Posted on 25 June 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 23 June 2009 by Lou
The old demons are back – the Cubs lost to the Braves 2-0 on Monday night in Atlanta. Despite getting 10 hits and 3 walks, the Cubs left 18 runners on base and got shut out. Beautiful. Andres Blanco led the Cubs with 4 LOB, while Kosuke Fukodome, Jake Fox and Derrek Lee each had 3 LOB. Fox had 2 hits filling in for Alfonso Soriano in left field, but they never came at the right time. Same could be said for Blanco who also had 2 hits. There were 5 innings in which the Cubs had at least 2 runners reach base, but they could never push over a run.
Ryan Dempster pitched well enough to earn a win, but Manager Lou Pinella may have left him in the game too long. Down 1-0 after 6 innings, Pinella opted to let Dempster lead off the top of the 7th inning – he made an out. The next 2 Cubs reached base, but Fox and Lee failed to move them home. Who knows what would have happened if Pinella had sent up a pinch-hitter instead of Dempster. Then Dempster got into trouble in the bottom of the 7th inning, allowing the Braves 2nd run of the game on a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly. Pinella then pulled Dempster after 118 pitches, 8 hits, 4 walks and 6 K’s. While it was another quality start for Dempster, he was constantly working out of jams from the 3rd inning on and he fell to 4-5 on the season.
Pinella gave Milton Bradley and Soriano the night off to get ready for interleague play this week against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. The Cubs did not lose any ground in the NL Central race as the New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals at CITI Field in New York. The Cards still lead the Cubs by 2.5 games.
Posted on 22 June 2009 by Lou
Have the Cubs “righted” the ship? The upcoming 10-game road trip to Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago (against the White Sox at US Cellular Field) and Pittsburgh should shed a lot of light on that question.
After starting the just-completed home stand at Wrigley Field with 3 losses in 4 games, it was not looking good for the Cubs. But with miraculous come-from-behind victories on Thursday against the White Sox and Friday and Saturday against the Indians, a calm seemed to settle over the Cubs. A calm similar to that possessed by the Cubs in 2008 when the finished with the best record in the National League. On Sunday, the Cubs cruised through a 6-2 win over the Indians to complete the sweep over Cleveland and get Randy Wells his 1st major league victory.
Key players have started to swing the bat better during the 4-game winning streak. Derrek Lee has an 18-game hitting streak and now has his average up to .287. Milton Bradley has a 10-game hitting streak and has his batting average up to .248. Ryan Theriot has a modest 7-game hitting streak and now has his average heading back to the .300 mark at .282. And Geovany Soto has hits in 4 of his last 5 games and his batting average at .225. Not where their career numbers are, but at least they are trending in the right direction. Alfonso Soriano is the only Cubs player still in his hitting funk – with only 4 hits in his last 7 games. Luckily, 2 of those hits helped the Cubs win recent ball games, but his batting average still sits at .224. Despite the bad numbers, he still leads the Cubs with 14 HR’s and 43 runs scored.
Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir continue to provide sparks every so often, and seem more comfortable in the part-time contributing roles.
The starting pitching staff continues to go out there and throw quality starts, so they are keeping the Cubs in ball games. As long as they continue to pitch well, if the Cubs bats consistently provide 4-5 runs per game, the Cubs should win more than they lose.
The Cubs are 34-31 and they trail the Cards by 2.5 games. The Cubs take on the Braves in Atlanta tonight – making up a game that was rained out at the beginning of June. Ryan Dempster takes on Javier Vasquez.
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 27 May 2009 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2 on Wednesday to take the series over the Bucs. After snapping an 8-game losing streak with the 6-1 rain-shortened win over the Pirates on Tuesday night, the Cubs kept the mojo rolling with a big win on Wednesday.
The Cubs took an early 2-0 lead on Milton Bradley’s triple and Reed Johnson’s groundout in the 1st inning. The Pirates, however, were able to tie the game on a Carlos Zambrano wild pitch that allowed Nyjer Morgan to score from 3rd base. Zambrano thought that he tagged Morgan out before Morgan’s hand reached the base, and was eventually tossed by the home plate umpire for arguing the call and bumping the umpire as he leaned in to get closer to Zambrano. These umps really go out of there way to antogonize players these days. I hope this moron home plate umpire gets suspended himself for leaning into Zambrano. Luckily Pinella and Rothschild got out there quick to prevent Zambrano from flipping out even more then he did.
The Cubs kept fighting though and eventually took the lead for good on Reed Johnson’s solo home run to the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Cubs added 2 insurance runs on back-to-back RBI doubles by recent Triple-A call-ups Andres Blanco and Jake Fox.
Carlos Marmol pitch a scoreless 8th inning to pick up the win and Kevin Gregg got the save despite giving up 2 walks in the 9th. Gregg sure nevers makes it easy on himself.
The Cubs are back over .500 with a 23-22 record. The Cubs still trail the 1st place Cards by 4 games and the 2nd place Brewers by 3 games in the NL Central.
Posted on 25 March 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs cut outfielders Jake Fox and Sam Fuld and right-handed pitcher Jose Ascansio on Tuesday to drop the Cubs spring roster to 37 players. All 3 players were optioned to the Cubs Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. During the spring session, Fox hit .350 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI’s, while Fuld hit .260 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s. Manager Lou Pinella said that both players are very close to becoming major league players and that Fuld was the most improved player form one camp to the next. We should see both players at one point or another during the course of the 2009 MLB season.