Archive | Justin Grimm

Cubs Shelled by Reds as Bullpen Falters Late; Drop Opener 13 – 6

Posted on 01 September 2015 by Bob

One night after Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter and a red-eye flight from LA back to Chicago, it was probably expecting too much for this team to play aesthetically pleasing baseball, let alone get a win.  The Cubs offense did their part, tallying six runs which on most occasions would be more than enough for a win, but the bullpen completely crumbled as Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, and James Russell gave up 10 runs combined after Kyle Hendricks’ modest five innings of five-hit, three-run ball. Yes, six of those runs came in the ninth with the Cubs already trailing by two and the game seemingly over, but it’s still not a good sign when on the cusp of September the back end of your bullpen remains dicey.

Grimm struggles vs. REDS

The game was scoreless through three innings and 1 – 1 after four when Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips broke the game open with a two-out, two-run RBI single to put the Reds out in front. The Cubs would battle back in the bottom half of the inning as Addison Russell had a two-run, RBI double to knot the game back up. Kyle Schwarber would single in another run, as would Kris Bryant, to tip the balance back in the Cubs favor, 5 – 3.

It all went out the window after Hendricks left the game and Grimm came on to start the sixth inning immediately walking Ivan De Jesus before serving up a homer to Eugenio Suarez. History would repeat itself as Grim allowed Tucker Barnhart to reach on a single to right before pinch hitter Adam Duvall went deep to left field with a two-run shot of his own to put the Reds in front for good. The score remained as such until the ninth inning; one of the worst you will see all year from this Cubs team as Travis Wood walked three batters while collecting only two outs. James Russell came on only needing to get one man out but gave up an RBI single and a double in addition to not one, but two errors from second baseman Starlin Castro that lead to runs.  Mercifully, Jay Bruce ground out to second to end the inning and the Cubs bullpen’s woeful night. Addison Russell added a solo home run off of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth to provide a minor silver lining. The Reds took the game 13 – 6.

Castro struggles

Cubs manager offered his assessment and from the sounds of it, he didn’t like the book:

“(It was) kind of a bad ending,” Maddon said. “It didn’t start too good, the middle part of the book was actually a pretty good read and then eventually it became a nasty ending. I’m over it already. Just throw that one away.”

That’s what the Cubs will look to do tonight as the calendar has finally flipped to September and the finish line has come into focus. They stand 5.5 games behind the Pirates for the top Wild Card spot, and are 5.5 games ahead of San Francisco for the second and final Wild Card position. They are firmly entrenched in a playoff race, something that would have sounded very hard to believe at this time last year.

They look to get back on track tonight in a make or break start for the struggling Dan Haren as the roster expands to 40. He will face Anthony DeSclafani for the Reds with a 7:05PM CST start. Hopefully, we will get a look at the newly acquired outfielder, Austin Jackson at some point for the Cubs. Javy Baez will also start at second base due to the roster expansion.

Let’s Go Cubs!

 

Comments (0)

Cubs Get Down Early But Storm Back For Second Straight Win

Posted on 22 August 2015 by Bob

The Cubs got back to their streaking ways on Friday, picking up their second win in a row against the visiting Atlanta Braves after dropping three in a row earlier in the week. The offense continues to impress whether it’s getting out to an early lead or battling back later in games with a “never say die” attitude. It was the fourth game in a row in which the Cubs scored five or more runs making it seven of their last eight contests to reach that threshold. They got it done behind Chris Coghlan’s solo home run in the first to tie the game up at one all. In the fifth, Chris Denorfia grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Miguel Montero to score on a throwing error by Braves third baseman, Pedro Ciriaco. Still the Cubs were only able to scratch that one across, while stranding two men on base.

KB doubles vs. Braves

The real damage was done in the bottom of the sixth, as an Anthony Rizzo walk set the table for Kris Bryant’s RBI-scoring double. Montero followed with a double of his own, allowing the Cubs to take the lead 4-3. Rizzo added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, as he singled to right bringing Addison Russell in to score and provide what would be the game’s final score, 5 – 3.

The starting pitching left much to be desired but it wasn’t as bad as the club’s two games against Detroit this week. Kyle Hendricks lasted five innings while giving up seven hits and allowing three runs. He did strike out seven and lasted much longer than his last start (3.1 innings), so there was progress however minor it may seem.

“It was better,” Hendricks said. “It’s still a little frustrating.”

Skipper Joe Maddon concurred, offering some positive reinforcement:

“The beginning was just a little bit sketchy, but then he did settle into that guy,” Maddon said. “I saw a better down angle, I saw the ball down better, I saw some called strikes that they didn’t like, which only means that the ball is moving back over the plate.

