Archive | April, 2010

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Cubs Get Back in Win Column with 11-5 Drubbing of DBacks

Posted on 30 April 2010 by Lou

The Cubs bats finally came to life in their 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.

It looked like it might be another long day as the Cubs fell behind 4-1 through 4 1/2 innings, but the Cubs scored in each of the 4th through 8th innings and finally broke it open with Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run homer in the 6th inning that gave the Cubs their 1st lead of the game at 6-4.  Although Chris Snyder’s leadoff home run off of Randy Wells cut the lead back to 1 run in the 7th inning, the Cubs added 3 insurance runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Derrek Lee and on bases loaded walks to Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.  The Cubs finally had their first back-to-back homer game as well when Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd went back-to-back in the 8th inning.  All in all it was a good showing from the northsiders who desperately needed a win after 2 close losses to the Nats and a blowout loss by Ted Lilly yesterday.  Kosuke Fukudome also hit a home run for the Cubs and now leads the team with 5 long balls (and a solid .344 batting average).

Randy Wells improved to 3-0 despite giving up 5 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings pitched.  He did however have 8 strikeouts with no walks.  John Grabow, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.

Go Cubs!  Let’s make it 2 in a row when Carlos Silva takes on Dan Haren at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon at 12:05…

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Ted Lilly, Offense Awful in 13-5 Loss to DBacks at Wrigley Field

Posted on 29 April 2010 by Lou

Ted Lilly was awful and the Cubs offense managed just 2 hits through the game’s 1st 6 innings as they lost to the DBacks 13-5 at Wrigley Field.

Ted Lilly looked sharp through the game’s 1st 3 innings, but he got into trouble in the 4th when he lost all control of the strike zone.  Lilly walked Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds to start the inning and then served up Adam LaRoche’s 3-run bomb to deep left center field.  After a double to Cole Gillespie, then Lilly served up a 2-run bomb to deep left field that put the DBacks up 5-1.  Lilly worked through the 5th inning, but served up another homer to LaRoche in that inning as well.  Not good.

It didn’t help that the Cubs bats were non-existent during the early part of the game.  Sure they got on the board 1st with Ryan Theriot’s RBI single in the 3rd inning, but that would be all the excitement you would see until Kosuke Fukudome’s Grand Slam off of Ian Kennedy in the 8th inning.  Kennedy and 1 reliever held the Cubs to just 6 hits during the game.

Out of the bullpen, Jeff Gray struggled again – giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and 1 walk in 1 1/3 inning.  James Russell didn’t fare much better, although 4 of the 5 runs he gave up were “unearned” because of Aramis Ramirez’s throwing error.

The lone bright spots — Justin Berg and Sean Marshall each worked perfect innings to close out the game.  Both Berg (3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) and Marshall (3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP) have been consistent for the Cubs out of the bulpen right from the start of this disappointing season.  Manager Lou Pinella had a “mini” blow-up during yesterday’s post-game conference.  Man, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in there today – he might take somebody’s head off…

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Cubs Suck in Close Games

Posted on 29 April 2010 by Lou

Simply put, the Cubs suck in close games in 2010, following a trend that killed the Cubs during the disappointing 2009 MLB campaign.  So far this year, the Cubs have played 12 games in which the outcome was decided by 2 runs or less.  How many of those games do you think the Cubs have won?  You guessed it — just 4.  Not good, not good at all.  Going 4-8 in close games is not gonna get it done for Manager Lou Pinella and his club.  They are 10-12 and they already trail the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals by 4.5 games in the NL Central race.

Pinella snapped at a reporter after the Cubs lost 3-2 to the Nationals at Wrigley Field when he suggested that Pinella should have had Mike Fontenot bunt after Marlon Byrd led off the 8th inning with a double.  Pinella responded — “Bunting what? With a left-handed hitter up, you want to bunt?  What kind of baseball do you play? How about getting him in? Or getting him over by swinging? How about that?”

