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Chicago Cubs Vs Pittsburgh Pirates: Pre-Game Notes, Lineup, and TV Info


On the same day that the starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija will be making his final start of the season for the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals announced that Stephen Strasburg has made his last start of the 2012 season.

The Nationals decision to shutdown Strasburg for the remainder of the season is an attempt to preserve the pitcher’s throwing arm and reduce the risk of injury. Strasburg is a year removed from Tommy John surgery. While Samardzija is older than Strasburg, considering he spent most of his professional career as a reliever, his throwing arm has not been taxed as much as the average 27 year old starting pitcher. For that reason, the Cubs felt it would be best for the long-term future and direction of the team to sideline Samardzija for the remainder of the season.

Sep 3, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) throws in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

The only difference between Samardzija’s situation and Strasburg’s situation is the fact that the Nationals are playing for the top spot int he National League, while the Cubs are playing with hopes of avoided 100 losses for the 2012 season. Strasburg is the Nationals’ best starting pitcher, for that reason, I have to disagree with their decision to sideline Strasburg. In Major League Baseball, nothing is guaranteed. No one truly knows what will happen in 2o13 until we actually are in the midst of the 2013 regular season. The Nationals have a prime opportunity to earn the top spot in the National League and have an inside track to the World Series, such an event will do wonders for that organization. However, now their chances at making the World Series are significantly decreased with Strasburg not playing a factor in their games.

As for Samardzija, I agree with the Cubs decision to shut the starting pitcher down for the remainder of the season. The Cubs are not in the same position that the Nationals are in. The Cubs’ 2012 season was geared towards determining who on the 25 man roster and in the farm system can be considered as a long-term asset. Samardzija has proven that he is indeed a long-term asset. It makes sense for the Cubs to not add unnecessary innings to Samardzija’s arm, instead, giving the opportunity for a pitcher to make his case to be a part of the team in 2013.

Here’s hoping that Samardzija finishes the 2012 season on a strong note and earns a victory against the Pirates on Saturday.

Broadcast Information

  • Television: Comcast Sportsnet Chicago
  • Radio: WGN Radio 720 AM
  • Game Time: 6:05 PM

Starting Lineup

  1. David DeJesus, Right Field
  2. Luis Valbuena, Third Base
  3. Anthony Rizzo, First Base
  4. Alfonso Soriano, Left Field
  5. Starlin Castro, Shortstop
  6. Welington Castillo, Catcher
  7. Darwin Barney, Second Base
  8. Jeff Samardzija, Starting Pitcher
  9. Tony Campana, Center Field

Pre-Game Notes

  • After making that incredible catch while banging into the center field wall, it is no surprise to see that center fielder Brett Jackson is not in the lineup. Jackson is dealing with a bruised knee as a result of that catch and is considered to be day-to-day. That catch by Jackson on Friday gave Cubs fans a glimpse of the potential that he has for the Cubs. Not only does Jackson’s speed contribute to his extra base power on offense, but it also contributes to Jackson being a good defensive outfielder. It is that style of play that Jackson brings to the table, and that is the reason he could be a lead by example type for the Cubs as they look towards the future.
  • It will be interesting to see how the Cubs’ lineup fares tonight against the Pirates as Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum opted to go with a Tony La’Rusa look to his lineup by batting Samardzija ahead of Campana. Campana is the ideal of any positional player to bat in the #9 spot of a National League batting lineup. Then again, one could argue that the chances are greater that Samardzija would make contact while batting as opposed to Campana.
  • Major League Baseball also announced that Cubs’ catcher Steve Clevenger has been suspended for one game as a result of his actions in Thursday’s benches clearing incident between the Cubs and Nationals. Clevenger definitely acted as an aggressor during that incident, and while appreciated, the suspension was warranted.