Game Fifty-Four: Cubs (23-30) vs. Diamondbacks (30-24)
- Game Time – 6:15pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (3-6, 2.85/1.05) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-3, 4.70/1.32)
Weather permitting … The Cubs are playing good ball right now and will look to keep the winning streak going tonight behind Jeff Samardzija.
The Cubs finished May with a 13-14 and while the rotation has been good all season, the Cubs have shown improvement at the plate and in the pen of late. The Cubs have outscored their opponent 31-8 in the last five games while hitting 11 home runs. Not only is Anthony Rizzo leading the NL in extra basehits (29) but as a team the Cubs have recorded a league leading 181 extra basehits, ten more than the Colorado Rockies.
Bob Brenly is back in Chicago and will be calling tonight’s game on FOX.
Can the Cubs keep the streak going and start a new month on a winning note? Tonight it all begins with Jeff Samardzija.
Jeff Samardzija is coming off his best start in the big leagues. Samardzija dominated the White Sox on the South Side and ended up with the first complete game shutout of his career. Samardzija found a rhythm early and went right at the Sox after the offense gave him a cushion. Samardzija allowed just two hits with a pair of walks while striking out eight.
Some questioned where Samardzija was after his rough outing in Washington back on May 10. But Samardzija has more than righted the ship. It is not too often a pitcher has arguably his worst big league start and his best within the same month of a baseball season.
Samardzija has pitched rather well at Wrigley this season. Samardzija is 1-1 in four starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP (25 strikeouts, 10 walks and 20 hits allowed in 25 innings). Samardzija must not help the Diamondbacks out with free passes, which has been somewhat of a problem for him at home this season. The nearly 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio on the road (55 strikeouts, 14 walks) is where Samardzija needs to be at Wrigley Field.
Even with the bad outing against the Nationals, Samardzija is 2-2 in his last five starts with a 2.31 Era and a 0.91 WHIP.
Tonight will be just the second time Jeff Samardzija has started a game against the Diamondbacks. Samardzija is 0-1 in six appearances, one start, with a 6.52 ERA and a 1.76. Arizona pounded hi pretty good last June at Chase Field. Samardzija lasted only five innings and allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Willie Bloomquist – 1-for-3
- Paul Goldschmidt – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Eric Hinske – 1-for-2 with a triple
- Jason Kubel – 1-for-2 with a walk and a home run
- Miguel Montero – 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk
- Wil Nieves – one walk
- Gerardo Parra – 0-for-1
- Martin Prado – 1-for-8
- Cody Ross – 0-for-5 with two walks
- Josh Wilson – 0-for-1
Ian Kennedy has really struggled since his breakout season of 2011 in which he posted a 21-4 record in 33 starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Kennedy struggled last season, with the rest of his teammates. But while Kirk Gibson’s team is playing good ball and has seemed to put last year in the rearview mirror, Kennedy has picked up where he left off last season.
Kennedy has given up 58 hits, eight home runs, and walked 23 batters while recording only 50 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings. Kennedy missed his last start after he cut his hand. But in the start prior, Kennedy posted a quality start at Coors Field (four runs, three earned, on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts) and did not issue a free pass for the first time this season.
Ian Kennedy is 1-1 in his last four starts with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP and will be making his seventh career start against the Cubs tonight.
Ian Kennedy is 2-2 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 6.94 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Kennedy is 1-1 in two starts at Wrigley with a 6.92 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP … and was 1-1 in three starts against the Cubs last season with a 8.40 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Ian Kennedy
- Darwin Barney – 3-for-9 with a walk
- Welington Castillo – 0-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 6-for-16 with two doubles and a triple
- David DeJesus – 4-for-11 with two doubles and four walks
- Scott Hairston – 1-for-6 with a home run
- Dioner Navarro – 1-for-9
- Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-6
- Nate Schierholtz – 2-for-13 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-11 with a double, three home runs and three walks
- Luis Valbuena – 1-for-7 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …