Archive | Geovany Soto

Cubs Lose Heart-Breaker, Ramirez In 3-2 Loss to Brewers

Posted on 09 May 2009 by Lou

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The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Ryan Braun’s 2-run home run off Aaron Heilman in the bottom of the 8th inning was the game-winner.  Heilman walked Corey Hart on 4 straight pitches to start the inning, and after falling behind Bruan 1-0, he grooved a fastball that Braun crushed over the right center field fence to give the Brewers the 3-2 lead.  They say walks always kill you, and in this situation, it certainly did.  Heilman’s ERA is now 5.14 and the Cubs bullpen continues to disappoint in 2009.

Randy Wells made his 1st major league start filling in for the injured Carlos Zambrano.  While it wasn’t pretty – 5 hits and 2 walks – Wells was able to get out of jams and stood to earn his first career major league win as he departed with a 2-0 lead.  But Angel Guzman gave up a solo home run to JJ Hardy in the 6th inning to cut the lead to 1, and then Heilman worked his disastrous 8th inning.

The Cubs did have a chance to break open the game in the top of the 8th inning.  With the bases loaded and only 1 out, Ryan Theriot hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in Koyie Hill being forced out at home and Geovany Soto grounded out to the shortstop to end the threat.

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Aramis Ramirez injured his left shoulder diving for a ground ball in the 3rd inning.  The Cubs believe that Ramirez dislocated his shoulder and will likely spend somewhere between 4-6 weeks on the disabled list to recover.  We’ll keep you posted once we hear more on the injury.

The Cubs will need Ryan Dempster to step up his game on Saturday as the Cubs take on Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers again on Saturday.  Gallardo has been lights out in his last 4 starts – giving up only 5 earned runs over 30 innings with 30 K’s.

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Theriot’s 1st Career Grand Slam Propels Cubs to 8-6 Win

Posted on 02 May 2009 by Lou

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Cubs defeated the Marlins 8-6 on Friday afternoon at a rainy Wrigley Field.  The Cubs trailed for much of the day, even by as much as 5-1 in the 4th inning.  But the Cubs rallied to take the lead in the 6th inning on an Aaron Miles walk and a Mike Fontenot single.  With 2 outs, the Marlins decided to pitch carefully to Alfonso Soriano who ended up walking to load the bases for Ryan Theriot.  Theriot hit his 1st career grand slam to the bleachers in left field to put the Cubs ahead for good with a 6-5 lead.  The Cubs added some insurance runs in the 7th inning on a Geovany Soto single and a Mike Fontenot sacrifice fly.

The pitching was a tale of 2 stories for the Cubs. Rich Harden was atrocious – 3 2/3 innings – 86 pitches, 5 earned runs, 6 hits, 4 walks and 1 hit batter.  He only had 2 strikeouts – the 1st time he did not strike out at least 8 batters in a game.

The bullpen did a great job of keeping the Cubs in the game after Harden’s departure.  Jeff Samardzija got the Cubs out of Harden’s 4th inning jam, David Patton worked 2 innings of hotless and scoreless relief and Neal Cotts works a scoreless / hitless inning as well.  Carlos Marmol had an interesting inning – after walking the first 2 batters he faced like he did on Thursday night, Marmol struck out the side to end the threat and received a standing ovation for his tremendous, frustrating effort.  And Kevin Gregg picked up his 2nd save of the year, despite giving up a run on 2 hits in another frustrating inning for the Cubs closer.

The weather summed up the day at Wrigley – rainy early with a lot of clouds, but sunny by the time everyone left the friendly confines for the evening.  The Cubs trailed for much of the day, but after Theriot’s first ever grand slam, there was nothing but smiles to go around the park.

Let’s hope the Cubs can keep up the momentum with an afternoon win today at Wrigley.  Ted Lilly will face off against Anabel Sanchez.

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10’s Wild In Arizona – Cubs Lose 10-0; Fall to 10-10

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Lou

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Why do I even write this blog.

After 20 games, I really don’t like the feel of this 2009 Cubs team. After losing 10-0 in Arizona on Wednesday, the Cubs completed a miserable 2-4 road trip and fell to 10-10 overall, 4 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals.

