Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 06/08/13

Game Fifty-Nine: Cubs (24-34) vs. Pirates (36-25)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (3-6, 2.96/1.10) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-6, 3.22/1.06)

The Cubs will shoot to end their four-game losing streak against the Pirates this afternoon behind Jeff Samardzija. Not only has Dale Sveum’s team lost four straight to the Bucs but the offense has been shut out in three of the Cubs’ seven games against the Pirates this season. The Cubs are 2-5 in the first seven with the Bucs while being outscored a total of six runs in the seven games (Cubs scored 12 games, Cubs pitching has allowed 18 runs). The Cubs have dropped five of six to the Pirates and are only 10-18 in their last 28 games with the Pirates. Until the Cubs figure out how to beat their division rivals consistently, the losing seasons will continue.

One of the many areas in which the Cubs must improve upon is their performance against teams in the NL Central. After Friday’s loss the Cubs are just 6-17 against the division. So, while the Cubs enter play today 10 games under .500, they are a game over .500 versus teams outside of the NL Central.

Dale Sveum should fill his lineup with as many lefties as possible this afternoon. Not only is Ryan Sweeney 6-for-19 with a double, a home run and a walk in his career against Burnett while Alfonso Soriano is just 5-for-25 with 10 strikeouts, but lefties have hit .250/.385/.318 against him this year while right handers have managed just a .181/.218/.264 slash line.

This afternoon it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off another solid outing but one that came with a little controversy. Samardzija ran up his pitch count early on in his last start against Arizona and was out of gas by the seventh inning. Samardzija issued a pair of walks before handing the game over to the bullpen. The D-Backs pounded the Cubs relief corps into submission last Saturday night and turned what was a close game into another embarrassment. For his part, Samardzija was charged with three runs on seven hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings … the second time this season Samardzija recorded double digit strikeout totals and received either a loss or a no decision for his effort.

During the game Samardzija and Matt Williams exchanged words that were apparently more than what Samardzija thought at the time. The next day Kirk Gibson said Samardzija should just shut up and pitch.

Jeff Samardzija has seemingly done more pitching than talking this season. Samardzija was 2-2 in his five previous starts before his outing against Arizona with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. In his last six games, Samardzija is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP (44 strikeouts and 14 walks).

Samardzija faces the Pirates for the third time this season. Samardzija is 1-1 in the first two with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP … just one run on five hits allowed in 15 innings with two walks and 17 strikeouts. For his career, Samardzija owns a 4-1 mark in 15 games, four starts, against the Pirates with a 0.98 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Pedro Alvarez – 2-for-13 with a double
  • Clint Barmes – 0-for-9
  • A.J. Burnett – 0-for-2
  • Garrett Jones – 2-for-13 with a double and two walks
  • Starling Marte – 0-for-9 with a walk
  • Russell Martin – 1-for-7
  • Andrew McCutchen – 6-for-16 with three doubles and two walks
  • Michael McKenry – 0-for-3
  • Jordy Mercer – 0-for-3
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-10
  • Travis Snider – 0-for-4
  • Jose Tabata – 1-for-3
  • Neil Walker – 2-for-13 with a home run and two walks

The Cubs will get their second look of the season at A.J. Burnett this afternoon. Burnett is coming off his worst start of the season. The Braves knocked Burnett out of his last start after just five innings. Burnett allowed six runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts … and the homer-happy Braves launched three homers off Burnett that accounted for all six runs (Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman each hit two-run homers).

Prior to his last start, Burnett was 1-3 in six starts with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. For as good as Burnett has been this season, he has struggled outside of Pittsburgh. Burnett is 1-3 in five road starts this year with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs beat Burnett on Opening Day. The Cubs score three runs on six hits with a walk in 5 2/3 innings. Burnett struck out a season-high 10 batters and lost to a Cubs’ team for only the second time in his career. Burnett owns a 6-2 mark in nine starts versus the Cubs with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, Burnett is a perfect 4-0 in five starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett

  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-7
  • Julio Borbon – 1-for-9
  • Welington Castillo – 2-for-3 with two doubles
  • Starlin Castro – 8-for-16
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-29 with a double and four walks
  • Scott Hairston – 2-for-3
  • Dioner Navarro – 6-for-29 with a double and a home run
  • Cody Ransom – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • Jeff Samardzija – 0-for-2
  • Nate Schierholtz – 3-for-5 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-25
  • Ryan Sweeney – 6-for-19 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-9 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I will post the picks here shortly for today. A lot of very interesting, projectable arms and a solid catcher so far.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Valbuena – 3B
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Schierholtz – RF
    Castillo – C
    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Samardzija – P

