Game Seventy-Five: Cubs (26-48) vs. Mets (39-36)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (5-6, 4.34/1.37) vs. Jon Niese (5-3, 3.75/1.27)
Updated 10:03 am CDT – Randy Wells Designated for Assignment – Rafael Dolis Recalled from Triple-A Iowa
Can Dale Sveum’s team complete the sweep over the Mets? After two good games against the Metropolitans, the Cubs have a shot at completing their second three-game sweep of the season (Padres, May 28 – May 30). But in order to accomplish the task and equal their longest winning streak of the year, they will have to win a game started by a southpaw. The Cubs struggles against left-handers this season are well-documented … Sveum’s team is 4-16 against lefties.
Dale Sveum is going to need a long outing from Jeff Samardzija this afternoon. With the short outing from Randy Wells, Sveum had to use Scott Maine, James Russell and Shawn Camp each for basically two innings less than 24 hours ago. Sveum did not have to use either Jairo Asencio or Manny Corpas but even with Thursday’s off day, Samardzija might have to take one for the team if he struggles early.
As for today’s lineup, look for Dale Sveum to run out as many right-handed bats as possible. Anthony Rizzo is supposed to remain in the lineup but Jeff Baker will likely replace Bryan LaHair in right with Reed Johnson in center and Joe Maher at third. The two, three and four spots are expected to be the same as Tuesday night … Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano.
In other news … According to a report from the Sun-Times, the cortisone shot Ian Stewart received in his left wrist did not help with his discomfort. Stewart is hoping for the pain to subside soon to avoid exploratory surgery. Stewart acknowledged that would be the next step and he could make the decision to have the surgery soon.
Update – The Cubs designated Randy Wells for assignment on Wednesday morning and recalled Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa. The roster move creates a spot on the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39 players.
Today it all starts with Jeff Samardzija … There are no two ways about it Jeff Samardzija needs to put together a good outing this afternoon. After a decent start against the Red Sox (three runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings), Samardzija took a step back in his last game. Samardzija threw the ball rather well until the third time through the lineup. Samardzija did not adjust and Arizona did. Samardzija ended up allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five-plus innings.
Samardzija has shown how good he can be, now it is time he shows he can repeat his performance.
Jeff Samardzija was 3-2 in six starts in May with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. In 40 innings, Samardzija struck out 40 and walked 11 while giving up 31 hits. In his last four starts (0-3), Samardzija has walked 11 and struck out 19 with 27 hits in 19 innings (8.53 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP).
Like many of his teammates, Samardzija has been much better at Wrigley (3-2 in six starts with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.98) than on the road (2-4 in eight starts with a 6.37 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP) this season.
Jeff Samardzija has faced the Mets six times in his career (0-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP) and this afternoon will be his first start against the Metropolitans.
Mets Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-2
- Lucas Duda – 1-for-2
- Ruben Tejada – 1-for-2
- Josh Thole – 0-for-1
- Andres Torres – 0-for-1
- Justin Turner – 1-for-2
- David Wright – 0-for-2
Jon Niese is putting together a solid season for Terry Collins and if not for guys named Dickey, Santana and Gee, Niese would be getting more attention. Niese is coming off a win against the Yankees. The lefty gave up two runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
After beginning the season 2-0 in his first four starts with a 2.81 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP, Niese had a horrible May (1-2 in six starts with a 6.07 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP) but is back on track. Niese is 2-1 in his last four games with a 2.05 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Niese’s home and away splits are almost identical. Niese owns a 2-2 mark in seven road starts with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP and at Citi Field, Niese is 3-1 in seven starts with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
Jon Niese is 1-2 in four career starts against the Cubs with a 5.95 ERA and a 1.98 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 1-1 in two starts with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese
- Jeff Baker – 4-for-6
- Darwin Barney – 2-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-6 with a triple
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-4 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 2-for-4 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-10 with a double and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO