Archive | August, 2010

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Zambrano Rusty as Cubs Free Fall Continues on West Coast – Cubs 3, Giants 4 – 8/9/10 – AT&T Park

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano made his “much-anticipated” return to the starting rotation against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Monday night.  At 1st glance, when I saw that Big Z had tossed 4 scoreless innings to start the game, I got a little bounce in my step.  Maybe Zambrano would be able to pitch well down the stretch.  Maybe he would even be so good that the Cubs might consider keeping him for the duration of his contract, or maybe another team would be more interested in agreeing to a trade for the hefty Venezulan this off-season.  I started to get excited.  But since I turned the game on with 2 outs in the bottom of the inning, I didn’t really get a full feel for how Zambrano was pitching.  And when I looked at the box score, my positive thoughts were quickly dashed.

Big Z was laboring as his control was atrocious.  He ended up making it through 5 innings with the score tied at 2.  He gave up both ER in the 5th inning as he ran out of steam.  He gave up only 4 hits, but he walked 7 batters and he threw 96 pitches in the process.  Not exactly what we were looking for.  I’m not exactly sure how he even lasted that long without giving up more runs.  The 2nd inning was a perfect example of sheer luck.  He walked Pat Burrell to start the inning and then gave up a hit to Pablo Sandoval.  Luckily Juan Urube grounded into a double play sending Burrell to 3rd base with 2 outs.  But then Big Z issued 2 straight walks to load the bases.  Only a Andres Torres strikeout allowed Zambrano to get out of the inning unscathed.  He issued 1 walk in each inning that he pitched and his leadoff walk to Torress in the 5th finally came back to haunt him on a Buster Posey double.  Zambrano then allowed another run to score on a wild pitch.  When you are wild, you’re going to throw lots of pitches and you’re going to get into loads of trouble.  It is a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly what happened to Zambrano.  Now I know it was his 1st start since June 25th so we have to give him a little time to get back into the starter’s mind frame.  But he doesn’t have much time – only another 8-9 starts the rest of the way, so he really needs to come out firing on all cylinders in his next start – time is of the essence if we want to show the rest of the league that Big Z still has some value.

Marcus Mateo – another young Cubs pitcher struggling in his major league debut – flirted with disaster in each of the 10th and 11th innings.  He gave up a single and a double in the 10th inning but avoided giving up a run when Colvin threw out Travis Ishikawa at the plate.  But in the 11th, Mateo didn’t get so lucky as he failed to retire a batter.  He gave up 2 singles and then walked Posey to load the bases with nobody out.  Then Burrell hit the game-winning sacrifice fly to deep center to drive in the winning run in walk-off fashion…

The Cubs offense was actually better than I thought it would be.  The team racked up 11 hits, but once again, clutch hits were lacking.  Starlin Castro, Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits.  Tyler Colvin, Byrd and Alfonso Soriano had the 3 RBI’s.  And hey, all 3 runs were earned, so at least we did something to deserve the runs, right?

Great match-up tonight in Game 2 of the series.  Ryan Dempster gets the honor of facing the 2-time defending Cy Young Award Winner – Tim Lincecum.  Yippee!

In any event, this is getting pretty ugly as the losses keep piling up.  The Cubs have now lost 4 in a row and 11 of 12 games.  Their record is 47-65.  They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 16.5 games for 1st place in the NL Central?!  This is a team that won back-to-back division titles in 2007 & 2008.  My how fast the might have fallen.  With the Reds stockpiling amazing young pitchers who continue to improve each year and with the Cardinals trotting out Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday day in and day out, it is hard to imagine how the Cubs will even compete in the division during the next few seasons.  The Cubs will wither have to get lucky and win the Adrian Gonzales sweepstakes this off-season or hope that their competitors suffer multiple season-ending injuries as the 2011 MLB schedule approaches.  WOW – is this going to be a frustrating few years.

