The Cubs used a 4-run 8th inning to come from behind to beat former Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins and the Brewers 7-6 on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Despite trailing for much of the day, the Cubs never gave up. After the Brewers struck for 2 insurance runs in the top of the 8th inning off of Jeff Gray in his first appearance in 2010, the air seemed to be sucked right out of the Friendly Confines as the Brewers increased their lead to 6-3. But the Cubs batters were patient in the bottom of the inning against Hawkins. After a Jeff Baker single, Geovany Soto and Tyler Colvin worked walks to load the bases for the Cubs. Ryan Theriot’s single to right scored Baker and Soto to cut the lead to 6-5. After Theriot stole 2nd base to get into scoring position as the go-ahead run, Kosuke Fukudome’s seeing-eye single to right field scored Colvin and Theriot with the winning runs. Theriot had 4 hits on the day.
Carlos Marmol was filthy-nasty in the top of the 9th inning as he recorded his 3rd save of the season in as many chances with a perfect line through the heart of the Brewers order. Marmol needed just 15 pitches as he struck out Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to preserve the 1-run lead. Randy Wells started off well, but he was a little shaky from the 4th through the 7th innings. Overall, Wells worked 6 1/3 innings giving up 4 ER on 10 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.
The effort was something we rarely saw in 2009, so let’s hope this is a good sign of things to come during the 2010 MLB schedule for the Cubs. Go Cubs Go!
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5 in the 2010 Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon. After a few missed scoring opportunities in the early innings against Brewers starter Doug Davis, the Cubs broke the game open with a 5-run 3rd inning and a 3-run 4th inning. Xavier Nady got the party started with a 3-run shot to deep left field that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. Two batters later, Jeff Baker crushed another ball out onto Waveland Avenue for a 2-run shot that increased the Cubs lead to 5 runs. Derek Lee added an RBI single in the 4th inning and then Aramis Ramirez increased the Cubs lead to 8-1 with a home run to left center field that brought home Lee.
Ryan Denmpster – in his 1st ever home opening start at Wrigley – wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t need to be as the Cubs offense finally got things going for their starting pitcher. Dempster worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 7 hits and 4 walks. He struck out 5 and picked up his 1st win of the season — “It’s easy when your team goes out there and scores that many runs I made it a little bit harder than it had to be. It was more so fastball command. I wasn’t able to get ahead of too many guys.”
Marlon Byrd had 3 hits in his Wrigley Field debut, while Lee, Nady and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits in the win.
Randy Wells looks to keep the Cubs perfect at home in Wednesday’s start against the Brewers. He will face Dave Bush in the 1:20 start that could see game time temperatures in the high 70’s!
Ryan Dempster takes the hill for his 1st ever home opening start at Wrigley Field for the Cubs. He will square off against Doug Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers. Dempster took a tough no decision on Wednesday against the Braves in Atlanta, tossing 6 innings of 1-run ball. He gave up just 3 total hits and 2 walks, while striking out 9 against an explosive Braves lineup that erupted for 8 runs against Carlos Zambrano in the 1st 2 innings of the season opener just 2 days earlier. Although the Cubs led 2-1 into the 8th inning, John Grabow served up Chipper Jones’ 2-run home run to give the Braves the win. But Dempster has put that behind him — “I’m excited. Any game at Wrigley Field is a lot of fun. The first home opener will be special for me. I’m excited and ready to go and just treat it like any other start… They [the Brewers] have a good team. They always have a good team. I’ve faced them so many times. They know what I throw, they know what I hit. It’s just a matter of going out there and executing pitches.”
Let’s hope that Dempster is on his A game. The Cubs offense has been just downright brutal through the 1st week of the season. After scoring 5 runs in the season opening loss to the Braves, the Cubs have combined for just 13 total runs in the next 5 games – that’s less than 3 runs per game. That is unacceptable from the highest team salary in the National League and it better turn around soon before Manager Lou Pinella lets loose.
