The Cubs dropped the 1st game of the big weekend series against the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field 8-3. Not a good way to start of the weekend. Entering the game, the Cubs trailed the 1st place Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central. At worst, the Cubs needed to split the 4-game series with the Cards to remain 3.5 games out of 1st place. Now that means they must win 2 of 3 the rest of the way before next week’s All-Star Break. A tall task for a team that just can’t seem to buy a clutch hit.
After scoring just 1 run in each of their previous 2 losses to the Braves at Wrigley Field, the Cubs managed just 3 runs against the Cards – all on Derrek Lee’s 3-run HR in the 3rd inning that tied the game at 3. The Cubs did manage 9 hits in today’s loss, but they left 13 men on base. Just awful.
Rich Harden had another atrocious start but did manage to get 2 hits off Cards’ starter Chris Carpenter. Harden struggled through 101 pitches in 5 innings. Harden gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and 4 walks, but did strike out 6 Cards hitters to minimize the damage. Reliever Aaron Heilman was a train-wreck in his one inning of work. Heilman gave up 4 ER on 3 walks and 2 hits and saw his ERA rise to 4.35 and his WHIP rise to 1.65. Heilman has been a major disappointment for Manager Lou Pinella, GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs in 2009.
One positive – Jeff Stevens – acquired from the Indians in the off-season trade that sent beloved Mark DeRosa to Cleveland – made his major league debut and pitched a 1-2-3- 9th inning.
Here’s how the rest of the weekend looks:
Saturday – 3:10PM – Ted Lilly v. Brad Thompson
Sunday – 12:05PM – Randy Wells v. Kyle Lohse
Sunday – 7:05PM – Carlos Zambrano v. Adam Wainwright
Saturday’s game almost becomes a must-win for Lilly and the Cubs…
The Cubs lost to the Braves 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon. It was the same old story for the Cubs bats – only 6 total hits and only 2 walks drawn. Not good. The Cubs sole run came on a Kosuke Fukodome home run in the 6th inning. The Cubs went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, never coming through with the clutch hit. Kevin Hart took the loss for the Cubs. The Cubs have now scored 1 or less runs in 15 of their last 47 games. Incredible.
The Cubs are 41-41 and trail the 1st place Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central race. The Cubs and Cards open a big 4-game weekend series at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.
So much for the Cubs bats breaking out. Javier Vazquez shut down the Cubs offense for the 2nd time this year as the Cubs fell 2-1. Tuesday night, the Cubs managed just 5 hits against Vazquez, scoring their lone run on a 2-out single by Koyie Hill in the 2nd inning. Vazquez did not walk a batter and struck out 6 as the Cubs left 12 men on base. Vazquez ERA is now 2.95 and his WHIP is 1.05. Vazquez has dominated the Cubs this season in 2 wins – 13 2/3 innings pitched, 1 ER, 14 hits, 2 walks & 11 K’s.
Braves closer Rafael Soriano put the clamps down on the Cubs in the 9th inning earning his 9th save. Soriano now has a 1.59 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP – amazing.
Aramais Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits for the Cubs. Carlos Zambrano made the start on 3 days rest and threw 91 pitches in an efficient 6 inning start. He took the loss though – giving up 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks, with 6 K’s. Big Z fell to 4-4 on the 2009 MLB schedule.
The Cubs fell to 41-40 on the season, and with the Cardinals 5-0 win over the Brewers, the Cubs are now 3 games out of 1st place in the NL Central.
The loss of Ryan Dempster to the disabled list with a broken toe also forced the Cubs to recall Kevin Hart to start Wednesday’s afternoon finale against Kenshin Kawakami. Kawakami held the Cubs to just 3 ER in 7 innings of a Braves 6-5 win in Atlanta back on June 2nd.
Randy Wells is my Cubs MVP for 2009. Wells won his 4th straight start as the Cubs beat the Braves 4-2 at Wrigley Field on ESPN Monday Night Baseball. Wells needed only 87 pitches to get through 6 innings. He gave up 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks while striking out 4. In a tumultuous season in which the Cubs have had to deal with injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, Wells has stepped in to fill the void and even bumped 5th starter Sean Marshall from the rotation once Big Z and Harden were able to return full time. Wells has been nothing but brilliant with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wells should even have 3 more wins under his belt, but the Cubs bullpen blew leads in those games after Wells had left with the lead intact.
Derrek Lee also continued his hot hitting with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Lee went 2 for 4 on the night, while new lead-off hitter Kosuke Fukodome had another great night at the plate going 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. Kosuke’s RBI double in the 2nd inning increased the Cubs lead to 3-0 and Ryan Theriot’s single right after that capped off the Cubs scoring for the evening.
Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win for the Cubs.
The Cubs recalled 3 players from rehab assignments. Aramis Ramirez started at 3rd base and batted 5th in the lineup – he went 0 for 4. Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman were also recalled but did not see game action. To make room for the 3, the Cubs sent Sam Fuld and Kevin Hart back down to Triple-A Iowa and put David Patton on the disabled list. The Cubs also traded Ryan Freel to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later.
The Cubs have won 6 of their last 10 games and are now 41-39 on the season. The Cubs have the same number of losses as the Cardinals and Brewers with less games played, so for as badly as things have gone in 2009, the Cubs are still right in the thick of things.
Cubs defeated the Brewers 8-2 on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Ted Lilly improved to 8-6 on the season, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing just 2ER on 9 hits and no walks. Lilly fanned 9 Brewers players. Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning with 2K’s and seems to be back on track.
Derrek Lee and Jake Fox were the hitting heroes for the Cubs. Derrek Lee went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 1 run scored, including a 2-run HR in the 1st inning. Fox went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, including a 2-run HR in a 3-run 4th inning. Kosuke Fukodome, Ryan Theriot, Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot each had 2 hits for the Cubs.
