of his pitches in the strike zone, tied for third-best in the AL among pitchers with at least 10 starts. Hitters have a line drive on 16 percent of the balls put in play on those pitches, tied for fifth-best in the AL.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Mark Prior cut today from Reds AAA team….only tossed 9.2 IP this year. Has been hurt the rest of the time….no surprise.

    • calicub

      Poor guy just can’t catch a break..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Clevenger:

    Clevenger activated from DL, optioned to AAA Iowa. Putnam (bone spur) moved to 60 day DL.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Scott Baker:

    Scott Baker to throw in 2nd sim game on Sat in Mesa. Could join team end of August

    • Ripsnorter1

      A one month season for him. OUCH!

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

        Another asset that if healthy next year could bring some prospects back. I forgot about him but at some point he will be a factor.

        I imagine if you hooked Theo and Jed up to a polygraph you’d find out they never expected he or Vizcaino to pitch in Chicago this year. Exciting to think that those two will bolster our position next year. Baker could be next year’s Feldman and Vizcaino could be our future closer or a #1 oe 2 pitcher.

        I’ll say it again, exciting time to be a Cubs fan.

        • BosephHeyden

          That’s if he wants to come back, since he only signed for a year. September could just be a showcase for him for next season to get a bigger paycheck from a team in contention.

          • Tony_Hall

            He would only accept a 1 year contract.

            What we don’t know is if there was an understanding about 2014?

          • BosephHeyden

            I would hope there was, and that Baker would honor it. But, obviously, Baker is a whole lot of “What If’s” and “maybe’s” right now. If he’s good in September, maybe he resigns with the Cubs, maybe he goes elsewhere. If they resign him, maybe he gets hurt, maybe he stays healthy and performs well enough to net some good prospects (though, if Baker performs at the level I think he can, he’d be worth keeping around). Maybe he doesn’t heal in time to debut this year and we can sign him cheaper next year. Or maybe he sucks it up in September and resigning him becomes a non-issue.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, and would like to see him resign and pitch next year, as I think he could be like Dempster was for us when we signed him and let him rehab and then gave us many good years.

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

            I could see it working two ways. One, he never sees the show this year and we don’t give him that chance to showcase himself; this could lead to him resigning for a reduced rate because of few other suitors, or it could create a resentment with Baker.

            I imagine if he comes up this year there is an agreement in place. We have too much to lose if he comes up in September and goes 3-0 with a under 2 ERA and there isn’t one.

          • J Daniel

            Should have been an option for next year.

          • Tony_Hall

            And he said no option. Just like we say no NTC in contracts. I have no problem that they have taken a chance on Baker and would have loved a team option for 2014…..and 2015….etc.

            My best guess is that they have an understanding for 2014 and that the reason Baker didn’t want an option in the contract is he was expecting to pitch all season (optimistic player about his own abilities) and didn’t want to be traded with that option in tact, to a team he didn’t want to play for in 2014. He also wanted his performance this year to determine his next contract, which he was probably hoping would be a multi-year deal.

  • Tom U

    Breaking News:

    Javier Baez hit home run number 17 with one out in the fifth. Next batter Dustin Geiger hit in the head with the next pitch with the ball caroming to the dugout.Geiger had to be restrained but remained in the game. Tampa pitcher and manager tossed. D-Cubs lead 5-4.

    • calicub

      Geiger fever remains strong! Halfway through reading your post I was afraid we’d lose another promising prospect.

      • Tom U

        There appears to have been some sort of argument between the pitcher and Geiger before he was beaned

        • paulcatanese

          That will do it every time.

        • Tom U

          Don’t expect all of this to be over. Apparently, this may have started when Javier Baez took offense at a hard side earlier in the game.

          The Tampa first baseman just took out Wes Darvill to break up a double play.

  • Tom U

    Breaking News:

    Sixth round draft pick RHP Scott Frazier just Tweeted:

    Glad to be moving up and hopefully leaving this 117 degree heat behind #boisebound

  • paulcatanese

    If the Cubs have not faced this guy before I would apply some sound advice from Stan Musial, “Look fastball, adjust to the curve”. I would add, be aggressive if the first pitch is good and in the zone, go for it. Otherwise you are swinging at his pitches.
    By the way Williams thought much along the same lines.

    • Ripsnorter1

      And just what did Ted Williams know about hitting and working the count? Hmmmmm?

