Archive | Aaron Heilman

Cubs Win 11-3, Complete Sweep over Nationals in DC

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Lou

Cubs Nationals Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Nationals 11-3 on Sunday afternoon and swept the Nationals in a 4-game weekend series at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.  In Sunday’s win, the Cubs scored 11 runs, clubbed 16 hits, drew 5 walks and took advantage of 2 Nats errors to complete the 4-game sweep over baseball’s worst team.  Jake Fox and Alfonso Soriano each hit HR’s for the Cubs in the win.  Soriano finished the game with 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored, while Fox finished the game with 3 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Cubs clean-up hitter Micah Hoffpauir had 3 hits and 2 runs scored in the win.  Mike Fontenot also had 3 hits on the day.

Kevin Hart pitched 5 innings, working in and out of trouble all day long.  Hart only gave up 2 ER, but he surrendered 5 hits and 5 walks along the way.  Jeff Samardzija had a solid relief outing – 3 innings, 2 hits and 3 K’s, giving up a single run on Adam Dunn’s 24th HR of the year in the 7th inning.  Jeff Stevens pitched a scoreless 9th inning for the Cubs – Stevens has not allowed a run in either of his 2009 appearances.

Highlights from the weekend:

Friday night – Carlos Zambrano led the Cubs on the mound and at the plate.  Big Z pitched 5 innings of 1 run ball, and although he did not have his best stuff (4 hits and 4 walks), he had 6 K’s and did just enough to keep the Nats away from the big inning.  The only run allowed was unearned and came courtesy of a Ryan Theriot fielding error in the 1st inning.  Zambrano also hit a 2-run double in the bottom of the 2nd inning to give the Cubs their 1st lead at 2-1.  Aramis Ramirez hit his 1st HR since coming back of the DL – a solo shot in the 3rd inning to increase the Cubs lead to 3-1.  The Cubs bullpen did a solid job the final 4 innings of the game – no runs, only 2 hits and a combined 6 strikeouts from Aaron Heilman, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg.

Saturday night – The Cubs rallied from a 4-0 deficit after 2 innings to win 6-5.  Alfonso Soriano hit a go-ahead 3-run HR in the 6th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead.  Mike Fontenot’s solo HR in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a much-needed insurance run.  In the bottom of the 8th inning, after Aaron Heilman got into trouble, closer Kevin Gregg ended a threat by getting through the heart of the Nationals order.  Although Ryan Zimmerman hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly that cut the Cubs lead to 1, Gregg got out of the jam and then pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to record his 1st 5-out save of the 2009 MLB schedule.  Randy Wells did not pitch his best game – 5 innings, 4ER, 7 hits and 1 walk – but it was enough to pick up his 5th win of the season and keep the Cubs in the game to get the big win over the Nats.

The Cubs increased the record to 47-43 on the season.  With the Cards winning 2 of 3 games in their weekend series against the Diamondbacks in St. Louis, the Cubs gained ground and now trail the Cards by only 2 games in the NL Central race.  The Cubs now occupy sole possession of 2nd place, ahead of both the Brewers and Astros.

Cubs Nationals Baseball

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Cubs Struggling in Big Weekend Series Against Cards at Wrigley Field

Posted on 10 July 2009 by Lou

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

The Cubs dropped the 1st game of the big weekend series against the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field 8-3.  Not a good way to start of the weekend.  Entering the game, the Cubs trailed the 1st place Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central.  At worst, the Cubs needed to split the 4-game series with the Cards to remain 3.5 games out of 1st place.  Now that means they must win 2 of 3 the rest of the way before next week’s All-Star Break.  A tall task for a team that just can’t seem to buy a clutch hit.

After scoring just 1 run in each of their previous 2 losses to the Braves at Wrigley Field, the Cubs managed just 3 runs against the Cards – all on Derrek Lee’s 3-run HR in the 3rd inning that tied the game at 3.  The Cubs did manage 9 hits in today’s loss, but they left 13 men on base.  Just awful.

Rich Harden had another atrocious start but did manage to get 2 hits off Cards’ starter Chris Carpenter.  Harden struggled through 101 pitches in 5 innings.  Harden gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and 4 walks, but did strike out 6 Cards hitters to minimize the damage.  Reliever Aaron Heilman was a train-wreck in his one inning of work.  Heilman gave up 4 ER on 3 walks and 2 hits and saw his ERA rise to 4.35 and his WHIP rise to 1.65.  Heilman has been a major disappointment for Manager Lou Pinella, GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs in 2009.

One positive – Jeff Stevens – acquired from the Indians in the off-season trade that sent beloved Mark DeRosa to Cleveland – made his major league debut and pitched a 1-2-3- 9th inning.

Here’s how the rest of the weekend looks:

Saturday – 3:10PM – Ted Lilly v. Brad Thompson

Sunday – 12:05PM – Randy Wells v. Kyle Lohse

Sunday – 7:05PM – Carlos Zambrano v. Adam Wainwright

Saturday’s game almost becomes a must-win for Lilly and the Cubs…

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Cubs Top Brewers 2-1 with Walkoff Walk; Bradley a Disaster in Right Field

Posted on 04 July 2009 by Lou

Cubs Milton Bradley Risk 1

The Cubs defeated the Brewers 2-1 in 10 innings on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Jake Fox’s bases loaded walk with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th inning forced in the winning run.  The Cubs may have caught a break as Mark DiFelice’s pitch appeared to get much of the plate despite being a tad high.  DiFelice was shocked that the home plate umpire called the pitch a ball, but it is what it is and the Cubs have taken the first 2 games of this big weekend series.

Jeff Suppan and Carlos Zambrano dueled for much of the game.  Zambrano lasted 7 innings, giving up just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  The lone run scored when Big Z walked Corey Hart with the bases loaded in the 4th inning.  Zambrano also hit Prince Fielder with a pitch.  Suppan also pitched 7 innings, giving up just 1ER on 4 hits and 2 walks.  His lone run scored on a Carlos Zambrano single to center field.  Suppan also hit Derrek Lee and Jake Fox.

Kosuke Fukodome had a game-saving play in the 7th inning with the score tied at 1.  On Prince Fielder’s line drive single to center field, Kosuke came up firing and nailed Suppan at the plate to prevent the Brewers from taking a 2-1 lead.

The Cubs left 2 runners on base in each of the 8th and 9th innings, but finally got the winning run in the 10th.  Ryan Theriot got a 1-out single and advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch.  After Derrek Lee flew out to right field, the Brewers intentionally walked Milton Bradley to get to Geovany Soto.  DiFelice threw 3 straight balls and ultimately intentionally walked him to get to rookie Jake Fox.  With the count 3-2, Fox fought off pitch after pitch and eventually took ball 4 to win the game.

Kevin Gregg pitched 2 scoreless innings in the 9th and 10th to pick up his 3rd win of the season.  Gregg has now held the other team scoreless in 24 of his last 27 appearances.  He has issued only 8 walks in the last 28 appearances as well (he had walked 8 batters in his 1st 10 appearances on the season).  The lone hit charged to Gregg was a pop up that Milton Bradely lost in the sun in the 9th inning that would have ended the inning.  This is not the 1st time that Bradley has lost a ball in the sun this year and luckily it didn’t cost the Cubs the game on Friday.  Bradley is a complete disaster this year – one of GM Jim Hendry’s worst signings ever.  Rumor has it that Bradely and Manager Lou Pinella exchanged wors after the game.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.

The Cubs and Brewers play Game 3 of the weekend series today at 12 noon at Wrigley Field.  Rich Harden will battle Braden Looper – both pitchers have a 1.40 WHIP and ERA’s over 4.50, so it should be a slugfest at the Friendly Confines today!

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Cubs Losing Streak at 3, with 5-3 Loss to Tigers

Posted on 25 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Tigers Baseball

The Cubs are falling back into their poor hitting ways.  The Cubs had 11 hits and 7 walks, but scored only 3 runs in the 5-3 loss.  The Cubs had their chances, but never seemed to come up with the clutch hit.  After a 1-2-3 1st inning, the Cubs got at least 2 runners on base in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th innings, but never scored more than 1 run in a given inning.  In the 5th inning, Micah Hoffpuair struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs.  In the 6th inning, the Cubs had the bases loaded with no one out and scored only 1 run on a Mike Fontenot ground out.   In the 7th inning, the Cubs had the bases loaded and only 1 out, but scored only 1 run on Jake Fox’s sacrifice fly.  And in the 9th inning, Derrek Lee walked and moved to 2nd on Hoffpauir’s single with no one out.  But Milton Bradley struck out, Jake Fox flew out to deep right field and Kosuke Fukodome struck out to end the game.  The Cubs are 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position during the 3-game losing streak and have averaged only 2.3 runs in each loss despite numerous scoring chances.

The pitching left a lot to be desired in the game as well in a rare off-night.  Rich Harden needed 109 pitches to labor through 5 1/3 innings.  He gave up 4 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks.  Not a good start by any means.  Aaron Heilmand gave up 3 hits in his 1 2/3 innings of work and walked in a run, while Jose Ascansio also gave up 3 hits and a run in his 1/3 of an inning. Manager Lou Pinella called upon Carlos Marmol to put out Ascansio’s 2 on, 2 out mess in the 8th inning and promptly walked the 1st 2 batters that he faced, giving the Tigers an important insurance run that pushed the lead from 1 to 2 runs.

All in all, another bad road showing from the Cubs as they provided little fireworks in an 11-hit offensive attack.  Back at .500 – 34-34 – the Cubs still trail the Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central race.

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Back-to-Back Dramatic Wins for Cubs – Top Indians 8-7 in 10 @ Rocking Wrigley Field

Posted on 20 June 2009 by Lou

Indians Cubs Baseball

2 – for -2 – as the Cubs made it 2 dreamatic come-from-behind wins in a row, topping the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings.  The Cubs last 3 wins have come as the walk-off variety at Wrigley Field, including the last 2 days against the White Sox in the 9th inning on Thursday and the Indians in the 10th inning on Friday.

It didn’t look like the Cubs were going to build off the momentum of Thursday’s big win over the White Sox in the series finale of the cross-town classic.  The Cubs trailed the Indians 7-0 in the 5th inning and Cliff Lee was dominating the Cubs in every way.  Rich Harden had a poor outing – 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, including a pair of 3-run home runs to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez.  But the Cubs didn’t give up. The bullpen kept the Cubs in the game with 5 scoreless innings – David Patten, Aaron Heilman, Jose Ascansio, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – and the Cubs hitters kept chipping away at the 7-run lead.

Reed Johnson hit a solo home run in the 5th inning and Derrek Lee followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the 6th inning.  With the lead 7-2 starting the bottom of the 8th inning, Milton Bradley got a big leadoff single that knocked Lee out of the ball game.  The Indians have one of the worst bullpens in the league, so no lead is safe with them.  As was the case at Wrigley on Friday afternoon.  A Geovany Soto double and a Reed Johnson loaded the bases with 2 outs.  Then the fun began.  Andres Blanco hit a 2-RBI single to right field and Koyie Hill smoked a hard groundball to 3rd bases that Jhonny Peralta couldn’t handle.  It was ruled an error, but in any event, the Cubs had cut the lead to 7-5.  Soriano cut the Indians lead to just 1 run with a single to center field.  Ah the Drama.

Carlos Marmol worked out of a 9th inning 1st and 2nd, 2-out jam, by striking out Martinez to end the threat.  The Indians brought in former Cubs closer Kerry Wood to close out the 1-run win for the Indians, but he promptly served up a 1-out game-tying homer to Derrek Lee that sent the Wrigley faithful into a tizzy.

Kevin Gregg had to escape a rough 10th inning as well – a single, 2 errors and a HBP led to a 2-out bases loaded jam.  But Gregg got pinch-hitter Ryan Garko to line out to center field on a great sliding catch by Kosuke Fukodome to preserve the 7-7 tie.

In the 10th, the Cubs used small ball once again to get the job done.  With 2 outs, Alfsonso Soriano coaxed a walk and stole 2nd base to get into scoring position.  Ryan Theriot hit a hard ground ball towards the right side that took a bad hop to evade the glove of Martinez.  Soriano scored easily from 2nd and the Cubs had the 8-7 win. Cubs win!  Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

It was not a great day for former Cubs Wood, but Mark DeRosa put in a solid 1 for 3 effort, with 2 walks, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.

Let’s hope the Cubs can get out to an early lead on Saturday behind Ted Lilly.  It would be the Cubs first 3-game winning streak in a very long time…

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All Systems A Go – Lilly, Bats Help Cubs Crush Astros 7-1

Posted on 10 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Astros Baseball

The Cubs bats finally came to life in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  The Cubs racked up 16 hits and 7 runs, scoring in each of the 1st 3 innings to take a commanding 5-0 lead.  Ted Lilly, Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall did the rest – holding the Astros to just 5 hits and 1 run in the game.  Lilly lasted only 6 1/3 innings, however, because of his high pitch count – 114 pitches as he worked deep in a lot of counts all night long.  He made the most of his pitches as the Astros never really posed any serious threat.

