Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 03/31/14

Opening Day – Game One: Cubs (0-0) vs. Pirates (0-0)

  • Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV, ESPN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
  • Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–)

Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the Air! It’s Opening Day!

OpeningDay-2014Rick Renteria and the Chicago Cubs kickoff the season this afternoon in what could be a very interesting year for the big league team. While the win-loss record might not be where some would like for it to be at the end of the year, the team should show improvement on the field, especially after players are promoted from the minors.

Rick Renteria and a majority of his coaching staff make their official Cubs’ debuts today. Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach, assistant pitching coach) and Mike Borzello (catching coach) were retained in the off-season while Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Bill Mueller (hitting coach), Mike Brumley (assistant hitting coach), Gary Jones (third base coach), Eric Hinske (first base coach) and Jose Castro (quality assurance coach) coach their first regular season games today.

Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for his second straight Opening Day start. And thanks to the schedule makers, Samardzija becomes the first pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days in the history of PNC Park.

The Cubs have really struggled against the NL Central for the last two-plus seasons and managed just a 25-51 record versus the central last year and won seven of the 19 games against the Pirates (7-12). In order for the Cubs to improve their win-loss record, they have to figure out how to beat the teams in their own division (14-18 vs. East, 14-20 vs. West, 13-7 in Interleague).

The Pirates have a lot planned for pre-game ceremonies. Ralph Kiner’s son is throwing out the first pitch. Jim Leyland will present Clint Hurdle with his Manager of the Year award and Barry Bonds will be at PNC Park to honor Andrew McCutchen and present him with his Most Valuable Player of the Year trophy.

The 2014 season all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off an inconsistent season one in which he set career highs in strikeouts (214), innings pitched (213 2/3) and games started (33). Samardzija is focused on becoming the starting pitcher he thinks he can be this season. Samardzija has shown the ability to be a dominating starter in the majors and if he can put it all together he could be a very good top of the rotation starter for many seasons. Now, whether that is with the Cubs or not, that is an entirely different question and one that should be answered on or before July 31.

Samardzija faced the Pirates five times last season with the only win against the Bucs coming on Opening Day. Samardzija was 1-3 a year ago versus Pittsburgh with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. For his career, Samardzija is 4-3 in 18 games, seven starts, against the Pirates with a 2.11 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP … at PNC Park, 4-1 in nine games, four starts, with a 0.73 ERA and a 0.51 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Andrew McCutchen: 9-for-24 with three doubles and four walks
  • Neil Walker: 5-for-22 with one triple, two home runs and three walks
  • Pedro Alvarez: 5-for-22 with one double and one home run
  • Starling Marte: 4-for-16 with one walk
  • Russell Martin: 3-for-13 with one double and two walks
  • Clint Barmes: 0-for-11
  • Gaby Sanchez: 1-for-10
  • Jose Tabata: 2-for-10
  • Jordy Mercer: 0-for-6 with three walks
  • Travis Snider: 1-for-7
  • Francisco Liriano: 1-for-3 with one walk
  • Josh Harrison: 0-for-1

Francisco Liriano is coming off a tremendous season with the Pirates, one not many think he will be able to repeat. Liriano was 16-8 in 26 starts with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP while striking out 163 batters with only 63 walks allowed. Liriano has always had the stuff; he simply has not been able to throw enough strikes. Liriano loved pitching at PNC Park a year ago. Liriano was 8-1 in 11 home starts with a 1.47 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP compared to 8-7 in 15 road starts with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

Liriano faced the Cubs five times last season and dominated them just about every time out. Liriano was 3-1 in five starts with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP … the Cubs managed only 19 hits with 15 walks while striking out 36 times in 34 innings.

Cubs Career Numbers against Francisco Liriano

  • Starlin Castro: 2-for-17 with two doubles and two walks
  • Darwin Barney: 2-for-15 with one double and three walks
  • Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-14 with two walks
  • Welington Castillo: 3-for-8 with one home run and one walk
  • Ryan Sweeney: 0-for-9
  • Junior Lake: 1-for-5 with one walk
  • Jeff Samardzija: 0-for-3
  • Justin Ruggiano: 1-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
Share on Fancred
  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Bonifacio CF
    Lake LF
    Castro SS
    Rizzo 1B
    Olt 3B
    Castillo C
    Schierholtz RF
    Barney 2B
    Samardzija P

    • JasonPen

      I like it!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ruggiano is still dealing with a sore right ankle

  • TrevorPetersma

    Happy opening day! Let’s start it with a W. I have my flag ready to put out. :)

  • xaxinho

    Yeah! Cubs baseball is back!

