Archive | Jeff Baker

Cubs Take 3 of 4 From Giants, but Can’t Sweep as Wells Falters

Posted on 29 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Giants Baseball

The Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Giants in San Francisco, but could not pull off the sweep as Randy Wells suffered his 10th loss of the season.  Wells struggled all game long, pitching just 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 10 hits and 2 walks.  His bid for a season with an ERA under 3.00 is in jeopardy as his ERA rose to 3.18 with the loss.

There was little else to cheer about in the finale as Matt Cain held the Cubs scoreless through the game’s 1st 8 innings.  One bright spot – Justin Berg – who pitched another scoreless inning in relief.  In 7 September appearances, Berg has pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and 1 walk during that span. The 25-year old is showing off his stuff in an effort to steal aspot in the 2010 Cubs bullpen.

The Cubs pulled off the dramatic win on Thursday night with Jeff Baker’s 2-strike, 2-out, 2-run HR off Giants closer Brian Wilson that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead.  Carlos Marmol made it 12 for 12 in save chances since being named the Cubs new closer at the end of August.

Carlos Zambrano finally lived up to his “ace” status with a dominating win over Tim Lincecum on Friday night.  Zambrano pitched a complete game shutout, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.  Zambrano even drove in 2 of the Cubs’ 3 runs with a ground out in the 7th inning and a double in the 9th inning.  Zambrano threw just 98 pitches as he was on his “A” game all night long.

Tom Gorzelanny picked up his 7th win in 2009 with a nice 5-inning outing on Saturday.  He gave up just 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks with 5 K’s.

The Cubs have 7 more games to go in this frustrating 2009 MLB schedule.  Let’s hope they finish on a positive note.  At 81-74, one more win guarantees the Cubs a 3rd straight non-losing season….

Cubs Giants Baseball

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Cubs Not Giving Up – Lee, Baker, Marmol Prople Cubs to Victory

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Giants Baseball

The Cubs are not going down without a fight!  Jeff Baker’s 2-strike, 2-out, 2-run home run off Giants closer Brian Wilson gave the Cubs a dramatic 3-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco.  After Lee led off the top of the 9th inning with a walk, he stole 2nd to get in scoring position with 2 outs.  Luckily, there wouldn’t be a close play at home plate, as Baker crushed Wilson’s pitch deep to left field to put the Cubs up 3-2.  Baker (and the Cubs) had been down to their last strike.

Carlos Marmol picked up his 12th save in 12 chances since being promoted to the closer’s role in place of Kevin Gregg at the end of August.  It wasn’t pretty – he gave up a single and a walk – but he struck out Aaron Rowand and Fred Lewis with 1st and 2nd and only 1 out to preserve the win for the Cubs.  Manager Lou Pinella annointed Marmol the Cubs 2010 closer – “I see that, yes.  I really do.  I think he’s done enough and shown enough.  We have confidence in him enough going into spring training next year.  It’s his job.  We’ll leave it just at that.”

Ryan Dempster gave the Cubs another solid starting effort down the stretch.  Dempster threw 112 pitches in 7 innings of work, giving up just 2 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk.  Dempster had 6 K’s and he lowered his ERA to 3.68 and his WHIP to 1.33.

Should a fun match-up tonight in San Francisco – Carlos Zambrano in search of win #9 against reigning Cy Young Award winner – the Freak Tim Lincecum…

Cubs Giants Baseball

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Samardzija Looks Better, But Cubs Still Lose to Brewers

Posted on 24 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Brewers Baseball

The Cubs could not complete the sweep of the Brewers in Miller Park on Wednesday night as Jeff Samardzija suffered his 3rd loss of the 2009 MLB schedule.  Although Samardzija has had a disappointing 2009 (like the Cubs), he looked better in the 5 innings that he pitched against the Brewers.  He only gave up 5 hits, 2 of which were home runs.  One to Prince Fielder and one to Jody Gerut.  He had 1 walk and 3 strikeouts and seemed to be in more control of his pitches throughout the night.  Since being called back up to the major league level in September, however, Samardzija has pitched 7 innings and given up 5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Overall, Samardzija is 1-3 on the year with a 7.53 ERA and 1.76 WHIP.  Not really sure where the Cubs see Samardzija long-term (reliever or starter), but 2010 could be a big year for Jeff.  He needs to show more consistent control all throughout the season and he needs to show a better strikeout to walk ratio.

