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 …

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro SS
    Valbuena 3B
    Rizzo 1B
    Navarro C
    Schierholtz RF
    Sweeney CF
    Bogusevic LF
    Barney 2B
    Samardzija P

    • bpot92

      Do you see the Cubs attempting to Resign Sweeeney? If so what type of deal is he looking at?

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Whatever it is, it will be too much. His type are a dime a dozen in this league.

      • Neil

        Yes, I do. I would think one year, around $2 million.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Any Champagne left over from the Braves party?

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Can the “Ace” go beyond six innings tonight?

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Is it possible for Bears Devin Hester to leadoff the game with a kick off return to put a quick six on the board to help out the “Shark”?

  • Neil

    Excellent play by Castro to start the game … and Samardzija just gave up a homer

  • Neil

    Valbuena’s ball looked foul

  • Neil

    Samardzija lifted after six innings

  • Neil

    Another very good inning for Rondon

  • Neil

    Murphy ties the game at one

  • Neil

    Gregg hung that one

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 2-1 to Pirates on Monday night – Jeff Samardzija: 1R, 5H (HR), 4BB, WP, 7K, 6IP (94 pitches, 58 strikes); Kevin Gregg: 1R, 1H
    (HR), 0BB, 3K, 1IP

    Brian Bogusevic: 2-3, 2B, R; Donnie Murphy: 1-1, RBI;
    Starlin Castro: 1-4; Cubs: 1R, 6H, 2BB, 1-2 RISP, 5LOB

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Getting the #4 pick is not bad. Should be a good college pitcher at that spot……

    Neil, where are all your supporters?…..went to the lifeboats?…….happens at this time of the season with these fair weather Cubs fans,,,,,,
    Texas now see they got fleeced by Theo on the Garza trade……..Garza looks like he will not be staying around……missing the playoffs…….Edwards sounds like a bigger deal than what Archer will be when all is said and done.
    Did you hear about the rumor of Arietta for Carlos Gonzalez this December?…….I hope the Cubs take a pass on that rumor…..

    Haren looking at retirement…….and Jamie Moyer looking for a job……
    Larry Bowa teaming up with Sandberg next season……
    I know Theo will not tell his plans this offseason to the media, but remember I am the first to tell you the Cubs will sign Curtis Granderson.

    • Neil

      The readers are out there, traffic is fine, comments are just low.

      I saw the rumor and I hope your wrong on Granderson. Too much money.