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At Last – Cubs End 12-Game Losing Streak with 11-7 Win Over Padres – Wrigley Field 5/28/12

Posted on 28 May 2012 by Lou

On a hot and humid day at Wrigley Field, the Cubs ended their 12-game skid with a 11-7 slugfest over the San Diego Padres on Memorial Day.  Powered by a 14-hit attack including 4 homers, the Cubs finally picked up a win for the 1st time in exactky 2 weeks – the Cubs last won against the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 14th.

Randy Wells picked up the win going 1 2/3 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits.  He picked up after Travis Wood labored through his 5 innings – 6 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Wood surrendered 4 homers in the hitter-friendly day at the Friendly Confines.

Darwin Barney, Ian Stewart, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro each hit home runs in the slugfest.  Bryan LaHair had 3 hits, 1 RBI and 3 rns scored.  Soriano also had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s.  David DeJesus, Castro and Stewart added 3 hits apiece.

The Cubs just missed setting the franchise record for most consecutive losses – which was 14.

Let’s hope the Cubs can make it a winning streak when the 2 teams square off again at Wrigley on Tuesday afternoon with Jeff Samardzija going for the Cubs.

Before the game, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer spoke to the media about the state of the Cubs.  It was not all positive – obviously – but the duo feel that they have the organization going in the right direction…

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Cubs Swept for 3rd Straight Series; Losing Streak Hits 9 – Wrigley Field 5/23/12

Posted on 24 May 2012 by Lou

OUCH!  It keeps getting worse and worse.  The Cubs fell to the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night as their losing streak reached 9 games.  The Cubs have now been swept in each of their last 3 series.  Not good, not good at all.

Jeff Samardzija pitched well again, but a key play in the bottom of the 4th inning cost the Cubs the game.  Samardijza was cruising right along until the Astros had 2 on and 2 out in the 4th.  It looked like the Cubs were going to get out of the inning when David DeJesus caught J.D. Martinez’s bloop hit down the right field line.  But Darwin Barney was also going after the ball and as DeJesus caught the ball, Barney barreled into DeJesus knocking the ball out of his mitt.  Both runners scored as Martinez hit his 1st career “triple”.  The Cubs just keep finding ways to lose.  Sanardzija ended up going 6 strong innings and kept the Cubs in the game with a 2-1 deficit, but the Cubs could never muster any offense other than Reed Johnson’s 1st inning home run.

Travis Wood kept the Cubs in the ballgame on Tuesday night as well.  He worked 5 2/3 innings of 2 run ball, scattering 2 hits and 2 walks with 3 K’s.  But the Cubs could only manage one run on a solo home run by Alfonso Soriano in the 4th inning.

The Cubs scored just 6 runs in the series, the same number of runs that they scored in the 3-game weekend series against the White Sox last weekend.  The Cubs fell to 15-29 – a whopping 10 games back of the Cards.  With the loss, the Cubs officially have the worse record in ALL of baseball…

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Road Trip Doesn’t Solve Cubs Problems, Cubs Lose 8-4 as Garza Lasts Just 3 Innings – Wrigley Field 5/21/12

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Lou

So much for Matt Garza putting an end to the Cubs current 6-game losing streak.  Garza endured his worst outing of the season, giving up 7 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in just 3 innings.  He gave up 2 3-run jacks that gave the Astros a comfortable 7-0 lead after just 3 innings of play.

After being swept in 2 straight series, the Cubs hoped that a road trip away from the “Friendly” Confines of Wrigley Field might turn the tides in their favor, especially with one of their best pitchers on the mound.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  For the 3rd straight game, the Cubs did not score a SINGLE RUN in the game’s 1st 8 innings.  That has to be some sort of record.  They lost 7-4 on Saturday (4 runs in the 9th); they lost 6-0 on Sunday; and they were losing 8-0 on Monday night before run-scoring singles from Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Blake Lalli in the 9th inning.

The lone bright spot – Randy Wells pitched the game’s final 5 innings allowing just a single ER on 3 hits and 2 walks.  Yeah!

The Cubs are 15-26 – 8 games behind the Cards.  Ouch!!!  Let’s hope Travis Wood can snap the streak.  In 3 starts against the Astros as a member of the Reds last season, Wood went 1-0 with a nasty 1.02 ERA against Houston.  He still has a 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Astros – let’s hope he keeps that up tonight with the way the Cubs have been scoring runs of late…

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White Sox Sweep Cubs in 1st Half of 2012 Crosstwon Classic – Wrigley Field 5/20/12

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Lou

The 1st half of the 2012 Crosstown Classic between the Cubs and White Sox was simply brutal for the North Siders.  In a rare and fun Saturday night contest at Wrigley Field,the White Sox blanked the Cubs for the game’s first 8 innings amassing a comfortable 7-0 lead behind 3 Sox home runs.  The Cubs avoided the shutout when Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather hit 2 run home runs in the 9th inning.  But it was too little too late.  Ryan Dempster suffered the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season, despite strong individual numbers – 1.06 WHIP, 2.28 ERA, 44 K’s against just 14 walks.