The Cubs managed just 7 hits against Chris Narveson and 4 Brewers relievers.  Jeff Baker had 2 hits for the Cubs to raise his batting average to .302.  In addition to a Jeff Samardzija solo home run in the 6th inning, Bobby Scales drove in Baker with the Cubs only other run.

The Cubs finish up their final road trip of the 2009 season with a 4-game weekend set against the Giants in San Francisco.  Ryan Dempster duels Brad Penny in the tonight’s opener.

Cubs Brewers Baseball

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Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Colvin Eyeing 2010 – Producing Now

Posted on 22 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Brewers Baseball

The time is now for certain Cubs players to prove their worth for the future.  Lucky for Tom Gorzelanny & Tyler Colvin, they’ll have a shot to show what they can do.  With the suspension of Milton Bradley, the Cubs called upon Tyler Colvin – - to make his major league debut during the last few weeks of the season.  Manager Lou Pinella threw him right into the mix on Monday night in Milwaukee and he produced right away – in the 1st inning!  Colvin had a sacrifice fly in his 1st at-bat, his 1st ever hit in the 3rd inning and his 1st ever walk in the 5th inning.  Colvin made his 2nd career out in the 7th inning, but at least he advanced a runner on the groundball out.  All in all, a productive night for Colvin in his major leage debut…  He had this to say about the night – “Yeah, I was nervous.  I can’t hide that.  I was really nervous before the game, I didn’t eat.  Once I got out there I was all right… You learn to control your emotions in front of a big crowd.  I’ve never played in front of a crowd like this.  Hopefully I can build off this.”

Tom Gorzelanny also showed some grit in the Cubs 10-2 win.  Manager Lou Pinella likes what Gorzelanny brings to the club – “We like Gorzelanny.  He’s got a spot here, whether it’s pitching in the middle of the bullpen or whether it’s as a fourth or fifth starter.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens over the winter.”  Gorzelanny pitched on 5 innings on Monday night, but he struck out 9 and gave up 2 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk.  Both runs scored on solo home runs by Mike Cameron.  Gorzelanny has made 11 appearances (5 starts) since coming over from the Pirates and while his ERA is a hefty 5.04, he has a solid 1.19 WHIP and a 3-1 record.

As for the regulars, Derrek Lee continues to be one of the hottest hitters in baseball since July 1st.  He was 3 for 4 with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  He clubbed his 34th HR in the win and tied his career high in RBI’s with 107.  His average is up to .306 and his on-base percentage is .391.  Aramis Ramirez also went for 3 for 4, including his 14th home run of the season.  And in just 286 at-bats and 76 games, Ramirez has 61 RBI’s good for 2nd best on the team behind Lee.  Kosuke Fukudome and Jeff Baker each had 2 hits.  And Justin Berg has continued his good relief pitching for the Cubs – in 5 September appearances, Berg has pitched 5 scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and no walks during that span.

While the season is essnetially over for all intents and purposes, it is nice to see guys still competing for pride and for the future.  Hopefully a positive ending will remind the Cubs that they were the division champs 2 years in a row, and that a rebound is not out of the question…

Cubs Brewers Baseball

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Cubs Tie Record with 7-Run 1st Inning; Lee, Baker Raking @ the Plate

Posted on 09 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Pirates Baseball

The Cubs tied a major league record on Tuesday night when the 1st 8 batters all reached base on hits (6 singles and 2 doubles).  The Cubs scored 7 runs in the inning en route to a 9-4 win.  The Cubs were the 1st team to accomplish the feat way back in the 1920′s.  The New York Yankees were the last team to do it in September 1990.