  • paulcatanese

    Good, bad, or otherwise, now, today, it counts.

  • Pingback: Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 03/31/14 - Cubs Chronicles

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs wearing the alternate-flashback road jerseys today

  • brent carmona

    LETS GO BABYYYY

  • Tony_H

    PNC Park is one of the best parks in baseball. Very scenic.

  • texcubnut

    Finally, real baseball is here!!! Allthe off-season speculation and arguing is over. The games count and the arguments/opinions actually mean something. I’ll say the Cubs win over 75 games this year in what, I believe, is the toughest division in baseball. ( sorry A.L. East). Improvement from everyday players like Rizzo/Castro, improvement in the bullpen and improvement in managerial moves. Let’s Go Cubs!!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And the 2014 season is underway … Play Ball!

  • Tony_H

    Bonifacio just keeps leading off games by getting on base.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      So much for the ‘only in Spring Training’ theory

      • Tony_H

        I like him, as long as he can stay healthy, he will be productive.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        2 strikeouts too…

  • Tony_H

    Even without replay, the umps get the call right. Thankfully.

  • brent carmona

    Rizzo :( …at least lake took a couple tough change ups for balls in his at bat

    • Tony_H

      If it wasn’t opening day, games against LH’s like Liriano may be well timed days off. That slider is tough.

  • Tony_H

    Lake and Bonifacio give us a pretty athletic LF/CF, imagine if Kalish was in RF.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      That was a nice catch by Lake, would have been a lead-off double with another left fielder.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Shark’s pitch was horrible..

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          He’s catching a lot of the plate

  • brent carmona

    Good eye by Olt but Liriano painted that slider on the corner

  • brent carmona

    Good at bat by Barney but nothing to show for it :/

  • texcubnut

    Much better AB by Barney than he would have had last year. Much better approach.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    In case your curious Liriano looks filthy…

  • brent carmona

    Jeff just threw a nasty breaker then leaves a fastball up on the next pitch for a hit ARGH

    • Tony_H

      4-6-3 took care of that!

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Barney turns 2 very well…

        • brent carmona

          It was a pretty sexy turn :)

  • brent carmona

    Kane County released their roster, some highlights: Blackburn, Skulina, Tseng, Frazier, Paniagua, and Hanneman

  • Tony_H

    2 Double Plays through 3 innings….got to like that.

  • John_CC

    Here Here! We made through another winter.

    Opening Day is a benchmark on my yearly calendar next to my birthday, the deer hunting opener, and NYE!

    • Tony_H

      Happy Birthday John!

      • John_CC

        It’s not my birthday Tony, but thanks. It’s opening day! (which i meant to say is almost as important a day in the year as my birthday..anyway…)

        • Tony_H

          Ah, now I see what you meant. I thought you were saying your birthday was next to Opening Day.

          • John_CC

            Close, but not quite. It is very close to Neil’s though!

            I need to get my MLB.TV set up…today snuck up on me.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Renteria is challenging the call. Looked out to me, I just hope Samardzija did not hurt something stretching for the base.

  • John G

    Replay!!
    Shoulda had a bunting contest. That wouldn’t have happened.

  • John G

    I’m listening on the internet and I gotta say, it just doesn’t sound right when they refer to “Pat and Ron”. Just sayin’

    • Tony_H

      Never thought of that…I agree.

  • cubtex

    1st and 2nd and no out in a scoreless game….I know Rizzo is the #4 hitter but he has no chance against Liriano. Sac bunt with Lake and Castro on the basebaths would have at least given then a chance to get a lead instead of having Rizzo K.

  • Tony_H

    Liriano was on today, hopefully we can fare better against the bullpen.

  • Tony_H

    How often have we seen our pitcher only at 67 pitches while the other teams pitcher is done at 104.

    • cubtex

      with Liriano pitching….quite often

  • Tony_H

    If Lake every learns to get good jumps and take better routes he will be amazing in the OF. He covers a lot of ground fast.

  • Tony_H

    Another DP, this one from a perfect defensive shift!

  • redlarczykg

    I wonder if anyone told Renteria that Rizzo can’t hit lefties? Cubs should have a right-handed 1b to spell Rizzo against lefties. He is not an everyday player!

    • Tony_H

      I think most days against the top LH’s he will get days off. Today is Opening Day, not gonna happen.

      • cubtex

        as I said at least they moved him out of the 3 hole. I think he will keep moving down in the order. His splits are way out of whack to hit where he has been

        • Tony_H

          His AB’s in spring training did show a much better approach. But Liriano is going to dominate him at this point.

