Archive | May, 2009

Congrats to All of Our Free Cubs Tickets Winners So Far!

Posted on 12 May 2009 by Lou

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Well we can’t believe that we’re 31 games into the 2009 MLB schedule already.  It’s been fast and furious so far, with mixed results on the north side of Chicago.  The Cubs have battled through injuries to key players – Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Derek Lee, Milton Bradley & Geovany Soto – and are still 3 games over .500 with a 17-14 record.  The Cubs trail the 1st place Cardinals by only 2.5 games in the NL Central, so a 3rd consecutive Central Division crown is still in sight.

We wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate our 1st 4 free Cubs tickets winners:

Opening Day – April 13th v. Rockies – Ray from Chicago – Section 505, Row 3

Friday – April 17th v. Cards – Carlos from Chicago – Section 237, Row 25

Friday – May 1st v. Marlins – Section 209, Row 16 – due to a late scheduling issue on our part, our winner was unable to attend

Friday – May 15th v. Astros – Shannon from Elgin – Section 240, Row 30

We still have 10 weekends left for which we will be giving away 2 free Cubs tickets to games at Wrigley Field, so please spread the word around.  It’s never too late to sign up for our free cubs tickets lottery, as we try to notify winners at least 7-10 days before the day of the game for which they won.

And a special thanks to our ticketing partner – Ticketchest.com – for supplying the great tickets to the 2009 Cubs season for our great winners.  We could not have done it without the 1st class service of the guys at Ticketchest.com.  Ticketchest.com is a full service, nation-wide ticket broker located just a block from Wrigley Field on Clark Street.  Feel free to check out their site at Ticketchest.com for all your ticket needs.

And Go Cubs Go!

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Marshall, Bullpen Help Cubs Beat Brewers 4-2, Avoid Sweep at Miller Park

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Brewers 4-2 at Miller Park Sunday afternoon to prevent the Brewers bid for a 3-game weekend series sweep.  Sean Marshall pitched 5 innings, overcoming a rough start in which he gave up single runs in each of the 1st 2 innings.  Marshall settled down, however, and kept the Cubs in the game despite giving up 5 hits and 3 walks over 97 pitches.  The bullpen – which had handed defeat to the Brewers in the 2 previous games – Aaron Heilman with his 2-run home run to Ryan Braun in the 8th inning on Friday night and Neal Cotts, David Patton and Chad Fox collectively imploding in the 7th inning in Saturday night’s 12-6 loss – finally got it done at Sunday afternoon.  Angel Guzman pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings with 2 strikeouts.  Carlos Marmol had another interesting 8th inning allowing Ryan Braun to get to 3rd base on a double and a balk with no one out.  After striking out Prince Fielder, Marmol walked Mike Cameron and after J.J. Hardy popped out to shallow right field, Marmol walked Bill Hall to load the bases.  But Marmol induced a Jason Kendall groundout to keep the Cubs lead 4-2.  Kevin Gregg picked up his 6th save of the season although he did allow the tying run to come to the plate when he walked Rickie Weeks with 1 out.  Gregg rebounded to strike out Corey Hart and Ryan Braun to end the game.

The Cubs tallied their 4 runs in a big 3rd inning off of Jeff Suppan.  Alfonso Soraino tied the game with a 2-run home run.  Aaron Miles doubled and Kosuke Fukkodome singled to keep the rally going, and Milton Bradley drove in Miles with an RBI single to center field.  Fukodome moved up to 3rd base and scored the 4th run of the inning on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Jason Kendall.

The Cubs seem to be getting it done with smoke and mirrors – more about this tomorrow.  But at least the Cubs came away with a victory on Sunday.  At 17-14, the Cubs are just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals.  The next 6 games are against the Padres and Astros, so if the Cubs can win each of those series, they should have a chance to cut into that lead as the Cardinals take on the Pirates and Brewers during that stretch.  Then the Cubs play the Cardinals next week in St. Louis – already the 3rd meeting between the teams this season – for another chance to cut into the lead.  As long as the Cubs can ride out these early season injuries to Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez to keep it close, they should be able to make a push for the division lead during the long, hot summer.

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Aramis Ramirez Injured in 3-2 Cubs Loss to Brewers

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Lou

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The bad news keeps rolling for the Cubs.  After winning 6 of their last 7 games, the Cubs felt like they were finally starting to put things together in their 2009 schedule.  But just like that, the good news turned to bad news as Aramis Ramirez injured himself diving for Ryan Braun’s groundball in the 3rd inning of Friday night’s 3-2 loss to the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Ramirez dislocated his shoulder, something he had done when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2000.  Ramirez underwent an MRI in Chicago on Saturday and we’ll keep you posted with the results as soon as we hear anything.

Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about the injury:  “He’s definitely going to be DL’ed.  Period of time, we don’t know.  I’ve never seen anything quite like this.  Every day, it seems to be something different.”

Makes the timing of the Cubs trade for Ryan Freel for Joey Gathright even more important now.  GM Jim Hendry made the trade on Friday afternoon before the start of the Cubs-Brewers game.  Freel will see immediate playing time with the Ramirez injury, and hopefully he can act as a catalyst for an offense that has sputtered from time to time.

It also makes the trade of Mark DeRosa even more annoying / perplexing.  If DeRosa was still on the team, the Ramirez injury would be a big deal, but the Cubs and Cubs fans would feel a lot more comfort knowing that DeRosa would man the hot corner until Ramirez’s turn.

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Cubs Lose Heart-Breaker, Ramirez In 3-2 Loss to Brewers

Posted on 09 May 2009 by Lou

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The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Ryan Braun’s 2-run home run off Aaron Heilman in the bottom of the 8th inning was the game-winner.  Heilman walked Corey Hart on 4 straight pitches to start the inning, and after falling behind Bruan 1-0, he grooved a fastball that Braun crushed over the right center field fence to give the Brewers the 3-2 lead.  They say walks always kill you, and in this situation, it certainly did.  Heilman’s ERA is now 5.14 and the Cubs bullpen continues to disappoint in 2009.

Randy Wells made his 1st major league start filling in for the injured Carlos Zambrano.  While it wasn’t pretty – 5 hits and 2 walks – Wells was able to get out of jams and stood to earn his first career major league win as he departed with a 2-0 lead.  But Angel Guzman gave up a solo home run to JJ Hardy in the 6th inning to cut the lead to 1, and then Heilman worked his disastrous 8th inning.

The Cubs did have a chance to break open the game in the top of the 8th inning.  With the bases loaded and only 1 out, Ryan Theriot hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in Koyie Hill being forced out at home and Geovany Soto grounded out to the shortstop to end the threat.

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Aramis Ramirez injured his left shoulder diving for a ground ball in the 3rd inning.  The Cubs believe that Ramirez dislocated his shoulder and will likely spend somewhere between 4-6 weeks on the disabled list to recover.  We’ll keep you posted once we hear more on the injury.

The Cubs will need Ryan Dempster to step up his game on Saturday as the Cubs take on Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers again on Saturday.  Gallardo has been lights out in his last 4 starts – giving up only 5 earned runs over 30 innings with 30 K’s.

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Cubs Top Astros 8-5 in Wild 9th Inning

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Astros 8-5 on Thursday night, completing a 2-game sweep of the Astros in Houston.  The Cubs are no 4-1 in Houston this season.

Ted Lilly picked up his 4th win of the 2009 campaign – going 6 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Lilly also had 5 K’s.  Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning of relief.

The Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the top of the 9th inning and were prepared to have closer Kevin Gregg finish off the victory for the Cubs.  But in the Cubs half of the inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run home run – his 2nd homer of the game and his 9th on the season – Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single and Mike Fontenot walked with the bases loaded to increase the Cubs lead to 8-2.  So instead of using Gregg, Manager Lou Pinella opted to go with recently called-up reliever Chad Fox.  Fox imploded – recording just 1 out and giving up 3 earned runs on 2 hits and a walk.  And ultimately, Gregg had to come in to close out the game for the Cubs.  Although Gregg did give up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Kaz Matsui and a single to Miguel Tejada, Gregg struck out Lance Berkman to end the game.

