Archive | Carlos Zambrano

Cubs Split With Cards – Still Trail by 3.5 Games

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Lou

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

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.

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Cardinals Cubs Baseball

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Cubs Get 5-2 Must-Win Over Cards on Saturday @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Lou

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

The Cubs had their backs up against the wall, and they came out fighting “like cats” to earn a 5-2 must-win victory over the 1st place Cards on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs struck 1st with a 3-run 1st inning – courtesy of a Milton Bardley HBP with the bases loaded and a 2-run single by newly acquired infielder Jeff Baker – and Ted Lilly did the rest.  Lilly threw 103 efficient pitches in 8 innings of work, giving up just a single run on 4 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 4, picking up his 9th win of the 2009 MLB schedule and his 100th career-win.  Lilly will serve as the Cubs’ sole representative in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in St. Louis.  Carlos Zambrano earned his 100th career victory earlier this year.  Lilly had this to say about the win:  “It’s pretty special.  I was thinking today about the first one in New York against Oakland (2001).  Just getting that one I hadn’t even been thinking about trying to get 99 more… It’s really a cool thing.  And then you come into the clubhouse and talk to your buddies in there and they’re telling you, ‘You only got 200 more to go'”.

It got interesting in the 9th inning as Carlos Marmol only recorded 2 outs while giving up 2 hits and a walk.  After Marmol threw a wild pitch that allowed 2 base runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd base, Manager Lou Pinella yanked Marmol and brought in Kevin Gregg to close out the game.  Gregg struck out Skip Schumacher to end the threat and Gregg picked up his 16th save of the 2009 MLB schedule.

In addition to Ted Lilly, newly acquired Jeff Baker was the Cubs star.  baker had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and turned a nifty double-play with Ryan Theriot to end a Cards threat in the 8th inning.

One bad side note – Derrek Lee left Saturday’s game in the 5th inning with neck spasms.  Lee has experienced trouble with neck spasms this year and has missed some time already.  Lee was expected to play on Sunday, but he is not in the lineup for the 12:05PM game.

The Cubs and Cards play a day-night double header at Wrigley Field on Sunday.  Zambrano will face Kyle Lohse in the 12:05PM opener, while Randy Wells will take on Adam Wainwright in the nightcap.  Go Cubs!!!

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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 Lose To Braves 2-1 in Disappointing Wrigley Loss

Posted on 08 July 2009 by Lou

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So much for the Cubs bats breaking out.  Javier Vazquez shut down the Cubs offense for the 2nd time this year as the Cubs fell 2-1.  Tuesday night, the Cubs managed just 5 hits against Vazquez, scoring their lone run on a 2-out single by Koyie Hill in the 2nd inning.  Vazquez did not walk a batter and struck out 6 as the Cubs left 12 men on base.  Vazquez ERA is now 2.95 and his WHIP is 1.05. Vazquez has dominated the Cubs this season in 2 wins – 13 2/3 innings pitched, 1 ER, 14 hits, 2 walks & 11 K’s.

Braves closer Rafael Soriano put the clamps down on the Cubs in the 9th inning earning his 9th save.  Soriano now has a 1.59 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP – amazing.

Aramais Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Carlos Zambrano made the start on 3 days rest and threw 91 pitches in an efficient 6 inning start.  He took the loss though – giving up 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks, with 6 K’s.  Big Z fell to 4-4 on the 2009 MLB schedule.

The Cubs fell to 41-40 on the season, and with the Cardinals 5-0 win over the Brewers, the Cubs are now 3 games out of 1st place in the NL Central.

The loss of Ryan Dempster to the disabled list with a broken toe also forced the Cubs to recall Kevin Hart to start Wednesday’s afternoon finale against Kenshin Kawakami.  Kawakami held the Cubs to just 3 ER in 7 innings of a Braves 6-5 win in Atlanta back on June 2nd.

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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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Lee Leads Cubs to 9-5 Win Over Brewers @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 03 July 2009 by Lou

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Derrek Lee powered the Cubs to a 9-5 victory over the 1st place Brewers with 2 home runs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.  Lee’s 3-run HR gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead inthe 1st inning.  Lee’s 2nd home run of the game was a grand slam in the 4th inning, capping off a 5-run inning that gave the Cubs a 9-2 lead.  Lee went 2 for 4 on the night and had a career-best 7 RBI’s.  Lee now leads the Cubs in HR’s (14) and RBI’s (48).  Jake Fox and Geovany Soto also each hit solo home runs for the Cubs, as the Cubs scored all of their runs via the long ball.  Sam Fuld continued to swing a hot bat getting 2 hits and scoring 2 runs.  Ryan Theriot was the 3rd Cub batter with 2 hits on the night.

Ryan Dempster did the job to protect the Cubs early lead. Dempster went 6 2/3 innings giving up 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Dempster struck out 9 Brewers batters in picking up his 1st win since the end of May.  Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning despite issuing a walk (his 39th free pass in 38 1/3 innings) to slugger Prince Fielder.  Marmol has now worked 3 straight scoreless innings after struggling against the White Sox last weekend.