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected C Jordan
    Hankins from Austin Peay St. University in the 11th round

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected RHP Trevor
    Clinton Heritage HS (Tennessee) in the 12th round

    Clinton has committed to Kentucky

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected RHP Trevor
    Graham from Franklin Pierce University in the 13th round (378th
    overall)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected RHP Daniel
    Poncedeleon from University of Houston in the 14th round (408th
    overall)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected RHP Michael
    Wagner from University of San Diego in the 15th round (438th
    overall)

    Obviously a teammate of Kris Bryant and a pitcher Jason McLeod saw a lot of over the years

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected C Cael
    Brockmeyer from Cal State in the 16th round (468th
    overall)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected 1B Kelvin
    Freeman from North Carolina A&T St University in the 17th round
    (498th overall)

  • Brp921

    Thanks for the updates on the draft and the info on the draftee’s Neil. You’ve done a great job! I look forward to your overall analysis of the draft.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you. I am liking the arms I am seeing, will possibly be a couple of tough signings

      • DWalker

        yes, thank you from me as well. Who are you thinking will be tough signings? Considering the number of college guys, this may be one of the easier drafts for signings?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Trevor Clinton, the High Schooler from Tennessee that is committed to Kentucky is one. Keep in mind that Juniors can choose to return to college for their senior year. David Garner said yesterday he is not sure yet if he will forego his senior year and many thought Tyler Skulina would go in the second round. There is a big difference in money between the two rounds.

          • Ray Ray

            Yep. It will be interesting. Pitchers like Skulina and Masek are juniors and both could be 2nd round picks next year if they go back to school. I hope they can get these 2 signed.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I’m right there with you on both. The shoulder soreness Masek dealt with could lead him to sign instead of risking dropping further down.

          • Rich Hood

            Clinton has already signed according to reports. He got 3rd round money.

        • SomeGuy27

          Most of them are Jr’s and I believe the draft rules cap the signing bonus (after Rd. 10) at $100K so some of these guys may want to roll the dice and see if they can bounce into 1-10 pick somewhere next year.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected SS Giuseppe
    Papaccio from Seton Hall in the 18th round (528th
    overall)

    • paulcatanese

      Italian, ya think?

      • Ray Ray

        hahaha. I knew you would like that Paul

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Little bit …

      • Brp921

        Those dang Italians. There’s never been any successful Italians in baseball has there?:)

        • paulcatanese

          Probably not, they usually ended up singing the National Anthem:)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected C Will
    Remillard from Coastal Carolina in the 19th round (558th
    overall)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs selected 2B Zak
    Blair from Mercyhurst College in the 20th round (585th
    overall)

  • Ray Ray

    Quote from Sveum….. EXACTLY!!!!!

    “Starlin just seems more fidgety and anxious up there. Needs to relax and
    simplify things. Less thinking, let the natural ability take over.”

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here is more from Sveum on Castro via Bruce Miles. Worth the time to read.

      http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/7597

      • Ray Ray

        Thanks. I agree with that. He is more open than when he came up. I would have given Castro a day off a while ago but it seems as if Sveum doesn’t ever want to take Castro or Rizzo out of the lineup. It is good to hear that they want him to go back to what he did when he came up. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        • Tony_Hall

          With his mechanics, but they still want him to get better at pitch recognition. Good players are always getting better, knowing that the other teams are working hard to get them out.

          • Ray Ray

            This is what he is Tony. He is not a kid who will ever take a lot. I am glad Sveum is saying this. You cannot have every player hit one way. I never understood why you would ever want to. This is from Sveum in that article Neil posted.

            “He’s a cut-and-slasher who’s going to swing the bat. I’d like to see
            him back to where he was in 2010 and 2011 when there was a lot less
            movement going on. He thinks they’re the same mechanics, but they’re not
            the same mechanics as what he came up in the big leagues and in 2011.”

          • Tony_Hall

            Can we at least agree that he needs to work on not swinging at pitches he has zero chance to do anything with???? Please?? You know the ones completely out of the strike zone. You can have your way and he can swing at anything in the strike zone and one ball out of the zone regardless of count and situation, if you just admit that he has to stop expanding the zone to the Soriano level.

