Archive | June, 2010

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Rough Start This Afternoon for Cubs @ Wrigley – Lilly, Cubs Down 4-0 after 1st Inning

Posted on 19 June 2010 by Lou

The Cubs were hoping that Ted Lilly would be able to come close to duplicating his 8 no-hit scoreless innings from last Sunday against the White Sox.  Instead, Lilly didn’t even make it past the 1st batter before Howie Kendrick crushed a home run off Lilly to deep right field for the 1st hit and run of the game.  That seemed to throw Lilly off his game – he gave up back-to-back singles to Kevin Frandsen and Bobby Abreu.  Lilly got Torii Hunter on a K, but then he walked Mike Napoli to load the bases.  And then Juan Rivera made him pay with a bases-clearing double that gave the Angels a 4-0 lead.  Not good.

The Cubs went quietly in the 1st inning against Jered Weaver with 2 groundouts and a strikeout. Even worse.

Can we just end the season now?!

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Too Little, too Late as Cubs Drop Frustrating Opener 7-6 to Angels at Wrigley Field

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Lou

It was another frustrating loss for the Cubs at Wrigley today – 7-6 to the Angels.  After winning 2 straight games over the A’s, the Cubs hoped to keep the momentum going against another AL West team.  But it wasn’t meant to be as Scott Kazmir shut the Cubs down through 6 innings, allowing just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  The Cubs had their chances as they do in just about every game, but they could never come through with the big hit to break open an inning.  The Cubs defense also failed their relief pitchers in the 7th and 8th innings.  Jeff Baker’s 2 errors set up all 3 unearned runs off of Bob Howry in the 7th inning.  That turned a 3-2 Angels lead into a 6-2 Angels lead.  Then Derrek Lee’s throwing error in the 8th inning allowed Torri Hunter to score all the way from 2nd base to give the Angels a 7-2 lead.  Not good at all.

The Cubs made it interesting in the 9th inning.  Despite the 5-run deficit, Ryan Theriot and Chad Tracy coaxed walks to set up Tyler Colvin’s 3-run bomb out onto Sheffield.  Francisco Rodney retired the next 2 batters, but Derrek Lee stroked his 2nd home run of the game to deep left field to cut the Angels lead to 7-6.  But Rodney was able to get Geovany Soto out on a ground ball to 3rd base and the Cubs had lost at the Friendly Confines again.

Carlos Silva pitched so-so but came out of the game because of an undisclosed injury.  Silva allowed 3 ER on 6 hits over 6 innings of work.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 4 Angels’ hitters.  Silva has now dropped 2 in a row after winning his 1st 8 decisions as a Cub.

Ted Lilly looks to get the Cubs back in the win column Saturday afternoon against Jered Weaver.  Lilly has pitched very well all season long – 2.90 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – but he has been a tough-luck started getting very little run support.  He finally got his 2nd win of the season last Sunday against the White Sox, ending a 5-game losing streak.  He tossed 8 no-hit innings before getting removed in the top of the 9th inning after giving up a lead-off single to Juan Pierre.  Lilly hopes to throw a few more no-hit innings on Saturday against the Angels…

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Cubs Beat A’s 3-2; First Series Win Since May 27th?!

Posted on 17 June 2010 by Lou

WOW – it’s hard to believe it has been 21 days since the Cubs have won a series.  But that’s just what happened today, as the Cubs rallied for a 3-2 win over the A’s at Wrigley Field today.  The Cubs took the series win for the 1st time since they took 2 of 3 from the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field from May 25th through May 27th.  In between those 2 series wins, the Cubs had dropped 2 of 3 games to each of the Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Brewers and White Sox.  Despite their poor play, the Cubs are shockingly only 6.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for 1st place in the NL Central.  The Cubs still have 10 games left against the Reds (7 at home at the Friendly Confines) and 12 games against the Cards (6 at home at the Friendly Confines), so as bad as they have played, they still have a chance to make things right for Cubs fans across the country.

Today’s unlikely hero was Kosuke Fukudome.  Fukudome had been sitting on the bench a lot during his annual June swoon, but he entered the game today as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning and started a 1-out rally with the Cubs trailing 2-1.  He moved to 2nd on Marlon Byrd’s single, to 3rd base on Derrek Lee’s walk and then scored the tying run on Xavier Nady’s sacrifice fly to right field.  Then in the 9th inning, after Jerry Blevins walked the bases loaded with only 1 out, Fukudome got another chance to be the hero.  His seeing-eye base hit through the right side of the drawn-in infield plated Geovany Soto with the winning run.