One positive – the Cubs have played well at Wrigley Field under Pinella and home field advantage goes a long way in a tough, gritty National League Central Division where every game counts. The Cubs were 12 games over .500 at Wrigley Field in 2009 and they have won 145 games over the last 3 seasons at the Friendly Confines under Pinella – good for a .599 winning percentage. Let’s hope that trend continues in 2010 for the Cubs – they’re going to need it…
Wow – this team just doesn’t know how to win. Talk about trends. I feel like this is 2009 all over again…
The Cubs lost to the Reds 5-4 on Friday night as the team wasted another solid outing from a starting pitcher. This time it was Carlos Silva who tossed 6 innings of 1-run ball, giving up just 3 hits and no walks. He had 3 K’s and he left the game with the Cubs leading 3-1.
That all evaporated as Esmailin Caridad imploded in the 8th inning. After having a stellar end to 2009 and an incredible spring, Caridad looked like a deer in headlights on Friday night with the game on the line. He walked the 1st 2 batters and then the Cubs couldn’t record an out on a great sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Caridad promptly served up a game-winning grand slam to Drew Stubbs. 5-3 Reds lead — game over…
Sure Derrek Lee hit a solo HR off of Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero in the top of the 9th inning to cut the lead to 1, but you knew this team wouldn’t finish off the rally.
Now I know it seems like I am blaming this all on Caridad, but the Cubs offense is also to blame. Despite cracking out 11 hits (4 by Mike Fontenot who seems to have found his stroke), the Cubs scored just 3 runs. In each of the 1st 3 innings, the Cubs left 2 runners on base. The 6th inning was the only inning that the Cubs were retired in order. The Cubs had their chances, yet they failed to come through with a clutch hit that would have broken the game wide open. This is also a trend.
Poor bullpen work + poor clutch hitting = many, many losses. With a team already playing tight because of the awful 2009 season and the high expectations, this is not the way Manager Lou Pinella wanted his team to start the season. Time is of the essence guys – let’s get it going soon, or it’s going to be too late very soon. I can’t wait to hear the “boo birds” at Wrigley Field at the home opener on Monday if this club starts the season losing 5 of its 1st 6 games…
Ted Lilly’s sore back kept him from making a scheduled start for Triple-A Iowa today. His session was pushed back a few days until Sunday. Although Manager Lou Pinella said that “this is not a setback”, how can it not be? The Cubs were pushing a fast schedule for Lilly to get back into the Cubs starting rotation by the 3rd week of the season. At this rate, it will be a week since his last outing when he threw 67 pitched over 5+ innings in a minor league game in Mesa. Is he really ready? Should they give him another 2 minor league starts to make sure he is fully healed? Given the off days built into the schedule in the 1st two weeks of the season (see below), why rush him back when we won’t have to rely on Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny too much. The Cubs need Lilly to make close to 30 starts, so I would take it slow with the veteran. But I guess they don’t pay me to make these decisions.
Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild and Pinella tweaked the Cubs starting rotation a little given Carlos Zambrano’s short opening day start. Zambrano will now start Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati. Tom Gorzelanny gets bumped back to a Sunday start against the Reds. Ryan Dempster will make the Cubs home opener against the Brewers at Wrigley Field on Monday. Wells will face the Brewers on Wednesday, while Zambrano will come back and pitch the series finale against the Brewers on Thursday. Carlos Silva will have to wait a week before he makes his 2nd 2010 start on Friday against the Astros at Wrigley Field. Given all of these off days and the juggling of the rotation, the Cubs will not have needed a true “5-man rotation” until the 3rd week of the season when the Cubs travel to New York to face the Mets.
Let’s hope the Cubs can put together a nice little string of starts against upcoming “weaker opponents” like the Astros, Mets and Nationals in the month of April…
At last — the Cubs finally picked up their 1st win of the season behind the dominant pitching of Randy Wells. Wells tossed 6 shutout innings, scattering 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 1. Wells was excited to go 1 for 1 this season after having to wait 8 starts (despite pitching well) to pick up his 1st win in 2009. The bullpen – although a little shaky – preserved the win with 3 scoreless innings of relief. Sean Marshall remained perfect on the season by retiring the only 2 batters he faced in the 7th inning. Esmailin Cardidad gave up a hit in the 8th and John Grabow – in another awful appearance – followed that up with a walk to the only batter he faced, but Carlos Marmol saved the day. He got out of the 2 on jam in the 8th and also got out of a mini 9th inning jam that he created himself by giving up a walk and a hit. Marmol is now 1 for 1 in save chances in 2010, and the Cubs are relieved to put that first win behind them.
