Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/23/13

Game One Hundred Fifty-Seven: Cubs (65-91) vs. Pirates (89-67)

  • Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42/1.34/3.80) vs. Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35/1.29/3.58)

The countdown to what is shaping up to be a very interesting off-season for the Cubs has begun. Only six more games remain on the Cubs schedule as the team begins the final series of the season at Wrigley Field tonight with the first of three against the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are tied with the Reds and are fighting for home field advantage for the one game Wild Card round.

Unless the Pirates suffer a major collapse, the Cubs should have the pleasure of watching a second team celebrate making the playoffs during this homestand. The Cubs were in all four games ten days ago in Pittsburgh but still lost three of four to the Pirates. The Cubs are 6-10 versus the Bucs this season and have struggled against teams in their division all year. The Cubs enter play tonight 24-46 against the NL Central this year with six games left with their division rivals. The Cubs haven’t had double-digit losses to four teams in the same season since 2002 and unless they sweep the three games in St. Louis, this version of the Cubs will equal that mark … 6-10 vs. Pirates, 7-9 vs. Cardinals, 6-13 vs. Brewers and 5-14 vs. Reds.

After tonight’s match-up of Jeff Samardzija and Charlie Morton, Chris Rusin is scheduled to face Gerrit Cole in his last start of the year on Tuesday night. Jake Arrieta will square off against Francisco Liriano in the final game of the season at Wrigley on Wednesday afternoon.

Dale Sveum should run out his left handed lineup tonight with Morton on the hill. Lefties have hit .319/.425/.346 against him this season while right handers have managed only a .229/.268/.283 line. A lineup that includes Ryan Sweeney, Brian Bogusevic, Nate Schierholtz and Logan Watkins might be a way to make Morton a little uncomfortable on the mound.

The final series of the year at Wrigley Field all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija notched his first quality start in nearly a month the last time out. Samardzija could not hold the 3-1 lead that he was given going into the seventh and ended up with a no decision. Samardzija allowed three runs on five hits to the Brewers with two walks, eight strikeouts and one heated discussion with David Bell in the dugout. Samardzija threw the ball much better than he had in his previous three outings.

Since the break, Samardzija is 3-3 in 12 starts with a 4.98 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and 0-1 in his last three starts with a 7.23 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Samardzija makes his last start of the year at Wrigley. Samardzija was 4-4 in 12 starts at home a year ago with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP while this season he is 3-5 in 16 starts at Wrigley with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija dominated the Pirates on Opening Day before losing his next three appearances against Pittsburgh. Samardzija is 1-3 in four starts versus the Bucs this season with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

Pirates Numbers against Jeff Samardzija in 2013

  • Starling Marte – 4-for-13 with a walk
  • Garrett Jones – 4-for-12 with a double, a triple and a walk
  • Andrew McCutchen – 5-for-12 with a walk
  • Neil Walker – 3-for-12 with a triple and a walk
  • Pedro Alvarez – 2-for-12
  • Russell Martin – 1-for-10 with a walk
  • Travis Snider – 1-for-7
  • Jordy Mercer – 0-for-4 with two walks
  • Clint Barmes – 0-for-4
  • Jose Tabata – 1-for-4
  • Gaby Sanchez – 0-for-3

Charlie Morton bounced back from his rough outing against the Cubs and shutdown the Padres for eight innings in his last start. Morton allowed one run on two this with three walks and nine strikeouts. Morton is 1-1 in his last four starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP and has not pitched as well on the road this year than at PNC Park.

Morton is 5-2 in nine road starts this season with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP while teams have hit nearly 40 points higher against him.

Charlie Morton faces the Cubs for the third time this season. Morton lasted just five innings against the Cubs two starts ago and is 0-1 versus the Cubs this year with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.

Cubs Numbers against Charlie Morton in 2013

  • Starlin Castro (.287) – 1-for-6
  • Anthony Rizzo (.256) – 1-for-6 with a double
  • Luis Valbuena (.237) – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Darwin Barney (.220) – 0-for-5
  • Nate Schierholtz (.270) – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Brian Bogusevic (.318) – 2-for-2 with a home run
  • Dioner Navarro (.302) – 1-for-2
  • Ryan Sweeney (.286) – 0-for-1

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon