Posted on 08 October 2009 by Lou
One of the few lone bright spots for the 2009 Chicago Cubs was the play of Derrek Lee. Lee was named the NL Player of the month for September. In the final month of the season, Lee led all major league players with a whopping .386 batting average. He also had a phenomenal .500 on-base percentage with 9 HR’s and 23 RBI’s. Lee was last named NL Player of the Month back in April 2005.
After a slow start (Lee was hitting below .200 as late as May 16th), Lee really turned it around during the last 4 months of the season. Lee finished the season with a solid .306 batting average that led the team. He also led the team with 35 HR’s, 91 runs scored and 111 RBI’s, and his .393 on-base percentage was the 3rd highest in his 12-year MLB career. At the age of 34, it’s unclear how many more years he has left in the tank, but it is a great sign that he really turned it around in 2009. With a healthy Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the middle of the lineup in 2010, you’d expect the Cubs to make some noise in the NL Central once again during the 2010 MLB schedule. GM Jim Hendry, Manager Lou Pinella and the Wrigley Field faithful will surely be excited to see a dynamic Lee/Ramirez combination in the middle of the lineup for the entire 2010 campaign…
Posted on 05 October 2009 by Lou
It was a tale of 2 final starts for Randy Wells and Ryan Dempster in the final 2 games for the Cubs over the weekend at Wrigley Field.
Wells picked up his 12th win of the season as he dominated the Arizona Diamondbacks over 7 innings of work. Wells threw 107 pitches and struck out a career-high 10 batters. He gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk during his outing. Top top off the excellent showing from Wells, Esmailin Cardidad and Carlos Marmol continued their hot pitching with 2 perfect innings of work to preserve the 5-0 win for Wells. We could be seeing a lot of Cardidad and Marmol in 2010 for the Cubs, as well as a lot of Wells. Wells has been the Cubs most pleasant surprise of 2009. He made 27 starts for the Cubs, an amazing number given the fact that he did not get his 1st start until May 8th. He finished with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, and he gave up just 56 ER in 165 1/3 innings pitched. The 12 wins and 3.05 ERA were team highs.
Ryan Dempster did not fare so well in his final start of 2009. Dempster was also going for his 12th win of the season, but he gave up 5 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk in just 5 innings of work (he did have 10 K’s). He was on a roll of late – going 2-0 while pitching at least 7 innings in each of his last 4 starts – but he didn’t have it on Sunday. Overall, Dempster finished the season with a 3.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Dempster struck out 172 batters while walking only 65 in 200 innings pitched, but he was just too inconsistent all season long. The strikeout and innings pitched numbers were team highs.
If Wells can repeat his 2009 performance in 2010, the Cubs will have a formidable starting rotation once again with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Wells. The Cubs finished with the 5th best team ERA in all of baseball in 2009. GM Jim Hendry, Manager Lou Pinella, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild should feel good knowing that they will have 4 quality starters coming back in 2010 he pitched very well in 2009 despite being on an under-achieving team.
Posted on 04 October 2009 by Lou
Ryan Dempster is going for win #12 in the Cubs season finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Dempster has compiled an 11-8 record with a 3.51 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Dempster has pitched well of late and looks to end a frustrating season on a positive note. The DBacks have a light-hitting offense like the Cubs, so it shouldn’t be too hard for Dempster to put forth a solid outing. Manager Lou Pinella will look to Dempster to serve as a legitimate #2 in the Cubs starting rotation in 2010.
Posted on 03 October 2009 by Lou
Randy Wells has been one of the Cubs lone bright spots during the frustrating 2009 MLB schedule. As I’ve discussed before, he is a competitor who has been consistent and has kept the Cubs in games all season long. He has struggled of late, so I really hope he can finish with a positive start today against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. He has given up 5 ER in 2 of his last 3 starts and he seems to have lost some of his control that made him so effective earlier in the year – 22 walks in his last 10 starts with at least 4 walks in 4 of those starts. To put it in perspective, Wells had walked 3 batters in a game only twice in his 1st 16 starts of the season. It’s pretty clear that Manager Lou Pinella has already penciled in Wells as a 4th or 5th starter for the 2010 Cubs rotation.
