Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 04/18/14

Game Fifteen – Cubs (4-10) vs. Reds (6-9)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29/1.05/3.09) vs. Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20/0.73/3.18)

The Cubs open a seven-game homestand this afternoon with the first of three against the Reds. The Cubs actually begin a stretch of 30 games in 31 days today and will look to bounce back from a bad road trip (1-4) that ended with a two shutouts in the Bronx on Wednesday in which the team went 0-for-13 with RISP and left 12 men on base in 18 innings at Yankee Stadium.

MLBAutismAwarenessThis weekend is the first of 10 decade-themed homestands this season the team will celebrate Wrigley Field turning 100 years old. The Cubs and Diamondbacks will recognize the first game at what was known as Weeghman Park on Wednesday. The Cubs will wear Chicago Federals jerseys and the Diamondbacks have agreed to wear Kansas City Federals jerseys. The Chicago Whales beat the Kansas City Packers 9-1 at the first ever game at Wrigley Field 9-1.

Rick Renteria shifted his starting rotation for the weekend series with the Reds. After today’s match-up of Jeff Samardzija and Alfredo Simon, Edwin Jackson faces lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday. Carlos Villanueva and Homer Bailey start the finale on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds have owned the Cubs over the last two seasons, especially at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were 5-14 versus the Reds a year ago and just 4-12 in 16 games the year before. The Cubs are 9-26 in two seasons with the Reds while being outscored 165-120.

For the first time since 2008, Dusty Baker will not be calling the shots for the Reds from the visitor’s dugout at Wrigley. Baker was dismissed not long after the Reds’ season ended last year and was replaced by Bryan Price. The Reds started clicking offensively once Joey Votto was finally moved to the two-hole in the lineup.

Rick Renteria should run out a balanced lineup today. Righties (.174/.208/.250) and lefties (.167/.219/.313) have hit pretty much the same against Alfredo Simon this year and for his career the numbers are rather close as well (LH: .259/.332/.378; RH: .263/.324/.378).

This afternoon it all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is off to an excellent start to his season. Samardzija has completed seven innings in each of his first three starts and could easily be 3-0 this year. Samardzija has not received any run support and once he did, Jose Veras happened and he received a no decision the last time out. Samardzija tossed seven innings of shutout ball on Opening Day in Pittsburgh then held Philly to a pair of runs on six hits his next time out. Samardzija limited a very good Cardinals’ team to one run on six hits in his last start.

Samardzija has thrown strikes and limited his walks this season. In 21 innings, Samardzija has issued only five free passes while striking out 15 batters. The strikeout totals might be down a little but his average innings per start are up.

Like many of his teammates, Samardzija has struggled against the Reds. Cincinnati has had the Cubs’ number over the last three years and Jeff Samardzija is just 1-3 in 21 career appearances, seven starts, versus the Redlegs with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Samardzija was 0-2 in five starts against the Reds last season with a 5.16 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP (35 hits allowed, 17 walks and 29 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings).

Reds Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Joey Votto: 6-for-25 with two doubles and four walks
  • Brandon Phillips: 6-for-29
  • Jay Bruce: 6-for-22 with three doubles and three walks
  • Zack Cozart: 5-for-21 with one double and one walk
  • Todd Frazier: 6-for-16 with one double, two home runs and four walks
  • Roger Bernadina: 2-for-12
  • Devin Mesoraco: 5-for-9 with one home run
  • Chris Heisey: 3-for-7
  • Ryan Ludwick: 1-for-4 with one walk

The Cubs get their first look today at the starter Alfredo Simon (last name now pronounced SIGN-mon). The Reds converted Simon back to a starter and he has responded extremely well. Simon pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since 2012 after starting 16 games for the Orioles in 2011 (4-9 in 23 games, 16 starts, with a 4.90 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP).

Simon beat the Mets in his first start of the season on April 6 after he allowed one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. Simon held the Rays to one run on five hits in eight innings in his last start but took the loss. Alfredo Simon has issued only two walks in 15 innings this year with 10 strikeouts.

Alfredo Simon is 1-0 with a save in 10 games against the Cubs (3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) and he will make the first start of his career against the Cubs this afternoon. Simon has completed six innings over five appearances at Wrigley Field during his career with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP (eight hits, two walks, six strikeouts).

Cubs Career Numbers against Alfredo Simon

  • Darwin Barney: 3-for-6
  • Ryan Sweeney: 1-for-6 with one walk
  • Starlin Castro: 1-for-6 with one double
  • Justin Ruggiano: 1-for-3
  • Nate Schierholtz: 0-for-2
  • John Baker: 1-for-2
  • Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-2
  • Luis Valbuena: 2-for-2 with one double and one home run
  • Emilio Bonifacio: 0-for-1
  • Welington Castillo: 0-for-1

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

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

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  • John_CC

    Maybe it’s time to send Olt to Iowa to get some regular playing time and bring Vitters up to Chicago to pick splinters out of his ass 3 days a week. Or maybe he could actually play and contribute to an inept offense.

    • cc002600

      So true. All they talk about is this rebuilding process and which once again they are a lock to lose 90+ games, and yet Olt will probably get about 200 AB’s, if he’s lucky. Someone has to explain that logic to me.