I knew I didn’t like the off-season move to acquire Milton Bradley.  GM Jim Hendry had to try too hard to convince everyone that Bradley would be able to stay healthy to play more than 120 games in the outfield in 2009.  Granted, he had only been able to do that twice in his career (way back in 2003 and 2004 ) and although he did play in 126 games in 2008, more than 90% of those games came with Bradley serving as the Rangers DH (an option not available for the Cubs who play in the National League where there is no DH).  Duh?

Right now, Bradley has played in only 13 games.  In 31 at-bats, he had 3 hits, including 1 home run good for a .097 batting average.  He has 1 RBI and 4 runs scored.   Not sure what Hendry was thinking on this one, especially since there were other left-handed hitting options out there – see Raul Ibanez (20 games, 78 at-bats, .359 batting average, 7 home runs, 17 RBI’s and 20 runs scored for the Phillies); Bobby Abreu (17 games, 71 at-bats, .352 batting average, 0 home runs, 12 RBI’s and 6 runs scored for the Angels); Adam Dunn (20 games, 68 at-bats, .324 batting average, 6 home runs, 15 RBI’s and 11 runs scored for the lowly Nationals).  All of these guys signed for similar or less deals than Bradley and have been far more productive than Bradley.  Given Bradley’s inability to play the outfield consistently over the last 5 years, this should have been obvious to Hendry.

What I liked even less was the move to unload Mark DeRosa for 3 minor leaguers.  DeRosa has gotten off to a slow start in 2009 (.236 batting average, 5 home runs, 18 RBI’s and 16 runs scored), but look deeper than that.  He has played in 21 games, and already accumulated 89 at-bats.  His 5 home runs best every player on the Cubs except Alfonso who has 7 home runs, and DeRosa would lead the Cubs in RBI’s (Kosuke Fukodome currently leads the Cubs with only 15 RBI’s).  The numbers don’t even bring into play the intangibles that come along with DeRosa for free.  His versatility is invaluable. Take the injuries to right fielder Milton Bradley and 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez, for example.  If the Cubs still had DeRosa, the Cubs would not be relying on an infield that contained Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles day in and day out.  Or if you went with those guys, DeRosa could play right field, so that Reed Johnson didn’t have to play the outfield everyday.  By not having these options, Soriano, Theriot and Fukodome have had to play in just about every Cubs game so far this year.  DeRosa also a great club house presence and is a great sounding board for younger, up and coming Cubs stars (Soto, Hoffpauir, Theriot).

While I love Mike Fontenot, he is not an everyday player.  In 20 games, he has 66 at-bats and a mediocre .227 batting average.  While he has shown some pop with his 3 home runs, he is better suited as a role player who makes 2-3 starts each week.  Hendry relying on him as an everyday player was a big mistake.  Hendrys’ other move to sign Aaron Miles as a utility infielder has also looked like a big mistake.  Forced into an everyday role, his weaknesses have also been glaring.  Miles has only 8 hits in 41 at-bats and he breaks more bats with his weak-ass swings than Carlos Zambrano does over his leg after a bad at-bat (and that is saying a lot).

Unfortunately Cubs fans, we are in for a long, bumpy ride this season.  Unless Hendry can pull off a Jake Peavy or Matt Holiday trade, the Cubs will likely hover around the top of the NL Central division and need a lot of luck down the stretch to pull of the unprecedented 3rd consecutive NL Central title.

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Injuries Taking Toll on Cubs Weak Lineup

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Lou

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Reed Johnson as your leadoff hitter?  No offense to Reed Johnson, but Manager Lou Pinella and GM Jim Hendry need to do something.  And they need to do something fast!

Here was the Cubs lineup from Monday night’s loss to Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks – Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukodome, Reed Johnson, Micah Hoffpauir, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot, Aaron Miles, Ted Lilly.  The Cubs managed 3 hits off of Haren all night long – solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot and a single by PITCHER Ted Lilly.  Gimme a break!  The Cubs clearly have the shortest infield in MLB with Theriot (5′ 11″), Miles (5′ 8″) and Fontenot (5”8″) roaming around out there.