Ryan Dempster picked up his 9th win of the season.  It was not a great outing – 6 1/3 innings, 4 ER, 8 hits and 2 walks, with 4 K’s – but a win is a win at this point of the season.

2 Cubs players have quietly put together solid seasons thus far.

After a slow start in April (a .189 batting average at the end of the month), Derrek Lee has been the Cubs most consistent hitter all season long.  With 2 hits in the win, Lee’s batting average is now right at .300.  He has a .379 on-base percentage and a .573 slugging percentage.  Lee leads the team in HR’s (31); RBI’s (96); and runs scored (74).  He has even dealt with neck/upper back spasms for much of the season, but has still managed to play in 122 games and hit 464 at-bats.  Especially with Aramis Ramirez missing 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and the under performance by several key players – Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley, Geovany Soto – the presence of Lee in the lineup each and every day has been invaluable.

Mid-season acquisition Jeff Baker has also been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs in the infield.  Since coming over from the Rockies in July, Baker has played in 47 games, getting 126 at-bats along the way.  Baker has played 3 infield positions – 2nd base, 1st base and 3rd base.  Baker has a .341 batting average with a solid 399 on-base percentage.  In a limited role, Baker has hit 3 HR’s, driven in 13 runs and scored 18 runs.  Baker has had 3 multi-hit games in the last 5 games played and at age 28, he is making a case that he could be the Cubs starting 2nd baseman of the future.

It’s great to see some of these guys still giving it their all day in and day out down the stretch here in 2009.  At 70-67, even though the Cubs still trail the Cards by 11.5 games and the Rockies by 8 games, these guys still realize there is a lot to play for – at least personally.  Good luck!

Cubs Pirates Baseball

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Weekend Update – Disappointing Series Loss Against Mets in NYC

Posted on 07 September 2009 by Lou

The Cubs lost the weekend series to the Mets in NYC.  Here’s a brief re-cap:

Friday 9/4 – Mets 6, Cubs 2.  Mets blew game open with a 5-run 8th inning to break a 1-1 tie.  Carlos Zambrano finally looked good – 1 ER (a solo HR by Corey Sullivan on 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings.  Kevin Gregg (2 ER on 2 hits) and John Grabow (3 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk) did not retire a single batter in the 8th inning.  Jeff Baker had 3 hits and an RBI in the loss.

Saturday 9/5 – Cubs 5, Mets 3. Rich Harden picked up his 9th win of the season – 1 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks and 10 K’s in 5 innings.  Carlos Marmol picked up his 9th save and 5th straight save since being named the club’s closer.  Derrek Lee was the offensive hero – 3 for 4 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.

Sunday 9/6 – Mets 4, Cubs 2.  Randy Wells 1 ER on 7 hits and no walks over 6 innings.  Kevin Gregg was awful in relief – 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk in just 2/3 of an inning.  Cubs manage just 6 hits and 2 walks.  Geovany Soto had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s in the loss.

Cubs are 68-67 and they trail the Cardinals by 11.5 games in the NL Central and the Rockies by 8 games in the NL Wild Card race.

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Cubs Offense, Defense Wastes Another Good Start in 5-0 Loss to White Sox

Posted on 04 September 2009 by Lou

White Sox Cubs Baseball

Can it get any uglier?  Well, yes.  Although Ryan Dempster did not have his best stuff, he still should have come away with nothing worse than a no decision.  Instead, because of shoddy defense and the continued inability of the Cubs to manufacture any offense whatsoever, Dempster dropped his 8th game of the year.  Dempster gave up 9 hits and 1 walk, and all 3 runs scored off of Dempster were unearned.

In the 2nd inning, Jake Fox failed to catch an easy pick off attempt from Dempster, allowing a runner to reach 2nd base with 2 outs.  That runner scored on the next pitch on a single by Alexei Ramirez. One unearned run.

