Archive | May, 2010

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Kosuke Fukudome — Can he Keep it Up?

Posted on 04 May 2010 by Lou

Following up yesterday’s Alfonso Soriano facts/stats with a Kosuke Fukudome sighting seemed like the appropriate thing to do.  Back in 2008 (Fukudome’s 1st year in the United States with the Cubs), he started off hot by hitting a game-tying 3-run home run in the 9th inning against the Brewers on Opening Day and staying hot all through the month of April with a batting average over .300.  But by the end of the season, Fukudome had a batting average of only .257 hitting just 10 home runs and driving in 58 RBI’s.  2009 brought a similar stat line — .259 batting average, 11 HR’s, 54 RBI’s.  Sure his on-base percentage was solid – .359 and .375, respectively, but was he really worth $12 million a year for 4 years?

Well we’re seeing the same hot start for Kosuke in 2010, but I must admit, he seems a lot more relaxed and confident at the plate.  Is it having 2 years under his belt in the U.S.? Is it something new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo noticed in his swing and Kosuke’s willingness to listen to his American coaches now?  Whatever it is, I have been seriously impressed with the results.  Kosuke already has 5 HR’s and 17 RBI’s in the 2-hole.  He has a .342 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage.  Most importantly, he already has 14 walks and just 11 K’s in 73 at-bats – that is an excellent ratio.  He seems a lot more patient at the plate and is really making pitchers work the count so that he sees a lot more pitches.  That makes the pitcher throw more pitches so you can get to the bullpen earlier, and it helps the sluggers behind him – Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano – see more pitches as they prepare for their at-bats.  It becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Now don’t get me wrong, if he ends up hitting in the .250’s with similar offensive output as in his 1st 2 major league seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.  But I’m really seeing a different Fukudome this year and believe he has a great shot at sustaining this output for the entire season.  Maybe not 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, but definitely close to 20 HR’s and 75 RBI’s with a lot of hits.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see – but I hope Kosuke keeps it up!

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Alfonso Soriano is on Fire

Posted on 03 May 2010 by Lou

This is a big surprise for me, but we’re going with Alfonso Soriano as our Cubs Fun Fact of the Day.  Soriano has been on fire of late and he helped lead the Cubs to 2 big wins over the DBacks on Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Soriano has hit a home run in each of his last 3 games, including 2 2-run bombs in Sunday’s 10-5 win.  Soriano is hitting .325 with a stellar .382 on-base percentage.  He already has 6 home runs and 17 RBI’s on the season, and we’re just 26 games in.  Considering Soriano hit only 20 home runs and drove in 55 runs in 117 games in 2009, he is well ahead of pace (he also had an atrocious .241 batting average and .303 on-base percentage?!).  Now I know, he hasn’t gotten hurt yet, but who knows, maybe getting a few extra days off here and there with Tyler Colvin playing more will be a blessing in disguise.  Maybe getting reunited with Rudy Jaramillo – his old hitting coach in Texas – has helped.  Maybe the unusually warm weather has helped too.

Whatever it is, something is clearly clicking with Soriano in 2010 – let’s hope he can keep it up…

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Soriano, Cubs Offense Leads to 2 Weekend Wins Over DBacks

Posted on 02 May 2010 by Lou

WOW — Alfonso Soriano had an unbelievable weekend for the Cubs, propeling the North Siders to 2 big wins over the DBacks at Wrigley Field.  In Saturday afternoon’s 7-5 win, Soriano’s 2-run bomb to deep left center field tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the 7th inning.  An inning later, Derrek Lee’s 2-run single with the bases loaded plated the winning runs.  Sean Marshall worked 2 scoreless innings in relief of Carlos Silva to pick up his 1st win of the 2010 MLB schedule.  Carlos Marmol – despite getting into a bases loaded jam – picked up the save by striking out the side in the top of the 9th inning to preserve the 7-5 win.

Today, Alfonso Soriano picked up right where he left off on Saturday.  His 2-run home run in the 1st inning gave the Cubs a 4-0 early lead.  He slugged another 2-run home run later in the game to increase the Cubs lead to 10-2.  Marlon Byrd also hit a 2-run home run, and Chad Tracy and Ryan Theriot each had 3 hits to pace a powerful Cubs offense. Tom Gorzelanny finally got some run support in his start and he cruised to an easy win – his 1st of 2010.  He worked 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks.  He racked up 10 K’s and lowered his ERA to 2.48 and his WHIP to 1.10.  Outstanding.

The Cubs got back to .500 on the season with a 13-13 record. They still trail the Cards by 4.5 games in the NL Central, but the Cards have played flawless ball throughout the entire month of April.  It hasn’t been all pretty for the Cubs, but they survived a few rough patches and seem to be clicking before their upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati starting on Tuesday.

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Silva, Cubs Look to Take it To Haren, DBacks @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 01 May 2010 by Lou

After Friday’s big 11-5 win over the DBacks, Carlos Silva looks to make it 5 straight quality starts as the Cubs take on Dan Haren and the DBacks today at Wrigley Field.  Silva is 2-0 with a sparkling 1.73 ERA in 4 starts for the Cubs this season.  The Cubs have won each of his last 3 starts, but he is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA against the DBacks in his career.

The Cubs have had success against Haren despite the hard-throwing right-hander having a 45-27 with a 3.18 ERA during the last 3 MLB seasons.  In 4 career starts against the Cubs, Haren has an ERA of 5.84.  He is even worse at Wrigley Field – sporting a hefty 3.84 ERA and 0-2 record in 3 starts at the Friendly Confines.

Let’s hope the Cubs bats pick up where they left off on Friday, clubbing a few more home runs out onto Waveland and Sheffield Avenues en route to a Cubs win…

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