          7 RH bats possible, draw straws for the unlucky lefty next time.

      • redlarczykg

        But with Olt playing 3B, they don’t have anyone with punch to do that. That’s why I hoped for Vitter’s to stick, but he’s a gonner!

        • Tony_H

          Olt will play 1B on those days and Bonifacio may play 3B, with one an OF like Kalish playing as one LH hitter has to play.

          1. Bonifacio 3B
          2. Lake CF
          3. Castro SS
          4. Olt 1B
          5. Ruggiano RF
          6. Castillo C
          7. Kalish LF
          8. Barney 2B

    • texcubnut

      You can bet next time Cubs face Liriano, Rizzo sits. Liriano is just filthy but Samardzija is matching him.

      • cubtex

        It will be nice one day when the Cubs will have a true middle of the order bat. Bryant,Baez…whoever.

        • texcubnut

          Not too far off, Ray. I guess we’ve waited this long so a little longer won’t kill us , will it?

          • cubtex

            hahaha. I’m not getting any younger :)

          • texcubnut

            Speaking for me , Paul and Gramps, we hear ya’!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent pick by Castro … third DP turned by the Cubs today

  • texcubnut

    Excellent defense and starting pitching. I could get used to this!

  • texcubnut

    Gotta be it for Samardzija. Outstanding opening day performance.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs first extra base knock of the game … Bonifacio with a leadoff double in the eighth.

  • brent carmona

    *sigh* that was not the inning I hoped for there

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija is done for the day. Very good outing for him

    • Tony_H

      Yes it was, too bad we just threw away a scoring opportunity with no outs and man in scoring position.

      • cubtex

        not a fan of bunting a guy to 3rd with no outs and 2,3,4 coming up. I thought Rizzo should have before against Liriano because he had no chance.

        • Tony_H

          You know that I am not.

          Bonifacio is fast enough to score from 2nd on a hit. You have 234 coming up. Take 3 chances to drive in a run, versus 2, with your 3 best hitters. Plus Castro was up their trying to just chop one through. So only Rizzo took a real swing.

          I will always take the free outs when I am on defense.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      10 more like that, and a nice trade haul comes back!

  • Roland Bowman

    Strop’s slider looking good today.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      did he lose some weight or shave or something? Looks younger/leaner than I remember from last year. I hadn’t see him in ST this year…

      • cubtex

        It’s the sideways cap :) It has a slimming effect.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          I tried that…but at 41 and working in corporate IT environment, it didn’t have the desired effect.

          • cubtex

            you probably wore a horizontal striped shirt which counteracted the hat. lol

    • Tony_H

      Very nice outing for Strop.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Need a run? Luis Valbuena reporting for duty…

  • Tony_H

    Will he pinch hit for Barney?

    • Tony_H

      And if so, will it be Kalish or Sweeney?

      • Tony_H

        Sweeney for Barney, Kalish for Strop.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          leave Strop in?

          • Tony_H

            Sorry, had a phone call, what did they do. I see Russell in now.

  • Tony_H

    Renteria was doing a number on that gum!

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    walks the leadoff batter…the situation looks Grim(m).

    • JasonPen

      STRRRRIIIIKEEEE

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    ouch…walk that off buddy. take a couple laps…or go lay down.

    • JasonPen

      that hurt watching it!

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        did I hear the stadium groan on the replay? I may have just imagined it, as that is how I felt.

        • JasonPen

          I thought Martin just hit a walk off, wheew

          • Tony_H

            That was close, yet Lake made it look like a routine catch.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    omg…that was lucky. Why did we let him pitch to a righty…he can’t get any righties out?

    • Tony_H

      He just did.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        like I said…luck.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And it’s free baseball on Opening Day

    • Tony_H

      Only thing better will be a Cubs Win, with free baseball.

  • JasonPen

    I already hate the new challenge rules

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bonifacio looks like he was out

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      And the call was overturned, Bonifacio is called out.

      • JasonPen

        this sucks… replay is killing baseball

        • John_CC

          I’m glad I didn’t see it today. I hate the idea of it and I know I will hate it more when I see it in action.

        • Tony_H

          I don’t like the call going against us, but how is getting the call right going to kill baseball?

          • John_CC

            Slowing down and already slow game by nature, challenging “bang bang” plays by throwing a hankie rather than kicking dirt, taking the human equation of the ump out of the game. When it was fair or foul that was fine by me. Not much a judgement call on those. But now challenging every type of out is insane.

          • cubtex

            is every safe or out play able to be reviewed? Stolen bases? Tag plays where the runner might have left too early? I agree with you if that is the case. Part of the human element needs to stay in the game.

          • Tony_H

            Here is the list of reviewable plays.

            The reviewable plays:
            Home runs
            Ground rule doubles
            Fan interference
            Stadium boundary calls
            Force play
            Tag play
            Fair/foul in the outfield
            Trap play in the outfield
            Batter hit by pitch
            Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
            Touching a base
            Passing runners
            Record keeping

            Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mlb-replay-rules-2014-1#ixzz2xa2kdgai

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
          • Tony_H

            Sorry, I did a google search and that was the first one that came up. I need to remember to use your own search for the CCO.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, no worries. I was just trying to help.

          • John_CC

            I don’t know actually know that Ray. I doubt it, Ithat was hyperbole on part. But play in question was a pickoff, wasn’t it? That would be a tag out so I don’t see why stolen bases would be different.

          • JasonPen

            The delay. There was always human error too, it was expected.

          • Tony_H

            What about the delay when a manager would go out and argue for 5 minutes, even though nothing was going to change. At least now it is a quick trip out and the main office is already reviewing the call and not a very long delay. It will get smoothed out and there won’t be as many reviews when the novelty wears off. Right now, managers will want to test it themselves and the guys who are watching the replays for the team are going to need time to figure out when to say to challenge and when not to.

            There will still be human error.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    ok…if the Cubs can get thru this inning, I am pretty sure they will score next inning. I call Valbuena with the rbi.

    • JasonPen

      good jynx

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        it was a dual win…better draft choice yet Shark looks good for trade. It’s all about 2015-2016.

  • JasonPen

    well, that sucks

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 1-0 to Pirates in 10 innings … Jeff Samardzija: 0R, 5H, 2BB, 3K in 7IP (89 pitches, 54 strikes)

    Bonifacio: 4-5, 2B, SB; Lake: 1-4, SAC; Schierholtz: 1-4; #Cubs: 0-11 RISP, 8 LOB

    • cubtex

      who took the loss?

      • Tony_H

        Villanueva

        • cubtex

          thanks for the info

          • Tony_H

            NP – I only caught a little of the last few innings, but got to see that ball fly out of the park.

    • JasonPen

      Rizzo 0 for 7 with 8 K’s…

      • cubtex

        It seems hard to believe that your leadoff hitter goes 4-5 and you can’t score at least 1 run.

        • JasonPen

          doesn’t help that he got picked off in the 10th..

          • cubtex

            wasn’t following the game after the 9th inning. Didn’t know he got picked

          • JasonPen

            Pittsburgh challenged and he was ruled out on a pickoff at first.

          • cubtex

            really? didn’t know you could even challenge a pickoff.

          • JasonPen

            He was picked off in the first too, but the 1B dropped the ball… He needs to work on that.

          • Tony_H

            On a replay….I saw that too.

            I might have not been good luck the last few innings.

      • cc002600

        Wow, Rizzo struck out 8 times ?
        :-)

        • JasonPen

          Everytime I looked up he was walking back to the dugout.. Maybe have been more than 8 lol…

    • cubtex

      Neil- Did you just copy that 0-11 RISP from last year? That just hurts to look at.

  • John G

    That’s the kind of finish to an opening day that can set the mood for the whole season. For both teams.
    Who doesn’t remember Willie Smith’s home run on opening day?

    • JasonPen

      Or Fukudome’s 3 run blast?

  • GaryLeeT

    Losing the opener with a walk-off, is like rain on your wedding day. It’s means they’ll have good luck.

  • cc002600

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the cubs have lost every opening day for the last 20 years ? (I’m exaggerating, but I know their opening day record has been horrendous in recent times).

    • John_CC

      Well, their overall record has been horrendous, so it follows that their opening day record would be bad too.

    • cubtex

      they won last year

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Cubs are 1-4 on Opening Day since 2010. They won on OD in 2009 but lost OD in 2008 and 2007

  • Tony_H

    I sure hope Bonifacio keeps starting. Only other hits were Lake and Schierholtz.

    • JasonPen

      Maybe he can be like Ben Zobrist… Play everyday, just at a new position all the time-

    • cubtex

      who’s up next? Gerrit Cole? Probably not. Sweeney will be in there.

      • Tony_H

        Game 2 Morton
        Game 3 W Rodriguez

        • cubtex

          they should be able to score some runs against those guys.