The Cubs are lucky to be 9-9 right now and still only 4 games out of 1st place, but if they don’t get Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley back soon, they could end up too far behind to catch up very very quickly.

Hendry and the Cubs really need to make a decision on Bradley soon.  Throw him on the DL and let him fully heal his bum hamstring.  It doesn’t make sense to bring him back in every 3rd or 4th day only to have him aggravate it again.  If they had taken the conservative approach with Bradley when he first injured the hamstring, his 15-day DL stint would be close to being over, and he would likely be back in the lineup soon.  Now we’re forced to wait and hope that the injury magically heals itself.

Ramirez and Lee are expected to be back soon, so hopefully that happens for 1 of the last 2 games in Arizona.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Happy Birthday Kosuke – Cubs Avoid Sweep, Cruise Past Cards 10-3

Posted on 27 April 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Cards 10-3 on Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.  Kosuke Fukodome had a great birthday game – going 3 for 4 with 5 RBI’s, 2 runs scored and 1 walk.  He capped off his great day with a 3-run home run off Trever Miller in the top of the 8th inning to put the game out of reach.  The Cubs finally got to a Cardinals starting pitcher early and often – striking for 8 hits and 6 runs in the 1st 5 innings.

Alfonso Soriano had 2 hits and 2 runs scored back in the leadoff spot, while Ryan Theriot had 1 hit and scored 3 runs in the 2-hole.  Micah Hoffpauir came in in relief for Derrek Lee and had 2 hits with 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored.  In the 8-hole, Aaron Miles had 3 hits and scored 2 runs.  The only bad news was that Derrek Lee had to leave the game with neck spasms and Geovany Soto continues to struggle at the plate.  Soto was 0 for 4 on the day and his average is still at .128.

Rich Harden had a nice outing for the Cubs – 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs – both solo home runs – with only 2 walks.  Harden struck out 9 batters and has faailed to strike out less than 8 batters in each start in 2009.  Pretty incredible.

The Cubs are 9-8, but still trail the Cards by 3 games in the NL Central.  The Cubs continue their road trip with a 3-game swing out to Arizona, before returning to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with a 4-game series against the NL East-leading Florida Marlins on Thursday night.

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Geovany Soto Update – Easing Back Into Everyday Action

Posted on 19 April 2009 by Lou

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Geovany Soto is off to a slow start for the Cubs in 2009.  Soto has only 2 hits in 17 at-bats, good for a .118 batting average.  After missing a week to rest his ailing sore right shoulder, it looks like Soto could be back in the lineup for good after playing 2 straight games against the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend.  He still looks like he is getting comfortable at the plate and has swung at some poor pitches that he likely won’t be swinging out within a couple of weeks.  Let’s hope Soto can break out in nationally televised games this weekend – Saturday on Fox and Sunday night on ESPN.

Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about his NL Rookie of the Year player.  “Soto just [has] to go up the middle and to right-center for awhile to get his stroke down.  You get the adrenaline of a regular-season game.  You get the fact that he’s missed a few games.  You get the fact that you’re stronger because it’s cooler weather, [and] you get a little anxious and you want to do more.  [And] all of a sudden the strike zone starts expanding on you.”

Patience, patience, patience.  The hits will come for Soto very soon, and with that will come a lot of runs, and hopefully a lot of Cubs wins…

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Soriano, Cubs Pull Off Dramatic 9-8 Win Over Cards

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Lou

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If ever there was a BIG win in April, this was it.  The Cubs pulled off the improbably come-from-behind 9-8 win over the Cards on Friday afternoon, courtesy of Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning.

After taking an early 3-0 lead, the Cubs played catch up all day long.  Carlos Zambrano lost his cool in a frustrating 3rd inning.  After a leadoff walk to Brian Barden, Scott Schumaker hit a weak line drive over Mike Fontenot’s head for a cheap single.  Then Derrek Lee couldn’t hold onto a hard hit ball by Colby Rasmus and the Cards had the bases loaded with only 1 out.  After Zambrano got Albert Pujols out on a sac fly to left, it looked like Zambrano might be able to get out of the jam by allowing only 1 run to score.  But Zambrano promptly served up a gopher ball to Ryan Ludwick which gave the Cards the 4-3 lead.

