Archive | September, 2010

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Runs Tough to Come by in San Diego — Cubs 0, Padres 3 – 9/29/10

Posted on 30 September 2010 by Lou

Runs have been tough to come by for both teams in this week’s series against the Padres in San Diego.  The Padres won 3-0 on Wednesday night after dropping the 1st 2 games of the series to the Cubs by the scores of 1-0 and 5-2.

Randy Wells pitched well in his last start of 2010, but he was denied his 3rd straight win.  Wells gave up 3 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks in 7 innings.  He struck out 2 batters.  Overall, Wells finished with an 8-14 record, with a 1.40 WHIP and 4.26 ERA.

Chris Young and 4 Padres relievers limited the Cubs to just 4 hits and 2 walks on the night.  Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro each reached base to start the 1st inning and even stole 2nd and 3rd to set up an excellent no-out scoring chance right off the bat.  But Marlon Byrd grounded our to 3rd base and Young was able to strike out Aramis Ramirez and Xavier Nady to thwart the scoring threat.  Not good.  After that, Koyie Hill had the only extra base hit for the Cubs – a double in the 2nd inning – and Byrd singled in the 3rd.  But the Cubs never had 2 runners on base the rest of the way as they were shut out in San Diego.

Despite the loss, Ryan Dempster and several other Cubs players keep praising the work of Mike Quade and hope that the interim manager remains the Cubs manager in 2011.

Tom Gorzelanny makes his final start of 2010 in the finale against the Padres this afternoon.

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Dempster, Soriano Pave Way for 2nd Win over Padres in San Diego – Cubs 5, Padres 2- 9/28/10

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster finally picked up win #15 with a solid 7-inning effort in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Padres. Dempster scattered 4 hits and 2 walks over his outing, while striking out 9 batters.  His only mistake was a 2-run home run to Nick Hundley that tied the game at 2 in the 5th inning.  Dempster is now 15-11 with a nifty 1.31 WHIP and a nice 3.83 ERA.

Andrew Cashner pitched a perfect 8th inning with 1 K to pick up his 15th hold of the season.

Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless 9th inning (1 walk, 1 K) and increased his season-best saves number to 36.  You have to love his 1.22 WHIP and amazing 2.62 ERA.

Alfonso Soriano broke the 2-2 tie with a 2-run blast in the 6th inning.  His solo shot in 8th extended the Cubs lead to 3-2.  Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and walks.  Starlin Castro had 2 hits to get his batting average back up over .300, but he also struck out 3 times.

Randy Wells and the Cubs look to send the Padres to their 4th straight loss and even further out of the NL Wild Card race.  Wells is looking to finish the season strong in his last start of 2010.  Wells has won 2 starts in a row, but is just 8-13 overall.

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The Carlos Zambrano Train Keeps on Chugging Along – Cubs 1, Padres 0 – 9/27/10

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Lou

The Carlos Zambrano train keeps on chugging along.  Big Z tossed 7 scoreless innings giving up just 3 hits and 4 walks along the way.  He also had 5 K’s.  It was his 7th win in 10 starts since returning to the starting rotation back in early August and it was his 10th win overall in 2010.  At this point, it would be a huge shock if the Cubs try to move Zambrano this off-season.  Without a clear #1 starter, Zambrano has started to convince people that he is still worthy of the 5-year, $80+ million deal he signed a little over 2 years ago.

Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 8th inning with 2 K’s to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning but picked up his 35th save of the season.  After recording 2 strikeouts to start the inning, he loaded the bases with a single, hit batsman and walk.  But he got out of the jam by getting Nick Hundley to fly out to right field.

Blake DeWitt had 3 hits in the win and he drove in the lone Cubs run with a single in the 7th inning after Alfonso Soriano doubled with 2 outs.  Marlon Byrd also had 3 hits for the Cubs.

The Cubs continue to play spoiler as the win knocked the Padres out of the NL Wild Card lead.

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Cubs End 2010 Home Season on Down Note — Cubs 7, Cards 8 – 9/26/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 27 September 2010 by Lou

The Cubs ended the 2010 home schedule on a down note with another loss to the Cardinals – 8-7 on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Jeff Samardzija struggled mightily with his control – 7 walks in just 4 1/3 innings pitched.  He also gave up 7 hits.  That led to 8 runs for the Cards.  Not good.  Samardzija’s WHIP (2.12) and ERA (8.38) blew up with the awful start.

Blake DeWitt was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.  He also scored 2 runs, as did Xavier Nady and Bobby Scales (who walked 3 times and had 1 hit).

The Cubs end the season with a 7-game road trip to San Diego and Houston.  Carlos Zambrano takes the bump tonight against the Padres.