Mike Fontenot had 4 hits – including a solo home run in the 3rd inning – on his 29th birthday.  Geovany Soto continued his hot hitting with 3 hits and an RBI single in the 1st inning.  Kosuke Fukodome, Derrek Lee and Andrew Blanco also had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Lee has his average up to .269 and with 3 walks, you can tell that he is seeing the ball so well right now – he is back to being his patient old self.

With the Brewers and Reds both losing, the Cubs are tied with the Cards and Reds for 2nd place in the NL Central – just 2.5 games behind the Brewers.  Carlos Zambrano will take on Wandy Rodriguez in Game 2 of the Astros series tonight in Houston in an attempt to move the Cubs closer to the 1st place Brewers.

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Cubs Win Ugly in 14 Innings in Cincinnati

Posted on 08 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Reds Baseball

The Cubs 6-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday wasn’t pretty – but they will take it, especially since the Brewers and Cards lost too.  With the win, the Cubs moved just 1.5 game behind the Cards and 3.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central race.

Once again, the Cubs bats left a lot to be desired.  The Cubs managed only 12 hits in 14 innings.  The Cubs scored 1 run in the 1st inning on Ryan Theriot’s solo home run and 2 runs in the 3rd inning on Derrek Lee’s 2-out 2-run single, but they didn’t score another run until their 3-run “outburst” in the top of the 14th inning. Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a solo home run.  Ryan Theriot singled and Kosuke Fukodome walked, and after a Derrek Lee foul out, Mike Fontenot drove in the 2nd run of the inning with an infield single.  Reed Johnson then doubled home Fukodome to give the Cubs the 6-3 lead.

The Cubs used 8 pitchers in all.  David Patton picked up his 2nd win of the season by pitching a scoreless 13th inning.  Angel Guzman picked up his 1st career major-league save by working a scoreless bottom of the 14th inning.  Randy Wells turned in another solid start – 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk and 4 K’s.  And once again he did not get the win – because of a familiar character – Carlos Marmol.  Marmol faced only 2 batters in the 8th inning and he walked them both.  By this time, Manager Lou Pinella had seen enough and he yanked Marmol for Aaron Heilman.  Heilmand minimized the damage as best as he could by allowing only 1 run to score.  The most impressive outing may have come from Jose Ascansio, however.  Ascansio worked 3 scoreless innings in the 10th, 11th and 12th to keep the Cubs in the game.  He did give up 2 hits and 2 walks, but he was able to navigate through some tricky waters to get through his 3 innings unscathed.

The Cubs are now 28-26.  The Cubs can rest on Monday with a scheduled day off, and then make the trip to Houston to take on the Astros.  Heres how the match-ups look:  Ted Lilly v. Brian Moehler on Tuesday night; Carlos Zambrano v. Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday night; and Ryan Dempster v. Roy Oswalt on Thursday afternoon.

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Cubs Lose to Reds 4-3 In 11 Innings

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Lou

reds-beat-cubsa1

Lack of hitting continues to plague the Cubs day in and day out.  The Cubs could must only 8 hits and 3 runs off of a 1st time starter and a trio of Reds relievers in the 4-3 11-inning loss on Saturday night in Cincinnati.  With Fukodome’s average dropping below the .300 mark, the Cubs do not have an every day hitting over .300 – what a joke for a high-payroll team.

The Cubs scored their only runs on Bobby Scales and Geovany Soto solo home runs and a Jake Fox sacrifice fly that tied the game at 3 in the 8th inning.

The pitching was great – Ryan Dempster pitched 6 strong innings.  The only 3 runs scored off of Dempster in the 1st inning were all unearned – courtesy of a Mike Fontenot error.  Do ya think we miss Mark DeRosa right now?  At least we have 3 pitchers in the minor leagues pitching well…

Dempster only agve up 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7.  Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman each worked scoreless innings of relief.  After Sean Marshall worked a scoreless 10th inning, he fell into immediate trouble in the 11th when he issued a lead-off walk to Jay Bruce (the guy is hitting below .220).  Bruce advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch and took 3rd on a sacrifice bunt.  Marshall intentionally walked the next batter to set up a force play, but the next batter’s weak groundball to 3rd baseman Mike Fontenot allowed the winning run to score.  Fontenot looked lost fielding the ball as he lobbed the ball to Geovany Soto at the plate.  The runner easily scored, but may not have if Aramis Ramirez was on the field.