The Cubs trail the Cards by 2.5 games and the Brewers by 1.5 games in the NL Cental race. The Cubs have a 3-game seies against the Braves before opening up a huge 4-game weekend series against the Cards at Wrigley before the All-Star Break.
The Brewers crushed the Cubs 11-2 on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Former Cubs player Casey McGehee had a career day going 4 for 5 with 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. McGehee was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Rich Harden took the loss – going 2+ innings, giving up 7ER on 8 hits and 1 walk. Batting 6th in the lineup for the 1st time all season, Alfonso Soriano went 0 for 4 with 2 K’s. David Patton and Jeff Samardzija each gave up 2 ER in relief outings. Ouch.
With the Reds beating the Cards, the Cubs stayed 2.5 games behind each of the Brewers and Cards for 1st place in the NL Central.
It’s about time! Manager Lou Pinella has finally moved Alfonso Soriano down in the lineup for today’s game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Soriano has been awful in 2009 after a decent start – .226 batting average; .291 on-base percentage; 26 walks, 77 K’s. From June 24th-28th, Soriano actually had 2 hits in each of 4 of 5 Cubs games, but he has gone hitless in his last 3 games. Soriano will bat 6th in the lineup in today’s game, with Kosuke Fukodome assuming the lead-off role for the Cubs. The rest of the Cubs lineup looks like Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, Milton Bradley, Jake Fox – 2-5 – and then Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot 7th and 8th in the lineup.
The Cubs defeated the Brewers 2-1 in 10 innings on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Jake Fox’s bases loaded walk with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th inning forced in the winning run. The Cubs may have caught a break as Mark DiFelice’s pitch appeared to get much of the plate despite being a tad high. DiFelice was shocked that the home plate umpire called the pitch a ball, but it is what it is and the Cubs have taken the first 2 games of this big weekend series.
Jeff Suppan and Carlos Zambrano dueled for much of the game. Zambrano lasted 7 innings, giving up just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks. The lone run scored when Big Z walked Corey Hart with the bases loaded in the 4th inning. Zambrano also hit Prince Fielder with a pitch. Suppan also pitched 7 innings, giving up just 1ER on 4 hits and 2 walks. His lone run scored on a Carlos Zambrano single to center field. Suppan also hit Derrek Lee and Jake Fox.
Kosuke Fukodome had a game-saving play in the 7th inning with the score tied at 1. On Prince Fielder’s line drive single to center field, Kosuke came up firing and nailed Suppan at the plate to prevent the Brewers from taking a 2-1 lead.
The Cubs left 2 runners on base in each of the 8th and 9th innings, but finally got the winning run in the 10th. Ryan Theriot got a 1-out single and advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch. After Derrek Lee flew out to right field, the Brewers intentionally walked Milton Bradley to get to Geovany Soto. DiFelice threw 3 straight balls and ultimately intentionally walked him to get to rookie Jake Fox. With the count 3-2, Fox fought off pitch after pitch and eventually took ball 4 to win the game.
Kevin Gregg pitched 2 scoreless innings in the 9th and 10th to pick up his 3rd win of the season. Gregg has now held the other team scoreless in 24 of his last 27 appearances. He has issued only 8 walks in the last 28 appearances as well (he had walked 8 batters in his 1st 10 appearances on the season). The lone hit charged to Gregg was a pop up that Milton Bradely lost in the sun in the 9th inning that would have ended the inning. This is not the 1st time that Bradley has lost a ball in the sun this year and luckily it didn’t cost the Cubs the game on Friday. Bradley is a complete disaster this year – one of GM Jim Hendry’s worst signings ever. Rumor has it that Bradely and Manager Lou Pinella exchanged wors after the game. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.
The Cubs and Brewers play Game 3 of the weekend series today at 12 noon at Wrigley Field. Rich Harden will battle Braden Looper – both pitchers have a 1.40 WHIP and ERA’s over 4.50, so it should be a slugfest at the Friendly Confines today!
Derrek Lee powered the Cubs to a 9-5 victory over the 1st place Brewers with 2 home runs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field. Lee’s 3-run HR gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead inthe 1st inning. Lee’s 2nd home run of the game was a grand slam in the 4th inning, capping off a 5-run inning that gave the Cubs a 9-2 lead. Lee went 2 for 4 on the night and had a career-best 7 RBI’s. Lee now leads the Cubs in HR’s (14) and RBI’s (48). Jake Fox and Geovany Soto also each hit solo home runs for the Cubs, as the Cubs scored all of their runs via the long ball. Sam Fuld continued to swing a hot bat getting 2 hits and scoring 2 runs. Ryan Theriot was the 3rd Cub batter with 2 hits on the night.
Ryan Dempster did the job to protect the Cubs early lead. Dempster went 6 2/3 innings giving up 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks. Dempster struck out 9 Brewers batters in picking up his 1st win since the end of May. Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning despite issuing a walk (his 39th free pass in 38 1/3 innings) to slugger Prince Fielder. Marmol has now worked 3 straight scoreless innings after struggling against the White Sox last weekend.
It was a big win for the Cubs as they needed to get off to a good start in this big 4-game weekend series with the 1st place Brewers. The offensive explosion is a good sign that the Cubs are primed and ready to contend for a 3rd straight division title. The Cubs have their work cut out for them as they still need to jump 2 other teams (the Cards and Reds) in order to achieve that 1st place goal. Stay tuned as Carlos Zambrano battles Jeff Suppan in Game 2 of the exciting 4th of July weekend series with the Brewers…