The offense still lacked any consistency. Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd provided solo home runs to account for the Cubs only runs. Colvin continued his solid hitting after a torrid spring, and Byrd has hit home runs in 2 of his 1st 3 games with the Cubs — take that Milton Bradley! Derrek Lee and Koyie Hill were the only other Cubs players to record hits. Other than that, there wasn’t much to talk about. I know the Cubs faced 3 great Braves starters, but you have to be better than that. The Cubs should have some good chances this weekend against the Reds in the hitter-friendly . They face Homer Bailey, Aaron Harang and rookie Mike Leake – if we don’t see a lot of runs on Friday and Sunday, I will officially start worrying about this offense again.
Cubs fans and Manager Lou Pinella are already frustrated – and it’s only been 2 games. This is not the way the Cubs wanted to start their season – with a close 3-2 loss courtesy of an 8th inning 2-run home run that John Grabow served up to Chipper Jones.
The Cubs wasted a great outing from Ryan Dempster – 6 innings, 1 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 9 K’s. Although the Cubs did manage 7 hits in the loss, the only 2 runs that they scored were unearned, courtesy of an error by Troy Glaus on Ryan Dempster’s weak ground ball with runners on base. Sean Marshall had another solid appearance – 1 perfect inning with 2 K’s, but it was John Grabow who failed to get the job done. Grabow gave up a hit to Martin Prado and then the crushing blow to Chipper Jones. At some point, you just have to do your job, and right now, the Cubs players are not doing their jobs. Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee are still both hitless, while Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot each just have 1 hit. This is unacceptable.
Granted, it is only 2 games. But when you are losing the same way that you have been losing the last year or so, you have cause to be concerned about a negative pattern developing (and staying) with this Cubs squad. It is essentially the same team (save for Marlon Byrd instead of Milton Bradley), so unless we see some change her early this season, we could be in for another long, frustrating season for the northsiders.
Randy Wells looks to get the Cubs on track with their 1st win. Wells pitched well in a start against the Braves in Atlanta in June. He had a no hitter through 6 innings, and the Cubs bullpen ended up blowing a lead for him late that cost him a win. Pinella has made 3 changes in the bottom of the Cubs lineup for tonight’s game – Tyler Colvin makes his 1st 2010 start in place of Alfonso Soriano; Jeff Baker is batting 7th instead of Mike Fontenot; & Koyie Hill is catching and batting 8th instead of Geovany Soto.
It won’t be any easy task for the Cubs as they face another dominant pitcher – Tommy Hanson. Hanson is only 23 years old, but he won 11 games in 2009 with a 2.89 ERA and 116 strikeouts in just 21 games. Given the fact that the Cubs have only scored 6 runs on 12 hits in the 1st 2 games of the season, it is hard to imagine them breaking out against this tough righty tonight. Look for an 0-3 start for the Cubbies — let’s just hope they manage to win 1 game before they return home to Chicago and the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field on Monday…
Dempster has not fared well against the Braves in his career. Although he is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA against the Braves during the last 2 MLB seasons, he will be searching for his first career win in Atlanta. In 9 starts at Turner Field (15 appearances overall), he has a horrible 5.10 ERA and an 0-8 record. Not good.
The Cubs offense could also have problems against Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens won 14 games for the Braves in 2009 with a sparkling 2.60 ERA. He got better as the season went on winning 4 of his final 5 starts with a 0.97 ERA. In his only start against the Cubs in 2009, however, Jurrjens gave up 4 runs in 6 innings of a 4-2 loss.
We’ll keep you posted – let’s hope we’re talking about a 1-1 Cubs team on Thursday and not a winless Cubs club…