Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 07/05/14

Game Eighty-Five – Cubs (38-46) vs. Nationals (46-39)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
  • Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC

Carlos Villanueva (4-5, 5.91/1.64/3.77) vs. Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 3.93/1.27/3.34)

To say a lot has changed since the Cubs won their fourth game in a row would be an understatement. And Rick Renteria and his staff now face the huge challenge of keeping his players focused while dealing with the loss of two of its clubhouse leaders.

Carlos Villanueva will start today’s game in place of the recently traded Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have recalled LHP Chris Rusin to help get through the game. Rusin is expected to act as a minor league piggyback for Villanueva today. Rusin last pitched Wednesday for Iowa, so today would be his throw day and he should be able to give the Cubs two to three innings, depending on his pitch count.

The Cubs are in the process of sorting out the Major League and Triple-A rotations. Tsuyoshi Wada will start one of the two games in Cincinnati on Tuesday and the Cubs are expected to bring up a reliever from Iowa before Sunday’s finale against the Nationals. While it was not said, Blake Parker should be the bullpen arm added to the active roster.

While the players are dealing with the loss of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the offense will have the tough task of figuring out Gio Gonzalez. The southpaw shut down the Cubs last Saturday at Wrigley for seven innings with Dallas Beeler recording one of the two hits.

So while Carlos Villanueva is getting the ball in the first inning of the game, today all starts with Rick Renteria and his coaching staff …

Carlos Villanueva is making his fifth start of the season today. Villanueva completed two innings on July 2 and depending on his pitch count, Villanueva should be able to go four innings this afternoon. Villanueva gave up two runs and picked up the win in long relief of Travis Wood. Villanueva was hittable in a long, wild game in Boston.

PrintAs a starter this season, Carlos Villanueva is 1-3 in four starts with a 9.68 ERA and a 2.09 WHIP. Villanueva has allowed 20 runs, 19 earned, on 35 hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. Villanueva makes his first start today since April 25 in Milwaukee.

Carlos Villanueva is 2-1 in 13 career appearances, one start, against the Nationals with a 2.30 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. Villanueva is making his first start at Nationals Park today and he is 1-0 in four appearances with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP in the new park in DC.

Nationals Career Numbers against Carlos Villanueva

The Cubs made Gio Gonzalez look very good last Saturday at Wrigley and managed just two hits off the southpaw. Gonzalez threw seven innings of shutout ball while walking two batters and striking out seven. If the Cubs use the same game plan today, the streak could be in real jeopardy.

Gio Gonzalez has not allowed a run over his last two starts and has surrendered only five hits. The key to Gonzalez is making him work, and the Cubs did not do that a week ago. Gio Gonzalez is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, and at Nationals Park this season, he is 2-1 in five starts with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Today will be the sixth time Gio Gonzalez has started a game against the Cubs in his career. Gonzalez is 2-1 in the first five with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Gio Gonzalez

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Don't wish it were easier. Wish you were better." - Jim Rohn

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Lake CF
    Ruggiano RF
    Rizzo 1B
    Castro SS
    Castillo C
    Olt 3B
    Coghlan LF
    Barney 2B
    Villanueva P

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

      If Lake and Olt don’t hit it could be a long day. Hopefully Ruggiano stays hot along with Schierholtz. Obviously Rizzo and Castro need to do their thing.

      • RynoTiger

        and the long day starts with the Lake K…0-16 and 10 Ks during Lake’s continued decline

      • RynoTiger

        Junior Lake made contact!!! but still managed to make himself an easy out. *sigh*

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    It’s an inconsistent strike zone … one for the Nationals and one for the Cubs, so far. Not good.

  • GaryLeeT

    Can someone please explain to me what was the point of starting a relief pitcher, and having a starter relieve him?

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Ricky being Ricky…going with the gut, working a hunch, old-school keeping it real managing on the fly, yo.

    • Denver Mike

      I’m pretty sure today was Rusin’s day to throw on the side, so they knew they’d only get 2-3 innings out of him. Villanueva on the other hand, only pitched in relief of Wood a few days ago and would figure to be able to give you a couple more innings…either way it doesn’t look to be working out too well!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Gary, I have the details in the preview.