Key Move of the Game – Manager Lou Pinella brought in Carlos Marmol with a runner on 3rd base and only 1 out with the game tied at 2 in the top of the 9th inning.  Although Marmol walked Cliff Pennington, he got Gabe Gross to foul out to Starlin Castro and then got Rajai Davis to ground out to end the threat.

Randy Wells looked much better in today’s game after some recent struggles (5 or more ER allowed in 3 of his last 4 outings).  Wells pitched seven great innings, giving up just 2 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk.  He also struck out 6 A’s batters and seemed to gain confidence as the game wore on.

In Wednesday night’s win, Ryan Dempster was solid on the mound.  Although Dempster gave up 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 2/3 innings, he was in control all game long and always seemed to work out of jams.  He struck out 7 batters and evened his record at 5-5 with another quality start.  Sean Marshall and Carlos worked the final 2 1/3 innings to preserve the Cubs 6-2 win.

At the plate, Derrek Lee and Xavier Nady each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano each had a hit and 2 RBI’s, so it was a total team effort.

Let’s hope the Cubs can keep the winning vibe going at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the weekend.

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Cubs Lose Again – This is Getting Ridiculous

Posted on 16 June 2010 by Lou

How bad can it get on the north side in 2010?  Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Cubs find new ways to lose.  The Cubs dropped the opener to the A’s 9-5 after waiting out an hour and forty minute rain delay before the start of the game.  Everything unraveled for the Cubs in the top of the 4th inning of a scoreless game.  After Carlos Zambrano issued a walk, a single and another walk to load the bases with nobody out, Big Z gave up a run scoring single to Mark Ellis.  Big Z coaxed a force out at home plate to keep the bases loaded with 1 out and a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage.  But then Derrek Lee did something he had never done in his entire career — he committed fielding errors on back-to-back infield groundballs allowing 3 unearned runs to score.  Instead of getting out of the inning with a 1-run deficit, the Cubs found themselves in a 4-0 hole.  Not a good thing for a scuffling team.

Big Z actually helped his team get back into it in the bottom of the 5th inning with a run scoring single.  He came around to score the Cubs’ 2nd run on Starlin Castro’s single.  But he gave back the run in the top of the 6th inning on a single and a double to lead off the inning.  Big Z ended up going 6 innings, giving up 5 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks.  He also had 4 K’s.

The 7th inning brought more poor pitching from Jeff Stevens (3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 1 walk) and more poor fielding from Tyler Colvin (2 fielding errors that led to an unearned run).

Tyler Colvin was the only Cubs player to have more than 1 hit – he also had the lone HR for the Cubs in the 8th inning.  The Cubs lineup also had 9 strikeouts with only 2 walks.

Questionable Move of the Night – The Cubs had just cut the A’s lead to 5-4 with an RBI double from Chad Tracy and an RBI single from Koyie Hill with 2 outs in the 6th inning.  Hill even advanced to 2nd base on the throw home, getting into scoring position with the tying run.  So why did Manager Lou Pinella elect to stay with Zambrano at the plate instead of going with a pinch-hitter.  Especially since Pinella replaced Big Z with Stevens in the top of the inning, it seemed like a perfect time to use a Xavier Nady or Jeff Baker against the lefty Blevins to try to get the tying run home.  Pinella never gave a clear answer, throwing even more confusion into the disastrous night at the Friendly Confines.

Not sure how much more we can take of this awful play from the Cubs.  Manager Lou Pinella must be just about ready to hand in his resignation papers at this point – I know I would be…

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Cubs Continue Interleague Play — Host A’s for 3-Game Set @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 15 June 2010 by Lou

The Cubs look to improve their inter-league play record as they host the Oakland A’s at Wrigley Field for 3 games this week.  Carlos Zambrano will start tonight’s contest – he will be making his 3rd start since returning to the Cubs starting rotation.  Big Z looks to improve upon his last outing in which he gave up 3 runs on 2 hits in 5 innings of work.  It was his 1st win since he won during the opening week of the MLB season on April 10th.

The Cubs need to make a move soon as the continue to trail both the Reds and Cards in the NL Central.  The Cubs have lost 5 straight series and have fallen 7 games under .500 at 28-35.  For having the highest payroll in the National League, the Cubs performance on the field has left a lot to be desired.

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Cubs Lose 5th Straight Series — Quickly Falling Out of Contention…

Posted on 14 June 2010 by Lou

Although the Cubs avoided the sweep with Sunday night’s 1-0 win over the White Sox, the team dropped their 5th straight series over the weekend.  The Cubs have now lost 2 of 3 games in each of their last 5 series and are heading in the wrong direction.  The Cubs are now 28-35 (just 15-15 at home) and they trail the Reds by 7.5 games and the Cards by 6 games in the NL Central race.