The Cubs are now 16-12 on the season, just 2 games behind the 1st place Cardinals.  The Cubs open up a weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night.  Randy Wells – just called up from the minors to start in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano – will make hist first ever major league start against Dave Bush and the Brewers.

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Cubs Send Jeff Samardzija Down To Minors; Call up Chad Fox

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Lou

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Not sure if GM Jim Hendry and Manger Lou Pinella really know what they want to do with Jeff Samardzija.  As spring training broke, the Cubs decided to send Jeff Samardzija down to the minor leagues to develop a 3rd pitch and work on his starting pitching.  Instead of keeping Samardzija at the major league level, they elected to go with Angel Guzman (who was out of options) and David Patton (who the Cubs had to keep in the big leagues or release without compensation).

Within 2 weeks, however, the Cubs released Luis Vizcaino (who had not allowed a run in his 4 2009 appearances) and called up Samardzija who had pitched well in 3 starts at Triple-A Iowa.  And with no room in the starting rotation, the Cubs moved Samardzija into the bullpen.  Does this make any sense at all, given what Hendry and Pinella had said just 2 weeks earlier?  No.

Samardzija struggled in the Cubs bullpen – 5 appearances, only 3 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 5 K’s and a hefty 8.10 ERA.  Now I’m not making excuses for Samardzija – he did not pitch well – but you have to have a plan with a young player.  And it seemed like Hendry and the Cubs were comfortable with Samardzija going back to the minor leagues to get stretched out again to work on pitches as a starter.  To change that plan within 2 weeks just doesn’t make any sense at all and could ultimately hurt Samardzija in the long run.  One would think that Samardzija is a guy that the Cubs want to use as a starter in the future.  Let him grow and learn and get more innings in at the Triple A level.  Let him work on new pitches and get comfortable throwing those pitches.  Having Samardzija on a carousel back and forth to Iowa just doesn’t make sense – let’s hope it doesn’t hurt him in the long run.

Chad Fox appeared in 3 games for the Cubs in 2008.  He was 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA and  a 1.50 WHIP.  The Cubs plan to use Fox in the 6th and 7th innings of ball games.

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Cubs Place Carlos Zambrano on 15-day Disabled List

Posted on 06 May 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs placed ace pitcher Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, May 4th.  Zambrano has a Grade 2 left hamstring strain.  Zambrano injured his hamstring legging out a bunt single in Sunday afternoon’s win.  The single started the game-winning rally which resulted in Derrek Lee’s grand slam that gave the Cubs the 6-2 lead for good.

The Cubs called up infielder Bobby Scales to take Zambrano’s spot on the roster.  The Cubs will likely call up Randy Wells to start Friday night’s contest against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Zambrano had this to say about the injury:  “It was a normal run and three steps before I got to the bag, I felt a pop in my hamstring.  I tried to hustle with a flat tire at that moment, I tried to get to the base.  When I crossed the base and was safe, I felt more and more pain.”

GM Jim hendry had this to say about placing Big Z on the DL:  “Obviously, he doesn’t want to go on the DL, which is a part of him that we like.  But at the same time, the doctors feel he needs 2, 2 1/2 weeks to be 100 percent.  There’s no reason to puch him and it would be foolish on our part to puch it because it could get worse.  The easiest situation is to take care of it now.”

Good news Cubs fans – guess it could have been a lot worse.  Now maybe this will convince Carlos not to break the bat over his leg when he strikes out in the future.

