on Comcast SportsNet
On the hill: Chris Rusin (2-4, 2.85 ERA); Tyler Thornburg (2-1, 2.18 ERA)
Rusin vs. Brewers: 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1 K, 2 Walk, 3.2 IP
Thornburg vs. Cubs: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 K's, 3 Walks, 6 IP
Brewers at at a glance: 67-83 (4th in National League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cubs)
Will Brewers continue their streak? Despite being just 4.5 games ahead of the Cubs in the standings, the Brewers continue their dominant run this year against their division rival. Will the North Siders be able to turn that all around this afternoon?
Brewers pitching leaders: Wins - Yovani Gallardo (11); ERA - Kyle Lohse (3.46); Strikeouts - Gallardo (131); Saves - Jim Henderson (25)
Brewers batting leaders: Average - Jean Segura (.296); Home runs -Carlos Gomez (20); RBIs - Jonathan Lucroy (78); On-base percentage - Norichika Aoki (.350)
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MILWAUKEE – Here’s how Jeff Samardzija would rate these blow-ups on the Cubbie Occurrence Scale: “About a 1.”
The night after manager Dale Sveum pointed his finger and barked at Edwin Jackson, Samardzija got into a shouting match with third-base coach David Bell at Miller Park. It was another high-definition moment capturing the frustration for a 63-88 team.
At least Samardzija could laugh about it and put this in perspective after crossing the 200-innings/200-strikeouts marks during Tuesday’s 4-3 walk-off loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
“We’ve had some other pretty good characters here on these teams that would overshadow it,” Samardzija said.
[RELATED: Is Dale Sveum on the hot seat?]
The longest-tenured player in a Cubs uniform has lived through Carlos Zambrano meltdowns and Lou Piniella’s volcanic temper. Old buddy Ryan Dempster couldn’t help himself from throwing things in the dugout and yelling at Sveum and Mike Quade.
There was the broken water pipe at Dodger Stadium after getting swept out of the playoffs in 2008. There was the time Carlos Silva had to be separated from Aramis Ramirez during a 2011 Cactus League game.
“Listen, there’s a lot of cameras out there,” Samardzija said. “That’s just the way it is. Everything gets seen. You can’t hide anything. Just competitive dudes, man, playing to win a game.
“It’s good to see – people care. Our record isn’t where we want it to be right now but nobody’s happy about it. We’re out here scraping and clawing and doing everything we can to win a ballgame. And Belly’s the epitome of that.”
Bell handles the defensive shifts. Samardzija was ticked off at where first baseman Anthony Rizzo was positioned on Norichika Aoki’s triple in the sixth inning.
“I think so,” Bell said with a smile. “Sometimes, when stuff happens, you don’t hear everything each other’s saying.”
Samardzija escaped that jam but gave up a two-run lead in the seventh inning when Carlos Gomez drilled the game-tying, two-run homer 354 feet out to left field. Samardzija has made 31 starts and will get two more, trying to finish strong in what has been an up-and-down season (8-12, 4.42 ERA).
“I love everything about this guy,” Bell said, “the way he competes and the way he cares and just the way he goes about everything. The intensity – it’s going to make him a great pitcher for a long time.”
Bell – a third-generation big-leaguer – played on the 2001 Seattle Mariners team that won 116 games and went to the World Series with the San Francisco Giants in 2002.
“(With) some of the best teams I’ve ever been on and the best players I’ve ever been around, this stuff happens quite often, unfortunately,” Bell said. “It’s not something you ever want to happen. But in the heat of the moment…things like this are going to happen. Absolutely, with the best teams and the best players, it seems to happen more. So it’s just not a big deal.”
Sveum met with Jackson to clear the air the day after the $52 million pitcher got pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning of an eventual 6-1 loss to the Brewers.
“It’s the only incident, really, I’ve had as a manager,” Sveum said. “You’re not going to go through a managing career without having something happen like that. People are out here being competitive and in this case probably he wants to stay in a game and you understand all that.”
Sveum rarely shows his emotions and has built some good relationships inside the clubhouse, creating a professional environment. The cameras don’t catch everything, and the media only sees so much, but team president Theo Epstein described Sveum vs. Jackson as the first incident in two difficult seasons.
“(That’s) a feather in Dale’s cap,” Epstein said. “He’s got a very even-keeled, calm demeanor and I think that rubs off on the clubhouse atmosphere in general. So considering that it’s a big market and there had been some brush fires in the past here, I think you have to give Dale a lot of credit for that.”