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My Prediction Was Right on the Money; Big Z Back on the Bump Tonight – Cubs 3, Reds 4 Saturday 8/7/10 & Cubs 4, Reds 11 Sunday 8/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Lou

Boy do I love to gloat – was I right on the money with my prediction of a Reds’ sweep of the Cubs over the weekend or what? This team is just getting way to easy to read these days.

There really isn’t much to say about either game.

Saturday 8/7/10 – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – Randy Wells pitched well but ran out of steam in the 8th inning when the Reds came through with the clutch hits that the Cubs could not during the game. Daniel Stubbs led off the 8th inning with a home run that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.  Wells allowed the next 2 batters to reach base, but Justin Berg got a double play to put the Cubs into position to get out of the inning only down 1 run.  But Paul Janish came through with a clutch 2-out single that gave the Reds a 3-1 lead late in the game.  The Reds tacked on an unearned insurance run in the 9th inning off of Carlos Marmol.  Blake DeWitt’s 2-base error allowed Lance Nix to reach 2nd base.  Then Stubbs came through with another 2-out single to give the Reds a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.  The Cubs would make it interesting in the 9th inning when Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded with only 1 out.  Cordero plunked Starlin Castro to force in a run.  After a Derrek Lee strikeout, Cordero forced in another run by walking Aramis Ramirez.  But he eventually got out of the game by striking out Marlon Byrd to end the game.

Sunday 8/8/10 – Cubs 4, Reds 11 – After a “good” 1st major league start, Thomas Diamond showed his true colors in his 2nd major league start. He had poor control right from the start and that gave the patient hitting Reds team too many early opportunities to tack on runs.  Diamond lasted just 3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Fellow young pitcher fared equally as bad – Casey Coleman gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in his 3 innings; James Russell gave up an ER on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning; and Mitch Atkins “cleaned up” the mess by allowing 3 ER on 5 hits in his 2 innings.  What a joke…

The weekend series sweep is a perfect example of how bad the Cubs season has been.  They got fairly good pitching overall (except for Sunday maybe), but got literally NO consistent offense from the lineup.  0 runs in Friday’s 3-0 loss.  In Saturday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs got only 6 hits.  Their 1st run scored on a sacrifice fly (not a hit) and their last 2 runs scored because Cordero was a complete wreck – the Cubs didn’t even put the ball in play in the 9th inning against Cordero yet they still scored 2 runs.  How pathetic.  Sunday was even worse.  The Cubs did not get their 1st hit of the game off of rookie Travis Wood  until Koyie Hill’s single in 1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning.  In the 7th inning, Jeff Baker homered for a legitimate run.  Then Lee walked and Ramirez doubled him to 3rd base.  But then Juan Francisco’s throwing error allowed Lee and Ramirez to score.  Now sure, Lee probably would have scored on the ground out even without Francisco’s error and Ranirez likely would have scored on a sacrifice fly during Soriano’s fly out in the next at-bat, but it just seems like the Cub shave to rely on the other team’s mistakes in order to score runs.  In the 3-game series, the Cubs scored runs in only 3 of the 27 innings played.  And in one of those innings – the 9th inning on Saturday – they only scored 2 runs because Cordero handed it to them on a silve platter with 4 walks and 1 hit batsman.  Keep in mind – the Cubs scored 15 runs in 4 different innings in Wednesday’s win over the Brewers – which by the way, is their only win in the last 11 games.

Things have gone from bad to worse for this Cubs squad.  I really feel bad for the new Cubs manager during the 2011 MLB schedule.  This team as constructed has no confidence in themselves.  The team is going to continue to struggle offensively for the forseeable future and the young pitchers that the Cubs keep trotting out in 2010 have not been effective either.  This is going to be a work-in-progress, and it’s going to take a patient manager to bring everything together over the next few years as young players mature and bad contracts come off the books (Soriano, Fukudome, Zambrano, Silva) so that Cubs management can slowly bring in new players via free agency to complement the home grown talent.

Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation tonight against the Giants in San Francisco.  This is going to be a must-see event.  I’m really hoping that Zambrano can pitch well the last 8 starts of the season.  If he can show that he has his “head on straight” and that he can still be effective, there could still be some hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a team willing to take a flyer on the problematic Cubs starter.  Should be interesting…

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Cubs Hoping Randy Wells Can Shut Down Reds @ Wrigley Field – Saturday 8/7/10

Posted on 07 August 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells is looking to beat the Cincinnati Reds for the 2nd time this season.  Back on July 3rd, Wells limited the Reds to just 1 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk in 7 2/3 innings in a 3-1 Cubs win at Wrigley Field.  A lot has happened this year, as the Cubs have fallen well out of playoffs contention and Wells has had an inconsistent season.  Wells has a 5-9 record with a 1.43 WHIP and 4.40 ERA, well off of the numbers he put up in his solid rookie campaign in 2009 when he went 12-10 with a 1.28 WHIP and 3.05 ERA.

The game is scoreless right now in the top of the 3rd inning – check that.  Wells gave up a double and a single to the 1st 2 batters in the inning and the Reds now lead 1-0…

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My Prediction Was Right (Mostly)!!! Cubs 0, Reds 3 – 8/6/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Lou

While I thought the Reds would push across more than 3 runs today, how right was I about the Cubs offense?!  After their 15-run attack against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, you just knew that the Cubs would lay an egg today against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.  I was right on the money!

Arroyo improved to 12-6 by scattering 5 hits and 1 walk over 7 scoreless innings.  50-year old Arthur Rhodes even got into the act for the Reds by pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning to preserve the Reds 3-0 lead.  (By the way, I was just kidding – Rhodes is “only” years old).  And even though Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked 2 batters in the 9th inning, he struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd and got Blake DeWitt to ground out back to the box to end the game.  Ho-hum – another dull Cubs loss at the Friendly Confines.

The Cubs did have a couple of opportunities throughout the game, but like usual, they never came through with the clutch hit.

Example 1 – In the 4th inning, the Cubs squandered back-to-back 2-out hits by Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd as Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to end the inning.

Example 2 – In the 5th inning, the Cubs wasted back-to-back leadoff singles by Blake DeWitt and Geovany Soto.  Both men moved up to 2nd and 3rd base on a wild pitch with nobody out, but were stranded as Tom Gorzelanny struck out, Tyler Colvin popped out and Starlin Castro struck out.

Example 3 – See 9th inning discussion above.  2 walks and no runs – what else is new?!

The Cubs have their best shot at a win on Saturday afternoon.  Randy Wells beat the Reds back in July and he looks to do so again against Edinson Volquez who has been mediocre at best since coming off the disabled list after the All-Star Break…

Go Cubs Go!!!

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Bad Things Await Cubs in Weekend Series with Reds @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 15, Brewets 3 – 8/4/10

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Lou

Now I know you’re thinking that the Cubs are going to feed off of the 15-run, 16-hit beatdown that the Cubs put on the Brewers on Wednesday at Wrigley.  But my money is going down on a Reds sweep at the Friendly Confines as the Cubs continue to frustrate their fans and new owners.

The Cubs have had a nasty habit of failing to keep momentum going when they are playing well this season.  You would think that after every single position player got a hit in the Cubs 15-3 win over the Brewers, that the team would be able find a way to make it 2 in a row in Friday’s game against the Reds.  But I just don’t see it happening.  First, after big breakout wins earlier in the season, the team seems to crawl back into their shell immediately afterwards.  For example, after starting the month of June losing 4 of their 1st 6 games, the Cubs looked like they might turn things around with a 9-4 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee.  But then they proceeded to lose the next 3 games to the Brewers and White Sox, being outscored 17-10 in the process.  Later in June, the Cubs broke out with a 12-0 win over the Angels to avoid a sweep on a Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  But did it help?  No way, as the Cubs lost their next 4 out of 5 games being outscored 21-6 in the process.  The same trend continued in July.  After the Cubs swept the Diamondbacks in early July in a 3-game series (outscoring them 23-11), the Cubs went into a major funk against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, losing 3 of the 4 games and being outscored 22-16.  Later in July, the Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Phillies and 2 of 3 from the Cardinals, but then dropped 4 of 6 games to the “lowly” Astros while being outscored 38-29 in those 6 games.  What gives?This is clearly a team that has very little confidence – a team that can go into a team-wide funk – a team that can lose a lot of games in a hurry.

Further, the 2010 trend against the Reds does not bode well for the Cubs.  Back in July when the Cubs hosted the Reds for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field over the July 4th weekend, the Reds really took it to the flustered Cubs.  The Reds won 3 out of 4 games and outscored the Cubs 30-8 in the series. The Cubs lost a close one 3-2 and won a close one 3-1, but then lost 2 of the games 12-0 and 14-3.  Bronson Arroyo who was involved in the 12-0 win will take on Tom Gorzelanny in Friday’s opener.  Edinson Volquez who has spent much of the season on the DL will start against Randy Wells on Saturday.  Wells won the only game for the Cubs during the July series 3-1.  And then rookie phenom Travis Wood (0.87 WHIP and 2.42 ERA) who held the Cubs to just 2 ER in 7 innings of the 3-2 win back in July will square off against Thomas Diamond on Sunday.  Diamond will be making just his 2nd start of his major league career.  All in all, you have to favor the 1st place Reds in the weekend series after taking 2 of 3 from the Pirates (outscoring them 19-11) earlier this week.

Now back to the game from yesterday.

Starlin Castro led the way with 4 hits and 2 runs scored.  He raised his average to .318 and now has an .364 on-base percentage.  The kid is clearly showing that he is an every day shortstop and a future star in the making.

Geovany Soto had 3 hits, 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  Soto’s 3-run bomb in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a nice 10-3 cushion.

Aramis Ramirez pinch-hit in the 6th inning and came through with a clutch, mammoth 3-run home run to deep left center field that gave the Cubs a 7-3.  It was a big hit as the Cubs had just taken a 4-3 lead on RBI singles from Soto, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker.

DeWitt also stroked his 1st home run in a Cubs uniform – a 3-run shot in the 8th inning.  DeWitt ended up with 2 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

Derrek Lee also chipped in on the attack with 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  His current .252 batting average is the highest it has been since Lee was hitting .262 way back on April 19th.  Talk about a horrible season for an aging 1st baseman who is coming up for his last MLB contract.  Not a good recipe for getting a good multi-year deal during the winter…

It was a great offensive day for the Cubs, but I’ll doubt we will see that too often on a consistent basis the rest of the way.  I hope I’m wrong, because I’d love to see more “relaxed” pictures of Lou like the one above before he leaves at the end of the season.  Plus, while I know that Lou said there is no room for “moral victories” at the major league level the other day, these guys need to finish with a few positive performances and games down the stretch in order to look forward to starting over fresh.  More bad losses in August and September and more offensive funks where the team just can’t seem to drive in a clutch run could make Spring Training 2011 a tense and uncomfortable place to be next February and March…

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Ted Lilly Shines in Dodgers Debut – Dodgers 2, Padres 1 – 8/3/10 – Dodgers Stadium

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Lou

Congrats to Ted Lilly who tossed a gem in his 1st start with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres.  It was an unbelievable performance by Lilly who has not really had to pitch in any pressure situations in 2010.  The Dodgers trailed the Padres by 9 games heading into the game and they needed a “pick-me-up” from Lilly.  And boy did he deliver.  After a rocky 1st inning in which he gave up a 1-out home run to Miguel Tejada and then a blop single to Adrian Gonzalez, Lilly promptly retired the next 20 batters he faced.  He threw 6 perfect innings in a row from the 2nd through the 7th innings and needed only 87 pitches to do so.  He did not walk anyone and racked up 5 K’s.  Most impressive – during the 20 in a row streak, only 4 balls made it out of the infield – rare for a fly ball pitcher like Lilly.  65 of his 87 pitches were strikes – a whopping 75%.

The funny thing is, Lilly found himself in familiar ground as the Dodgers only scored 2 runs on a Russell Martin double in the 2nd inning.  Lilly suffered from lack of run support from the Cubs all season long, so despite his 3-8 record, he was still a hot commodity because of his 1.12 WHIP, his under 4.00 ERA and his veteran presence.

Good luck Ted – we hope the good times keep rolling for you in L.A. until we re-sign you this off-season.  I really hope Jim Hendry gives your agent a call at some point this winter…

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Diamond Pitches Well, But Cubs Drop 7th Straight – Cubs 2, Brewers 4 – 8/3/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Lou

It was just another frustrating loss for the Cubs – a loss that dropped the squad 15 games below .500 at 46-61.  The Cubs have not had that poor a record since the team finished 30-games under .500 in 2006 with a 66-96 record.  Could they fall that low before the end of the 2010 MLB campaign?  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Manager Lou Pinella was back managing his “major league team” after spending 3 days in Florida to attend to a family funeral, and he was not pleased with his team’s continued lack of clutch hitting — “Again, we get people on and we just don’t get them in.  That’s been a recurring theme… It’s good to play hard and be competitive, but moral victories … I think that’s OK for the Little League coach.  You’ve got to work your way out of this.  These other teams, they’re not going to feel sorry for you.  They see a team that’s down and they’re going to play to keep them down.”

I love the Little League line – we’re gonna miss you next year Lou.

Rookie Thomas Diamond made his major league debut and took the loss, but it wasn’t all bad.  He pitched 6 innings giving up 3 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 10 Brewers hitters, becoming only the 2nd Cubs pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in his major league debut (Mark Prior did the same in his 1st start in 2002).  The 27-year old has spent 7 seasons in the minor leagues and he will start against the Reds on Sunday as well.

James Russell, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings of the game without allowing a run (unlike Monday night).

The Cubs had their chances — 11 hits and 2 walks — but like Lou said, they never came through with any clutch hits.  They scored a run in the 1st inning on Derrek Lee’s single, but didn’t find a way to push another run across until the 9th inning.  The Cubs had a runner on base in every inning except for the 5th inning.  They left 2 runners on base in each of the 3rd and 8th innings without scoring a single run.  The Cubs were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position?!  Their team batting average of .243 with runners in scoring position is a joke for the team boasting the highest payroll in the National League – what a waste of money.

Ryan Dempster looks to help the Cubs avoid the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers.  Dempster has struggled of late (allowing at least 3 ER and 7 hits in each of his last 3 starts) as he has not won a game in 3 straight starts…

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No Joke — Cubs Suffer Worst Loss at Wrigley Field – Cubs 1, Brewers 18 – 8/2/10

Posted on 03 August 2010 by Lou

Wow – where to start.  During the Cubs 6-game skid, the squad has been outscored 62-17.  Ouch – where did the Cubs pitching go?

For most of the season, the Cubs pitching staff boasted the 5th best ERA in the National League and only 1 American League team had a better ERA than the Cubs.  But as of late, the wheels have come off and no one really seems to care anymore.  The 26-hit attack by the Brewers in the 18-1 win on Monday were the most hits allowed by a Cubs team since September 2, 1957!  The loss put the Cubs a season-high 14 games under .500 at 46-60.  They fell 13.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central race and they now found themselves in 5th place in the Central.  Only the Pirates and Diamondbacks have a worse record in the National League than the Cubs.

Where did it all go so wrong?  The Cubs bats have been awful all season (their .258 team batting average is 14th best in all of baseball), but now the Cubs pitching staff has followed suit.  The Cubs now sport a 4.32 team ERA which puts them in the bottom 9 teams in all of baseball.  Unbelievable…

Some of the funny stats from last night’s loss.

The Brewers batted around in both the 4th and the 5th innings.  The Brewers scored at least 1 run in each of the final 6 innings.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each went 5 for 7 in the win.  Fielder had 5 RBI’s while Braun had 2 RBI’s.  Former Cubs player Casey McGehee went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored (with 1 home run).  Corey Hart also had 4 hits, 1 RBI and 3 runs scored.