Sunday night’s game pretty much summed up the Cubs entire season thus far – mostly good starting pitching; awful hitting; and awful bullpen work.

Ted Lilly pitched 8 no-hit innings, giving up just 1 walk along the way.  You would think it would be a fun affair for the Cubs players and fans, but it was so tense because the Cubs themselves were being no-hit by Gavin Floyd of the White Sox through6 innings.  The Cubs eventually got their first hit with 2 outs in the 7th inning – a double by Alfonso Soriano – and Chad Tracy followed that up with an RBI single on the very next pitch to put the Cubs ahead 1-0.  But at the end of the day, the Cubs offense managed just 3 total hits in the ball game.

When Lilly served up pinch-hitter Juan Pierre’s single to center field to lead off the 9th inning, Manager Lou Pinella immediately turned to Closer Carlos Marmol to end the threat and preserve the 1-run lead.  But that almost backfired in a hurry.  Marmol quickly walked Andruw Jones and then balked Pierre and Jones over to 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.  Disaster again for the Cubs in the late innings.  But Marmol buckled down – he struck out Alexei Ramirez and then intentionally walked Alex Rios to load the bases and set up a force play.  Paul Konerko obliged by hitting a weak grounder that forced Pierre out at home.  Marmol then got Carlos Quentin to pop out to shallow center field and the Cubs fans at Wrigley Field let out a collective sigh of relief.

Ted Lilly has gotta be the game’s most tough-luck pitcher this year.  After his 8 scoreless innings last night, Lilly has now has a 2-5 record in 10 starts with a 1.00 WHIP and a 2.90 ERA – hello trade bait?!

But back to the Cubs offense.  The Cubs hitters made the White Sox starters look like all-stars in all 3 games over the weekend.   In Friday’s 10-5 loss, Jake Peavy had 4 wins and a 5.90 ERA coming into the game and he held the Cubs to just 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings.  In Saturday’s 2-1 loss, Mark Buerhle had 3 wins and a 5.40 ERA coming into the game (no road wins) and he held the Cubs to just 0 runs on 8 hits through 6 2/3 innings.  And on Sunday night, Floyd had 2 wins and a 6.18 ERA coming into the game and he held the Cubs to just 1 run on 3 hits in 8 innings.  Unbelievable.

Well enough of my ranting and raving.  This team is not good and just to give you a little preview of what’s to come, get ready for my post about the Top 10 reasons why the Ricketts Family should “blow up” the “Hendry Monster Misfits” sooner rather than later…

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Cubs Joke of a Season Continues – Lose 10-5 to White Sox

Posted on 11 June 2010 by Lou

Ouch – Cubs continue losing ways against the Chicago White Sox in the opener of the 2010 Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field today.  This team keeps getting worse and worse.  Not really much to say here.

Randy Wells was bad again.  He put his team in a 2-0 1st inning hole and then gave up 3 more runs in the 5th inning.  He left with the Cubs trailing 5-2. All 5 runs were earned on 10 hits and 3 walks.  Not good at all.  He is now 3-5 with a 1.49 WHIP and 5.15 ERA.

Another bad offensive showing as Jake Peavy shut down the Cubs with ease.  Peavy who has struggled all season looked like Cy Young against the over-matched Cubs hitters.  He gave up 2 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings.  His only mistake was a 2-run bomb to Alfonso Soriano.

James Russell had another bad outing.  He gave up 4 ER and didn’t retire any of the 4 batters that he faced.  That makes 4 out of 5 appearances in which he has given up at least 1 ER.  Hello Triple-A!

While all Cubs hitters looked bad today, Derrek Lee was especially bad.  Lee went 1 for 4 with 3 K’s inlcuding the game-ending strikeout with 2 runners on base in the 9th inning.

Can Carlos Silva save the day on Saturday and out-pitch another struggling White Sox pitcher – Mark Buehrle (3-6, 1.49 WHIP, 5.40 ERA).  Don’t hold your breathe…

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Cubs Drop 2 of 3 to Brewers in Milwaukee

Posted on 10 June 2010 by Lou

It was mostly bad for the Cubs in Milwaukee this week.  The Cubs dropped 2 of 3 to the Brewers and now trail the 1st place Cincinnati Reds by 7.5 games in the NL Central race.

