Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 08/04/13

Game One Hundred Eleven: Cubs (49-61) vs. Dodgers (60-49)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Villanueva (2-7, 4.33/1.29) vs. Stephen Fife (3-3, 2.76/1.27)

The Cubs end the eight-game homestand and four-game series against the Dodgers this afternoon in search of a victory. After sweeping the Giants in San Francisco to complete a 6-4 road trip, the Cubs have played some of their worst ball of the season over the last seven games. The Cubs are 1-6 on the homestand, and while the wins and losses matter, the Cubs are not expected to win many games but are expected to play better than they have during this homestand.

The defense has been inconsistent, the offense has struggled and the pitching staff has forgotten how to throw strikes. The staff has walked 12 batters and hit two others in the last 18 innings, while the offense has scored a grand total of two runs on 22 hits over the last two games.

Today’s game ends a string of 18 games in 17 games out of the All-Star break. Dale Sveum’s team is 7-10 with one more to play before a much-needed day off on Monday.

Carlos Villanueva will try to keep the Dodgers off the board this afternoon to give his team a chance to avoid a four-game sweep. Villanueva is coming off a good start against the Brewers and needs to build on it to keep his job in the rotation. The Cubs have not committed to Villanueva staying in the rotation and with the way Jake Arrieta pitched in the nightcap last Tuesday, the Cubs could bring up Arrieta for the rotation and move Villanueva back to the pen.

Zack Greinke was scheduled to start today’s game but Don Mattingly decided on Saturday to push Greinke back to the opener in St. Louis on Monday and start Stephen Fife today. This move works better for the Dodgers on many levels. Greinke does not like pitching at Wrigley. Greinke is 0-2 in his two starts at the old ballyard with a 14.00 ERA and a 2.22 WHIP. And with the Cubs not hitting and the fact the Dodgers have already won the series, inserting Fife for Greinke is the right move for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers are going for their 14th straight road win this afternoon. The last time the Dodgers lost a game on the road was on July 6 in San Francisco … and Stephen Fife started that game.

This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva is coming off a better start against the Brewers than his final line indicates. Villanueva started the first game of the day-night doubleheader and limited Milwaukee to a pair of runs over the first six innings. Villanueva turned the game over to James Russell with one out and two on in the seventh. Khris Davis hit Russell’s first pitch into the bleachers in right and closed the book on Villanueva. The veteran right-hander was charged with four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.


The Cubs have not fully committed to Villanueva finishing the season in the rotation and he figures to be pitching today to stay in consideration for a starting job.

Carlos Villanueva is 0-3 in his last six games, five starts, with a 6.11 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. In 15 games, eight starts, at Wrigley Field this season, Villanueva is 1-3 with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Carlos Villanueva has not fared too well in seven career games against the Dodgers. Villanueva is 1-2 in seven games, one start, with an 11.45 ERA and a 2.36 WHIP. Villanueva last faced the Dodgers in 2010.

Dodgers Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Carl Crawford – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Mark Ellis – 0-for-1
  • Andre Ethier – 2-for-6 with a home run
  • Adrian Gonzalez – 3-for-15 with a double and a triple
  • Nick Punto – 2-for-8 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Hanley Ramirez – 4-for-8 with a home run
  • Skip Schumaker – 6-for-21 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Juan Uribe – 0-for-2

Stephen Fife has been on the DL since July 7 with bursitis in his right shoulder. Fife lasted only 4 1/3 innings in his last start on July 6 against the Giants and was placed on the DL the following day. Fife was pitching extremely well prior to his stint on the disabled list. Fife was 3-2 in his previous six starts with a 2.21 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

Stephen Fife will make his first regular season appearance against the Cubs this afternoon … but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will get a firsthand look at the player they selected in the third round of the 2008 draft.

Dioner Navarro (0-for-2) and Nate Schierholtz (0-for-2 with a walk) are the only two players on the Cubs’ active roster that has faced Stephen Fife in a regular season game.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus CF
    Lake LF
    Rizzo 1B
    Navarro C
    Schierholtz RF
    Ransom 3B
    Watkins 2B
    Murphy SS
    Villanueva P

  • Brp921

    Villanueva may pitch well today but pitching hasn’t been the problem. I can’t help but think we’re going to be swept today. The Dodgers are just playing so well right now and we can’t buy a run it seems.

    • paulcatanese

      You are totally right, it will be a sweep today.
      Unless, the Cubs can come up with the long ball, as that seems to be their only chance to score runs. They have a real problem stringing hits together to do it any other way.
      Cub pitchers on top of that have to pitch close to shutout ball or allow as few as two runs to even have a chance at a win, so, you are correct, I also look for the Dodgers to sweep.

      • CerranoReadyNow

        Sadly the wind is blowing in today paul.

      • cubtex

        Exactly Paul. You can’t score if you can’t hit. The only times they have scored more than a couple of runs per game is with the help of the long ball.

  • CerranoReadyNow

    Coming to you live from the left field bleachers today!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Have a great time!

