Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rockies – 07/20/13

Game Ninety-Five: Cubs (43-51) vs. Rockies (46-51)

  • Game Time – 7:10pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 188/844
  • Location – Coors Field, Denver

Carlos Villanueva (2-5, 3.59/1.16) vs. Juan Nicasio (5-4, 4.89/1.39)

The Cubs have won seven of ten and will look to make it two in a row over the Rockies tonight behind Carlos Villanueva.

Junior Lake is expected to be in the starting lineup tonight and should be one of five right handed hitters in the starting lineup. Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena are expected to see their first action since last Sunday but other than Anthony Rizzo, Dale Sveum should fill out his lineup with as many right handers as possible. Lefties have hit .234/.330/.629 against Nicasio while right handers have hit .286/.323/.439 with 15 doubles and six home runs.

Carlos Villanueva makes his third start tonight since returning to the rotation and is not expected to be limited to a certain number of pitches.

Tonight it all begins with Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva makes his third start tonight since replacing Scott Feldman in the rotation. After a solid four inning outing against the Pirates in which he allowed one run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts, Villanueva settled down after a rough first innings against the Cardinals and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Villanueva was hung with the loss because the offense could not figure out Joe Kelly.

Carlos Villanueva is 0-1 in his last three games, two starts, with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

The Rockies punished Villanueva when they faced him in Wrigley back in May. Villanueva allowed seven runs on 12 hits with no walks and one strikeout in five innings. Villanueva was dealing with the news he was going to the bullpen with Matt Garza on his way back from the DL. Villanueva will not have the same distraction tonight.

Carlos Villanueva has never beaten the Rockies. In 12 games, one start, Villanueva is 0-2 with a 10.71 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP. At Coors Field, no record in six relief appearances with a 10.80 ERA and a 2.40 WHIP.

Rockies Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Nolan Arenado – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Michael Cuddyer – 3-for-9 with a walk
  • Dexter Fowler – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Carlos Gonzalez – 3-for-4 with a double and a home run
  • Todd Helton – 2-for-7
  • Jonathan Herrera – 1-for-1
  • Wilin Rosario – 0-for-3
  • Josh Rutledge – 1-for-2
  • Troy Tulowitzki – 4-for-7 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk

Juan Nicasio is coming off an excellent outing against the Dodgers after spending some time with Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Red Sox lit up Nicasio in Boston and the Rockies sent him down after allowing seven runs, six earned, on 12 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in just 2 1/3 innings. Colorado recalled him on July 12 and he responded with seven innings of three hit ball at Dodger Stadium.

Prior to his demotion, Nicasio was 0-2 in his five previous starts with a 6.48 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

Juan Nicasio is 2-1 in seven starts at Coors Field with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP and faces the Cubs for the second time this season tonight.

The Cubs beat Nicasio on May 13 at Wrigley after scoring five runs on eight hits in six innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Nicasio makes his second career start against the Cubs tonight.

Cubs Career Numbers against Juan Nicasio

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Dioner Navarro – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Cody Ransom – 0-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Nate Schierholtz – 2-for-6
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3 with a double and a home run

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"The only way of finding the limits of the possibility is by going beyond them into the impossible." - Arthur C. Clarke
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  • Tom U

    Do not forget that 44 years ago today, man first walked on the moon.

    As far as Cubs’ legend has it, Ron Santo hit a home run at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia the same time Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon’s surface.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you for posting this … very cool.

      Hope you’ve had a great day.

      • Tom U

        Thank you Neil. Hard to believe that only twelve men have ever been on somewhere other than earth.

        • paulcatanese

          Don’t know about that Tom,
          Zambrano spends half his day out there:)

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL

            Only Paul could come up with a winner like that!

    • jtrain23

      Being too young to have witnessed either event, I’m not sure which one I would rather watch.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

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

  • jtrain23

    I wonder what Ju Ju Lake does for an encore tonight. It will be interesting to see. You know the Rockies are going to handle him very differently than they did last night. It should be the first transition of his young major league career. Let’s see how the kid handles it.

    • GaryLeeT

      I have a feeling there won’t be any first pitch fastballs.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree, which is good as it gives Lake a better chance to get ahead in the count.

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t normally respond to up or down arrows, but what would someone not like about a player making pitchers know they can’t lay a fastball in on the first pitch.

          • jtrain23

            Simply speculation on my part because I rarely use or even notice the up or down arrows but maybe people are skeptical about Lake’s ability to watch pitches and work a favorable count. That seems to be the major knock on him coming from the minors. I hope he can figure it out because that appears to be the only thing limiting this youngster from being a very serviceable major leaguer.