Wells still has a repsectable 3.18 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, so I’m hoping he can go at least 6 innings giving up just a few runs against a weak-hitting Arizona lineup. 12-10 sounds a lot better than 11-11…
Posted on 02 October 2009 by Lou
Ticket brokers let out a collective sigh of relief last night as the Cubs-Pirates game was delayed and then postponed after just 3 innings of play on Thursday night at Wrigley Field. One of our sponsors – Ticketchest.com – was thrilled with the decision to cancel the game without any make up date since the season has been over for a while now. Those unsold tickets will now either be refunded or can be used as a credit towards future Cubs tickets purchases in 2010. Hip hip hooray! Jeff Samardzija was the other winner as the 3 runs and 3 hits he gave up in the 1st inning were washed out of the record book with the rain out.
The Cubs were back on the field on Friday to take on the Diamondbacks, but they might as well have stayed at home today. Tom Gorzelanny looked like the pitcher that the Cubs used to beat on every game, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 3 innings. Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Aaron Heilman struggled out of the bullpen, combining to give up 5 runs. The Cubs bats didn’t do much better. The Cubs managed just 7 hits in the game, as they scored all 3 of their runs in the 7th inning. Koyie Hill was the only player with more than 1 hit for the Cubs.
Man I can’t wait for this season to be over…
Posted on 01 October 2009 by Lou
This image of Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir colliding in the outfield sums up the Cubs 2009 MLB schedule perfectly. Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano each struggled in their final 2009 starts, as the Cubs dropped a double-header to the Pirates at Wrigley Field on Thursday. Guess that really sums up what a bad 2009 the Cubs organization has endured.
In the opener, Lilly gave up all 4 runs in the 1st inning. After that, he settled down and pitched 7 innings, giving up just a total of 5 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 8. Lilly will end the year with 12 wins, a 3.10 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. The sad part was that the Cubs bats were silenced by rookie Charlie Morton. Just 5+ weeks ago, the Cubs lit up Morton for 10 ER on 7 hits in just 1 inning of work. How he goes from that to a complete game 4-hit shutout against the same team is mind-boggling. Just proves how inconsistent the Cubs have been at the plate in 2009.
In the nightcap, the team did not fare much better. Zambrano pitched just 6 innings because of a high pitch count (117 pitches). Big Z walked 4 and ended up giving up 4 ER and 6 hits. Zambrano suffered his 7th loss of the season, and it will be the 1st time in 6 seasons that Carlos does not end up with double-digit wins. Very disappointing from your supposed ace.
Esmailin Caridad had another perfect inning of relief work and now has a 1.56 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Carlos Marmol, on the other hand, continued to struggle when not in a save situation. Marmol gave up a leadoff home run in the 9th inning and 2 walks before recording the 27th and final Pirates out of the night.
Jeff Samardzija will make another spot start in the series finale against the Pirates on Thursday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are still stuck on 82 wins…
Posted on 30 September 2009 by Lou
Ryan Dempster pitched a complete game, 5-hit shutout over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. He struck out 6 and walked just 2, throwing 120 pitches to notch his 1st shutout since July 2001. After a 17 win season in 2008, Dempster has disappointed in 2009. So where did the 2008 Dempster go? Probably down the drain like the rest of the Cubs. Early on, Dempster struggled with control issues and a lack of run support. In all but 3 of his 1st 17 starts, Dempster walked at least 2 batters in the game. In 9 of the 17 starts, he walked at least 3 batters in the game, with a season high 6 walks in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox on June 17th.
Throw in a July DL stint because of a fluke broken toe during a “Cubby Occurrence Celebration”, and it has been a long frustrating season for Dempster. Of late, Demspter has regained the control that made him so effective in 2008. In his last 11 starts, he has walked 3 batters in a game only once. In 6 of those starts he has walked one batter or less. Better control means more innings pitched – he has pitched at least 7 innings in all but 2 of those 11 starts, and in those 2 starts, he survived through 6 innings. That helps him have a better chance of qualifying for wins, and it helps his bullpen remain fresh through a long MLB season.