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=neal–001tho. Thomas Neal designated for assignment by the Yankees tearing it up at AAA former highly regarded prospect. 25 yrs old OF looks like a Jed n Theo project. Wonder if they are looking at him.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think Hanley needs to see what a 95 mph fastball really looks if it is a purpose pitch.

    • Tony_Hall

      How dare he throw an inside pitch to Hanley….he owns the inside part of the plate.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Villanueva is really off today

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice job of Villanueva to not have a big inning.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      He did a good job of limiting the damage

  • CerranoReadyNow

    Better inning from Villanueva. Now lets get some runs!

  • CerranoReadyNow

    Definitely not a fun day to play the outfield

  • RynoTiger

    two weak groundouts by Watkins…he’s overmatched already..he’s a bust..send him down..it’s over

    • paulcatanese

      Not quite yet, he still has to graduate into hitting those ground balls hard enough to lead into double plays:)

  • GaryLeeT

    Unless Lake’s defense at 3rd is atrocious, I don’t see how he wouldn’t be a massive upgrade over Ransom.

    • paulcatanese

      Lake may be good at third base, but he is still getting comfortable at this level, I would imagine that would keep him in the outfield for the present, with the idea that third base exposes him more with the plays over there.
      This is just an opinion but I would like to see his level of confidence stay where its at and even may go higher for a little while. Good idea Gary, and you may be right, and maybe Lake has all the confidence he needs right now, and I as well as you would like to see him there, only a little later.

  • Brp921

    If hits determined the outcome of the game maybe the Cubs would be sweeping the Dodgers.:)

  • cubtex

    Just woke up after dozing off on the couch with game on. Combination of weak offense +dull announcers = great for a nap! I see I haven’t missed anything :)

    • Brp921

      I had the same thought when I came in from mowing.

  • cubtex

    So first and 2nd and no out and no bunt? Why should I be surprised?

    • Tony_Hall

      Do I need to give you stats on how bunting and giving away an out results in less runs than not bunting?

      • Brp921

        Are those league stats or Cub stats?:)

        • cubtex

          You have to know your roster. If you have hitters who hit below .200 with RISP you try and manufacture runs. It is stupid baseball. Why have stats if the manager doesn’t use them?

          • Brp921

            This offense isn’t going to score many runs no matter what and with the remaining schedule will probably lead to close if not 100 losses, but that just means a better draft pick, which at this point is good news.

          • cubtex

            What about teaching the young kids the “right” way to play? Situational hitting,etc. You are right though….they will lose a ton more games this year. I still think 100 losses is a long shot.

          • BosephHeyden

            Typically I’d be fine losing 100 games if it meant another high pick, but the Mets, Marlins, Brewers, and Giants are all doing much better jobs of trying to lose 100 than the Cubs, and that’s just NL teams. Even if we do get close to 100 losses, we’re still only going to get the 10th pick or so.

          • cubtex

            And then the White Sox and Astros in the AL

          • Tony_Hall

            We are 8th right now.

          • Brp921

            You have the White sox, Astro’s and Marlins that should definitely lose more but after that it’s a crap shoot.

        • Tony_Hall

          We don’t score runs either way….

          • Brp921

            True dat.

      • cubtex

        No please please don’t :)))) Yea bunting is no good. Stealing bases is no good. Working counts is good but if you can’t hit with RISP…you cannot score.

        • Tony_Hall

          I will find them for you some time. If you only count when things work, they would be beneficial, but when you factor in the times they don’t work, stats show that teams score less runs when sac. bunting.

          • cubtex

            I will take my chances with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out with my bottom of the lineup every time than letting a .200 hitter swing away with 1st and 2nd and no out.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are assuming the sac bunt worked. If it does you are right…..but what if it doesn’t ….what if they get the lead runner, turn a double play, pops out and doubles a guy off. Their is risk in every move and you like to discount that on these plays.

          • cubtex

            The odds of a .200 hitter like Ransom laying down a bunt is greater than him getting a base hit. You are stating the obvious.

          • Tony_Hall

            Have you seen him bunt, what if he is not good at it. I agree if you have a good bunter, I would bunt in that situation, but we don’t know this, and if he is not the reward doesn’t outweigh the risk. I would rather he tried to punch it to the right side and still have a chance for a hit.

          • cubtex

            We won’t agree so no need to discuss further. One thing I will say though is if Sveum does this stupid bunting contest again next spring and never call upon anyone to bunt during the season??? Just do the bunting contest for Theo, Ricketts, Hoyer, video guy, starbucks coffee delivery guy, Theo’s hairstylist and call it a day.

          • cubtex

            the thing is that this isn’t just black and white. If you have Castro and Rizzo up then of course you don’t bunt.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good at bat by Logan Watkins … down 0-2 worked a full count then punched a high fastball into left.

  • cubtex

    Way to go Watkins. You can tell your kids it was a line drive bullet over the shortstop

  • BosephHeyden

    Rizzo…ugh…just ugh.

  • cubtex

    Ransom needs to go.

    • cubtex

      He is hitting .059 over the last 2 weeks. .165 over the last month and Sveum had him swing away with 1st and 2nd and no out in a 1 run game. Unbelievable.

