Cubs fans collectively held their breath last week when Matt Garza left with an apparent injury. Initially we got word that he would miss his next start and pitch on Monday, July 30, but today Cub fans got the news they didn’t want to hear. An MRI showed that Garza still has fluid in his right tricep and Dale Sveum told reporters today that he will not pitch Monday and will be pushed back to later in the week. Later in the week means after the trade deadline on Tuesday, which is bad news for the Cubs as it becomes highly unlikely the Cubs will be able to move him before the deadline. The Cubs are not placing Garza on the DL hoping to keep what little hope alive that a deal still might be struck. One has to wonder when the Cubs will get some good news on the trade front.
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The Cubs try to keep it rolling in St. Louis this weekend amid reports that Ryan Dempster is on the verge of being traded. Because of the trade being imminent, at least per reports, Ryan Dempster has been pulled from his start tomorrow. From the sound of it Casey Coleman will take Dempster’s start tomorrow as he was scratched from his Iowa Cubs start tonight. The report of Dempster being pulled is coming from MLB Network, but has not been confirmed by any of the local media or the Cubs themselves at the time of this preview. So, aside from all of that, the Cubs continue to be the hottest team in baseball since late June. They come into this series with the Cardinals on the heels of a 5-1 home stand, and a series win over the Marlins. Conversely the Cardinals come into this series limping as they are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have fallen into third place in the Central division, five full games out of first. The Cardinals have led the NL in runs scored for quite some time, but they are struggling as of late, only scoring 51 runs in July (14 games), which is good for 12th in the NL over that time. By comparison the Cubs have scored 63 runs in July, good for 6th in the NL. The only reason the Cardinals have kept their head above water this month has been their pitching, they boast a staff ERA of 2.65 in July, the best in the National League. The Cubs have been really good as well with a 3.19 ERA in July, good for 4th in the National League. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Lot’s of news to sift through today on the rumor front, so here goes..
The Nationals are the latest team to get involved with the Cubs and Ryan Dempster. The thought here is that the Nationals want a veteran arm to help them down the stretch given the innings limit for Strasburg. Assuming they adhere to that 160 inning limit they will have a hole in their rotation and instead of plugging a system guy into the rotation they want a legit top of the rotation guy, hence Dempster. Ken Rosenthal wrote about the Nationals interest in Dempster earlier today.
There is a reason that most of the rumors I report are about Ryan Dempster, Joel Sherman thinks it’s because Dempster is the first domino of the trade season. For that reason, among others, the Cubs do not want to delay the trading of Ryan Dempster and would like to deal the right hander “this week” according to a MLB executive.
Ken Rosenthal speaks to that rumor about the Cubs wanting to move Dempster immediately as he says that the Cubs have started exchanging names with other teams. He lists the “finalists” as the Dodgers, Tigers, Braves, Red Sox, and the Nationals.
The Cubs other big trade arm, Matt Garza is also being asked about quite often. Danny Knobler is reporting that the Kansas City Royals have asked about Garza as they want to add a big FA arm for the 2013 season. Because Garza has one more year of control after this year he would fit the criteria of being that big arm for the 2013 Royals rotation. The best news yet for the Royals is they wouldn’t have to convince Garza to sign as a FA, they just need to acquire him in a deal, not exactly an easy task but might be easier than obtaining a big arm on an open market.
There have been a few reports that the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to move James Shields, and the Marlins might be interested in moving Josh Johnson. The reason this is news to the Cubs is that it could add arms to the trade market, thus lowering the value of a Matt Garza. I haven’t seen anything concrete about Shields or Johnson but there are whispers about them being available.
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Matt Garza will take the mound today against Trevor Cahill and the Arizona Diamondbacks. By all acounts the wind is gusting out to right and it is extremely hot at Wrigley today. We’ll see if the Cub can continue their winning ways today at 1:20 CT on WGN.
DeJesus – CF
Castro – SS
Rizzo – 1B
Soriano – LF
LaHair – RF
Clevenger – C
Barney – 2B
Garza – P
Finally Cubs baseball is back on Friday, and with the way the Cubs have been playing that is actually a good thing. The Cubs are red-hot, winning nine of their last fourteen games which has moved them out of last place in the Central Division. The Diamondbacks have taken a step back this season after being one of the surprise teams last year. Sub par years from Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy have contributed to that fall from the top of the West. Mediocre is a word that should be used in describing the D-Backs season to this point, they are 6th in runs scored, and 10th in ERA in the National League respectively. The Cubs still sit near the bottom of the league in both runs scored and ERA but this has been a different team since Anthony Rizzo got the call near the end of June. In order for the Cubs to be successful this weekend they are going to have to get a lead early against the D-Backs starters as they rank near the bottom of the NL, 14th to be exact, in starter ERA with a 4.26. While the pen for Arizona is 6th best in the National League, full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Matt Garza really can’t figure out this pitching on the road thing. Garza fell to 2-6 on the road as the Braves knocked around the Cubs starter en route to a 7-3 victory to finish the four game series with a split. Things were really over before they started tonight as the Braves made Garza throw 44 pitches in an exhausting first inning. A pair of two-run homers did the trick for Atlanta, one by Jason Heyward, and one by Brian McCann to put the Braves up 4-0 at the end of one. The Cubs got their first hit and their first run of the game in the fifth when Geovany Soto hit his 6th home run of the season to make it 5-1 Atlanta. The Braves got that run right back in the bottom half of the fifth to make it 6-1, but the Cubs weren’t dead yet. A Reed Johnson pinch hit RBI single, and a throwing error by Heyward in the 6th brought the Cubs back within three but that’s as close as they would get. Garza finished the night only making it through four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three of which were home runs while walking three and striking out six. Mike Minor had his way with the Cubs lineup, as most lefties do, as the Cubs only managed five hits on the night. Anthony Rizzo extended his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4 with a single. The Cubs will finish off the first half in New York against the Mets this weekend, full box score and highlights after the jump.
The Cubs look to win the series from the Braves as they send Matt Garza to the hill to take on Mike Minor. The Cubs have already clinched the season series from the Braves, taking three out of four would be the exclamation point. Here’s how the Cubs will line up.
1. DeJesus CF
2. Castro SS
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. LaHair RF
6. Soto C
7. Barney 2B
8. Valbuena 3B
9. Garza P
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