      • Tony_H

        If he stays healthy, he will get 500 AB’s. It is only April 18th, lots of games left.

        • cc002600

          Hope you’re right, but unless something changes, I don’t see it. So far, I’ve seen Valbuena start at least half the games at 3B, it seems.

          • Tony_H

            It will change. They have been bringing him along slowly, getting him out there, but giving him rest to get his shoulder fully healthy. Once it warms up, I expect him to play most of the time.

          • cc002600

            Ok, that’s fair. His does have the shoulder issue, I forgot about that. Thanks.

          • John_CC

            You know I feel the same way Tony, but at the same time Josh Vitters is hitting very well in Iowa and isn’t there a DH in AAA? Olt can go down and get lots of reps at the plate so when he is fully healed he won’t be a rust bucket.

            I would rather see Vitters at 3B than Valbuena at this point.

          • Tony_H

            Vitters is no longer a 3B and Olt would probably not be playing everyday in Iowa with the cold. I was at the Iowa Cubs game on Tuesday night and once the sun went down, it was upper 30′s with 10-12 mph winds.

          • John_CC

            I would still rather see Vitters at 3B in Chicago than Luis Luis.

          • Tony_H

            I don’t see Valbuena being around much past Aug 1st, without injuries. Vitters will be up, but I would bet more like in June.

  • Tony_H

    That was one of the ugliest swings I have ever seen. Not sure what Billy Hamilton was doing.

  • Roland Bowman

    That was a lot of pitches for one inning and only one hit.

  • Roland Bowman

    Not sure what happened on the last pitch. Castillo set up high and in. The pitch was low and away. Was Phillips signaling pitch locations and Castillo fooled them? Or was the shark that far off on the pitch?

    • brent carmona

      Castillo called for a few fastballs in each at bat, but Jeff missed almost every time middle or away. Command is a but off I think…good thing is he is not throwing super hard, nice and easy in the bottom of the first

  • BillyFinT

    Neil, I’m not seeing the antique jersey. Maybe …

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The jerseys will be worn on Wednesday, not today. Sorry for the confusion.

      • BillyFinT

        No, my bad. Missed that line about Wed. in b/w.

  • BillyFinT

    I’m listening to the Reds broadcast. It’s funny they wanted Bill Hamilton to swing at first-pitch more. That’s what happened when you did. Rizzo swung himself into a weak grounder and an easy out for his opponent.

    Hamilton is still young and the season still long. he needs to see more pitches and figure out his optimum strikezone.

    • John_CC

      They were brain washed by years of Dusty.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    anyone think the grass looks extra bright and the stripes more pronounced in the OF today? Might be the color setting on my tv…hmmm.

    • John_CC

      why?

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        why? Just curious…seems extra bright on the tv.

        I would have posted about the offense, but, well…you know.

        • BillyFinT

          I got bored and decided to watch some K-pop MV-s online. That’s what happens to you when two free-swing lineups went head-to-head.

          By the end of this Cubbie season, I’ll be able to identify all the pop groups by first sight! LOL

  • JimBo_C

    Our shortstop has been playing some good defense this year.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    ok..let’s hope Shark gives up 0 runs today. It is like watching your valuable item on ebay…you keep seeing the amount of money people are willing to pay for your item go up and up!

  • cc002600

    Anyone know why B. Philips was taken out ? hurt ?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Phillips hurt himself swinging at a 1-2 pitch in his first at bat. The Reds have not announced a specific injury yet.

      • cc002600

        Thanks, Neil

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Your’re welcome … just announced, officially back spasms for Phillips

  • John_CC

    Shark is really pounding the strike zone!

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      too bad it wasn’t good enough.

      disappointed with these runs…guessing he has 2 ER, or are all 3 ER?

      COSTING US PROSPECTS!!

      • John_CC

        2 earned through 6. And he’s probably done at over 100 pitches now.

      • BosephHeyden

        No, 2 max.

  • John_CC

    Walking Valbuena to get to Shark could be a mistake…

    • John_CC

      or not

    • BillyFinT

      While there’s a “Villanueva” down at AAA who’s age 24 and dying to make his name more prominent than this V guy. Villa fields 3rd base, btw .

      • John_CC

        Yep. I told Tony I’d rather see Vitters up at 3B even if he isn’t a 3Bman anymore. I’d love to see Villanueva get a chance to play also. I’m over Luis starting 80% but apparently no one else is ready to step in.

        • BillyFinT

          And you know, 3b is where the Cubs can really play everyone like a musical chair. They have so many young guys at AAA and AA who can field and run. As reliable as Valbuena is for his defense, I don’t think the organization will complain by developing other more “prospective,” young players.

      • cubtex

        Villanueva is off to a very slow start at AAA

  • Eugene Debs

    Will the Cubs ever score again?
    I know, we keep running into 32 yr old journeymen buzz saw spot starters, but I would like to see us score here and there.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    BONAFACIO WITH THE WALK!!

    Gotta start somewhere…
    C’mon Junior…HR here would be nice!