      • Tony_Hall

        Small sample size anyone….34 and 51 AB’s.

        • cubtex

          look at the guys career. he is 37. Is he just figuring it out and improving? Anyone?

    • Tony_Hall

      He will be soon enough.

  • Brp921

    That’s weird…not even storming and I lost my signal on the satellite.

  • cubtex

    Nice to see Mattingly make a proper baseball move. He bunted catcher with 1st and 2nd and no out. They are up one run. Terrible bunt but it was the proper baseball move. Good job Donny Baseball.

    • Tony_Hall

      And it didn’t lead to a run……what happened, oh yeah they got the lead runner. Gave up an out and accomplished nothing.

      • cubtex

        haha. I figured you would respond. It was the proper baseball move. Not all proper moves work all the time.

        • Tony_Hall

          It just kills you that their are stats out there that disprove long held thoughts. It is true that when comparing the runs that’s score when sacrificing or not in those situations, you score more runs when you don’t attempt the sacrifice.

          And isn’t scoring runs what matters. If you score more runs (on average) why would bunt except with your best bunters where the odds at now with you.

          • cubtex

            you don’t get it and you never will. stats are the overall average. when you have a weak hitter and the bottom of the order up….you have a better chance of scoring a run by moving the runners up. you have to factor in weather conditions like today. this isn’t computer baseball! you play the roster and hand you are dealt and try to win the game. just like yesterday when Sveum batted Rizzo and Castillo back to back in the order. You have a .185 hitter with RISP batting 3rd and Castillo hitting .165 batting 4th. you should give your team the best chance to succeed and score runs. I really hope high school coaches aren’t teaching kids these days not to move over runners and not play the game the “right” way.

          • Tony_Hall

            Stats help prove or disprove theories. Until you look at the numbers how do you know it really works or not.

            I did say to bunt when you have your best bunters up, when you have the odds in your favor.

            I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have always taught advancing runners, hitting to the right side, etc. But I don’t bunt very often unless the kid can’t hit, or is a good bunter. Of course the good bunters I can also trust to hit the ball to the right side where they have a better chance to still get a hit.

            I get that you hold all of these theories as factual. But when the numbers say differently you attack the people or mock the stats as this isn’t computer baseball. Read some of the articles I have posted the last few days. Sabermetrics has been around forever and the first stats they came up with were hits, avg, hr’s and rbi’s. As time as gone people have come up with more ways to evaluate what HAS happened. That is all, they just keep finding new ways to know what worked and who did it.

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry posted without adding this.

            No one can predict what will happen, stats just give the odds of success or failure. The game is still played by guys who can have good or bad days.

          • cubtex

            As manager….your job is to put your team in the best situations to succeed. I really don’t understand how you are arguing this. You have a guy who is hitting .159 over the last month. There is a strong wind blowing in. By swinging away you need to get another hit to score a run. IF you bunt the runners over to 2nd and 3rd, you can score on a goundout,sac fly,squeeze etc. You do not need another hit. This team can’t hit with RISP. If you are the Detroit Tiger, fine, OK don’t bunt. The Cubs traded their #4 hitter and you can see the effect it has on the lineup. No run producers. Just look at the Reds. Brandon Phillips has 84 RBI hitting .260 with a .315 OBP. He swings the bat and drives in runs. Votto on the other hand has only 54 RBI and they have Choo getting on base at a very high number. You need run producers and to think you can win games with high OBP and bad averages with RISP is absolutely false.

          • Tony_Hall

            This team needs more run producers….absolutely. No one has ever said you can fill a lineup with just high obp guys with no slg.

            I am just not into handing other teams outs when there are other ways to do it that actually score more runs. As you said the wind is blowing in, less chance for a sac fly as the OF’s will be closer. Bottom line we needed a hit and didn’t get it. As you know, not a big believer in RISP as most players will average similar numbers in most all situations over large numbers.

            You are going to go nuts trying to watch this team for awhile, you should try taking longer naps.

            Have a good night.

          • cubtex

            How can you not be a believer in RISP? It is a stat that is black and white. How do you perform during key situations in a game? Can you perform with a runner in scoring position? That is probably the best stat to gauge how your middle of the order bats perform.

          • Dorasaga

            RISP is only as good as the “situation” goes. The situation dictates how a pitcher, all other fielders, a runner, and the batter act accordingly: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/get-to-know-leverage-index/

          • Tony_Hall

            How can you believe that a player can make themselves better, just because there is a runner on second and third?

            I get that some people can’t handle the pressure….they are called AAAA players.

  • Brp921

    Ya can’t get a hit with the bat on your shoulder.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 1-0 to the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon
    – Carlos Villanueva: 1R, 2H, 3BB, 5K in 6IP (101 pitches, 64 strikes)

    Navarro: 2-4; 2B; Schierholtz: 2-4; Watkins: 1-4; DeJesus: 1-3, BB

    Cubs offense: 0R, 7H, 2BB, 1-7 RISP, 9 LOB