            Oh and I gave you an up arrow just to balance it out and make ya feel a bit better Tony, lol.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t care about the arrows as I get down arrowed a lot for being optimistic but I don’t get this one. I just wish more people would just say what they don’t like especially in a case like this.

          • jtrain23

            I get you. I was just joking a little bit.

            I know you get catch some flack on here from time to time, and I must admit I don’t always see eye to eye with your opinions. Of course that is only human nature.

            However, your posts are always very passionate, information, and well written. I always respect those opinions, even if they do not mirror my own.

          • paulcatanese

            Lake looked very good with his plate discipline tonight, handled the low outside better than others have. Did miss one over the plate, but it was a strike and a good pitch, can’t fault him for that, he followed it well. So far he is swinging at strikes and seems not to be fooled at all.

  • Tom U

    For those interested, Cubs-Rockies is @MLBTV Free Game of the Day, presented by Jack Daniel’s. http://atmlb.com/1bLpBTg

    • jtrain23

      I wish I wasn’t interested but it’s storming here and it’s knocked my dish out. Grr…. Glad for the info though. I won’t miss the game now. Thanks Tom.

    • Ripsnorter1

      NICE!

      THANK YOU!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Blacked out. But I get the audio.

    • John_CC

      Thanks Tom! I’m more of a Beam guy, but i’ll take it. I might get watch a little baseball this evening if I can get my family fed quickly.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Mike Olt hit a 3-run homer off Jake Arrieta in the second inning

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure if we should like this or not….

      • Ripsnorter1

        We know Olt is awful, so this tell us that Arrieta is double awful.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I posted for multiple reasons. Olt is playing, so a trade involving him is not coming tonight. And the homer is a good sign if they do acquire him. Arrieta pitched well his last time out and has shown improvement.

        • J Daniel

          He can always be removed but I agree, not tonight. Maybe a nice time for a little tailspin by the Rangers to create even more urgency. Don’t think they want a repeat of last year.

        • Tony_Hall

          I thought it was worth posting just had mixed reaction to it. And for a second I thought Rip was on to something…..but just being his normal negative self.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Relax, Tony. Olt fanned in his other AB.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am very relaxed tonight. It has been awhile since I have been able to watch games on back to back nights.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Lake with a walk!

    • Tony_Hall

      Yes sir that was a very good “Cubs Way” AB.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yup.

        [Should I make a negative comment about Lake being gunned down in his 1st SB attempt, since Tony will blow a gasket if I do? I want to be a nice guy and all, and a good fan would point out that Lake has had some trouble successfully stealing bases in the upper level minors, with 14 SB and 5 CS this year in AAA? Last year he was 21 SB with 12 CS. But that was AA after all, and this is MLB....naw, I won't say a thing, and Tony won't get hot. That's what I'll do].

        • Tony_Hall

          Looks like it came out anyway….

          We look to you to point out something negative about every player….we would be disappointed if you didn’t.

          I don’t think he is going to be a base stealer

          • Ripsnorter1

            Better sit down, Tony.

            Vitters is 1 for 2 thus far tonight.

          • J Daniel

            Don’t really care if he steals bases as long as he can continually get on.

        • Tony_Hall

          And just to state the facts….it was his second stolen base atempt , he stole 3rd last night in his 1st attempt.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Nacasio is wild.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good at bat by Junior Lake … works a full count and walked on the seventh pitch

  • Tom U

    BREAKING NEWS: David DeJesus is leading off and playing CF for the AZL Cubs tonight

    • Brp921

      Thanks Tom. When’s the earliest he could be back?

      • Tom U

        I sorry, but I haven’t heard anything about his timetable

  • CubsTalkNow

    Reports are 8 teams after Garza now……sounds like a deal will go down at the deadline than sooner.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Luis! Luis! with No. 9

  • Ripsnorter1

    Olt teammate Manny Rameriz is hitting a mere .263….

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good play by Villanueva to start the 1-4-3 double play

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Villanueva has been shaky at best, walks the pitcher now is in trouble.

    • Tony_Hall

      The more we see of him, I understand why he has been in the bullpen most of his career. Just not enough stuff to get hitters out the 2nd and 3rd time through the order.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Not when he nibbles or falls behind … I agree. The 35 mph wind did not help either.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent read and jump by Lake to take away extra bases from LeMahieu … that speed didn’t hurt either.

  • Tony_Hall

    For this being only Lakes 2nd game in CF and only his 8th game in the OF since being in the Cubs organization, he looks like a natural out there. I just want to see someone run on him so we can see that arm of his.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The arm is impressive.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You cursed him with this post. ERROR

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t know about cursed and it was an error for a player taking an extra base, that in the end didn’t matter anyway.