    • John_CC

      or anything but a strikeout.

      • John_CC

        i guess that was too much to ask for

  • BosephHeyden

    This is the second time catcher’s interference has been called in a week on the Cubs. That’s two more times the acceptable number in a year.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Junior bailed on that inside pitch about 1/2 second after it hit the glove…funny.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    that was a bit inside…Junior was right to lay off it.

    • John_CC

      With two strike count? You gotta protect.

      I like Lake, but his approach is bad. 17 Ks in 58 PA.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I am substituting for Board right now…it’s tougher than it looks.

  • BillyFinT

    Wow, and this is a long inning. LOL Beautiful defense featuring Rizzo-Shark combo. Twice.

    • BillyFinT

      Make that 3!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo flashing the defense

  • BillyFinT

    Alfredo Simon was becoming a longman who served some closer duty, before he served real jail time. Some said he didn’t really shoot his
    cousin dead. Who knows? Judgement on his rowdy isle of Caribbean Sea all sounded suspicious.

    Then the Reds just converted him to starting. Now he is, new to the job, dominated the Cubs, before his defense failed him.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Cubs scored a run …

  • BigJonLilJon

    Missed the first 7 innings but based on what I’m seeing in the 8th… Tell me again why just letting the youngsters play is a bad idea???

  • cubtex

    Heard Pat Hughes say the Cubs haven’t won a series over the last 10 series. Unless they win the next 2 games against the Reds…make that 11.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Maybe that could be a good contest question. When will Cubs win there first series of this season?

      • Eugene Debs

        2016

        • cubtex

          Good one

        • BigJonLilJon

          Could be. I’ve tried to stay positive and support the “plan”, but I just don’t know how many of these games/lineups I can take!!

  • BillyFinT

    The Reds broadcast was talking about a golf ball in 1951 being the only ball that ever hit the Wrigley scoreboard. This fact-bit is perhaps the most interesting play of the game.

    Other than being interesting, the Play of the Game must be given to the second of the three consecutive groundball toss by Rizzo to Shark earlier. Routine plays made into fun bit. Not as interesting as something not concerning the Cubs today. Sadly.

    • BillyFinT

      Alright, I know the Reds have been scoring more runs and running more total bases than the Debacle Cubs. But they are still swingers, as free and easy as the Cubs batters be. Not the kind of game I’m expecting to enjoy every day. Discipline call, 911.

    • Sonate

      I read about that a long time ago. I think that it was Sam Sneed. (That’s how long ago it occurred.)

  • Eugene Debs

    There are about 100 fans left in the stands.

    • BigJonLilJon

      They must not be very bright!!

      • BillyFinT

        Hey!

    • cc002600

      did they have bags over their heads ? :-)

      I think Kaplan was right. This may be the worst team yet of the Theo era. Wow.

      • cubtex

        I have been saying the same. This years team is the worst. And that is a hell of a thing to say.

  • BillyFinT

    The result was good for Russell, but the Reds advocated free swing, while Bruce has never been known to be good against L.h.P. Yet, James needed a full count, 2 first pitces not into the strikezone, and 6 pitches total to keep the inning “cleaned again.” Not the best performance I’m hoping for.

    • Sonate

      Agree. I was amazed when I looked and found out he had no base runners (can that be true?).

  • Rational Logic

    Pulled some quick stats off ESPN.

    Thus far this season (excluding today), the Cubs have converted 31% of all base runners (hits+walks) into runs. To compare that, the Brewers (best record) and the White Sox (most runs) have ratios of 38% and 41%, respectively.

    It may not sound like much, but using Total Base Runners to date/Total Games for each team and multiplying that by 162 yields expected total baserunners for the season. Using the above conversion ratios, the Cubs are expected to score 552 runs. The Brewers come in at 677 and the Sox at 863, or 0.77 and 1.92 runs per game more than the Cubs for Brewers and Sox respectively.

    In a game where inches and small numbers matter plys given all the 1 run games I expect to watch the Cubs play this year, those numbers do not bode well against two of the better teams in the league thus far. This is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis, the sample size is too small and I did it very quickly and there are way too many other variables to get serious (read: just pointing out something about how horrid in terms of efficiency our offense has been). This, in a way, standardizes the runners left on base numbers and I cannot reject my null hypothesis that the Cubs are terrible.

    (If my numbers look off or anyone disagrees, happy to hear the comments)

    • GaryLeeT

      How can anybody argue with rational logic?

      • Sonate

        Hey, “fanned and faved”!

    • Rational Logic

      If I get some time, I’ll do the same based on the last few years, to see how much more “efficient” the most successful teams were than the losing teams. The caveat is obviously the other half-inning, pitching. You can put the most base runners on and create the most runs, but if you’re not scoring more than you’re giving up, it won’t matter.

      Maybe I can find some similar pitching analysis and combine (and regress) them. Sounds like a fun little project.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 4-1 to Reds on Friday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija: 3R, 1ER, 6H, 2BB, 7K, 7IP (113 pitches, 77 strikes)

    Rizzo: 2-4; Castro: 1-4, R; Castillo: 1-4, 2B; Valbuena: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB