Posted on 13 July 2009 by Lou
The Cubs and Cards split Sunday afternoon’s Day-Night Double-Header on Wrigley Field. It could have been better, but I guess it could have been worse too. The Cubs trailed the 1st place Cards by 2.5 games in the NL Central when the 2 teams started the 4-game weekend series on Friday, and after 4 games, nothing had changed. At least they didn’t get swept.
Carlos Zambrano picked up the win in the early game as the Cubs won 7-3.
Randy Wells suffered the loss in the nightcap as the Cubs lost 4-2.
The most interesting play of the day-night, came in the 9th inning of Game 2.
We’ll have a mid-year report in the next couple of days as we have a few days off for the All-Star Break.
Posted on 09 July 2009 by Lou
The Cubs lost to the Braves 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon. It was the same old story for the Cubs bats – only 6 total hits and only 2 walks drawn. Not good. The Cubs sole run came on a Kosuke Fukodome home run in the 6th inning. The Cubs went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, never coming through with the clutch hit. Kevin Hart took the loss for the Cubs. The Cubs have now scored 1 or less runs in 15 of their last 47 games. Incredible.
The Cubs are 41-41 and trail the 1st place Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central race. The Cubs and Cards open a big 4-game weekend series at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.
Posted on 07 July 2009 by Lou
Randy Wells is my Cubs MVP for 2009. Wells won his 4th straight start as the Cubs beat the Braves 4-2 at Wrigley Field on ESPN Monday Night Baseball. Wells needed only 87 pitches to get through 6 innings. He gave up 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks while striking out 4. In a tumultuous season in which the Cubs have had to deal with injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, Wells has stepped in to fill the void and even bumped 5th starter Sean Marshall from the rotation once Big Z and Harden were able to return full time. Wells has been nothing but brilliant with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wells should even have 3 more wins under his belt, but the Cubs bullpen blew leads in those games after Wells had left with the lead intact.
Derrek Lee also continued his hot hitting with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Lee went 2 for 4 on the night, while new lead-off hitter Kosuke Fukodome had another great night at the plate going 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. Kosuke’s RBI double in the 2nd inning increased the Cubs lead to 3-0 and Ryan Theriot’s single right after that capped off the Cubs scoring for the evening.
Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win for the Cubs.
The Cubs recalled 3 players from rehab assignments. Aramis Ramirez started at 3rd base and batted 5th in the lineup – he went 0 for 4. Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman were also recalled but did not see game action. To make room for the 3, the Cubs sent Sam Fuld and Kevin Hart back down to Triple-A Iowa and put David Patton on the disabled list. The Cubs also traded Ryan Freel to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later.
The Cubs have won 6 of their last 10 games and are now 41-39 on the season. The Cubs have the same number of losses as the Cardinals and Brewers with less games played, so for as badly as things have gone in 2009, the Cubs are still right in the thick of things.
Posted on 11 June 2009 by Lou
The Astros defeated the Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday night, as the Cubs bats wasted a 3rd straight gem by Carlos Zambrano. After their 16-hit, 7 runs barrage on Tuesday night, the Cubs scored only 1 run on a solo home run by Geovany Soto in the 2nd inning. The Cubs managed only 7 hits and 2 walks against Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Sampson. Ryan Theriot was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit. The Cubs had more than 1 batter reach base in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, but only scored 1 run in that span. They didn’t have another serioues threat until the 8th inning when Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee singled, but Reed Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Zambrano needed only 104 pitches to work through 8 innings. Zambrano gave up only 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 3 batters. His only mistake was issuing a lead off walk to Hunter Pence in the 7th inning. Pence advanced to 3rd base on Carlos Lee’s single to center field and then scored on a weak groundball by Geoff Blum. In his last 3 starts, Zambrano has pitched 21 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs (3 total) on 12 hits and 10 walks. He has 16 K’s along the way, but only a 1-0 record to show for it.
Angel Guzman had been the Cubs most reliable reliever until last night. Guzman gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Tejada and then walked Hunter Pence. Carlos Lee’s flyout to right field moved Tejada to 3rd base with only 1 out. Manager Lou Pinella opted to walk Lance Berkman to load the bases to set up a force play at every base, but Geoff Blum’s soft single to center field won the game for the Astros.
The two teams play an afternoon finale on Thursday in Houston. Ryan Dempster will face off against Roy Oswalt.