      • GaryLeeT

        I read those before I commented. I just didn’t understand why they were used in that order.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          It was Rusin’s throw day, that is usually 40-50 pitches off a bullpen mound. Not flat ground. It is not uncommon for team’s to use guys out of the pen on a throw day.

          Villanueva was already with the team and the trade made them scramble a lot.

          • RynoTiger

            and of course Rusin also had to travel from Oklahoma City where Iowa was playing. given the flight schedule the Cubs could get him on, he may have been tired as well. Whereas Villanueva was already in D.C. and had a chance to get a full night of rest without any potential jet lag.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          A little more on this. What should have been done was to line up say Rusin or Beeler or even Wada on the same days with Hammel and Samardzija that way when a trade happened at least a starter would have been able to be used on regular rest.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Soler has returned the Tenn Smokies. Hopefully he can the rest of the season with no more issues.

    • Denver Mike

      Ideally, if he and Russell move on from their respective hamstring issues and can finish out the year strong at AA, both would have to figure to start next year at AAA and represent the “next wave” after Bryant/Baez/Alcantara.

      • Swish23

        i don’t think 60 days at AA ball will suffice to get moved up the ladder. Bryant hit .350 plus for 90 days before he got moved.
        considering Russell is 20 and Soler has missed alot of time in 2 years; both are destined for AA ball next year. and with the Ricketts family worries about starting the clock; Bryant, Alcantara, and Baez very well might start next year at AAA ball anyway.

        • Jeffrey Rogers

          Depends on what he does during the fall / winter. Maybe he goes the AZFL and dominates. I think you are right though he probably starts in AA. It’s not a bad thing.

        • Denver Mike

          Soler was moved up to AA to start this year after only 236PA at A+ last year. If he finishes out the year at AA he will have approximately the same number of PA as last year. There is a precedent for this already, so it would make perfect sense if he can stay on the field and play as well as he has.

        • Denver Mike

          It’s easy to play it safe and expect the worst, but my bold prediction is that Alcantara is up before the end of this year, both he and Bryant start next year with the big club (or Bryant is up in May), and Baez gets traded this offseason.

          Not based on anything but my opinion and a little hope.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Alcantara will be up here in September no matter what he’s on the 40 man roster.

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          Alcantara will be here in September no matter what he’s on the 40 man roster.

  • Redlarczykg

    The new Cubs Way plan to lose lose lose so some day we will be great, is back in effect. Our goal to win the first round choice.

    • RynoTiger

      well I actually asked Theo if he is concerned that his might upset you, and he said “Rumpelstiltskin who?”

  • Eugene Debs

    I suppose this means the clubhouse has weighed in on yesterday’s trade. Stick a fork in this season, Les Expos will be playing out the season with little passion.

    • GaryLeeT

      We’ve seen this movie before.
      “OK boys you can shut er down, thanks for participating in this years player flip, and high draft pick lottery.

      • SirGladiator

        I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. While it would’ve been natural for the team to have a letdown after losing their ace, our hitters went out there and did the exact same job they normally do when Samarja is pitching, no letdown whatsoever :) !

    • triple

      Yeah, a bunch of professional ball players just decided to pack it in quit playing the sport they love in June because a couple players got traded. More likely, Gio Gonzalez got the best of them today while the Cubs didn’t not have their best foot forward to fill in the spot start today with the Villavueva and Rusin tandem. With Arrieta starting tomorrow, I’m sure the Cubs will bring their A game and have a good shot at winning their third road series in a row.

  • GaryLeeT

    As close to an actual forfeit as you will ever see.

  • Tom U

    Just returned from a family party. Went 4-for-6 in the softball game and turned a neat pivot on a 6-4-3 double play.

    • paulcatanese

      Well at least someone played well today. Nice job Tom.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 13-0 to the Nationals on Saturday afternoon … Villanueva: 4R, 5H, BB, WP, 2K, 2+ IP (58/35); Rusin: 5R, 9H, BB, WP, 4K, 3.2 IP (73/47)

    Ruggiano: 2-4; Castro: 1-3, BB; Castillo: 1-4; Coghlan: 1-3; Cubs: 0R, 5H, 1BB

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    At least Ruggiano went 2-4 hopefully he gets traded soon.