Archive | April, 2012

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Not Meant to Be – Nats Top Cubs 2-1 in Season Opener – Wrigley Field 4/5/12

Posted on 05 April 2012 by Lou

For a while it looked like the Cubs might actually win on opening day, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Cubs ‘pen blew a great outing from Ryan Dempster.  Dempster worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up just 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 10 Nationals hitters.  Dempster got out of 2 early jams (2nd and 3rd with only 1 out in the 1st inning; bases loaded and only 1 out in the 3rd inning) to keep the game scoreless against Nats ace Stephen Strasburg.  The Cubs eventually took the lead in the 4th inning on a timely 2-out single by Marlon Byrd which gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  Dempster worked all the way into the 8th and had 2 outs with a runner on base when Manager Dale Sveum made his move.  Sure it is only Game 1 and sure Dempster had racked up 108 pitches, but leave the guy out there.  Sveum brought in Kerry Wood – who had a limited spring due to injury – to try to get the final out of the inning.  But Wood walked 3 straight batters to force in the tying run.  Not good.

Then Sveum called on Carlos Marmol in the 9th with the game tied 1-1.  After he got 2 quick outs, Marmol gave up a double to Chad Tracy and a game-winning single to Ian Desmond and just like that the Cubs has lost 2-1.  Hey, I guess at least Marmol threw strikes and didn’t walk a batter, right?

The Cubs did make it interesting in the 9th when Ian Stewart “tripled” to right field when Jayson Werth lost the ball in the sun in that dreaded corner-outpost area.  Joe Mather pinch-ran for Stewart and Mather was quickly gunned down at the plate in a bang-bang play on Jeff Baker’s grounder to 3rd.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a LOT of games like this.  Cubs starters keep the Cubs in the game with a lot of 3-2, 2-1 scores.  Cubs offense doesn’t produce enough run-support.  Cubs bullpen blows game.  Cubs lose.  I wish I could be more optimistic, but this team just has way too many holes and with no dead-on power-hitter who can serve as an equalizer with a big home run with runners on base, the Cubs will have one of the poorest offenses in 2012.  Who knows, maybe we’ll see Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson a lot sooner than President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have led on.  Only time will tell…

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Cubs Finish Spring with 5-3 Win Over Brewers Behind Strong Travis Wood Outing – Wrigley Field 4/4/12

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Lou

The Cubs finished up spring ball with a nice little 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.  Travis Wood made his best spring start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 6 hits.  He walked only one batter all day and the lone run came on Andy Gonzalez’ solo home run in the 2nd inning.  This bodes well for Wood who is going to need to fine-tune his pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs got off to a fast start with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning from Starlin Castro.  The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 2nd inning on a Joe Mather double and a Darwin Barney single.

The real action begins at Wrigley Field on Thursday when the Cubs take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.  Ryan Dempster makes his 2nd straight opening day start for the Cubs.

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Cubs Rough Up Jeff Weaver 8-1 Behind 13 Hits – Wrigley Field 4/1/12

Posted on 01 April 2012 by Lou

The Cubs ruined Angels’ ace Jeff Weaver’s spring finale with an 8-1 on April Fool’s Day.  The Cubs touched up Weaver for 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings.  The big blow came on Darwin Barney’s RBI triple in the 6th inning when the Cubs took a 3-0 lead over Weaver and the Angels.  The Cubs then blew the game open with Jeff Baker’s 3-run jack off of Jason Isringhausen as part of a 5-run 8th inning.  The Cubs racked up 13 hits – their most of the spring – including 2 hits apiece for David DeJesus and Starlin Castro.

Minor League lefty Chris Rusin continued a nice spring by throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings against a potent Angels offense.  He gave up only 2 hits and most importantly, he did not walk a batter.

The only negative was that the Cubs fielders committed 3 infield errors – Ian Stewart, Castro and Blake DeWitt.  While the pitchers bailed out the fielders in this game, the Cubs defensive players are going to have to be a lot more careful once regular season action starts later this week if they expect to stay in the NL Central hunt in 2012…

 

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