Archive | June, 2011

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Cubs Manufacture Impressive 5-4 Win Over Brewers – Wrigley Field 6/14/11

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Brewers on Tuesday night was a welcome sight for the north-siders.  We haven’t seen them rally like that and actually win the game in a long time.

Randy Wells was mostly ineffective again in his 3rd start since coming off of the DL.  Wells allowed way too many baserunners — 8 hits and 3 walks — but did limit the damage to 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings of work.

And while the Cubs trailed for most of the game – 3-0 and then 4-1 – they rallied for to tie the game off of the Brewers bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro had back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 4-2.  And then Aramis Ramirez tied it up with a home run to deep left field.

Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning and Jeff Samardzija worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 10.  Tony Campana started things off with a “hussle” double to shallow left field to get into scoring position.  After Kosuke Fukudome bunted him over to 3rd with 1 out, Castro delivered the game winning hit with a sharp single to right field.  Game over.  Just like that, Samardzija picked up the win for the 2nd night in a row and the Cubs took 2 in a row from the Brew Crew.

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Cubs Kick Off Homestand with 1-0 Victory over 1st Place Brewers – Wrigley Field 6/14/11

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Lou

Not a bad way to start the 7-game homestand on Monday night – a 1-0 win over the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  Ryan Dempster had his best start of the season, tossing 7 scoreless innings and scattering 4 hits with 1 walk and 7 K’s in the process.  He did not factor in the decision, but he lowered his bloated WHIP to 1.41 and his ERA to 5.48.  Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning and notched his 4th win of the season when the Cubs scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the frame.  Carlos Marmol walked Prince Fielder with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but he struck out former Cubs player Casey McGehee for the final out much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful.  It was Marmol’s 13th save of the season.

As for the bottom of the 8th inning, Darwin Barney singled with 1 out and moved over to 3rd base on Carlos Pena’s double to deep left field.  Aramis Ramirez did what he needed to do drive in the winning run.  His groundball to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gave Barney just enough time to make it home with a nifty little hook slide around catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

While this team certainly doesn’t have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot, they’re probably not as bad as their 26-39 record indicates.  The Cubs activated Jeff Baker from the DL and inserted him into the 3-spot in the lineup.  He had one hit with 1 K, but it was Pena who pinch-hit for Baker in the 8th inning.  The Cubs also put Kerry Wood on the DL with a nagging blister issue on his throwing hand.  The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Cardinals by 11 games in the NL Central race.

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Cubs Continue Losing Ways; Drop 3 of 4 in Philly – Wrigley Field 6/13/11

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs dropped 3 of 4 against the Phillis in Philadelphia this weekend and are now  25-39 and a whopping 12 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central race. Only the Houston Astros have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.

Sean Marshall, who had been so reliable all season long, finally had a hiccup in Sunday’s 4-3 loss.  Marshall surrendered a 2-run single to Ryan Howard in the 7th inning that gave the Phillies their 1st lead of the game.  The loss wasted a golden chance to split the series between the Phillies.  They took a 3-0 lead off of Roy Oswalt in the 1st inning on a Starlin Castro double and an Aramis Ramirez 2-run home run.  But the Cubs never pushed another run across the board the rest of the way.  Doug David was in line to get his 1st win of the season despite a poor outing – he allowed 5 hits and walked 5 hitters, but kept the damage to a minimum by allowing just 2 ER in 5 innings.  But at least he didn’t get the loss – for the 1st time in 6 starts…

On Saturday, Matt Garza looked much better in his 2nd straight since returning from the DL.  He went 6 innings, allowing just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  He allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning but kept the Phillies off the board through his final 5 innings of work.  Sean Marshall struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 7th inning and Casey Coleman was not much better – 3 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 8th.

It does not get much easier for the Cubs this week.  They host the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers for 4 games at Wrigley Field starting tonight and then the Yankees for 3 games over the weekend.

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Short-Lived Winning Streak – Was Quade to Blame for Loss? – Wrigley Field 6/11/11

Posted on 11 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs 2-game winning streak ended with a frustrating 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Friday night.  Carlos Zambrano did his best to keep his team in the game against the dominant Roy Halladay, but he ran out of steam in the 7th inning after throwing 128 pitches.  But was Manager Mike Quade to blame for the loss.  Why was Big Z still in there after throwing over 100 pitches in only 6 innings.  The game was still close at 3-0, but when Zambrano served up Placido Polanco’s grand slam, the 3-run deficit quickly became a 7-run deficit.  But the big question is why was Zambrano even still in the game?  Big Z walked lead off hitter Jimmy Rollins.  After a sacrifice bunt moved Rollins to 2nd base, the Cubs opted to walk Chase Utley intentionally to bring up slugger Ryan Howard.  The move backfired as Zambrano walked Howard to load the bases.  At this point, Big Z was over 120 pitches.  Where is the bullpen help?  Sure they used guys in the extra innings game the night before, but it was clear that Big Z had nothing left.  That became obvious when Polanco crushed the grand slam to deep left.