On Sunday, needing a win to avoid the sweep, the Cubs curled up under the favorite blankie and laid an egg against Jake Peavy.  The White Sox cruised to an easy 6-0 victory behind Peavy and 3 more Sox home runs and a 10-hit barrage against Paul Maholm.  On a 90-degree day with the wind blowing straight out of the park in every direction, the Cubs managed just 5 hits and NO runs.  How is that even possible?!

It keeps getting uglier and uglier for the Cubs.  Now it seems all but a certainty that Theo & Co. will move Matt Garaza and any other chip (Dempster, Maholm) in any attempt to get cheaper and younger.

With the sweep the Cubs fell to 15-25 overall and they trail the Cards and Reds by a full 7 games in the NL Central race.

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Sox Take Series Opener 3-2 Over Struggling Cubs; Kerry Wood to Retire – Wrigley Field 5/18/12

Posted on 18 May 2012 by Lou

The White Sox took game 1 of the Crosstown Classic with an exciting 3-2 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field today.

The Cubs are now 15-24 – they have dropped 4 straight and only the San Diego Padres have a worst record in the National League than the Cubs.

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Frustrating End to Cubs Split with Cards in St. Louis – Wrigley Field 5/15/12

Posted on 15 May 2012 by Lou

This is going to be the story for the 2012 Cubs – they play good, just not good enough to win consistently.  The surprising fact that they are playing so many close games this season makes it tough to swallow when they do lose close ones.  But at least they are battling and at least the players seem to have some renewed fight in them under the new Theo, Jed and Dale regime.

The Cubs dropped the series finale to the Cards 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th.  After staking Paul Maholm to a 3-0 lead in the 1st, Maholm slowly gave it back with 2 runs in the 1st, 1 run in the 2nd and 1 more run in the 5th.  The Cubs fought back with a game-tying Bryan LaHair homer in the 6th (his 10th of the season) and a go-ahead pinch-hit RBI single in the 7th by Reed Johnson that drove in Darwin Barney who had doubled.  But the bullpen ran into trouble after that.

Kerry Wood issued 2 walks in the 7th inning and he allowed the game-tying single to Allen Craig.  James Russell served up Matt Carpenter’s go-ahead homer in the 8th that gave the Cards a short-lived 6-5 lead.  After the Cubs answered in the top of the 9th with Alfonso Soriano’s 1st home run of the season – yes, you read that correctly – his 1ST HOME RUN! – that tied the game at 6, it was Rafael Dolis’ turn to allow the Cards to win.  He served up the game-winning single to Yadier Molina with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Sure, you can question Dale Sveum’s decision not to walk RBI machine Molina to face Carpenter, but the Cubs had plenty of chances to win this one, and they just didn’t get it done.

Monday night’s win was equally as frustrating, but at least they pulled that one out.  The Cubs finally gave Ryan Dempster some run support with 4 runs in the 5th inning to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.  But he gave it right back in the 6th with a 4-run inning.  This time, Shawn Camp and Dolis got the job done with 3 scoreless innings.  And Soriano came through with a big game-winning single in the 8th inning.  They fought back and won, and it shows that they can compete, but you just wish they had won some of these earlier games in the season.

With a win today, the Cubs could have pulled within 4 games of the Cards for 1st place in the NL Central!  But it wasn’t meant to be.  They’re now 15-21 and 6 games back.  Even if just 3 of those games go the other way this season, they would be 18-18 and would likely be talked about as one of the biggest surprises of 2012…

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Cubs Avoid Weekend Sweep with 8-2 Win over Brewers at Miller Park – Wrigley Field 5/14/12

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Lou

It was an ugly weekend for the Cubs all-around, but at least they didn’t get swept. The Cubs scored in each of the game’s final 5 innings en route to their 1st “easy” win in a LONG time.  The top of the order has been on fire for the Cubbies.  David DeJesus had 2 hits and a run scored.  Tony Campana had 3 hits, 1 run scored and 1 RBI.  And Starlin Castro added 2 hits with an RBI.  Jeff Samardzija pitched 5 innings but needed 91 pitches to labor through his outing.  He allowed just 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6, but he did not factor in the decision.

James Russell, Kerry Wood and Michael Bowden each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.

It was a much-needed victory given how they lost the 1st 2 games of the series.  On Friday night, after taking a 4-1 lead on David DeJesus’ grand slam in the top of the 7th, the Cubs gave it right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the frame.  DeJesus came through again in the clutch in the 9th inning as they rallied for a 7-5 lead with 3 runs in the inning.  But Rafael Dolis gave it right back with a 2-run shot to Corey Hart in the bottom of the inning.  The Cubs would go on to lose 8-7 in 13 innings.