In the 8th inning, the disaster that is Alfonso Soriano strck again.  With Gordon Beckham on 1st base, A.J. Pierzynski hit a lazy fly ball down the left field line.  Soriano got to the right spot and was about to make the catch, but for some reason, he just slipped.  Beckham scored all the way from 1st base and Pierzynski reached 3rd base on the Soriano error.  Pierzynski then came around to score on Paul Konerko’s soft single to left field.  2 more unearned runs.

Bad, bad, bad…

Dempster lowered his ERA under 4 with the 7 “scoreless” innings to 3.96 – giving the Cubs starting rotation with 2 pitchers under a 4.00 ERA and 1 pitcher under a 3.00 ERA.  Good, good, good.

But more bad please – the Cubs offense.  The Cubs squared off against Carlos Torres.  In his only 2 previous major league starts (in July & August of this year), Torres was lit up for 7 ER on 9 hits and 9 walks in just 7 1/3 innings of work – good for a 6.75 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP! Any other team would tee off on this guy, or at least work the count to make him throw more pitches and potentially get himself into trouble.  But not the Cubs.  Torres pitched 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and no walks.  Jake Fox had 2 of the Cubs hits, but was thrown out at home in the bottom of the 7th inning on a great throw by DeWayne Wise on Jeff Baker’s single to right field.  3rd base coach Quade probably should not have sent the slow-running Fox home on the single to right field, but in any event, the Cubs can never seem to do anything right in 2009.

Not that anyone probably cares anymore, but:

The Cubs trails the Cardinals by 10.5 games in the NL Central race and the Rockies by 6 games in the NL Wild Card race.  Technically not out of it, but really not any closer than the Nationals who are “technically” 28 games behind the Rockies in the NL Wild Card race…

White Sox Cubs Baseball

White Sox Cubs Baseball

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Harden, Heilman Remain Cubs; Harden Lacks Focus in Monday Night Start

Posted on 01 September 2009 by Lou

Astros Cubs Baseball

The Cubs decided to keep Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman because they “we still feel we have a chance in the Wild Card race, and we’re going to go after it” according to Manager Lou Pinella. Yeah right!  Gotta love the optimism, but it is way to late for pep talks right now, Lou.

GM Jim Hendry echoed Pinella’s sentiments when asked about Harden and Heilman potentially being moved in a trade: “I can honestly tell you we never gave it any substantive thought to deal the two.  We certainly would never give up unless we were out of it.  If we were 15 back, we might look at it differently…We’ve got a shot at the postseason, but we need to really play well the rest of the way.  So far we haven’t shown the ability to maintain it for a long time, and we need to do that.”  Makes you want to go out and catch the next Cubs game at Wrigley Field – doesn’t it?!

Unbelievable.   Hendry hasn’t given Pinella the right roster to win games on a consistent level at all this season.  And now we’re expected to think that the Cubs are going to flip a switch and go -0 during the month of September.  What a joke.

Harden did pitch against the Astros on Monday night at Wrigley Field… it wasn’t pretty.  98 pitches, 5 innings, 5 ER, 5 hits and 6 walks.  He did strike out 9, however, so that was a plus.  The bullpen shined again though, so at least we can take solace in that.  Aaron Heilman pitched 2 scoreless innings, although he did give up 2 hits and a walk.  Kevin Gregg pitched a scoreless 8th inning with 2 K’s.  John Grabow pitched a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s.  Grabow looks like a keeper – someone the Cubs will have to pay in free agency to keep.  In 15 Cubs appearances, Grabow has not allowed a single run and opponents are batting just .081 against him.  He has a miniscule .089 WHIP.

Ryan Theriot broke out of a mini-slump, going 2 for 4 with 1 RBI.  Jeff Baker also had 2 hits and a run scored in defeat.  Baker has also played well since being acquired by the Cubs – .316 batting average, .374 on-base percentage, 12 RBI’s and 15 runs scored in just 98 at-bats.  Not bad.  Well’ keep a close watch on some of these players that are playing well – they could see significant game action in 2010 with the Cubs unlikely to make many big moves in the off-season with the new ownership in flux.