Now I know there are a lot of factors to go into Quade’s decision.  Sure Big Z had had success against Howard.  And let’s say Big Z or a reliever gets the Cubs out of trouble and the lead is still 3-0, the Phillies probably bring Halladay back out for the 8th inning, instead of pulling him after 107 pitches in 7 innings.  If they do that, then maybe the Cubs don’t rally for 5 runs off Halladay and the bullpen in the 8th inning.  But you have to put your team in the best position to win.  And leaving Big Z in the game and intentionally walking Utley to get to Howard when Big Z was clearly struggling just didn’t make sense to me.

In any event, Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro each had 2 hits in the loss.  Darwin Barney went 0 for 4 and hasn’t gotten a hit in 14 at-bats.  When Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker come back off the DL next week, look for Barney to get more days off with Blake DeWitt and Baker getting more time at 2nd base.

Matt Garza goes against Cliff Lee in what should be a good pitching match-up this afternoon.  Let’s hope the Cubs can steal today’s game or tomorrow’s game against Roy Oswalt before they return home for a nice 7-game homestand against the Brewers and Yankees.

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Cubs Show Resolve in 4-3 Extra-Innings Win Over Phillies – Wrigley Field 6/10/11

Posted on 10 June 2011 by Lou

Could this be the win that turns the Cubs 2011 season around?  Probably not, but you have to like the resolve that the Cubs showed in erasing a 3-0 2nd inning deficit against one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.  Little by little, the Cubs chipped away at the Phillies lead.  Starlin Castro drove in the Cubs first run with a single in the 6th inning.  Carlos Pena delivered a nice run-scoring double in the top of the 8th inning that brought the Cubs within 1 run.  And Geovany Soto tied it up off of closer Ryan Madsen with a 1-out solo home run in the 9th inning.  And when Tyler Colvin crushed a ball that appeared to be another home run that put the Cubs ahead 4-3, the Cubs thought they might have their first winning streak in a long, long time.  But reply of the “home run” showed that a fan touched the ball before it went over the wall, so the umpires ruled it a ground rule double.  The Cuibs failed to drive Colvin home, so it was off to extra innings.  And Colvin finally got his chance at redemption when he scored the game winning run from 2nd base after Placido Polanco threw Darwin Barney’s groundball away with 2 outs in the 11th inning.  Just like that, the Cubs finally had it in the bags.

Give some credit to the Cubs bullpen who stepped up to the plate after Manager Mike Quade pulled Randy Wells after a long rain delay after just 2 1/3 innings pitched.  Rodrigo Lopez, James Russell, John Grabow, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way which enabled the Cubs to make the comeback.  Lopez, Grabow and Marshall each worked at least 2 innings.  Gotta love it.  Marshall got the win – his 3rd of the season – and Marmol picked up his 12th save.

Now I know it’s only 2 wins in a row, but the Cubs need to take it one game at a time.  Now it’s time for Carlos Zambrano to out-pitch Roy Halladay tonight at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark…

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Dempster, Cubs End 8-Game Skid – Wrigley Field 6/9/11

Posted on 09 June 2011 by Lou

Ryan Dempster helped the Cubs end their longest skid of the 2011 campaign with a 4-1 win over the Reds in Cincinnati.  Dempster worked 6 solid innings of 1-run ball to even his record at 5-5.  Dempster worked out of tough jams in the 1st and 3rd innings, limiting the Reds to just a single run despite excellent scoring chances.  Dempster gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.

The Cubs bullpen finally delivered in a pressure-packed situation.  Kerry Wood notched hold #9 despite a 2-out triple in a scoreless 7th inning.

Sean Marshall struck out 2 in his perfect 8th inning – his 12th hold of the season.

And Carlos Marmol notched save #11 with a perfect 9th inning.

Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief as Marmol closed the door on the Cubs 1st win in 9 days.

Carlos Pena gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with a 2-run bomb to deep right field in the 4th inning.  On the next pitch, Aramis Ramirez increased the Cubs lead to 3-1 with only his 3rd homer of the season.  And Kosuke Fukudome scored an insurance run on a balk in the 7th inning that gave the bullpen some room to work with.

The Cubs “improved” to 24-36 and they trail the Cards by 11.5 games in the NL Central race.

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Cubs Skid Hits 8 Games as Doug Davis Falls to 0-5 – Wrigley Field 6/8/11

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Lou

Another day, another loss as the Cubs fell to the Reds 8-2 for a 2nd straight night.  The line was eerily similar, as each team racked up 10 hits apiece, but it was the Reds who came through with more clutch hits en route to an easy 8-2 win for a 2nd straight game.