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Cubs Split 2-Game Series with Giants

Posted on 05 May 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs split the 2-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Monday and Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

In Monday night’s 4-2 win, Ryan Dempster defeated Jonathan Sanchez with 7 strong innings.  Dempster needed only 102 pitches – giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks.  Dempster recorded 7 K’s.  Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 8th inning, giving up 1 hit and striking out 2.  While Kevin Gregg worked a scoreless 9th inning for his 4th save on the season.  Although Gregg did issue another walk, he struck out 2 and recorded the final out of the game on a great catch by Reed Johnson in center field.  The Cubs scored early and often to take a commanding 4-0 lead.  Geovany Soto’s walk with the bases loaded plated the Cubs first run in the 1st.  Ryan Theriot’s 2-run home run in the 2nd inning – his 3rd homer in 4 games – increased the Cubs lead to 3-0.  The Cubs added an insurance in the 5th inning on Reed Johnson’s sacrifice fly.

In Tuesday’s loss, Tim Lincecum outdeuled Sean Marshall 6-2.  The Giants jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 3-run home run by Bengie Molina in the 1st inning.  The Cubs chipped away at the lead with a run in the 2nd inning on a Mike Fontenot ground out and a run in the 5th inning on a Marshall single.  In the meantime, Marshall settled down and kept the Giants without another run until the 8th inning.  Marshall walked Edgar Renteria and gave up a hit to Rich Aurilia before being replaced by Jeff Samardzija.  Samardzija self-destructed hitting the 1st batter he faced and then giving up a 2-RBI double to Aaron Rowand and an RBI single to Randy Winn.  That gave the Giants the cushion that they needed to preserve the 6-2 win. Marshall fell to 0-2 as his ERA rose to 4.15.  Samardzija’s struggles continued in 2009 as his ERA rose to 8.10.

The Cubs went 4-2 on this short 6-game home stand at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs are 14-12 on the young 2009 schedule.

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Zambrano, Lee Power Cubs Past Marlins 6-4

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Marlins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field to take 3 of 4 games from the Marlins during the weekend series.  The Cubs have won 3 straight games and are 3.5 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

The win did not come without a cost.  Starter Carlos Zambrano, who earned his 3rd win of the season, injured his left hamstring while beating out a bunt single in the 5th inning.  Zambrano initially stayed in the game, but came out shortly thereafter because of tightness in the leg.  The Cubs will likely take a cautious approach with Zambrano and that means he could be placed on the disabled list.  The Cubs do not want Zambrano to alter his pitching motion in order to compensate for the injury to his hamstring, so the only way to do that could be to shut him down for 15 days.  We’ll have more as the Cubs update his status over the next few days.

Zambrano’s bunt single actually started the key rally for the Cubs in the 5th inning.  Soriano flied out after Zambrano’s bunt, and then Ryan Theriot also bunted for a single to send pinch-runner Rich Harden to 2nd base.  Kosuke Fukodome then reached on an error by 1st baseman Ross Gload which kept the inning going for Derrek Lee.  And D Lee made them pay – hitting a grand slam to give the Cubs the commmanding 6-2 lead.  Aaron Miles had an RBI double in the 2nd inning and Mike Fontenot hit a solo home run in the 4th inning – his 5th home run of the year.

Zambrano pitched effectively through the games first 5 innings – 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk.  Zambrano also had 1 K.  Angel Guzman gave up 1 run over 2 innings of work, and Carlos Marmol gave up a run on a solo home run to John Baker.  But Kevin Gregg shut the door on his former team for his 2nd straight save and 3rd overall on the season.

Before the Sunday matinee, the Cubs retired the #31 to honor 2 legendary Cubs pitchers – Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

The Cubs start a 2-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.  Ryan Dempster will face Jonathan Sanchez in the opener, while Sean Marshall will duel defending-Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in Tuesday’s matinee finale.

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Get There Early Today for Jenkins / Maddux Retirement Ceremony

Posted on 03 May 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs will retire # 31 to honor the careers of Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux on Sunday afternoon before the Cubs – Marlins game.  The ceremony is set to start at 12:40PM CST.

Check out the Jenkins & Maddux Career Numbers here and get ready to celebrate the careers of 2 great Chicago Cubs pitchers…

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