Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Phillies – 04/06/14

Game Six: Cubs (1-4) vs. Phillies (3-2)

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

Carlos Villanueva (0-2, 13.50/3.00/11.47) vs. A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50/1.50/3.72)

The Cubs will try to salvage the last game of the series with the Phillies this afternoon behind Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs swingman is making his first start of the year after taking the loss in two of the Cubs first five games.

The offense is hitting, singles at least, but has not found a way to string together any hits this season. The Cubs have scored eight runs in the first five games with only seven extra basehits. The Cubs are 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position and it will not be any easier for the offense today with A.J. Burnett on the mound.

On the pitching side, the bullpen has been decent five games into the season while the Cubs have received four quality starts from the rotation in the first five games.

It does not appear Carlos Villanueva has been put on a pitch count for today’s game. With that said, the relievers received a break Saturday thanks to Jeff Samardzija so the bullpen should be at full strength this afternoon with Monday’s off-day on the horizon.

This afternoon all starts with Carlos Villanueva …

It is not too often that a team’s fifth starter has appeared in two of his team’s first five games and lost both before he makes his first start of the season, but that is the case this year with Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva appeared in the first two games of the year, both extra innings and in back-to-back games he was walked off and took the loss. On Opening Day it was a Neil Walker blast in the 10th and on Wednesday it was a Tony Sanchez single in the 16th inning.

Carlos Villanueva was effective early last season in the starting rotation before he started bouncing back and forth from the pen to the rotation. Villanueva was 7-8 in 47 games, 15 starts, last year with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. As a starter last season, Villanueva was 1-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

The Phillies faced Villanueva only one time last year and only for 1 1/3 innings. For his career, Carlos Villanueva is 2-0 in 14 appearances, one start, with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.

Phillies Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

  • Jimmy Rollins: 3-for-11 with two doubles, one home run and two walks
  • Ryan Howard: 3-for-10
  • Carlos Ruiz: 2-for-8 with one double and one walk
  • Chase Utley: 0-for-9 with one walk
  • Tony Gwynn Jr.: 0-for-4 with two walks
  • Wil Nieves: 2-for-5 with one double
  • Marlon Byrd: 2-for-4
  • Domonic Brown: 0-for-3
  • A.J. Burnett: 0-for-1
  • Ben Revere: 0-for-1

A.J. Burnett is coming off an excellent outing in Texas. Burnett held the Rangers to one run on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

Like Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett has owned the Cubs throughout his career. Burnett is 7-2 in 11 career starts against the Cubs with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Burnett was 1-1 in three starts against the Cubs last year in a Pirates’ uniform with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (13 hits, six walks, 18 strikeouts). And he is 5-0 in seven career starts at Wrigley Field with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against A.J. Burnett

  • Starlin Castro: 9-for-22 with one double
  • Ryan Sweeney: 6-for-20 with one double, one home run and one walk
  • Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-15 with one home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena: 0-for-13 with three walks
  • Darwin Barney: 2-for-11 with one walk
  • Nate Schierholtz: 5-for-10 with one double and one walk
  • Justin Ruggiano: 3-for-9 with one double and one home run
  • Welington Castillo: 2-for-7 with two doubles and one walk
  • Emilio Bonifacio: 1-for-5 with two walks
  • John Baker: 1-for-6
  • Ryan Kalish: 1-for-2 with one walk
  • Carlos Villanueva: 1-for-1

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Bonifacio 2B
    Kalish LF
    Rizzo 1B
    Schierholtz RF
    Valbuena 3B
    Castro SS
    Sweeney CF
    Baker C
    Villanueva P

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      1st 3 batters are ok…and then it goes downhill a bit.

      • BigJonLilJon

        Ive said it before and will say it again… Am tired of this platoon crap. If Castro and Rizzo can play every day, despite the match ups…. let Lake and Olt and Kalish. Maybe they are trying to keep Olt’s shoulder fresh, I’ll give them that one – but the rest is stupid!!! Let the kids play every day and see what they got. Has to better for them or the long run. Besides… has the platoon thing shown its working so far?? NO

        • bpot92

          I can somewhat understand Olt until his shoulder is 100% since righties will be tough and no point putting him in a position to fail if the should is even sore, but we need to see what Lake can do.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Yea… I said the same about Olt as the only example I can agree with. But not the rest.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Valbuena 0-13 against Burnett makes perfect sense he gets the start instead of Olt gettin . Consistent at bats to try and get things going. Lake has yet to start against a rhp but Sweeney is the future of the organization so that makes sense as well.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Patrick, I am with you on the lineup construction. Castro sixth without Olt, I do not agree with.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I understand Sweeney has had success against Burnett so I can understand him playing over Lake But not having a right handed hitter until 6th in the lineup makes little sense it can allow Burnett to get locked in on his approach to left handed hitters.
        Bonifacio
        Castro
        Rizzo
        Schierholtz
        Sweeney
        Olt
        Kalish
        Baker
        Villanueva
        Makes more sense to me.

        • BigJonLilJon

          I actually like that lineup!!! I still might have Lake in for Sweeney though.

      • cubtex

        Castro got 3 hits yesterday batting 2nd so why move him the next day?

        • J Daniel

          Leave him in the 2 hole and let him alone. The guy can hit … let him hit.

      • J Daniel

        They should, IMHO, put Castro in a spot and LEAVE him there! Quit playing around with the guy … decide where he should be and leave him alone.

  • Tom U

    Good Afternoon! Today’s minor league starters

    Iowa: Eric Jokisch
    Tennessee: Ivan Pineyro
    Kane County: Juan Carlos Paniagua

    Daytona has the day off.

  • Skeldor

    Gonna be the same ol tired lineups with this manager. Lake and Olt should be playing everyday. This organization had no desire to win games this year so why keep running the sweeneys and valbuenas of the world out there. No point in acting like you wanna win. Run the young guys day in and day out to see what they can so. If they wanted to be competitive they should have signed Nelson Cruz to a one year deal. At least then they would have someone who can hit for power and drive in runs.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Agreed 100% until you got to the Cruz signing. Would have cost the 2nd round pick and the slotted money to sign him. And I don’t know if we need him??

      • GaryLeeT

        But if Cruz performs like I think he will, he could have been flipped for some serious prospects. None of that DeJesus type of flipping for a PTBNL crap. Which makes me wonder, who did the Cubs end up getting for him?

        • Eugene Debs

          I think they got a Free 30-Day Trial to Netscape for Dejesus.

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  • Eugene Debs

    Is today “Empty Seat Day” at Wrigley?

    • cubtex

      haha. just said the same thing

      • Eugene Debs

        Crowd filled in a little as the sun came out.

        • Denver Mike

          I think that will happen a lot this year. The last couple summers I was in town, there were so many tickets available on the streets it’s crazy, so I’m sure it’s not hard to get cheap seats if the sun comes out after the game has started.

  • cubtex

    Look at that crowd. And on a Sunday?

  • John_CC

    I have to say that it has been hard for me to follow along with these threads with all the bitching and moaning and second guessing and crying about every single little thing.

    The season is 5 games old. What is it, like 38 degrees in Chicago?

    • Eugene Debs

      It’s 50 with no chance of rain.

    • cubtex

      has it never been 47 degrees before in April at Wrigley?

      • J Daniel

        Maybe the crowds will go back to like the 70’s … upper deck closed …

    • GaryLeeT

      So let me get this straight. You are bitching and moaning about the bitching and moaning? John, you are talking about Cub fans here, and if any fan has a right to complain, it’s us. I don’t know how you can’t see why frustration might boil over, and why a fan would not seek out others to commiserate with? The venting is quite cathartic.

  • Eugene Debs

    I think we are going to need some runs today. Villanueva doesn’t look too sharp. We need him to get untracked, either as a starter or as a reliever.

    I think today is the day Rizzo hits a couple of bombs.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Kalish with a RBI triple

  • Eugene Debs

    Boardrider called it! He said play Kalish and they do. Great RBI triple by Kalish to drive home Bonifacio.

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

      This made me so happy! I really think he needs to be in this offensively challenged lineup. He gets on base, once on he’s a threat to steal. Not only that but he is the type of base runner that gets in a pitchers head. He has dirt in his uniform, he jumps around when he takes a lead. Hes exciting and provides a spark. When he is on base he tends to score. And while on he interrupts the pitchers concentration.

      Too bad all this offense is coming behind Villanueva and not Shark, EJax or Wood. Those 3 deserve some run support with the way they have pitched

      • cubtex

        He got some dirt on that uniform on that pickoff :)

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

          No kidding ;).

          But it seems Renteria has instructed the team to be more aggressive on th base path. Which is good, they just need to get better at it.

          I really like Bonifacio leading off and Kalish batting 2nd. Think this can be a productive tandem. I also like Castro down the lineup. I think mentally it suits him better. Rizzo made it clear he likes hitting near too and appreciates the pressure. I respect that from him. I think Castro is jut the opposite. I think Rizzo will improve tok and belongs near the too of this lineup.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with a RBI double

  • cubtex

    Attaboy Castro!

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I feel like the Cubs have scored 12 runs already…

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    the momentum was too strong for even Ryan “Rally Killer” Sweeney to stop…

    everything we do this inning is gold!!

  • Denver Mike

    Great approach at the plate by the Cubs in the 1st. Bonifacio, Rizzo, and Valbuena showed patience when they needed to and drew walks, Kalish and Castro ripping the first pitch to bring them home. Also sound baserunning on by Rizzo tagging from first on the throw home that was cut off.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs scored 4 runs on 2 hits with 3 walks and 2 sac flies in the first inning

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Nothing against Baker, but with such a low payroll, was spending $8m for 2 years of a solid backup C in Dioner Navarro really a bad thing?

    Not like he would be blocking any C prospects…

    Would have liked to see Navarro coming up to bat in an inning like that.

  • Denver Mike

    Castro seems to be warming up at the plate as well, I didn’t see yesterday’s game but the his line looked good, and that swing in the first looked vintage to me. Let’s hope the rust from missing ST is fading and he can help bring up the team’s sad RISP numbers.

    • BillyFinT

      I still don’t like his fielding. Too many little things he just can’t get. I don’t think he’ll ever improve. It’ll be downhill from here on, defensively speaking.

  • BillyFinT

    It’s kinda early, but we Faithfuls all know this club right now is about the Future, not the score right now. I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth it to keep Villanueva and Shark. I would say yes, until I thought about the cost. Then I said “yes” again. GM Hoyer could probably retain V for a lofty sum of $ 10 million for two years. Shark is looking for something around 70-100 million range. If it’s 4 years, then a 80 million wouldn’t look too bad. Reliable veteran pitching will get more expensive as baseball inflates its salary structure around the influx of new media money. The Cubs better lock some up, now, before the Future arrives.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      $20m/year for Shark? I will pass. He has to have a full consistent year of sub 3.50 ERA and 14+ wins before I believe he is worth that. He will be 30 next year…no more paying him for his potential…you should only pay him for what he actually is now. If Garza can settle for $14m/yr, so can Shark, as he is nowhere near as good as Garza.

      • BillyFinT

        Sure, I’ll love to wait until then. The advantage for Hoyer & Co. is that they know everything about Shark, and they know what he can and what he’s worth. They can estimate more accurately how well Shark will age/injure/perform than other free agent pitchers out there. What if they saw Shark will become a near-ace but the Ricketts won’t split the family dough? What if Shark signs elsewhere at 80 for 4? Wouldn’t it piss you off? I would, after all the best assessment made but their boss said, “no, we don’t need to win. Money comes first.”

  • Tom U

    Javier Baez now in as a pinch-hitter for Eric Jokisch.

    • Tom U

      And Baez hits a home run.

      • cubtex

        Nice to see Vitters also crushing the ball at Iowa

        • Tom U

          Indeed!

      • Denver Mike

        Haha, of course he did

        • Tom U

          He was jammed on the pitch, but it still carried.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Close on Utley, hard to tell.

  • cubtex

    Wow. That inning could have been a lot worse

    • Denver Mike

      That was a good play by Bonifacio, but he was also positioned perfectly. Only took a couple steps and jumped.

  • cubtex

    Ball doesn’t carry like it did in Arizona huh Luis?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Solid outing by Villanueva

  • cubtex

    Have a day Kalish!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ryan Kalish with a great day, another extra basehit and two RBI

  • Denver Mike

    Ryno left Burnett out there an inning too long.

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

    My boy Kalish making me look pretty smart today! Gary do you see why I say he should be playing now?

    • GaryLeeT

      Ya know, I am even happier for you, than I am for the Cubs and Kalish.

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

        Hey it’s nice to be right. I’m about 1 for 436 now :).

        But I am excited because I think he brings a lot to the table. A guy that plays like him can really propel an offensively challenged team. He plays an infectious style of baseball. Bonifacio at the top followed by Kalish does a lot for 3-9.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with another hit to the left side. Good approach by Rizzo over the first six games.

  • cubtex

    My son told me about this :)

    NOBODY PUSHES THE CUBS AROUND. YOU MESS WITH THE CLARK THE CUB AND HE SHOWS YOU THE HANDS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzPVqT5vW4M

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      That’s not Clark

      • cubtex

        Can’t trust youtube

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          That’s Billy the Cub. He is trying to sue the team for not picking him to be the team’s official mascot. Many questionable decisions by business ops, this was not one of them.

          • cubtex

            Nothing good could happen mixing alcohol and a man in a mascot outfit :)

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Not a sentence I thought I would read and agree with today.

          • cubtex

            Hahaha

  • Tom U

    Jen-Ho Tseng to start the Kane County Cougars’ home opener on Tuesday

  • GaryLeeT

    It’s a bit unorthodox, but I like Hinske hugging the guys after an RBI single. He’s like “OK you beat that pitcher, now try to get your arms around some of this”

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    First walk issued by Cubs pitching on the afternoon … one out in the ninth by Jose Veras

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

    One real bright spot is our pitching. Both starter and bullpen. Out bullpen has been lights out with the exception being Veras, which is the most proven guy in there. It’s amazing that despite our all of offensive woes before today we’ve still been in games. Testament to our quality pitching. Nice to see Renteria go out to talk to Veras and know he can speak to him in spanish.

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

    As wild as Veras was surprising that ump was giving him those close pitches. Guess he wanted to get it over with.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the Phillies 8-3
    on Sunday afternoon … Carlos Villanueva: 1R, 6H, 0BB, HBP, 3K, 5 IP (71
    pitches, 53 strikes); Cubs: 4-7 RISP, 6LOB

    Kalish: 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2BB, 2R, 3RBI;
    Rizzo: 2-3, RBI, BB, R; Castro: 1-4, 2B, R; Bonifacio: 1-4, RBI, BB, 2R