Archive | July, 2010

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2 in a Row?! Chance of Series Sweep?! Hip Hip Hooray! – Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 4 – 7/6/10

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Lou

There must have been a full moon out this week – the Cubs defeated the D’backs 6-4 for their 2nd straight win.  A win tonight would give the Cubs a series sweep for only the 2nd time all season long (the Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee at the end of April).

Carlos Silva picked up his team-leading 9th win by pitching 6 innings of 4-hit ball.  He gave up just 2 ER and 1 walks during his 75-pitch outing.

Sean Marshall had a rare rough outing  – 2 runs (1 earned courtesy of a Starlin Castro fielding error – his 12th of the season!) on 2 hits with 2 K’s in 1 1/3 innings of work.

Carlos Marmol picked up the 1 2/3 inning save – striking out 5 of the 6 batters that he faced.  It was Marmol’s 16th save of the season.

Aramis Ramirez finally broke out with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s.  Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each had 2 hits as well for a well-balanced 11-hit attack.

Ryan Dempster can give the Cubs the sweep tonight with a good outing.

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Cubs End Streak – Win Opening Game of Series for 1st Time Since May 25th?! Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 4 – 7/5/10

Posted on 06 July 2010 by Lou

WOW – that was a long time.  The Cubs finally won the opening game of a series for the 1st time since they beat the Dodgers at Wrigley Field back on May 25th.  What an unbelievable stat.  The Cubs invaded Arizona and came out firing with a big 9-4 win after losing 14-3 to the Reds less than 24 hours before.  Cubs pitching gave up 8 home runs to the Reds, including 4 alone in an 8-run 7th inning.

Kosuke Fukudome got the Cubs off to a good start with a lead off home run.  The Cubs added 3 more runs in the 2nd inning on Starlin Castro’s 2-run triple and Geovany Soto’s RBI double.  Soto finished the day with 3 hits,  RBI’s and 2 runs scored – by far one of his best days as a Cubs in 2010.  Fukudome had 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs scored.  Alfonso Soriano also added a 2-run home run in the 9th inning – his team-leading 14th of the season.  Soriano also leads the team with 41 RBI’s.

Tom Gorzelanny was not great, but he pitched the minimum 5 innings to earn his 3rd win of the season.  He gave up 5 hits and issued 6 walks in his short outing, but kept the D’Backs away form the big inning – they would score only single runs off of Gorzelanny in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings.  Although Andrew Cashner struggled in relief of Gorzelanny (1 ER on 2 walks and 1 hit in a third of an inning), the rest of the bullpen did great.  James Russell, Justin Berg, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol closed the door by pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way.  Berg struck out 2 D’Backs hitters, while Marshall and Marmol each struck out 3!

But more importantly, the Cubs finally got that monkey off their back by winning the opnening game of the series.  Will that lead to a series win – their first since they took 2 of 3 from the Oakland A’s from June 15th through the 17th at Wrigley?  Carlos Silva can make that happen with a good outing tonight.  Stay tuned…

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Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs Open up 7-Game Road Trip in Arizona – Monday 7/5/10

Posted on 05 July 2010 by Lou

The Cubs open up a 7-game road trip with a Monday afternoon contest against the Diamondbacks in Arizona.  Tom Gorzelanny makes his 2nd start since replacing Carlos Zambrano in the rotation.

Gorzelanny has filled in well as the Cubs 5th starter in 2010.  Although he has just 2 wins, Gorzelanny has kept the Cubs in most games that he has started with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.  He looks to build off of last Wednesday’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he scattered 4 hits and 3 walks over 5 scoreless innings.

The D’Backs have had a similarly frustrating year like the Cubs.  They are well below .500 and are in last place in the NL West.  Ian Kennedy looks to pick up his 4th win of the season with a win over the Cubs.  Kennedy has pitched well but has been the recipient of little run support – hey he would fit in great on the Cubs.  Kennedy has a 3.77 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.  He has racked up 89 K’s and just 40 walks (9 of which came in a June 26th loss to the Rays in Tampa) in 100+ innings pitched.