Posted on 08 June 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 07 June 2009 by Lou
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…
Posted on 06 June 2009 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Reds 2-1 on Friday night in Cincinnati behind an all-around effort from Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano won his 100th career game, pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball. Zambrano needed a lot of pitches, however (108 total), as he walked 5 batters and struck out 7. Zambrano’s solo home run to deep center field in the 5th inning ended up being the game-winning run.
Angel Guzman got Zambrano out of a jam in the bottom of the 7th inning by retiring Johnny Gomes on a harmless ground ball with 2 on and 2 out. Guzman has been lights out this season, lowering his WHIP to 0.90 and his ERA to 2.45. Carlos Marmol struggled again – giving up the Reds only run in the 8th inning on 2 walks and a hit. But Kevin Gregg stepped up big in the 9th inning to record his 10th save of the season.
The Cubs bats continue to struggle. It is getting to be a huge issue for the Cubs and very frustrating for Manager Lou Pinella. No one ever seems to come up with the big hit. A perfect example was the 1st inning – the Cubs loaded the bases with only 1 out on a Ryan Theriot infield single and consecutive walks to Kosuke Fukodome and Derrek Lee. But the Cubs could only muster 1 run as Micah Hoffpauir struck out, Miek Fontneot coaxed another walk out of Reds starter Micah Owings, and then Koyie Hill struck out to end the inning. The Cubs only had 7 hits and left 18 runners on base.
The Cubs and Reds continue the weekend series today – Ryan Dempster v. Matt Maloney who will be making his 1st career major league start.
Posted on 04 June 2009 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Braves 2-1 in 12 innings on Wednesday night. Micah Hoffpauir’s clutch, bloop, pinch-hit single gave the Cubs the win in the top of the 12th inning. And this time the Cubs pitchers did the job all night long. Ted Lilly pitched 7 innings, giving up 2 runs (only 1 earned) on 6 hits and 1 walk. Lilly had 7 strikeouts. Carlos Marmol needed only 13 pitches for his scoreless inning of work. Angel Guzman was even more efficient – needing only 22 pitches to work 2 scoreless innings. Guzman has quietly turned into the Cubs most dependable reliever with his 0.91 WHIP and 2.49 ERA. And Kevin Gregg actually closed out a game – his 9th save of the season – with a 1-2-3 9th inning. Hip Hip Hoorah!
The Cubs looks to take the series from the Braves with Carlos Zambrano on the bump. He will have to beat out the Braves best starter, however, Jair Jurrjens who is 5-2 with a 1.23 WHIP and 2.59 ERA.
Posted on 17 May 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 14 May 2009 by Lou
The Cubs finished off the 3-game sweep of the Padres on Thursday, as the Padres dropped their 11th straight road game.
The Cubs broke out the big bats in each victory. In Wednesday night’s 6-4 win, the Cubs hit 4 home runs. The Cubs nailed back to back home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot in the 1st inning to tie the game at 2. Geovany Soto’s 2-run home run in the 3rd inning increased the Cubs lead to 5-2 and Ryan Theriot’s 2nd home run of the game in the 4th inning. Ted Lilly pitched 6 1/3 innings – 3 earned runs, 8 hits, 0 walks and 7 K’s – to pick up his 5th win of the season. Carlos Marmol picked up his 3rtd save of the season despite giving up 2 earned run on 2 hits and 2 walks in just an inning of work.
In Thursday afternoon’s 11-3 win, the Cubs had 2 huge innings in which they scored 10 runs. In the 5th inning, the Cubs scored 6 runs to blow the game open – a Geovany Soto walk with the bases loaded, a Reed Johnson 2-RBI double, a Bobby Scales 2-RBI double; and a Ryan Dempster single. In the 6th inning, the Cubs scored 4 more runs on another 2-RBI double by Bobby Scales, an Aaron Miles RBI double and a Ryan Dempster RBI double. Ryan Dempster worked 7 efficient innings – 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 2 walks and 5 K’s – to pick up his 3rd win of the season. Jose Ascansio made his 1st major league appearance pitching 2 innings with 3 K’s and giving up just a solo home run to Drew Macias. Ascansio also got his 1st major league at-bat when he struck out in the bottom of the 8th inning.
The lone bright spot in the series for the Padres was Adrian Gonzalez – 1 home run on Tuesday, 2 home runs on Wednesday, and 1 more home run on Thursday.
Manager Lou Pinella has gotta be happy with the way his team has started off this home stand at Wrigley Field. Next up for the Cubs – a weekend series against the Houston Astros.