Right now, Dempster is 11-8 with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He has 162 K’s against 64 walks. Credit Dempster for staying on course despite the frustrations he, the Cubs and Cubs fans have been feeling all season long.
Dempster will make his final start of 2009 against the Diamondbacks on Sunday at Wrigley Field. Will 12 wins be in the cards? Hopefully – – because Dempster is confident there will be a carryover into the 2010 MLB schedule – “It’s unfortunate the season is coming to an end because I feel stronger than I did earlier in the year.”
Posted on 29 September 2009 by Lou
The Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Giants in San Francisco, but could not pull off the sweep as Randy Wells suffered his 10th loss of the season. Wells struggled all game long, pitching just 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 10 hits and 2 walks. His bid for a season with an ERA under 3.00 is in jeopardy as his ERA rose to 3.18 with the loss.
There was little else to cheer about in the finale as Matt Cain held the Cubs scoreless through the game’s 1st 8 innings. One bright spot – Justin Berg – who pitched another scoreless inning in relief. In 7 September appearances, Berg has pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and 1 walk during that span. The 25-year old is showing off his stuff in an effort to steal aspot in the 2010 Cubs bullpen.
The Cubs pulled off the dramatic win on Thursday night with Jeff Baker’s 2-strike, 2-out, 2-run HR off Giants closer Brian Wilson that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Carlos Marmol made it 12 for 12 in save chances since being named the Cubs new closer at the end of August.
Carlos Zambrano finally lived up to his “ace” status with a dominating win over Tim Lincecum on Friday night. Zambrano pitched a complete game shutout, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8. Zambrano even drove in 2 of the Cubs’ 3 runs with a ground out in the 7th inning and a double in the 9th inning. Zambrano threw just 98 pitches as he was on his “A” game all night long.
Tom Gorzelanny picked up his 7th win in 2009 with a nice 5-inning outing on Saturday. He gave up just 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks with 5 K’s.
The Cubs have 7 more games to go in this frustrating 2009 MLB schedule. Let’s hope they finish on a positive note. At 81-74, one more win guarantees the Cubs a 3rd straight non-losing season….
Posted on 28 September 2009 by Lou
While it has been a disappointing 2009 MLB schedule for the Cubs, they will still look to put on a show and preserve a winning season record with their final 7 games at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs will play 4 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates from Tuesday through Thursday at Wrigley Field. The day-night double-header on Wednesday September 30th is part of the make up game from Sunday August 16th that was postponed because of rain.
The Cubs will close out the season with a 3-game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks from Friday October 2nd through Sunday October 4th.
Both the Pirates and Diamondbacks have losing records, so the Cubs should be able to end the season on a positive note. It will be the last chance for Cubs fans to see starting pitchers Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells in 2009, and maybe the last time they see soon-to-be-free-agent Rich Harden pitch in a Cubs uniform.
Keep your heads held high Cubs fans – if the Cubs do pull off a winning record in 2009, it will be the 1st time the Cubs have had winning records in 3 straight MLB seasons since the Cubs posted 6 straight winning seasons from 1967 through 1972…
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 27 September 2009 by Lou
Randy Wells is looking for his 12th win of the 2009 MLB schedule today in San Francisco. Wells is 11-9 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, but he must out-duel one of the Giants’ dynamic pitchers Matt Cain. Cain won only 8 games in 2008, but has had a terrific 2009 MLB schedule, going 13-7 with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Cain has lost 3 straight decisions, however, so Wells is hoping that if he can hold down the Giants for 6 or 7 innings, he should be able to notch that 12th win.
After Sunday’s game, the Cubs return home to Wrigley Field for the final 7 games of the season. And while the season will surely go down as one of the most disappointing seasons in recent history (after winning 2 straight NL Central divisions titles and 97 games in 2008), the Cubs should still make it a 3rd straight winning season, something they have not accomplished since 1972 when the Cubs had 6 straight winning seasons from 1967 through 1972.