Solid match up on the mound today as Jeff Samardzija takes on A.J. Burnett in a rematch of Opening Day. The Cubs had a solid approach yesterday for the most part as they made Liriano work, but couldn’t get a clutch hit to save their life. The Cubs will have to do more of the same with Burnett, make him throw strikes and get in deep counts and they should have some success. First pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM CST, here are the lineups.
If you knew nothing about baseball and sat down to watch this one you would think that the Cubs were the team fighting for its playoff life and the Pirates were on their way to a 100 loss campaign. Well, we all know that it’s the other way around, which is what makes this game so very weird. Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs tonight and was nearly perfect over six strong innings, he gave up no runs on one hit while walking three and striking out five. It’s always easier to pitch with a big lead and that is exactly what the Cubs offense gave Wood early on. By the time Wood left the game in the 7th the Cubs held a 12-0 lead, yes you read that right, can’t remember the last time the Cubs were on the right side of one of these. Sure the Cubs offense was solid tonight, but they got a lot of help from the Bad News Bears, I mean Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucco’s made seven errors tonight, seven, that’s really hard to do in a major league game. Starlin Castro had a historic night in Pittsburgh, sure he went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI’s but the thing that will be remembered tonight is Castro recorded his 500th hit as a Major League player. For Castro to accomplish that feat before the age of 23 is amazing, just some context, he is a full two years younger than Pete Rose when he recorded his 500th hit. Alfonso Soriano and Brett Jackson stole the show in the field tonight as both guys made spectacular catches, robbing Andrew McCutchen both times, with Jackson’s catch quite possibly being the catch of the year. Jackson had to leave the game, but was only diagnosed with a bruised knee, he should be fine.
Brett Jackson’s Amazing Catch
Pirates Make Seven Errors
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Let’s hope the Cubs have some fire left over from yesterday as they could use some of that on the field this weekend against the Pirates. The season is becoming historically bad, and facing another contender on the road is not going to make it any better. The Cubs come into this series losers of six straight with only two wins in their last ten games. Anthony Rizzo is one guy that has been earning his paycheck of late as he is hitting .423, with a double, three home runs and three RBI’s in his last seven games. The pitching staff on the other hand should give their money back to the organization. The Cubs staff has a record of 0-6 with a 7.20 ERA, such is life in September with a bunch of guys basically trying out for next season. The Pirates have been mediocre as of late as they try to summon the energy for one final push for the postseason, they trail both Atlanta and St. Louis in the race for the Wild Card by 1.5 games.
Season Series: Pirates lead 6-3
Prediction: Cubs Win Series 2-1, how do you like those apples?
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Around the League: February 6, 2012-February 12, 2012
Monday, February 6
- Pitcher Anibail Sanchez won his arbitration case against the Marlins (1 yr. 8MM).
- Orioles designate former Cub Clay Rapada for assignment
- Rockies acquire RHP Jeremy Guthrie for Pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.
- Nationals sign Mark Teahen to a minor league deal.
- Rangers sign Conor Jackson and Joe Beimel to minor league deals.
- Cardinals sign Alex Cora to minor league deal with a spring invite.
- Astros sign OF Justin Ruggiano to minor league deal with spring invite.