Well, Lou, I hate to disagree with you, but given how anemic the Cubs offense has been in close games, that’s precisely the reason you have Fontenot bunting in that situation.  With a runner on 3rd and only 1 out, that gives Koyie Hill or Geovany Soto the chance to drive in the tying run.  And if either of them can’t get it done, then you still have a pinch hitter coming up with 2 outs needing only a hit or error to drive in the tying run.  Call me crazy, but when you’re pressing in close games, you have to make it easy as possible to get any run across the plate, even if it means giving up an out.  You’d think Lou’s been around long enough to know that, but it seems he’s being a little stubborn by not playing small ball.

Oh yeah, check out our Cubs Fun Fact of the Day from yesterday! So much for Ted Lilly making it 7 straight quality starts for Cubs starting pitchers.  Yikes – Lilly gave up 6 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks (including 3 home runs) in only 5 innnigs of work.  That is definitely NOT a quality start…

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — “Quality” Starting Pitching

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Lou

We really hope you like this new feature. We’re giving it a shot, so please send in any comments.

Without any further ado, here is your “Cubs Fun Fact of the Day”:

Although the Cubs are just 10-12 on the young 2010 schedule, the starting pitching has been electric thus far.  Ryan Dempster’s 8 inning, 3ER effort in today’s 3-2 loss to the Nats marked the 6th straight game in which the Cubs received a “quality start” from their starting pitcher.  A quality start is defined as a game in which the starting pitcher for a team completes at least 6 innings and does not allow more than 3 earned runs.  Dempster started off the streak on Friday night in the Cubs 8-1 win over the Brewers.  Ted Lilly tossed 6 scoreless innings in Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Brewers and Randy Wells made it 3 straight quality starts with his 7 innings in the Cubs 12-2 win over the Brewers on Sunday.  Back home at Wrigley Field, Carlos Silva made it 4 in a row with 7 innings of 3-run ball on Monday night, and Tom Gorzelanny kept it going with 7 innings of 2-run ball in Tuesday night’s loss.  Dempster kept the streak alive despite losing today, and Ted Lilly has a chance to make it 7 straight quality starts for the Cubs tomorrow against the Diamondbacks.

Not sure when the last time an MLB team got 6 straight quality starts from its pitching staff, but I thought it was a pretty neat stat.  Come on Ted, let’s make it 7 in a row!!!

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Cubs Drop Series to Nationals @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Lou

Just when you think the Cubs are going to turn it around riding a 4-game winning streak, they lay an egg and drop the final 2 games of the series to the Nationals @ Wrigley Field.  So painful.  The Cubs reverted their own old recipe for disaster — waste great starting pitching by not getting any clutch hits.  Tom Gorzelanny was the tough-luck lose on Tuesday night as the Cubs couldn’t get through to 67-year veteran Livan Hernandez (just kidding – he’s “only” 35 years old but it seems like he’s been in baseball for 35 years).  Gorzelanny recovered after a shaky first inning to limit the Nats to just 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in 7 solid innings.  Despite having a 1.05 WHIP and 2.45 ERA, Gorzelanny is 0-3 on the season.  Ouch.  The Cubs actually out-hit the Nats 7-6, but they were only able to push through 1 run, on a fielder’s choice in the 2nd inning.

As if the 3-1 loss on Tuesday night wasn’t painful enough, the Cubs repeated the feat on Wednesday afternoon’s 3-2 loss.  Ryan Dempster pitched 8 great innings, allowing just 3 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 2.  Solo home runs to Adam Kennedy in the 1st inning and Adam Dunn in the 4th inning proved might costly for Dempster.  Dempster himself has a nifty 0.98 WHIP and 2.78 ERA, but is just 2-1.  Ouch.  Once again, the Cubs outhit the Nats 9-4, but could only push across 2 runs in the loss.  In each of the 5th, 7th and 8th innings, the Cubs got 2 runners on base but were unable to come through with any clutch hitting to tie the game at 3.  Poor and poorer.  Marlon Byrd led the way with the Cubs futility, leaving 6 runners on base during his 4 at-bats.