The Cubs defeated the Brewers 9-4 on Wednesday night for their only win of the series.  Carlos Zambrano struggled through 5 innings but picked up his 2nd win of the season.  He gave up 3 ER on 2 hits and 5 walks.  He almost imploded in the 4th inning when he issued a walk on a call that he thought was a strike that the home plate umpire called a ball.  He promptly walked the next batter and served up a 2-run double to the Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf that tied the game at 3.  Miraculously, Big Z actually got out of the jam and pitched a scoreless 5th inning to become eligible for the win.

The Cubs bats broke out against Wolf with 9 runs and 12 hits, including 5 home runs.  Marlon Byrd hit 2 home runs and drove in 3 runs.  Geovany Soto also had 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s.  Derrek Lee struck a 2-run shot as well.  Jeff Baker had 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.

The celebration didn’t last long, as the Cubs looked out of sorts in a 5-4 10-inning loss to the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.  Ryan Dempster pitched his shortest outing of the season – 5 1/3 innings pitched, 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks.  Not one of his better showings.  The defense didn’t help the Cubs pitchers at all.  3 of the Brewers 5 runs were unearned.  Leading 4-3 with 2 outs in the 5th inning, Starling Castro committed his 8th error in 31 games allowing Jim Edmonds to reach 2nd base when his throw bounced into the Brewers dugout (would Derrek Lee have caught the low throw – probably?).  Xavier Nady is no Derrek Lee.  Edmonds would eventually come around to score when Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Stevens proceeded to walk the next 3 batters.  The winning run also scored on an error.  Bob Howry walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the 10th inning.  Gomez stole 2nd base as Craig Counsell executed a sacrifice bunt.  When Gomez raced to 3rd base, Nady attempted to throw out Gomez at 3rd base, but he made a poor throw that skipped into the stands, and just like that the Brewers had won 5-4.  The Brewers 3rd run was also unearned – set up by a Chad Tracy error.

The bats were pretty quiet after the 5 home runs clubbed in Wednesday night’s win.  Nady did hit a 2-run home run that gave the Cubs a brief 4-3 lead.

Next up – the crosstown classic against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.  Jake Peavy v. Randy Wells could get pretty ugly in a hurry with the way both pitchers have fared of late.

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Lilly Shines, Marmol Fails in 3-2 9th Inning Loss to Brewers in Milwaukee

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Lou

It wasn’t meant to be for Ted Lilly.  Although he didn’t take the loss, he didn’t get the win either.  Lilly tossed 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 4 hits and zero walks with 8 K’s in the process.  His lone mistake – a solo home run to Corey Hart that tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the 8th inning.  The Cubs rallied to take the lead in the 9th inning on an Alfonso Soriano groundout, putting Lilly in position to earn the W and break his 5-game skid.  But then Carlos Marmol blew his 3rd save of the year.  A hits batsman followed by an intentional walk to Prince Fielder set up former Cubs Casey McGahee’s 2-run game-winning walk-off single that gave the Brewers the 3-2 win.

Lilly was the tough-luck recipient once again of poor offensive production from the Cubs hitters.  Despite 8 hits and 3 walks, the Cubs managed just lone runs in the 8th and 9th innings.  Not good.  Kosuke Fukudome, Tyler Colvin and Starling Castro each had 2 hits in the loss.  But it was Lilly’s stat line that stands out the most – he has a 1.09 WHIP and 3.28 ERA, but is only 1-5 on the season.  Let’s hope Lilly stays focused – pretty soon he will get the run support and that should mean several wins for Lilly and the Cubs.

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Ted Lilly Looking to Earn 4th Straight Win over Brewers

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Lou

Ted Lilly has had a rough start to the season.  Despite a good 3.61 ERA, he is just 1-5 on the season, while getting little run support (2.24 runs scored per game) from his teammates during his starts.  His 1st start of the season was a pretty win over this same Brewers team back in April in Milwaukee.  He tossed 6 scoreless innings and looked on top of his game despite several setbacks during spring training following off-season shoulder surgery.  Lilly has won 3 straight games against the Brewers with a sparkling 1.47 ERA.  He is hoping that trend continues against the Brewers again tonight as he has lost 5 straight decisions – matching the longest losing streak of his career (back in 2001 as a Blue Jay).

The one big problem – Lilly will have to out-duel one of the hottest pitchers in the game right now – Yovani Gallardo.  Gallardo last lost on April 10th against the Cardinals, going 6-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last 10 starts since then.

Should be a fun match-up to watch.  Let’s hope the Cubs can keep the momentum rolling with a big win over the Brewers tonight…

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