Cubs pitcher Randy Wells suffered his 9th loss of the season – 6 ER on 10 hits in 4 innings pitched.  Justin Berg pitched through the 5th inning when Wells couldn’t record an out and gave up 3 hits and 1 walk.  All 3 runs charged to him were unearned.

Casey Coleman made his major league debut and boy was it bad.  The brew crew lit up Coleman in his 2 1/3 innings of work — 6 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Welcome to the majors Casey.

Brian Schlitter tried to clean up the mess in the 8th inning, but he didn’t fare much better – 2 ER on 5 hits.  Has this guy made any appearances this year without giving up a hit or a run? Since he made 2 scoreless appearances back at the end of June, here are Schlitter’s numbers through his last 5 outings — 5 1/3 innings pitched, 17 hits (2 home runs), 11 ER and 5 walks.  And yes, he has given up at least 1 ER in each of those last 5 appearances.

This is going to be a long, painful ride home during the final 1/3 of the season…

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Bye Bye Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot — Hello Blake DeWitt, Carlos Zambrano

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Lou

The Cubs finally made the trade that had been talked about all week long — Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and 2 pitching prospects.

Lilly had been solid for the Cubs all season long despite a 3-8 record.  As we discussed last week, he had a fine ERA (3.69) and WHIP (1.14), but got very little run support in his starts.

Theriot moved over from shortstop to 2nd base when the Cubs called up young superstar Starlin Castro.  He had a “down” year, hitting only .284 with 10 doubles.  Usually a player who found his way on-base a lot, his on-base percentage was a disappointing .320, his lowest number in 3 years (he has a career .350 on-base percentage).

DeWitt, one the other hand, had a .352 on-base percentage in 2010.  He was hitting .270 with 29 runs and 30 RBI’s mostly hitting in the bottom part of the lineup for the Dodgers.  At (almost) 25, DeWitt has age on his side as well.  Theriot is 30 years old and seems to have hit his peak with the Cubs.  DeWitt has a lot of upside and we could see DeWitt playing along side Castro for a lot of years as the Cubs double-play combination.  In his debut on Sunday in the Cubs 8-7 loss to the Rockies, DeWitt had 3 hits and an RBI.

Aside from the trade and a horrible sweep at the hands of the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, the Cubs also “welcomed” Carlos Zambrano back into the clubhouse.  Big Z made a “sincere” apology to his teammates before Friday’s game.  He also pitched on Saturday and Sunday, although it wasn’t pretty.  He gave up a walk and a hit in 2/3 of an inning on Saturday.  On Sunday, after pitching a scoreless 4th inning despite 2 hits, he cracked in the 5th inning.  He walked the 1st 2 batters he faced and then gave up 2 more hits which scored 2 runs.  Not good.  Maybe the Cubs need to think about bringing him back into the rotation.  With Lilly gone and Carlos Silva, likely headed to the DL to address his heart rate issue, Big Z could get that chance sooner than we think…

Oh yeah, in the Dodgers trade, the Cubs also got 2 minor league pitchers.  Brett Wallach is the son of former MLB player Tim Wallach.  Wallach pitched at the Single A level this season, going 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 17 starts.  He struck out 92 batters in just over 84 innings pitched.  Kyle Smit appeared at the Single-A and Double-A level in 2010.  In 37 appearances, Smit racked up 6 saves with a 2.35 ERA.

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Weekend Recap — Rocky High Sweep – Rockies Outscore Cubs 31-14 in 3-Game Weekend Set @ Coors Field – 7/30/10 – 8/1/10

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Lou

What a horrible weekend for the Cubs in Denver this weekend – not sure it’s even worth it to re-live the debacle.