The Cubs are back to 2 games under .500, while the Nats improve to 2 games over .500.  The Cubs welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to Wrigley Field for 4 straight day games from Thursday through Sunday.  Let’s hope the Cubs can find some clutch hitting during this series.  Ted Lilly will make his 2nd start of the 2010 campaign and looks to build off a strong 1st outing in which he pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers in Milwaukee last weekend…

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Carlos Silva

Posted on 27 April 2010 by Lou

We have a new daily feature for the MyCubsToday website – a fun fact of the day related to Chicago Cubs lore.  It could be anything to do with a particular player or coach.  It could related to Wrigley Field.  Or it could relate to the Cubs organization in general.  We hope you like it, and here’s our first ever “Cubs Fun Fact of the Day”

We’ll start it off with a fact about Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Silva.  Silva has been a major surprise in the Cubs rotation during this 2010 MLB schedule.  After last night’s quality start, he has now made 4 consecutive quality starts to start off his Cubs career – a pretty impressive stat.  The last Cubs starting pitcher to start his Cubs career with 4 straight quality starts???!!!  You guessed it, current Cubs starter Ted Lilly he began his career with the Cubs with a bang back in 2007.  In his 3+ year stint with the Cubs, Lilly has made 96 starts and won 45 of them.  His 44 wins from 2007-2009 tops all Cubs starting pitchers during that same time span.  If Silva puts up those kind of numbers over the next 2-3 years, we will be very very happy Cubs fans, and we could finally be talking about a Cubs World Series Championship.  Ah, to dream…

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Carlos’ Lead Cubs to 4-3 Extra Innings Win Over Nationals at Wrigley

Posted on 27 April 2010 by Lou

What a way to open the Cubs 7-game homestand at Wrigley Field – with an exciting 4-3 10-inning win over the Washington Nationals.  It was a trio of Carlos’ that paved the way for the win for the Cubs.

Starter Carlos Silva notched his 4th straight quality start for the Cubs – 3 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings pitched.  If not for Willy Nieves RBI single in the 6th inning, Silva likely would have picked up his 3rd win of the season.

Newly-appointed right-handed set-up man (and former ace) Carlos Zambrano worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings and even worked out of a “mini” 2-on, 1 out jam in the 8th inning by getting an infield popup and a strikeout to end the threat.

And Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 3.  He got the win when Aramis Ramirez walked with the bases loaded to plate Ryan Theriot with the winning run.

Ramirez had a hit and 2 RBI’s in the win.  Marlon Byrd raised his batting average to .355 and has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Cubs all season.  Ryan Theriot had 2 hits and 1 run scored and is now hitting .333 for the season.

A new feature to our stories on Cubs games – the “Stat You May Have Missed Feature”!  For Monday’s win, you may have missed the fact that Alfonso Soriano walked THREE (3) times in the win.  Yes, you read that correctly — 3 walks for Alfonso “I swing at anything” Soriano.  Unbelievable.  If I was the Alias Sports Bureau, I could tell you how many 3-walk games that Soriano has had in his 3+ years in a Cubs uniform.  But since I’m not, I’ll simply say that you can count Soriano’s 3-walk games on one hand…

Cubs go for the 5-game winning streak in support of Tom Gorzelanny tonight at Wrigley Field.  Back at .500 at 10-10, can the Cubs get over .500 for the 1st time all season?  Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

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Cubs to host college football game at Wrigley

Posted on 27 April 2010 by David McCormick

The Chicago Cubs are set to host its first college football game since 1938 at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20.  Northwestern will take on Illinois in the Big Ten match up. The field is going to run from the cubs dugout to the right field bleachers. When the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley it ran from the left field bleachers to the visitors dugout, the Bears have not played there since 1970.

The last time Northwester and Illinois took the field on the north side the park was called Cubs Park and they had 32,000 fans show up in 1923.

Football field at Wrigley field

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Carlos Silva Looking Sharp Early in 2010 Campaign

Posted on 26 April 2010 by Lou

I must admit, I didn’t think we’d ever see outings like we’ve seen from Carlos Silva thus far this season — I was just glad that Milton Bradley was gone.  When he had an awful 1st start during spring training, my worst nightmares seemed to be coming true.  Silva was washed up after he had signed that big 4-year, $48 million free agent contract with the Seattle Mariners back in 2008.  He would never even get back to being an average pitcher who would eat up innings for the Cubs, he would just continue to rack up poor numbers and be the guy who went 5-18 with a hefty 6.81 ERA in his 2 seasons in Seattle.

But somehow, Silva turned it around this spring and won one of the open starting spots in the rotation fairly early in the process.  After that 1st bad outing, he became a much more focused and consistent pitcher and constantly pounded the strike zone.  He has continued that effort into the regular season in a big way.  Silva is 2-0 with a sparkling 0.93 ERA and a phenomenal 0.63 WHIP in 3 starts for the Cubs.  He has allowed just 1 ER in 2 of his starts and zero earned runs in his other start.  Typically a contact pitcher who relies on his defense to make plays and record outs, Silva has helped himself by giving up just 1 solo home run and issuing just 2 free passes all season long.  In fact, he didn’t even walk a batter this season until his most recent start against the Mets in New York this past week.

Silva is thrilled with his new “lease on life”: “Thank God for the three good starts.  I still have a little problem with my shoulder and everything.  God knows what I went through the last few years.  I’m a guy who never gives up.  Everything happens for a reason, and thanks God everything has gone well, but it’s a long, long season.”

Silva also credited the Cubs pitching staff for helping him get off to a good start — “[Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild] said ‘I want you to do this, this and this’.  I was like, Whoa’.  It gave me a lot of confidence in him.  I said ‘Wow, this guy is ready to work with me.’ That means a lot to me.  .. For the last two years, I’ve been working so hard to get something good out of all this work.  This is a good start, but we have to keep working hard.  There’s a long way to go.  I can continue helping this team.”

Silva has the right attitude and appears to be at a good place in his life.  He doesn’t take anything for granted – Milton Bradley – do you hear that? – and he takes responsibility for being ready to pitch every 5th day.  Now I know he won’t go undefeated or keep his ERA or WHIP under 1.00 forever, but this is a fabulous start for Silva and the Cubs.  It takes the pressure off the rest of the pitching staff and it gives him more and more confidence that he can be a dominating pitcher in this league – expecially in the lighter-hitting National League.  Good luck Carlos – we wish you the best!

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Cubs Crush Brewers 12-2; Complete 3-Game Sweep at Miller Park

Posted on 25 April 2010 by Lou

WOW – what a turn of events.  The Cubs were reeling after dropping 5 of 7 games to the lowly Astros and Mets.  But they didn’t give up and completed an impressive 3-game weekend sweep over the Brewers at Miller Park with a 12-2 rout on Sunday.  The Cubs scored 12 runs and belted out 18 hits, including home runs by Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Tyler Colvin and Geovany Soto.  Fukudome and Colvin each had 3 hits apiece, while Ryan Theriot had 5 hits and 3 RBI’s and now has his average up to .329 after a slow start to the season.  Theriot was even briefly demoted form the lead-off spot during the series against the Mets in New York.

Randy Weels did a great job on the mound – 7 innings, 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks, with 6 K’s.  Another great start from the dependable Wells.

The Cubs next face the resurgent Nationals in a 3-game set this week at Wrigley Field.  This isn’t your old Nats team, however, as the Nats have already won 11 games this season – 2 more than the Cubs.  Let’s keep the good times rolling on Monday night with Carlos Silva on the bump…

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