The Cubs are now 4 1/2 games behind the Brewers and they still trail the Cards and Reds as well.  Not good for a ball club that was expected to compete for a World Series in 2009…

reds-beat-cubs1

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When Will Volcano Lou Erupt: Poor Pitching Leads to 8th Straight Cubs Loss

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

The Pirates defeated the Cubs 10-8 on Monday night at Wrigley Field, handing the Cubs their 8th straight loss.  The Cubs have not lost 8 games in a row since the 2002 MLB schedule.

The Cubs should have been jumping for joy that they scored 8 runs in Monday night’s game.  To put that in perspective, in the Cubs previous 6 games – all losses – the Cubs scored a total of 5 runs while being shut out twice.  Unfortunately, the Cubs pitching deserted the team on the cool Memorial Day night at the Friendly Confines.  Starter Ryan Dempster lasted just 4 innings – 7 hits, 3 walks and 6 earned runs – even walking in back to back runs in the 3rd inning.  Dempster let a 4-3 lead slip away in the 4th inning and then after the Cubs re-gained the lead in the bottom of the inning 7-6, the bullpen blew it the rest of the way.  Neal Cotts took the loss – pitching only 1 inning but giving up 3 earned runs on 4 hits.  Aaron Heilman gave up a run on 2 hits and a walk in the 7th inning.  Even the 2 pitchers that didn’t give up any runs struggled – Jose Ascansio gave up 3 hits in his 1 inning of work, while David Patton gave up 2 hits and a walk in his 2 innings of work.

3 Cubs players had good hitting nights – Milton Bradley broke out of his funk with a 2 for 5 night.  Bradley had a double and a home run and had 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Ryan Theriot was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  And Geovany Soto was 2 for 3 with 2 walks and an RBI.

You’d like to think that once the Cubs get some consistent hitting, they should be able to start winning some games.  But the starting pitching has been inconsistent and the bullpen has been downright awful.  At this point, if the Cubs are to stay in it in the short-term, they are going to need a lot of luck and a lot of poor play from the Cards, Brewers and Reds.  If not, we should see Volcano Lou erupt very very soon.

Sean Marshall faces off against Ian Snell Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs have had recent success against Snell, so maybe this is the night that the Cubs break the atrocious losing streak.

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Gregg Blows Cubs 4-Run Lead in 9th, But Cubs Win on Soriano Single

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Lou

Astros Cubs Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4 in frustrating, but dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Randy Wells gave the Cubs another great start – 6 innings, 0 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Wells left the game with a 3-0 and was set to earn his 1st majore league win.  The Cubs had built the lead on an RBI single by Derrek Lee in the bottom of the 6th inning, which was then followed by a 2-run homer from Micah Hoffpauir.  The Cubs added what turned out to be an all-important insurance run on a Geovany Soto single in the 8th inning.  Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol worked scoreless 7th and 8th innings to set it up perfectly for closer Kevin Gregg.

But it all fell apart for Gregg in the 9th.  Gregg gave up back-to-back homers to Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee to lead off the inning.  Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blumm singled and Gregg loaded the bases when he hit Hunter Pence with a pitch.  That was it for Gregg as Manager Lou Pinella replaced him with Aaron Heilman.  Heilman promptly served up a single to Ivan Pudge Rodriguez which scored Tejada and Pence to tie the game at 4.  But Heilman buckled down to induce 2 flyouts.  Heilman then walked Michael Bourn to load the bases again with 2 out, and Pinella called on Sean Marshall to finish off the rally.  He did just that – getting the deadly Lance Berkman to ground out to end the inning.

The Cubs rallied in the bottom of the 9th inning quickly.  Bobby Scales lead off the inning with a walk against former Cubs pitcher Latroy Hawkins.  Aaron Miles sacrificed Scales over to 2nd base and Alfonso Soriano delivered Scales home with the winning run on a single to right field.

The 2 teams finish off the series on Sunday afternoon – Rich Harden will take on Brian Moehler.

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