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Coleman Outduels Carpenter?! – Cubs 7, Cards 3 – 9/25/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 26 September 2010 by Lou

Casey Coleman outdueled Chris Carpenter to pick up his 3rd win of the season.  Despite giving up 3 runs in the 1st 3 innings, Coleman stayed focused and ended up pitching 7 solid innings.  He did not allow another run after the the Cards scored 2 runs in the 3rd (one of which was unearned).  Coleman gave up 5 hits and 2 walks and struck out 4 in the process.  Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless 8th inning giving up 1 hit.  And Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the 9th inning.

Blake DeWitt, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  The Cubs scored 5 runs off of Carpenter in only 4 innings as they put together a few good rallies with 7 hits and 4 walks.

Jeff Samardzija looks to get Cubs fans a win in the final home game of the season at Wrigley Field today.  He is going for his 3rd win in 3 starts since being called up from Triple-A…

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Cubs Still Showing Lack of Consistency with Latest Losses @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 0, Giants 13 9/23/10 & Cubs 1, Cards 7 9/24/10

Posted on 24 September 2010 by Lou

So much for that great Cubs finish – the last 2 losses show that the Cubs are still a long ways away from being an NL playoff contender anytime soon.

Thursday 9/23/10 – Cubs 0, Giants 13 – Ouch.  Ryan Dempster was denied his 15th win of the season, as he couldn’t even get out of the 2nd inning.  The Giants used a 9-run 2nd inning to blow the game open courtesy of 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s from the “light-hitting” Juan Uribe in the 2nd inning alone.  He hit his 1st 2-run HR of the inning off of Dempster and then drilled a Grand Slam off of Thomas Diamond to cap the scoring. Dempster has had a few rough outings of late.  Last night, he ended up giving up 9 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks.  He gave up 7 ER to the Pirates back on August 31st.  Dempster will look to pick up win #15 next week and he also needs 8 K’s in order to reach 200 for the season.  He is already over 200 innings pitched for the 3rd consecutive season since being switched from closer to the starting rotation.  While Dempster is no ace, he is a solid #3 starter.  Problem is that the Cubs don’t have a #1 or #2 starter right now.

Friday 9/24/10 – Cubs 1, Cards 7 – Ouch again. The Cubs managed just 6 hits and a walk off of Adam Wainwright who picked up his 20th win of the season.  The Cubs didn’t fare much better against Kyle McClellan and Ryan Franklin as the duo retired 9 of the 10 batters they faced to finish off the Cubs.  Aramis Ramirez accounted for the lone Cubs run with his solo home run.  Tom Gorzelanny was downright bad in his 1st start since August 27th – 7 ER on 7 hits and 5 walks in 3 1/13 innings.  Overall, it was just another bad day for the Cubs at Wrigley.  The Cubs have now scored just 3 runs in 4 games this week.  They have been shutout twice and lost 7-1 today.  Not good…

The Cubs hope that Casey Coleman can even up the series when he takes on Chris Carpenter at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon with an early 12:05PM start.

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Another Good Pitcher’s Duel @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 2, Giants 0 — 9/22/10

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells and Jonathan Sanchez engaged in another great pitcher’s duel Wednesday night @ Wrigley Field.  This time the Cubs won 2-0.

Randy Wells worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and 1 walk in the outing.  He struck out 6 batters and won his 8th game of the season.  Carlos Marmol bailed out Wells in the 8th.  After Wells recorded the 1st 2 outs of the inning, Wells gave up a walk and a double with 2 outs.  Manager Mike Quade called upon Marmol to get the job done over 2 innings.  Marmol struck out F Sanchez to end the threat in the 8th inning and preserve the 2-0 lead.  In the 9th, despite a 2-out walk to Pat Burrell which brought Jose Guillen to the plate as the tying run, Marmol managed to strike out Guillen to end the game.  Marmol faced 5 Giants hitters in his outing and never let the ball be put into play – 4 K’s and 1 walk.  Marmol picked up his 34th save and

The Cubs offense managed just 5 hits, but they did just enough to earn the win.  Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning.  Koyie Hill doubled in the 5th inning and went to 3rd base on a wild pitch.  When Buster Posey’s errant throw eluded the 3rd baseman, Hill raced home with the 2nd run of the game.  It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

Now the Cubs have a chance to win the series against the Giants.  Ryan Dempster is looking for his 15th win, but he will have to 21-year old stud Madison Bumgarner who is making just his 17th start of the season.

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Zambrano – Cain Duel to a Draw @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 0, Giants 1 — 9/21/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano and Matt Cain lived up to the hype in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win by the Giants at Wrigley Field.  Each Pitcher tossed 6 scoreless innings and left with the game tied at 0.  The lone run came through on 23-year old Buster Posey’s solo home run in the 8th inning.

Carlos Zambrano looked good again although his control was a bit of an issue.  He needed 116 pitches to get through the 6 innings because he walked 5 batters.  In contrast, Cain needed just 82 pitches  (2 hits and 1 walk).  Zambrano only gave up 3 hits and he lowered his ERA to 3.56.  He has now made 9 straight starts without a loss since rejoining the starting rotation in early August and he is slowly proving that he can pitch consistently at the major league level once again.