On Saturday, it was the same old story for Chris Volstad.  He always seems to have 1 brutal inning that costs him and the Cubs the game. It was a 1-1 game through 5 1/2 innings and then Volstad served up a 5-run 6th inning, capped off by Edwin Maysonet’s 2-out grand slam.  Just brutal.  Volstad fell to 0-5 while watching his WHIP soar to 1.46 and his ERA soar to 6.92.  Something has gotta give with this guy.  If the Cubs are still competing at the end of the month (currently they are 14-20, 6 games back of the Cards), look for the Cubs to release/trade Volstad and bring up either Randy Wells or Travis Wood to take his place.

Cubs travel to St. Louis for 2 games against the Cards today and tomorrow.  Let’s hope Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm keep up their solid pitching…

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Garza Returns to Hill, Sveum Returns to Miller Park – Wrigley Field 5/11/12

Posted on 11 May 2012 by Lou

It is a night of returns for the Cubs in the 1st game of a 3-game weekend set against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Matt Garza who skipped his last scheduled start because of a nasty flu bug penetrating the Cubs clubhouse will square off against Randy Wolf in the series opener.  Garza is 2-1 on the season with a nasty 0.89 WHIP and solid 2.67 ERA.  Garza loves facing the Brew Crew – he has a career 1.90 ERA against the club and in his last outing against the Brewers back on April 12th at Wrigley Field, he fell just 1 out shy of a complete game shutout as the Cubs won 8-0.

Dale Sveum spent the last 6 seasons on the Brewers coaching staff and is looking forward to his return – this time as the Cubs manager – “Yeah, I have a lot of memories there and a lot of friends, but when the games start, you don’t think about anything like that.  You just think about winning the game and managing the baseball game.”

The Cubs and Brewers are both tied for last place in the NL Central – 13-18 – 7 games back of the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals.  Let’s hope the Cubs can take at least 2 out of 3 this weekend with the starters they have going – Garza, Dempster and Samardzija…

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Maholm, Cubs Take Series Over Braves with 1-0 Shutout – Wrigley Field 5/9/12

Posted on 09 May 2012 by Lou

It was a pitcher’s duel series, as Paul Maholm out-dueled Tim Hudson in the series finale today at Wrigley Field.  Maholm pitched 7 scoreless innings, winning his 4th straight decision.  He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.08 and his ERA to 4.05.  Nice!

The Cubs were equally ineffective offensively – 5 hits and no walks.  Starlin Castro almost scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 4th inning as his line drive down the right field line scooted past Jason Heyward.  He had a triple and tried to score an inside-the-park HR but was gunned down on a nice relay throw by Dan Uggla.  They had to wait until the 7th inning when David DeJesus led off with a single.  Dejesus moved over to 3rd base on a sac bunt by Tony Campana and groundout by Castro.  Then Bryan LaHair came up with the clutch 2-out single to left center field that plated DeJesus with the only run of the game.

James Russell made it interesting in the 8th inning when he put 2 runners on base, but he got Uggla to pop out to DeJesus to end the threat.  Then Rafael Dolis worked a perfect 9th inning for his 3rd save of the season.  Dolis got Chipper Jones to line out to left field to lead off the inning – that was likely his last at-bat for his illustrious career at Wrigley Field.

With the win, the Cubs improved to 13-18.  They have won 2 straight series and they split the 2 series before that against the Phillies and Reds, so they are actually playing some pretty good ball right now.

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Samardzija, Cubs Cool off Red-Hot Braves with 5-1 Win – Wrigley Field 5/7/12

Posted on 07 May 2012 by Lou

Jeff Samardzija improved to 4-1 with a dominant 5-1 win over the Braves on Monday night at Wrigley Field.  The Braves had won 3 in a row scoring 29 runs in a 3-game sweep over the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, but Samardzija worked his magic and held the Braves to just 1 run on Jason Heyward’s homer in the 2nd inning.  Samardzija worked 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.19 and his ERA to 3.03.  Samardzija continued to show great command and a mastery of mixing up his pitches to keep the hitters off-guard.

Carlos Marmol made his 1st appearance after being removed from the closer’s role.  In the 8th inning, he walked the 1st two batters and threw wild pitch before getting the next 3 batters without allowing a run.  It wasn’t pretty, but at least he preserved the lead.

James Russell worked the 9th – he allowed a hit with 2 K’s and closed the door for the Cubs 3rd win in 4 games.

Bryan LaHair hit his 8th home run off the season to tie the game at 1.  Ian Stewart followed up with a back-to-back homer right after that and Reed Johnson almost made it 3 in a row, but his shot fell just short of the wall in deep left.  Starlin Castro added 2 hits including an RBI single in the 7th inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-1.  Geovany Soto gave the Cubs some much needed insurance runs with a 2-run blast in the 8th inning.

It’s always good to get the 1st win in a series, so let’s hope the Cubs can clinch another series win with a big W on Tuesday night at the Friendly Confines…

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