It was a big win for the Cubs as they needed to get off to a good start in this big 4-game weekend series with the 1st place Brewers.  The offensive explosion is a good sign that the Cubs are primed and ready to contend for a 3rd straight division title.  The Cubs have their work cut out for them as they still need to jump 2 other teams (the Cards and Reds) in order to achieve that 1st place goal.  Stay tuned as Carlos Zambrano battles Jeff Suppan in Game 2 of the exciting 4th of July weekend series with the Brewers…

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Cubs – White Sox Crosstown Classic ReCap

Posted on 30 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs White Sox Baseball

Took a few days off on Sunday and Monday to get ready for the Cubs big home stands at Wrigley Field during the month of July (the Cubs play 18 July games at Wrigley).  I picked a great time to go, as the Cubs looked atrocious on the south side and were lucky to win Friday’s game to avoid the sweep and what would have been a 7-game losing streak.

Here’s a recap of how the weekend went for the Cubs:

Friday, Cubs win 5-4:  Jake Fox hit a 2-run HR in the 4th inning to give the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead (Randy Wells gave the run back on a soloe shot to Jim Thome in the bottom of the inning).  Geovany Soto got the Cubs back on top with a 3-run bomb to left center field off Jose Contreras that gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.  6 outs to go, 3 run lead, easy win, right?  No.  For some unknown reason, Manager Lou Pinella yanks Wells (98 pitches, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K’s) and brings in Mr. Walk himself, Carlos Marmol.  What???!!!  Marmol walks Gordon Beckham to lead off the inning.  Surprise, surprise.  After a Scott Posednik flyout, Marmol walks Alexei Ramirez and then gives up a Jermaine Dye single to load the bases.  Jim Thome hit a soft line drive that knicked off the glove of Derek Lee, scoring Ramirez and Beckham to cut the lead to 5-4.  By that time, Pinella had seen enough of Marmol.  He let Marmol intentionally walk Paul Konerko and then brought in lefty Sean Marshall who coaxed A.J. Pierzynski into a lucky inning ending 3-2-3 doubel play.  Marshall was huge as it preserved the 5-4 Cubs lead.  Kevin Gregg picked up his 12th save of the 2009 MLB schedule, depsite walking Josh Fields with 2 outs.  Wells picked up his 2nd consecutive win and lowered his ERA to 2.57 and WHIP to 1.09.

Saturday, White Sox win 8-7.  Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot and Andres Blanco each had 2 hits for the Cubs, while Soriano, Theriot and Lee each had 2 RBI’s in the win.  After the Cubs took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 8th inning on Andres Blanco’s groundout to shortstop, the Cubs bullpen blew the final 6 outs once again.  Carlos Marmol gave up a run on 2 hits in another inffective outing (at least he didn’t walk anybody this appearance).  The run tied the game at 7 in the 8th inning.  In the 9th inning, Sean Marshall gave up a single to Paul Konerko and then Pinella took him out when White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen pinch-hit righty Jayson Nix for Chris Getz.  Pinella brought in Jose Ascansio who promptly walked Nix and then gave up the game-wining single to Gordon Beckham.  Ryan Dempster looked awful again – 5 innings, 5 ER, 8 hits, 3 walks and 2 K’s.  Not good…

Sunday – White Sox win 6-0.  John Danks shut down the Cubs with 7 masterful innings of 0-run, 4 hit ball.  The pivotal point came in the 6th inning with the White Sox having a 3-0 lead.  Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff double and moved to 3rd with only 1 out on a Ryan Theriot groundout.  Milton Bradley thought he earned walk as a 3-1 pitch from Danks sailed low, but the home plate umpire called it a strike.  Bradley wasn’t happy with the call as he was already a third of the way down the line and his lack of focus cost him as he struck out on a bad changeup that was well out of the strike zone.  Once again, the Cubs can’t get a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs, a problem that keeps recurrnig way too many times in 2009.  Derrek Lee and Jake Fox both worked walks out of Danks to get the bases loaded with 2 outs for Geovany Soto.  A hit would have turned the game around, but Alexei Ramirez slid and caught Soto’s line drive one-hopper and he forced Lee out at 3rd base for the final out.  The only other fire works came when Carlos Zambrano plunked DeWayne Wise in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Chris Getz had just scored on a suicide squeeze off Zambrano – Big Z spotted the squeeze but in an attempt to throw the ball to the outside corner of the plate so Wise couldn’t hit the ball, he threw the ball straight for the back stop.  Big Z’s next pitch went straight at the back of Wise.  Words were exchanged, but no fight occurred.  Danks plunked Ryan Freel in the top of the 7th in retaliation, and Freel calmly rubbed his arm and laughed at Danks on his way to 1st – pretty funny.  That brought an end to the disastrous 1-6 start to the Cubs 1st 7 games on a 10-game road trip.

The Cubs have 3 games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh at the start of the week before starting a big 4-game weekend series against the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers from Thursday to Sunday at Wrigley Field.

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Cubs & White Sox Sunday Finale at the Cell

Posted on 28 June 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs and White Sox will play the final game of the 2009 cross-town classic at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday afternoon at 1:05PM.