          • Ray Ray

            Of course. I never said I want him to swing at a pitchers pitch. I want him to not think about working the count. Did you see the stats I posted the other day? It makes no sense for Castro to be hitting as poorly as he is when he is up 1-0 and 2-0. He is thinking too much. Look at his first 2 years what he was at 1-0 and 2-0. That is where he should be.

          • Tony_Hall

            What would be your instructions, coaching, etc to Castro?

          • Ray Ray

            I agree with what Sveum is saying. Hopefully that is it. He has changed his mechanics(he is too jumpy these days) You can see the tension when he bats. I am sure they are already doing this….but I would show him video from 2011 and video from today and point out the changes. Nothing would be better for Castro than a 4-4 to get a little confidence back.

          • paulcatanese

            I know I could, since I can’t get the job, I would steal the Minnesota hitting coach over to the Cubs, very simple swing, just extended pepper.

          • paulcatanese

            Meaning Paul Molitor

          • Rich Hood

            I love that idea. He probably had the closest thing to Castro’s swing early in Molitors career.

          • Rich Hood

            I love that idea. He probably had the closest thing to Castro’s swing early in Molitors career.

  • SomeGuy27

    Team Theo is following their philosophy with the position players in regard to plate discipline. Most of them either have 1 to 1 strikeout to walk ratios or better.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes they are, good point. I like the two catchers they selected, especially Jordan Hankins.

      • SomeGuy27

        I agree. One thing about the new rules though. It seems to me that borderline (meaning not sure thing 1st-2nd rd) high school pitchers kind of get forced into going to college because teams aren’t going to risk the slot amount or the possibility a kid doesn’t sign in rounds 1-10. I hate that because I’ve always felt most college programs hurt pitchers more than help.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I could not agree more. I’m not a fan of the new rules at all. If it is not life changing money for these kids now, it is better for them to go to the right college program and improve their stock.

          • SomeGuy27

            Which in turn will create a disparity in the college ranks as the few D-1 programs that don’t actually abuse their pitchers will get all the blue chippers. Additionally, since the after JR season rule doesn’t apply I could see a lot of kids going NAIA or the JUCO route-try to pad their stats, if in weaker conferences, in order to better their draft position. Hope that pretzel logic made sense.

          • Rich Hood

            as a guy that actually tried JUCO in Florida let me tell you. The talent level we went against nightly was better than half the teams in Division 1. The sunshine states have serious JUCO programs.

          • SomeGuy27

            I agree, I played DI out West and some of our tougher opponents were in the fall when we played NAIA & JUCO teams. All I’m saying is there can be a big variance between conferences. Some are very tough and others are very weak which can also be said for DI ball. I just think it would be easier to stand out in a weaker conference plus have the benefit of being able to be drafted earlier.

          • Rich Hood

            as a guy that actually tried JUCO in Florida let me tell you. The talent level we went against nightly was better than half the teams in Division 1. The sunshine states have serious JUCO programs.

  • Ray Ray

    Speaking about color commentators..I really enjoy listening to Doug Glanville. He is doing the college games and is intelligent and does a really good job. Former Cub and would love to see him replace JD sooner rather than later.

    • triple

      I’d like to see anybody replace JD. I was okay with him at first, but then he just got more and more boring/bland as you continue to hear him. While I didn’t think Hollandsworth was even above average to listen to for the game he subbed (for JD), he was at least insightful at times and you could tell he enjoyed being there, which makes it fun to listen to him, even if it seemed awkward at times. I wish they would’ve hired him instead, as I think he’d grow into that position nicely.

      And I remember Glanville even being a good personality whenever he was with ESPN crew talking baseball.

      • Ray Ray

        Deshaies has been around losing teams for so long it is so doom and gloom with him. I hope they make a change.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ian Stewart hit his 3rd home run, a three-run shot to give the I-Cubs a 8-5 lead in the 8th. Stewart is 3-for-4 with three HR and 8 RBI today.

    • Ray Ray

      Sign him for another 2 mil guaranteed for next year :)

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He is hoping the Cubs release him soon.

        • Ray Ray

          lol. I am sure he is. He will still get paid and look for another opportunity somewhere else.

        • Rich Hood

          He could have refused assignment and didn’t. He needs to rot right there as a lesson to all the other 4A guys that don’t cut it. You had your shot and failed you are not in our plans so sit the bench.