      170 career Intentional BB
      2018 career BB

      • paulcatanese

        Like I said Rip, he wrote the book. In all honesty he did take a lot of first pitch strikes, then again that wasn’t a problem for him, he could hit anywhere In the count. Just probably the best hitter I had ever seen, without two wars he would have written a whole new record book, and played the game like a kid. His eye at the plate was so respected that umpires actually took his idea of a strike or not.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Sweeney with a triple, Soriano scores and Sweeney ends up with a Little League Home Run

  • Ripsnorter1

    “The Cubs’ Garza is generating a lot of attention given his evident availability and intriguing return from a long DL stint. Paul Swydan of Fangraphs wonders, however, whether the oft-injured Garza is really worth the hype. Swydan says that Garza’s overall track record as a solid middle or back-of-the-rotation starter is what teams should expect to be buying, especially since his recent starts have come against some of baseball’s weaker-hitting clubs.”

    Jeff Todd, MLBTR

    Overrated. Overhyped. Now let’s see if it works on other GMs around the league.

    • RynoTiger

      it worked on your Rip, you posted it.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      A lot has been made of the three starts Garza made against “weak” teams. Those writing the articles should watch him pitch and just not read the box scores.

      Garza was not that sharp against the Mets, really at all. He used the “weak” lineup to his advantage. His starts against the Astros and Brewers were quite a bit different. Garza hit his spots, had good command and good velocity with his fastball.

      • paulcatanese

        Neil, on any given night there are no weak teams. As long as they wear the uniform and cross the foul lines they are Major Leaguers. Garza (I agree with you) faced Major Leaguers, and scouts looked at his command and velocity.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I’m obviously right there with you Paul. Excellent point about the scouts.

  • Thomas D

    Fun fact our beloved cubbies are tied for first in most wins in a regular season with the mariners with 116 in 1907 and then they came back and won 107 in 1907

    • Thomas D

      Oh and another fact the cubbies have the most steals to home plate in a season with 17 in 1911 with our recent struggles its nice to see our team leading something positive. But here in the near future we will have something positive in the big leagues specifically in the win column.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Atlanta needs some bats.

    Would you continue to start Jason Heyworth, hitting .222 with 6 HR and 16 RBI in full time duty? They have a 5.5 game lead over the .500 Nats, who are in 2nd. And BJ Upton is hitting .180 with 8 HR. Dan Uggla is a .202 hitter with 13 HR.

    Atlanta is 21st in BA, but 14th in runs and slugging.

    The answer is: of course. He’s better than Uggla or Upton at this time.

    • Tony_Hall

      And Heyworth, Uggle and Upton are not going anywhere.

      They knew what they were getting with Uggla when they traded for him and can’t say they didn’t know that BJ Upton was going to hit for a low average (obviously not that low). Heyworth has been up and down ever since he came up.

      Another good example though, of teams making what look like good moves, and they don’t always work out.

  • Ripsnorter1

    David Schoenfield has the Chicago White Sox rated as the worst team in MLB. They lost the first game of a DH with the Indians tonight by a score of 19-10. The Cubs are mercifully rated at #27.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    No matter the uniform or how bad he may be playing at the time, Jason Bay kills Cubs’ pitching.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano with a solo shot, #8 … second in June

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Navarro with a solo homer

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good outing for Wood

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Courtesy of the Sun-Times:

    After 1B, HR tonight, Sori as DH in career: 29-for-77 (.377) with 8 HR, 20 RBI, 1.148 OPS, 24 games.

  • Ray Ray

    James Russell is a loogy. He is not Sean Marshall and never will be. He cannot get righties out like Marshall could.

  • Ray Ray

    Oliver Perez was doing his Aroldis Chapman impersonation.

  • Ray Ray

    What a future Nick Franklin has! He and Brad Miller have the makings of a nice middle of the infield for years to come

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 5-4 to Mariners in 10 on Friday night – Travis
    Wood: 2R, 3H, 3BB, 6K in 6.1 IP (103 pitches, 66 strikes); Russell: 2R, 3H, BB,
    0K, 0.2 IP

    Alfonso Soriano: 2-4, HR, 2R; Ryan Sweeney: 1-4, 3B, RBI, R; Dioner
    Navarro: 2-4, HR

  • Ray Ray

    Another win taken away from a starter by this awful bullpen.