Andrew Cashner had put together a nice little stretch of 6 straight appearances without giving up a run, but he served up Posey’s game winning shot in the 8th inning last night.  In the process, he suffered his 6th loss of the season.  Cashner still has a bloated WHIP and ERA, but he has pretty good stuff.  The just-turned 24-year old is getting some amazing experience this season, so look for him to improve in 2011 as he learns and develops this off-season.

Blake DeWitt and Kosuke Fukudome got the only 2 Cubs hits in the 1-0 loss.  Starlin Castro reached base twice – a a walk and a hit by pitch.  The Giants bullpen was downright nasty after Cain left.  3 relievers set down the final 9 Cubs hitters in a row with 2 K’s.  Not good.  DeWitt’s batting average has plummeted to .257; Castro’s to .305 and Marlon Byrd’s to .294.  Speaking of Byrd, how cool was it when he signed autographs on top of the Cubs dugout during the rain delay before the game started – check out the photo below?!

By the way, Posey is a total stud for the Giants.  Since being called up on May 29th, Posey has hit .324 (with a .373 on-base percentage with 26 walks and 53 strikeouts), with 15 HR’s, 62 RBI’s and 52 runs scored.  On a team that lacks any offensive prowess, Posey fits in perfectly as the club’s clean-up hitter.

Game 2 of the series features Randy Wells against Jonathan Sanchez.

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Carlos Zambrano Looking to Keep Good Times Rolling Tonight — Cubs v. Giants – 9/21/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano looks to keep the good times rolling as the Cubs return to Wrigley Field tonight to take on the San Francisco Giants.  Big Z has been at the top of his game since returning to the starting rotation in early August.  He has a chance to win his 7th game in a row as his ability to limit his walks each game has put him (and his team) in a better position to win each game.  Zambrano has a new perspective on the game of baseball during the last few months — “Things happen for a reason.  I learned a lesson when the [tantrum] happened, and sometimes God puts you in situations for you to leanr things.  I just want to keep going and do something to help this team.”  Going 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 8 starts since becoming a starter again, has enabled Big Z to get his ERA down to a respectable 3.75.  A win tonight would also give him 10 wins on the season.  It could happen because Big Z has had success against the Giants — in 9 starts, he has a 5-1 record with a 2.92 ERA.

Each and every start makes it that much harder for the Cubs to decide what to do with the troubled righty.  If he really is committed to staying in shape and being a team player, Big Z has shown just what he can do when he is focused.  The problem is, he always seems to be 1 small step away from losing it on the field or in the locker room.  If a good offer for the righty comes along during the off-season, GM Jim Hendry and the Ricketts Family are going to have a tough decision ahead of them.

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Pitching Paves Way To Big 6-Game Winning Streak — Cubs 13, Marlins 3 – 9/19/10

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Lou

Six and counting  for the Cubs here at the end of the season.  Figures they start playing well when I was on vacation and not really paying attention to what they were doing night in and night out.

With 13 games remaining and a record of 68-81, the Cubs can now avoid a 90-loss season by winning just 5 more games.  3 weeks ago, I would have said that that would be impossible.  But now, they really have a good chance to do it.

Let’s take a look at the great pitching that has helped the Cubs during this 6-game winning streak.

Jeff Samardzija won twice – 5-1 over the Cards (0 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings with 1 K) and 13-3 over the Marlins (3 ER on 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings with 4 K’s).

Carlos Zambrano picked up his 5th win in a row with a 7-3 win over the Cards last week.  Big Z gave up just 1 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings with 3 K’s.  He is now 6-0 in 8 starts since returning to the Cubs starting rotation back on August 9th.

Ryan Dempster may have had the best start of any Cubs pitcher during the streak.  In Friday’s 2-0 win over the Marlins in Miami, Dempster tossed 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 4 hits and 3 walks with 5 K’s.  He picked up his 14th win and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 3.50.

And let’s not forget about Closer Carlos Marmol.  He is up to 32 saves and has made it 12 for 12 in save chances since he last blew a save back on August 20th.  He has lowered his WHIP to 1.22 and his ERA to 2.78.  In his 10 September appearances, Marmol has walked just 6 batters.

Tyler Colvin Update — A broken bat punctured Colvin’s chest in Sunday win’s win as he scored from 3rd base.  Colvin needed sutures to close the wound and remains hospitalized to ensure that he won’t suffer a collapsed lung from the incident.  Colvin’s productive season is now done — .254 batting average; .316 on-base percentage; 20 HR’s; 56 RBI’s; & 60 runs scored.  He racked up 100 K’s in 358 at-bats while walking just 30 times.

Cubs have their final homestand at Wrigley Field this week – 3 games against the San Francisco Giants followed by 3 games against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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