        • Rich Hood

          He could have refused assignment and didn’t. He needs to rot right there as a lesson to all the other 4A guys that don’t cut it. You had your shot and failed you are not in our plans so sit the bench.

      • Tony_Hall

        I bet he signs for next year for about that….3B market is still pretty slim pickings.

        • Ray Ray

          No chance Tony. Not with his baggage. He will get a minor league contract with a spring training invite.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am sure you are right…by the way did you notice Feldman still getting those starts while Villanueva is in the pen.

          • Ray Ray

            haha. Feldman has really been pitching well Tony. You got me on that one.

    • Brp921

      Let’s hope he’s back and ready to play ball in the major leagues!

    • paulcatanese

      Good Lord, he has found a home.

  • Ray Ray

    For those that enjoy college baseball, turn on ESPNU right now. FSU vs Indiana. Great game

    • Ray Ray

      10-9 Indiana up in 9th. 1st and 2nd for FSU in the 9th. One out

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija is really struggling today. Looked at his hand after giving up the single to Alvarez.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Barney bailed him out, that was a nice 4-3 DP

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Pirates are really squaring up Samardzija today.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ian Stewart on his 3 home run, 8 RBIs day: “That’s probably the best game I’ll ever have in my career.”

    • paulcatanese

      If that’s the case, then he better buy a home in Iowa.

    • triple

      Maybe he will decide to retire before tomorrow’s game!

    • Ripsnorter1

      The rest of the Ian Stewart quote: “It’s all downhill from here.” LOL

  • Ray Ray

    50 pitches already for Shark thru 2 1/3. Looks like a bullpen day

  • Ray Ray

    It looks like all the Cubs batting averages are plummeting. Castillo is under .260. We all know about Castro. Rizzo is at .250. Valbueana is at .240. DeJesus is dropping to around .270. Barney is close to the Mendoza line. Schierholz is the only one over .280.

    • Ripsnorter1

      A return to reality is coming…..

  • paulcatanese

    I know this will probably be taken as a downer, but the Cubs need to draft at least 100 pitchers the way they go thru them. And they better be ready to go on the DL, real or not. I think that’s pretty much a game to be able to switch back and forth with bringing up and sending down the pitchers they have. No one seems to be getting a legitimate chance to prove anything, just bringing them in to solve an immediate problem and then down the next day, sometimes with a minute problem that mysteriously dis appears in 15 days.
    Am I the only one than sees this?

    • Ray Ray

      This organization needs so much. I wanted Appel and was hoping he would be there but I am glad they went with Bryant with the #2 pick. Look at the offense as well. I do not believe Rizzo is a #3 hitter. He is too one dimensional. He doesn’t hit lefties well enough to bat there. He also needs to increase his RISP average significantly. Castro is struggling. They have nobody in the minors who you can pencil in for next year to start. Soriano will be gone. DeJesus should be gone. Valbuena is not a starter. Barney cannot hit. Castillo is a bottom of the order hitter. Good pitching will shut down this current Cub team everytime.

      • Tony_Hall

        Rizzo won’t be a #3 hitter if any of Bryant, Soler, or Baez make it to the majors. Castro will be a 6th/7th guy.

        Valbuena is a utility guy who has done well enough starting so far. Barney will be replaced by one of Watkins, Alcantara, Torreyes. Castillo does look to be the catcher for awhile, or at least until he is in his arbitration years.

        They have at least one more season to get through before the minor leagues will start producing starting caliber players. But I think the organization has positional depth in the system that will produce them.

        • Ray Ray

          What I have seen, I don’t think Soler is a #3 hitter either. That is why Bryant was needed and was a good pick. Baez could be a #3 as well.

          • Tony_Hall

            1. Alcantara/Watkins etc 2B
            2. Almora CF
            3. Bryant 3B
            4. Soler RF
            5. Rizzo 1B
            6. Baez LF/SS
            7. Castro SS/LF
            8. Castillo C

            I put Baez lower because I think he will have more swing and miss than the others, but 3-6 could be in any order.

          • Ray Ray

            I saw you post that but like you said the chance of seeing that lineup is very unlikely. Some of the prospects will be dealt and some might not make it.

          • Tony_Hall

            Just like at 2B, there are others that can be put in behind these guys. What I was trying to show, now, was lineup construction with the current guys(Rizzo, Castro, Castillo) in more their proper places.