That may be a glass half-full assessment but without a formidable offense and excellent outing from the bullpen, the outlook wouldn’t appear as rosy. Jason Motte, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon each pitched one inning of scoreless relief with Rondon being the only one to give up a hit. That proved crucial as the game wore on and Cubs missed a few opportunities to put more runs on the board. Motte picked up his eighth ‘W’ while Shelby Miller took the loss for the Braves.

So notch another Cubs comeback win in the books, another climb through adversity to come out on top; an experience that should prove helpful come October. Chicago improved to 69 – 51 on the season, gaining a game on the Pirates and Cardinals who each suffered losses and keeping a four game cushion over San Francisco for the final Wild Card spot.

They go for win #70 today as the try to take their third straight from Atlanta behind Dan Haren on the mound. He is opposed by Williams Perez for the Braves with the game set to start at 3:05PM CST.

 

Let’s Go Cubs!

Comments (0)

Cubs Win Eighth Straight; Top Sox in Opener

Posted on 15 August 2015 by Bob

The Cubs train is rolling right now and is showing no signs of slowing down as they topped the White Sox, 6-5 in the opener Friday at US Cellular Field behind some solid relief pitching and a couple of big bats. The Cubs have now won eight straight games and 14 of 15 to climb to 66 – 48 and just a game and half back of the first wild card spot and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Coghlan Cubs Win

The latest heroes in this amazing run were the bullpen and the bats of Chris Coghlan and Anthony Rizzo. After starter Kyle Hendricks lasted only 3.1 innings while allowing five runs on eight hits, it looked like the Cubs current streak was headed for it’s end but Clayton Richard came on for two innings of relief and allowed only one hit to get the Cubs to their late-relief men and keep the game in hand. Yes, Clayton Richard was the hero; the same guy who has twice been designated for assignment this year and picked up by no one off the waiver wire each time. He earned high praise from his teammates and manager alike on Friday:

“He was huge,” Anthony Rizzo said. “Clayton coming in, giving us those innings was huge. He threw up zeros.”

“He really defined the game at that point,”  Manager Joe Maddon added.

Richard enabled the Cubs to extend the game but they needed some big bats to get over the hump and bag another W. They got exactly what they needed from Chris Coghlan who hit a three run homer in the third to put the Cubs up 4-2. After they fell behind 5-4, Coghlan came through again with another homer to center to knot the game at five a piece. Anthony Rizzo stepped up just after with a jack to the right field seats to put the Cubs on top for good and for the second straight game the Cubs hit back to back homers in the same inning.

Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon closed out the game allowing one hit over 3.2 innings and  Strop provided some theatrics as he and Alexei Ramirez got engaged in a little back and forth with Ramirez on second and Strop trying to keep him honest on the bag. After Ramirez wagged his finger at Strop, effectively telling him he wouldn’t catch him off the bag, Strop struck out the final two batters and turned towards Ramirez and delivered not one, but two emphatic fist pumps to show him  who was really in charge. It was fun to watch and provided an emotional boost to the Cubs fans watching in the seats and at home as Twitter went nuts after Strop’s antics.

This team is truly special to watch and they are showing up everyday believing they will win; knowing someone among them will step up to make the difference. From Clayton Richard to Chris Coghlan and everyone in between, this team is full of feel-good, bounce-back stories; guys who have suffered through slumps, injuries, and bad luck to find their way back to the lineup and help their team get a W. I’m not sure how long this charmed streak will last but it’s been a blast to watch. The fun is definitely back on the North Side. Let’s see how far these Cubs can take it!

Tonight it’s the Cubs Arrieta vs. Quintana for the Sox at 6:10PM CST.

Let’s Go Cubs!

 

Comments (0)

Cubs Hope to Bounce Back in Nightcap; Look for Split with Reds

Posted on 22 July 2015 by Bob

The Cubs have had their highs and lows throughout this series with the Reds which concludes this evening with the second game of a day-night doubleheader at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The Reds took game 1 on Monday night behind home runs from Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and Marlon Byrd. Still the Cubs hung tough and gave themselves a chance tallying four runs for the third game in a row before falling by one run, 5-4.

Schwarber dingers

Chicago bounced back on Tuesday night as Kyle Schwarber, just over a week removed from his All-Star Futures Game MVP performance, showed why he has climbed so quickly through the Cubs farm system to reach the majors. Heading into the ninth inning with the Reds leading 4-2, Schwarber stepped to the plate with no outs and Dexter Fowler on first. He quickly fell in in an 0 – 2 hole before fouling off three pitches and taking three balls. His perseverance paid off as he took the next pitch 397 feet into right field for a two-run home run to tie the game.  As the game slide into extra innings and both teams deadlocked at four runs a piece, Schwarber stepped to the plate again and delivered another dinger, this time 385 feet to right, to put the Cubs up 5-4 and after three quick outs from relief pitcher Justin Grimm, that was enough to earn the win. It was an incredible night for the rookie who grew up outside Cincinnati as a Reds fan. He had a sizable following of family and friends cheering him on as this game went on past midnight. Great to see a jolt in this Cubs’ offense. Let’s hope he keeps it up!