The Cubs were able to tie game at 5 in the bottom of the 5th inning on an Aramis Ramirez double and a Geovany Soto single, but the Cards quickly re-took the lead on Brian Barden homer, and they increased the lead to 7-5 on another Ryan Ludwick homer.  Zambrano ended the day with a horrible line – 7 innings pitched (109 pitches), 7 earned runs, 9 hits (3 home runs), 3 walks and 7 K’s.

The Cubs never gave up, however, as Aramis Ramirez cut the lead to 1 with an RBI single in the 7th.  That set the stage for Alfonso Soriano in the 8th.  With 1 out, pinch-hitter Aaron Miles coaxed out a walk from Carlos Perez.  Then Soriano launched a good pitch into the left field bleachers.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning with a leadoff walk to Colby Rasmus and then hitting Albert Pujols with a pitch.  But Marmol rebounded by striking out the lethal Ludwick and getting Khalil Greene to hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Cubs Win Cubs Win! Hey Chicago Whadda Ya Say!!!

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Soto Has Inflammation in Throwing Shoulder

Posted on 12 April 2009 by Lou

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Geovany Soto underwent an MRI and was examined by orthopedist specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo in Chicago on Thursday.  The results revealed inflammation in the right throwing shoulder of Soto.  There is not set timetable for his return, although it is unlikely that Soto will be able to play against the Brewers in this weekend’s series in Milwaukee.  Soto had this to say about the results:  I’m so glad it’s just a little bit of inflammation.  We can take care of it and move on.  I want to get out there as quick as I can and play for the club.  I enjoy playing.  I just want to  get out there.

Koyie Hill will start in place of Soto behind the plate.  Aaron Miles warmed up pitchers in between innings in Houston on Tuesday, and Cubs Manager Lou Pinella indicated that Miles would serve as the team’s emergency back-up catcher if Hill should get hurt during a game.  The Cubs will not put Soto on the disabled list.

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Geovany Soto to Miss a Few Games with Shoulder Injury

Posted on 09 April 2009 by Lou

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Not good news for the reigning NL Rookie of the Year – Geovany Soto.  Soto experienced some shoulder soreness in the Cubs 3-2 loss to the Astros on Tuesday night.  Soto left the game in the 6th inning after he aggravated the shoulder injury on a throw to 2nd base.  Soto had this to say about the injury:  “I kind of over-exposed my shoulder a little bit.  There was a little discomfort in my shoulder.  I felt some weakness in it, and I felt I didn’t have a shot if somebody else tried to steal.  I need to keep up my exercises, and we’ll see how it is in a couple of days.”

Back-up catcher Koyie Hill will make the start for the Cubs on Wednesday’s finale  against the Astros in Houston.  Hill will catch Ted Lilly in his 1st start of the season.  Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot would be able available to catch in the event of an emergency situation with Hill.

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Geovany Soto Homers Twice as Cubs Tie A’s 8-8

Posted on 02 April 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs tied the Oakland A’s 8-8 on Wednesday as Carlos Zambrano made his final start of the 2009 spring training schedule.  Zambrano pitched 3 1/3 innings giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits and 2 walks.  He also had 1 strikeout.  Zambrano will start for the Cubs in the team’s 2009 opening game against the Astros in Houston on Monday night.

Several Cubs players had good games at the plate.  Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Soto hit his first 2 home runs of the spring, including a grand slam in the 3rd inning when the Cubs scored 6 runs to take an early 6-0 lead.

The Cubs relievers did not fare so well however.  Luis Vizcaino gave up 2 runs on 2 hits in only 2/3 of an inning of work.  Neal Cotts was lit up for 3 earned runs and 5 hits in the 8th inning, while Angel Guzman and Jeff Samardzija gave up an unearned run in each of their 1 inning of work.  Not so good given the fact that the regular season starts in 4 days.

Let’s hope the Cubs can work out these kinks in their final games of the spring – against the Indians in Mesa today and against the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium in New York this weekend.

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