Carlos Zambrano will start for the Cubs.  On Thursday, June 18th at Wrigley Field, Zambrano pitched 7 innings against the White Sox, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in a no decision.  The Cubs won the game 6-5 to split the 1st 2 games of the cross-town classic.

John Danks will start for the White Sox.  On Wednesday, June 17th, Danks shut down the Cubs by giving up just 1 ER and 5 hits in 7 innings of work.  He struck out 9 and got the win in the White Sox 4-1 win over the Cubs.

It has been a fun cross-town series, although not as exciting since both teams have been playing at or below the .500 mark all season long.

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Tigers Top Cubs 5-4 on Walk-Off Home Run in 9th Inning

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Tigers Baseball

The Tigers defeated the Cubs 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning on Ryan Raburn’s pinch-hit, game-winning, walk-off HR off Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.

We should have known the way this game was going to end when the Cubs muffed a bases loaded, no out opportunity in the top fo the 1st inning against Edwin Jackson.  Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot started the inning of with singles and Milton Bradley coaxed a walk from Jackson to load the bases with no one out.  What a great way to get off to a good start on the road where the Cubs have won only 13 games this season, right?  Well cue up the tape from at least 30 other games this year.  Derrek Lee grounds into a fielder’s choice which drives in Soriano.  1st and 3rd, one out.  Then Micah Hoffpauir strikes out and Geovany Soto grounds out to end the threat without any further damage.

After those 1st 2 hits against Jackson, the Cubs got only 2 hits against the Tigers through the next 23 outs of the game.  One of those was a bunt single too.  Talk about futility…

With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Derrek Lee singled and Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs a short-lived 4-3 lead with a 2-run bomb to right field off of Joel Zumaya (who helped Micah out in a big way by throwing a change-up right down the heart of the plate).  Lee extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games with 2 hits in the loss.

But just when you think the Cubs are going to pull off the come-from-behind road win in Detroit, flash forward to the 9th inning for closer Kevin Gregg.  Gregg walked the lead off hitter David Taylor.  After getting Brandon Inge to pop out, pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn crushed a Gregg fastball over the left center field fence to give the Tigers the 5-4 win.

How many times do you say – “you can’t walk the lead-off man in an inning 0 it always come back to haunt you.”  And so it did last night against Gregg.  It also hurt Carlos Zambrano in the 7th inning.  With the Cubs leading 2-1, Zambrano walked Taylor and then served up a 2-run HR to Brandon Inge.  That’s 2 runs handed to the Tigers by walks last night.  It is completely unacceptable.

Except for a shaky 1st inning and the Taylor walk in the 7th, Big Z pitched a solid game – 7 innings, 3 ER, 5 hits and 2 walks.  Instead of getting the win, Zambrano suffered a no decision.

The two teams play again tonight in Detroit – Rich Harden against rookie Rick Porcello who is seeking his 9th win of the 2009 MLB schedule.

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Cubs Pull off Dramatic 6-5 Win Over Sox in Bottom of 9th Inning

Posted on 19 June 2009 by Lou

White Sox Cubs Baseball

The Cubs defeated the White Sox 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning.  I was getting ready to write my same old blog post over again – Cubs waste good outing from Cubs starting pitcher “X”; Cubs hitters can’t get clutch hit and score only 1 run; Cubs lose… again… – but then the baseball gods smiled upon the Cubs and fans at Wrigley Field.  Micah Hoffpauir had a good at-bat against reliever Scott Linebrink and eventually hit a hard-hit groundball to 2nd base that Chris Getz’s misplayed for an error.  Alfonso Soriano then singled to center field for 1st and 2nd with only 1 out.  Then it looked like the Cubs were back to their usual hitting ways – a Ryan Theriot popout and a Milton Bradley strikeout.  Two on, two outs for Derrek Lee and with 1 swing of the bat, Lee crushed Linebrink’s pitch to righ field for a 3-run home run.  Geovany Soto then cruched a solo home run to left center field to tie the game at 5.

Kevin Gregg worked a scoreless 9th inning despite giving up a leadoff single to Alexei Ramirez.  And the Cubs played small ball to perfection in the bottom of the inning.  Reed Johnson pinch-hit for the 0 for 3 Kosuke Fukodome and singled to lead off the inning.  Andres Blanco sacrificed Johnson to 2nd base to put the winning run into scoring position.  After an Aaron Miles groundout, Alfonso Soriano hit a bloop single to right center field that drove in Johnson with the winning run.

Carlos Zambrano pitched a good game – 7 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks and 3 ER with 3 K’s.  Big Z made only 1 bad pitch all day – that a fastball to Alexei Ramirez in the top of the 7th inning which Ramirez took deep to left to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead.  The game looked finished when Carlos Marmol took over for Zambrano and promptly gave the White Sox 2 insurance runs on a Chris Getz double and a Gordon Beckham single.  But the Cubs never gave up and pulled off the improbable win to the delight of the “Wrigley Faithful”.

The Cubs moved back to .500 with the win at 31-31.  They trail the Brewers by 4 games in the NL Central.

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White Sox Cubs Baseball

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