Come on Cubbies – let’s kick off the road tip with a bang…

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Ted Lilly, Cubs Close out Weekend Series with Reds – Happy 4th of July – 7/4/10

Posted on 04 July 2010 by Lou

Happy 4th of July to all.  Ted Lilllooks to help the Cubs close out the weekend series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on a positive note.  Lilly has pitched mostly well this season, although you wouldn’t know it by his record.  Lilly has a 3.12 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, but he has a miserable 3-6 record.  He has allowed 3 ER or less in 10 of his 13 starts.  In the 6 starts in which he has allowed 1 ER or less, he has won just 3 of those games.  How pathetic is this Cubs offense – that is a perfect example of how pathetic it is.

The Cubs will face rookie starting pitcher Mike Leake.  Leake has put together a solid 1st major league season – 5-1, 3.30 ERA.  In 2 starts against the Cubs in 2010, Leake has given up just 4 ER on 8 hits in 13 2/3 innings pitched.  He beat the Cubs once and took a no decision in the other affair, so the Cubs will certainly have their work cut out for them today.

Go Cubs!

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Anatomy of a Disastrous 9-Run Inning – Is this a Cruel Joke?! – Cubs 0, Reds 12 – 7/2/10

Posted on 03 July 2010 by Lou

I thought I was having a bad nightmare for a second during the middle of the day yesterday – 9 Reds runs in the 7th inning on only 3 hits?  Is that even possible?  Unfortunately when you’re dealing with the 2010 Cubs, it is not just possible, it is inevitable.

Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Dempster were cruising through a fast, well-played pitcher’s duel which the Reds led 1-0 through 6 innings at Wrigley Field.  Then the wheels fell of for the Cubs in the top of the 7th inning:

Walk; Walk; Mike Fontenot fielding error that allowed the bases to be loaded with no one out.

Dempster strikes out Daniel Stubbs – bases still loaded but 1 out.

Dempster walks the pitcher Arroyo forcing in a run?! 2-0 Reds.

Brian Schlitter replaces Dempster.  Schlitter walks in another run. 3-0 Reds.

Schlitter gets 2nd out of inning.  Bases Still loaded, but with 2 outs now.

Schlitter passed ball allows a run to score. 4-0 Reds.

So let’s get this straight – the Reds score 3 runs without even getting 1 lousy hit?!  How does this happen?!

Schlitter intentionally walks Reds-killer Joey Votto to load bases again.

Now things start to get ugly.  Scott Rolen RBI single; Johnny Gomes 2-run double; Ramon Hernandez 2-run double; la-di-da-di-da.  Reds 10, Cubs 0.

Jeff Stevens served up a 2-run bomb to Votto in the top of the 8th inning and just like that it was 12-0.

Now granted, the pitching and fielding in the 7th inning left a lot to be desired, but it all comes back to the pitching.  Maybe if the Cubs have ONE RUN and more than 2 hits through the game’s first 6 innings, Dempster and the relievers and the fielders would not feel like they need to be perfect out there.  In their last 13 games, the Cubs have scored 3 runs or less 11 times and they have been shut out 5 times!!!  You cannot wins games this way.  The 2 times the Cubs did score 3 runs, they won!!!  So it’s not the pitching that is costing them games in 2010.  The starting rotation has the 2nd most quality starts in all of baseball in 2010.  And the Cubs’ 3.84 team ERA  is the 7th best in all of baseball.  Something has to give.

The position players need to start hitting and they need to start hitting soon. If not, we could see a lot of faces moving cities in the next few weeks as the trading deadline looms.

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Going, Going Gone… Cubs Loss to Reds Puts North Siders 10.5 Games out of 1st Place!? Friday 7/2/10

Posted on 02 July 2010 by Lou

WOW – never thought we would be trailing the Cincinnati Reds by 10.5 games for 1st place in the NL Central by July 1st.  But that’s just where we sit as the Cubs (34-45) and Reds continue a 4-game weekend set at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  The Cubs are 11 games under .500 and they have more wins than only 3 teams in the National League (Pirates, Diamondbacks, Astros) and 3 teams in the American League (Orioles, Indians, Mariners).  Unbelievable — it has truly been a devastating season for the Cubs organization and Cubs fans all over the world.