Mike Leake

Wednesday’s early afternoon game of the doubleheader saw the Cubs give all that momentum right back to the Reds as Cincinnati jumped on Kyle Hendricks early sending five men to the plate before Hendricks even recorded an out. Staked to a 4 – 0 lead after one inning, the Reds never looked back as Mike Leake kept the Cubs off-balance all day going eight strong innings while allowing only one run on four hits to pair with six punch-outs. Kyle Schwarber provided the Cubs’ only run, a third inning RBI single. The Reds would get that run back in the fifth inning on a Joey Votto solo-home run and tack on four more runs in the seventh turning this one into a laugher, your final score being 9 – 1. Lucky for the Cubs they won’t have to stew in this loss long with the night game of the doubleheader set to begin at 5:00pm.

Dallas Beeler will face off against the Reds’ Tony Cingrani as the Cubs hope to salvage a split against the middling Reds, who are most likely in the sellers category sitting eight games under .500 with the trade deadline looming. The Cubs need to take care of business against these guys given their current state. Let’s hope the bats show back up tonight as Kyle Schwarber can’t do it all himself.

Let’s Go Cubs!

Comments (0)

Cubs Roughed Up Over Weekend Losing Three 1-Run Contests

Posted on 26 May 2015 by Bob

After a long holiday weekend versus some hot competition the Cubs got an A for effort but unfortunately that didn’t translate to wins, as the club dropped 3 out of 4 with each loss coming by a single run. The lone win was a 9-6 victory brought about by Anthony Rizzo’s ninth inning three-run homer on Saturday night.

Rizzo Blast 2

It’s tough to criticize the team when the games, for the most part, could have gone either way and the Cubs still lead the majors in winning one run games with twelve on the year to date.  It just feels like missed opportunities especially with Tsuyoshi Wada getting the quick hook again on Monday after throwing only 83 pitches. The Cubs would go on to lose that game 2-1 with Justin Grimm taking over for Wada and giving up what would become the game winning run on a homer to Wilson Ramos.

It was an entertaining weekend to be sure, with several of the games being decided on late inning at-bats. The Diamondbacks Paul Goldscmidt played the hero on Friday and Sunday, with Rizzo getting his turn Saturday, and the Nats’ Ramos delivering on Monday afternoon. The Cubs weren’t hurt too bad in the standings as St. Louis suffered a rare series loss to the in-state rival Royals, keeping the gap at a manageable 4.5 games.

Things don’t get any easier for the foreseeable future as the Cubs play two more against the NL East leading Nationals and then host the AL Central’s best in the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. This is a critical stretch for a team that has exceeded expectations and put itself in a position to compete for a playoff spot. They can either take a big step forward or several steps back depending on how this homestand plays out.

Tonight is Kyle Hendrick’s turn vs. the Nats’ Jordan Zimmerman with an earlier start time of 6:05PM CST.

Go Cubs Go!

Comments (0)

Wada K’s Nine in 2015 Debut; Bullpen Comes Through

Posted on 21 May 2015 by Bob

Tsuyoshi Wada made his claim to a rotation spot in his first start back striking out nine Padres in only 4  2/3 innings before getting a quick hook from Manager Joe Maddon.

“He was outstanding,” Maddon said. “He had great stuff. He had nine punchouts in 4 2-3, and I’m more about the Cubs winning as opposed to any particular pitcher winning.”

Though he only threw 69 pitches, Maddon kept him on a tight leash given it was his first start back and he had done enough with those pitches to build some confidence moving forward. Nine K’s through almost five innings is pretty good stuff, indeed and bodes well for Wada joining the rotation as Wood’s replacement.

Wada

In past games going to the bullpen that early would have been downright scary, but five Cubs relievers combined for 2 hits over the final 4  1/3 innings to make a 3-2 lead hold up and inspired confidence in the pitching staff as a whole.  Wada also got an unexpected workout after taking a walk in the fifth inning and then coming around to score on Dexter Fowler’s RBI triple. Kris Bryant did his part as well getting a hit in the first and a sac fly RBI in the fifth that provided the winning margin.

While the offense did just enough to win, this game was all about the pitching and it was nice to see it as a strong suit after taking some serious lumps the last few weeks. Justin Grimm was the linchpin as he came on to work out a jam in the fifth. He pitched 1 1/3 innings while striking out three to earn the win as the Cubs scored in the top half of the inning to take the lead. His presence has been a huge boost to the once shaky unit and a stabilizing force in the middle innings.

Grimm

The Cubs still sit four games behind the Cards with a  22 – 17 record. Kyle Hendricks takes the mound tonight to complete the three game series. Game time is 8:10PM CST.

Comments (0)

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here