        Even you have to admit he has looked pretty good out there for a guy with no experience playing CF.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Even I admit he has looked very good for a man with no experience out there.

  • jtrain23

    Just to vent a bit…I realize that we don’t have many other options in the way of starting pitching, but I am just not comfortable with Villanueva taking the mound every 5 days down the stretch. I know it likely won’t matter as we will not be in contention, but I like watching a game and having the feeling that our starter has a chance to keep us in the game. I don’t get that feeling with him, especially lately. He is trending downward.

    That being said, I hate to see what our rotation, which was quite respectable earlier in the year, will look like with Garza gone as well.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Remember: this is DENVER, where the ball flies out of the ballpark with regularity. So Villanueva looks worse than normal. And don’t forget that Team Theo would not let Garza start here in order to preserve his good looking record. Garza, over his career, has been racked in this place. So Team Theo wouldn’t let him pitch here to keep his record looking better. Talk about window dressing….

      Anyway, Villanueva could win 10 games for us as an everyday starter. That’s an OK #5 starter. I don’t think he’s all that bad at all.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        So what is wrong with them doing that? Would you rather see him get lit up?

        • Ripsnorter1

          No, I would not rather see Garza get lit up. But JTrain shouldn’t be discouraged over Villanueva’s performance in this place when Mr. Garza would get lit up here had Mr. Villanueva had not taken the bullet for him.

          • jtrain23

            I’m aware of the difference in this ballpark. His stuff is not good enough to be a starter in any park though. His success is contingent upon perfect location and keeping the batter guessing. He loses his control too often and by the second or third time through the lineup they figure him out. That’s exactly why he is a middle of the bullpen guy who could go long relief and pitch 3 innings if needed.

      • Tony_Hall

        He would be fine as a #5, but is better suited for the bullpen. When he has his good stuff, he is fine, but SP’s need to be able to get by with average stuff and find a way on the nights they just don’t have it. And he just didn’t have it tonight once he had to go back and face guys a 2nd and 3rd time.

        And that is called Good management when you know certain SP’s don’t fare as well in certain locations, to minimize their exposure. Minimize negatives, maximize positives….you should try it sometime.

  • SomeGuy27

    Best part of this game so far is Len cracking up at the unfortunate “Foul Balls Here” sign with JD being oblivious. Plus we learned JD double dips. Never going to invite him to a party now.

  • Tony_Hall

    Even in his K’s Lake has been impressive. Worked a full count before swinging and missing at a curve ball, when he was looking fastball.

  • GaryLeeT

    Lately, Shierholtz has been reminding me of Fukudome, who started out well, then started to routinely roll over on the ball, and pull weak grounders.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    No doubt Theo is waiting for a call from Texas GM. Orioles blasting the Rangers tonight.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      That down arrow must be from a Rangers fan

      • GaryLeeT

        Down votes are given here, when somebody declares the sky is blue. Neil has gotten them for posting the lineup.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          So are you saying it is a medical condition that people give out Down Arrows? Is there a “cure” for them? BTW, I did not give you that Down Arrow.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    At least all Cubs fans can look forward to 2016….or 2017….or 2018….whenever this team starts to win.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      John A. must be a loyal CCO Die Hard Fan giving those Down Arrows here.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Please do not call out another poster on this site. Thank you.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Hopefully someday, the Cubs will have pitchers who can get the opposing hitters out.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    2013 second half looks like a repeat of 2012 second half. Good News is at least Theo will have another Top 5 Draft pick in 2014

    • Ripsnorter1

      I dunno….Cubs could be .500 by trade deadline.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        LOL….did we just pick up Price & Kershaw?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Blake Parker has been getting racked of late….

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      He cannot pitch from behind in the big leagues, that has been his problem. He can get away with it in Triple-A. He has a good arm, I would like to see him throw more strikes and see what happens.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You are correct.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          You were talking about Garza in Denver earlier, take a look at Jackson’s numbers at Coors Field … beyond scary.

          • Ripsnorter1

            And Ed jackson has been rated as having the #10 best stuff in MLB. Yet he cannot survive at Coor’s Field.

            That thin air makes a difference…459 BAA at Coors field!

            Gotta love that OBP, too, at .524, and slugging at .704.

            Yup. Beyond Scary.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 9-3 to Rockies
    on Saturday night – Carlos Villanueva: 7R, 9H, 4BB, 0K in 4+ IP (87 pitches, 47
    for strikes)

    Valbuena: 2-4, HR, 2RBI, BB; Soriano: 1-3, 2B, BB; Lake: 1-3,
    BB, CS; Barney: 2-4, 2B, R

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Game Over….lets go back to talk more Garza trade rumors.