            I believe Almora, Bryant will both make it. And I give Soler and Baez very high chances as well.

          • Ray Ray

            I agree on Almora and Bryant of course but what I was saying was that I am sure that some prospects will be used to trade for other needs. If they have 2 players who are young playing the same position, they will deal one for another need. Just like the Padres did with Rizzo after they aquired Alonso.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am sure there will be some trades, but I don’t think they will move any of those guys without getting something special back. Baez and Castro are the that come to mind, playing the same postion, but I see no reason why they wouldn’t put one in the OF if the infield gets filled as well.

          • RynoTiger

            unfortunately Watkins isn’t really doing that well in Iowa. Sure it’s better than Barney is doing right now, but Watkins is going to have to turn it on to look like a much better upgrade.

          • Tony_Hall

            He is a slow starter and is starting to turn it on.

          • Ray Ray

            I would prefer Baez eventually being there. How about Bryant Castro Baez and Rizzo from 3rd to 1st. Now that would be a nice infield for years. They won’t win many gold gloves but they will could lead the league in HR’s every year.

          • Tony_Hall

            The question becomes who fits the need of the team and lineup more, an Alcantara playing 2B or an OF playing LF. I think they need a top of the order table setter that Alcantara can provide far better than any OF will be able to do. At least that’s my thinking.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You forgot Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson.

          • Tony_Hall

            Man, your over the top negativity is getting worse.

            Vitters could be the 3B until Bryant is ready or Lake. I also think BJax will be a bridge to the OF I listed.

            I guess Castro is such an elite talent, that he doesn’t need coaching or video to play everyday. They should have told him to just show up for batting practice and infield practice before the games.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I’ve got a trade for you….
            Castro straight up for Chase Headley.

            Headley is stinking the joint up in SD. He could be the bridge to Bryant. Vitters–forgetaboutit.

            Move Valbuena to 2B and Barney to SS. LOL

            And Castro does not hit with enough power to play LF for me, or CF, or RF.

            I’m not negative. It’s the truth.

          • Rich Hood

            Actually I see a trade for a Short stop just not that one. I think they will dangle Alcantara to SD and see if they are interested in him as a short stop and that could get the conversation going for Headley.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Are young players not allowed to go through a slump any more?

            Give him some time. He squared up a couple of balls today, the hardest I’ve seen him hit in a couple of weeks.

          • Rich Hood

            If that is your line up I want to do a Tony and bat Castro 9th. One more batter to get on infront of the big fella

          • Rich Hood

            If that is your line up I want to do a Tony and bat Castro 9th. One more batter to get on infront of the big fella

          • Ripsnorter1

            Baez refuses to take a walk.
            Will he therefore be traded?

          • Rich Hood

            he was inherited so if he doesn’t follow the “Cubs Way” you had better believe it.

    • Tony_Hall

      I am going to assume you are talking about the bullpen? If so, most teams do turn over their 6th/7th guys during the season, one to keep fresh arms, and two to keep guys who are throwing better on the major league club.

      • paulcatanese

        Exactly Tony. Something doesn’t click right here, have a hard time believing that they go thru so many and the way that they do. I didn’t mean for starters, that seems to be going ok. Except maybe they ought to extend the starters to 125-130 pitches or so, anything to stay out of the bullpen.

    • RynoTiger

      it’s not necessarily about drafting a high number of pitchers, it’s about how the Cubs scout and evaluate the pitchers, and then when drafted, creating a development plan for those pitchers and having coaches who can develop and advance those pitchers and help them get the most out of their skill set.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree, and I was being a little sarcastic about the amount of pitchers they draft.
        But not so with the amount of injuries that seem to occur.

  • Ray Ray

    Cubs have a lot of work to do to catch the teams in the NL Central over the next couple of years. Gerrit Cole is being promoted by Pittsburgh and will start next week for the injured Wandy Rodriguez. They also have Jameson Taillon waiting in the minors. The Cards seem to strike gold with every single pitcher they draft and don’t look to be slipping anytime soon. The Reds are loaded. The NL Central will be strong for the next several years.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Soriano ended the shutout in a big way, two-run shot to Waveland

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 6-2 to Pirates on Saturday afternoon – Jeff Samardzija:
    4R, 8H, 1BB, 7K in 6IP (112 pitches, 74 strikes)

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