Astros Cubs Baseball

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Bradley & Soriano Bumbling Fools in Outfield, But Cubs Rally to Win 5-2

Posted on 29 August 2009 by Lou

Mets Cubs Baseball

What is it with Milton Bradley?  Bradley is a wreck in the field and didn’t really start to hit until the Cubs were completely out of playoff contention the last few weeks.  Bradley also likes to speak his mind, which makes his poor play even harder to handle.  Although Alfonso Soriano sucks in the field too, at least he doesn’t go off bitching to the press and hasn’t really complained too much about being demoted to the 6th spot in the batting order during the middle of the season.

Check out a few of Bradley’s comments from this week:

Bradley has only been charged with 3 errors in  2009, but there have been countless other balls the he either misjudged, misplayed or didn’t see that weren’t counted as errors.  Take the game back in June when he didn’t realize there were only 2 outs in the inning and he tossed the ball into the right field bleachers.  Take yesterday’s game where he calls off 2nd baseman Jeff Baker on a soft fly ball to right, and he lets the ball skip off his mitt for a hit.  That should have been an error, but the official scorer was in a very forgiving mood.

Bradley has played well of late – .  But at this point, it is just too little too late.  I hope I can forgive him this off-season and give him a clear slate for the 2010 MLB schedule.  But I have a feeling that will be tough to do.

The Cubs showed some guts yesterday, rallying to win 5-2 with a 4-run 8th inning.  After the Cubs allowed a run to the Mets in the top of the 8th inning (Alfonso Soriano misplayed a single that turned into a double (no error) and then allowed a line drive to left skip off the top of his glove to allow the go-ahead run to score (again, not an error, but an average-defensive outfielder would have made the play), the Cubs responded with 4 of their own in the bottom of the inning.  Bradley led off with a double to right and then scored the tying run on Aramis Ramirez’s single to right field.  After Jeff Baker walked to prolong the inning, Alfonso Soriano approached the plate a midst a chorus of boos.  But Soriano quickly silenced the boo-birds with a game-winning 3-run HR to left center field.  And despite a lead off walk to Oliver Santos in the 9th inning, Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning with 2 K’s to record his 2nd consecutive in as many chances since being named the Cubs full-time closer.  All this over-shadowed another solid outing from Ted Lilly – 7 1/3 innings, just 2ER on 6 hits and 2 walks.  Since coming off the DL, Lilly has given up just a total of 4ER in 3 starts (19 1/3 inning), but is just 0-1 to show for it.

Yeah – Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!  This is painful…

Mets Cubs Baseball

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Big Z’s Back & He’s Bigger Ummm… Better than Before

Posted on 23 August 2009 by Lou

carlos cubs

The Cubs are anxiously waiting the return of their ace Carlos Zambrano.  Big Z – after admitting he is lazy and doesn’t like to do his ab work – is scheduled to face Garrett Mock and the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.  Hip Hip Hooray!  Big Z needs to focus more on throwing strikes and getting guys out than giving piggyback rides in the dugout and eating bon bons.

Big Z has been dealing with back pain and back spasms since the beginning of August.  Zambrano tossed 5 scoreless innings at Triple-A Peoria on Thursday night and is ready to go against the Nats this week.  Big Z has a 7-4 record with a 1.35 WHIP and a 3.35 ERA – definitely the numbers you’d expect from the ace of your staff.  Mock has a 2-5 record with a 1.83 WHIP and a 5.10 ERA.  Think there was a reason the Cubs held him back to start Tuesday against the Nats and then Sunday against the Mets instead of this past weekend against the Dodgers in L.A.?

As for the Cubs game action on Saturday and Sunday…

About the only thing Cubs fans have to look forward to in 2010 is good starting pitching…

carlos zambrano

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