Ryan Dempster looks to get the Cubs even in the series as he faces Bronson Arroyo in the afternoon affair.  Dempster has put up some solid numbers in 2010, but has only 6 wins to show for it.  He has a 3.58 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.  He has not given up more than 3 ER in any of his last 5 starts (going 2-1 during that stretch), so he has a good shot to keep the Cubs in the game today.

So far, the game is playing out like most games for the Cubs in 2010.  They trail the Reds 1-0, as Dempster has given up 2 hits, once of which happened to be a home run to Brandon Phillips.  As for the Cubs offense – no runs and 1 hit off of Bronson Arroyo through 3 innings. Yippee!

Get ready for another loss Cubs fans…

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Opposing Pitchers Feasting on Depressed Cubs Psyche — Cubs 2, Reds 3 (10 innings) 7/1/10

Posted on 01 July 2010 by Lou

I am really starting to like digging deeper into the Cubs woes in 2010.  At this point, it is just as much psychological as it is physical.  The Cubs clearly have a HUGE mental block right now, as they drop another 1-run game, this time in extra innings.  This one was even tougher to take because of Tyler Colvin’s heroics in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Down 2-0 after having ZERO scoring chances in the game’s 1st 7 innings, Colvin came through with a clutch 2-run single that tied the game at 2-2.  Colvin smartly advanced to 2nd on the throw home and then moved over to 3rd base after Mike Fontenot singled to shallow left field.  But once again, a Cubs veteran failed to come through with a runner on 3rd base and less than 2 outs as Derrek Lee hit into an inning-ending double play.  All we needed was a fly ball, a little single somewhere, a slow ground ball out, an error!  But no, Lee has to hit into the double-play.

You knew the Cubs would find a way to lose the game.  They actually almost did in the top of the 9th as Carlos Marmol loaded the bases with only 1 out, but he struck out Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto to end the threat.  They eventually did lose the game as Bob Howry gave up a 1-out single and then Sean Marshall picked a bad time to have his worst outing of the season.  Marshall faced 4 hitters giving up 2 hits, a walk and a run-scoring fielder’s choice play that sealed the Cubs fate.  The Cubs did manage to get 2 on in the 10th inning on a Starlin Castro single and Koyie Hill walk, but Colvin grounded into a game-ending double play to end the threat.

But back to my main point.  This team clearly does not have any confidence whatsoever.  They get good pitching, but can’t push across enough runs.  And when they do score enough runs, there always seems to be a collapse by the starting pitcher in the late innings or the bullpen in a tight game.

That being said, I really feel like a huge problem for the Cubs is the lack of consistent hitting.  Take a look at the last 2 games:

2-0 loss to Pirates on Wednesday – Brad Lincoln was making only his 5th career major league start.  In his 1st 2 starts he allowed 5 ER in each game with 6 innings pitched.  In his 3rd and 4th starts, he allowed 3 ER in each game and a combined 16 hits.  The kid clearly struggled against the likes of “poor-hitting” major league teams – the Nationals, White Sox, Indians and A’s.  But hey, against the Cubs, the kid looks like the next Cy Young, as he pitches 7 scoreless innings while giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk with 6 K’s.  In his previous 4 starts, he tallied only a total of 8 K’s!  Gimme a break.  Lincoln picked up his 1st major league win against the Cubs after going 0-2 to start his major league career.

3-2 loss to Reds today – Travis Wood was making his major league debut!  Through 7 innings, the Cubs managed just 2 hits and a walk off of Wood.  When Wood allowed back-to-back walks to start the 8th inning, Reds’ Manager Dusty Baker pulled the youngster and the Cubs eventually plated the 2 runners that had reached via Wood’s walks.  But up until that point, Wood had dominated a major league ball club with a payroll of over $140 million and he should have gotten the win if not for an inept Nick Massett.  That would have been back-to-back losses for the Cubs to young, inexperienced pitchers getting their 1st career major league wins.

It is a pretty dire situation for the Cubs right now.  Looks for lots of moves very very soon…

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