It was all down hill for the Cubs after Blake DeWitt staked the Cubs to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning on an RBI double.  Doug Davis lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing 4 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  He has lost all 5 of his starts for the Cubs in 2011 and his ERA sits at a lofty 6.38. John Grabow took it on the chin in the 7th inning by allowing 4 ER on a grand slam to Miguel Cairo.  Nice.

Blake DeWitt and Darwin Barney collected 3 hits apiece in the loss.  DeWitt now leads the team with a .316 batting average after starting the season in a miserable slump.

The Cubs are now 23-36 and they trails the Cards by 12.5 games.

Good news, although I don’t want to celebrate prematurely — the Cubs lead the Reds 4-1 through 7 innings today.  They have it perfectly set up for a Sean Marshall/Carlos Marmol finish (Ryan Dempster worked 6 innings and Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 7th inning) to end the losing streak at 8 games.  Keep your fingers crossed…

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Garza Ineffective in Return, Cubs Lose Again 8-2 – Wrigley Field 6/7/11

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Lou

Matt Garza returned from the disabled list, but was largely ineffective in the Cubs 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.  Garza labored through 4 innings and left after 81 pitches on a hot, muggy night.  Garza allowed 4 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks during his outing and his record fell to 2-5.

Gotta love these stats:

Through 5 innings against Reds starter Matt Leake – the Cubs had 10 hitters reach base, but scored just 2 runs and trailed 7-2.

The Cubs and Reds each had 10 hits, but the Reds made the most of theirs, scoring 8 runs to just 2 for the Cubs.

Jeff Samardzija has struggled of late.  He allowed 3 ER on 3 hits in 2 innings of work.  Samardzija has now allowed runs in 3 straight appearances and 4 of his last 6 appearances.  Not good.

On a few positive notes, Kosuke Fukudome had 3 hits and his batting average is back up to .310.  Darwin Barney’s 2 hits knocked him back over the .300 mark as well.  And Blake DeWitt has really turned it on of late – he had 3 more hits in the loss and his batting average is now back up to .292.  Maybe it jkust took some time before he got completely comfortable with his new hitting swing.

The Cubs have now lost 7 straight games.  The Cubs are 23-35 – 12 games under .500.  Only the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins have worse records than the Cubs in all of baseball…

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WOW – 2 Pujols Walk-Off Home Runs Deliver Cardinals Sweep Over Cubs — Wrigley Field 6/6/11

Posted on 06 June 2011 by Lou

This 2011 Cubs season keeps getting more and more frustrating as Albert Pujols delivered 2 walk-off home runs on Saturday and Sunday to propel the Cardinals to a 3-game sweep over the lowly Cubs.

On Saturday, the Cubs welcomed the 2 start for Randy Wells after returning from the DL.  Save for a 2-run homer to Albert Pujols in the 4th inning and some trouble in the 6th inning when the Cards tied the game at 4, Wells pitched well.  He allowed only 3 hits and 1 walk in 5 2/3 innings, but all 4 of those batters who reached base ended up scoring.  Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, James Russell and Carlos Marmol all worked 5 scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough.  Jeff Samardzija retired the 1st 2 batters that he faced in the bottom of the 12th inning, but then he served up Pujols’ game-winning walk home run as the Cubs lost 5-4.

Then it was time for Pujols to crush a

On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano pitched his 2nd straight unbelievable start  to put the Cubs in position to win 2-1 in the 9th inning.  Big Z held the Cards to just 1 ER over 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks.  But Carlos Marmol served up Ryan Theriot’s game-tying 2-out double that notted the game at 2.  The very next inning, Rodrigo Lopez gave up Pujols’ lead-off walk home run as the Cards won 3-2.

With the 3-game weekend sweep, the Cubs fell to 23-34 on the season and they now trail the Cards by a whopping 11-games.  OUCH!

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Dempster Never Gave Cubs a Chance, Lose to Cards 6-1 – Wrigley Field 6/4/11

Posted on 04 June 2011 by Lou

Another day, another losss for the Cubs as they fell 9 games behind the 1st place Cards with a 6-1 loss on Friday night.  Dempster served up a 3-run HR to Lance Berkman in the bottom of the 1st inning and that was all she wrote as Jaime Garcia stifled the Cubs once again during the 2011 campaign.  Dempster allowed all 6 Cards runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in just 5 innings of work.  While Garcia tossed 8 innings of 1-run ball with 8 K’s en route to his 6th win of the season.

The Cubs managed only 5 hits on the night, including the 1st career hit for DJ LeMahieu who was just called up to play some 3rd base with the recent facial injury to Aramis Ramirez.

Randy Wells will have to beat one of the hottest pitchers in baseball today – Kyle Lohse (7-2, 2.13 ERA) – if the Cubs are going to be able to snap their 4 game skid.

 

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