Friday – 7/30/10 – Cubs 2, Rockies 17 – A 12-run 8th inning turned a close game into an embarrassing laugher for the Cubs.  Sean Marshall gave up hits to the 1st 2 batters he faced in the 8th inning, but then got 2 strikeouts and 2 strikes on Carlos Gonzalez before Gonzalez stroked an RBI single to start the record-setting rally.  The Rockies set a major league record by recording 11 straight hits and they had 13 hits in the inning overall which was a franchise-record. The Rockies scored 12 runs to extend their 5-2 lead to 17-2.  WOW.  The Rockies batted around twice in the inning.  Troy Tulowitki, Clint Barmes and Melvin More each had 2 hits in the inning.  Every Rockies hitter got a hit in the inning.

Sean Marshall was charged with 5 ER on 5 hits in 2/3 of an inning.  Andrew Cashner faced 6 batters and did not record a single out – 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 home runs.  And Brian Schlitter mopped up the mess with 1 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks as he recorded the final out of the inning on an Ian Stewart fly ball to deep center field with the bases loaded.

Marshall had this to say — “It was dumbfounding as for us as it was people to watch the game.  You hate to be on the receiving end.  I don’t think it’s going to happen again.”

Manager Lou Pinella had this to say — “I’d never seen an inning like that.  We had two outs and two strikes on a hitter and they score 12 runs.  I’d never seen an inning like that.” The problem is Lou – it seems like you or another member of the Cubs organization has said that same thing about a dozen times this year.  The Cub sseem to invent new ways to lose on a daily basis these days…

Saturday – 7/31/10 – Cubs 5, Rockies 6 – After Derrek Lee’s game-tying 3-run home run in the top of the 8th inning, the Cubs thought their luck might change. Marshall even came in and pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the bottom of the inning, but interim Manager Alan Trammell opted to stick with Marshall to face the left-handed hitting Carlos Gonzalez instead of bringing in closer Carlos Marmol to start the 9th.  And that turned out to be a fatal mistake as Gonzalez crushed the 1st pitch he saw into the 3rd deck in deep right field.  It was a walk-off 6-5 win for the Rockies as Gonzalez used that home run to complete hitting for the cycle in his final at-bat of the game.

Tom Gorzelanny looked mortal again in the elevation of Colorado.  He pitched 6 1/3 innings, but gave up 5 ER on 9 hits and 2 walks.

Sunday – 8/1/10 – Cubs 7, Rockies 8 – Another poor start to the game put the Cubs in a hole on Sunday.  Carlos Silva only pitched to 4 batters because he was suffering from an abnormally high heart rate.  He had to make a trip to a Denver area hospital and did not make the trip back to Chicago after the game.  Silva recorded one out, but suffered his 5th loss of the season, giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk.  James Russell did not fare much better, giving up 4 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits and a walk in his 2 2/3 inning of work.  And while Carlos Zambrano tossed a scoreless 4th inning, he ran into trouble in the 5th inning giving up 2 ER on 2 walks and 2 hits.  He walked the first 2 men he faced in the inning and both runners scored.  Just like that – it was 6-0 after 2 innings and 8-0 after 5 innings.  Not good, when you are riding a 4-game losing streak.

The Cubs made it interesting in the late innings.  Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each singled in runs in the 7th inning.  Alfonso Soriano cut the lead to 8-4 in the 8th inning with a solo HR.  In the 9th inning, Rockies closer Huston Street walked Lee and Soto with 1 out.  Marlon Byrd then triple in Lee and Soto and the lead was 8-6.  Soriano’s sac fly on a spectacular play by outfielder Nat Fowler plated Byrd to cut the lead to 8-7.  If Fowler doesn’t catch that ball, who knows how far Soriano goes on the play.  But with no one on base, Street struck out Jeff Baker to end the game.

One other bright spot for the Cubs — newly acquired Blake DeWitt had 3 hits in his Cubs debut.

All in all, it was a brutal road trip for the Cubs. After winning the 1st game in Houston, the Cubs proceeded to drop the final 5 games of the trip.  The Cubs are now 13 games under .500 at 46-59 and they trail the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals by 13 games…

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