Archive | Kevin Gregg

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.

Cubs Tigers Baseball

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Cubs Complete Sweep of Indians with 6-2 Win

Posted on 21 June 2009 by Lou

Indians Cubs Baseball

The Cubs completed a 3-game weekend sweep of the Indians with a 6-2 win on Sunday at Wrigley Field.  Starter Randy Wells earned his 1st career major league victory and Kevin Gregg earned his 11th save of the season. 

The Cubs defeated the Indians 6-5 in 13 innings on Saturday.  Former Cubs closer blew his 2nd save in as many days and ended up taking the loss when his wild pitch sailed past the catcher allowing Andres Blanco to score the winning run. David Patton pitched the top of the 13th inning and got the win despite giving up a then-go-ahead home run to Luis Valbuena.

The Cubs are now 34-31.  They are in 3rd place in the NL Central, trailing the Cards by 2.5 games and the Brewers by 1.0 game.

Indians Cubs Baseball

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Back-to-Back Dramatic Wins for Cubs – Top Indians 8-7 in 10 @ Rocking Wrigley Field

Posted on 20 June 2009 by Lou

Indians Cubs Baseball

2 – for -2 – as the Cubs made it 2 dreamatic come-from-behind wins in a row, topping the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings.  The Cubs last 3 wins have come as the walk-off variety at Wrigley Field, including the last 2 days against the White Sox in the 9th inning on Thursday and the Indians in the 10th inning on Friday.

It didn’t look like the Cubs were going to build off the momentum of Thursday’s big win over the White Sox in the series finale of the cross-town classic.  The Cubs trailed the Indians 7-0 in the 5th inning and Cliff Lee was dominating the Cubs in every way.  Rich Harden had a poor outing – 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, including a pair of 3-run home runs to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez.  But the Cubs didn’t give up. The bullpen kept the Cubs in the game with 5 scoreless innings – David Patten, Aaron Heilman, Jose Ascansio, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – and the Cubs hitters kept chipping away at the 7-run lead.

Reed Johnson hit a solo home run in the 5th inning and Derrek Lee followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the 6th inning.  With the lead 7-2 starting the bottom of the 8th inning, Milton Bradley got a big leadoff single that knocked Lee out of the ball game.  The Indians have one of the worst bullpens in the league, so no lead is safe with them.  As was the case at Wrigley on Friday afternoon.  A Geovany Soto double and a Reed Johnson loaded the bases with 2 outs.  Then the fun began.  Andres Blanco hit a 2-RBI single to right field and Koyie Hill smoked a hard groundball to 3rd bases that Jhonny Peralta couldn’t handle.  It was ruled an error, but in any event, the Cubs had cut the lead to 7-5.  Soriano cut the Indians lead to just 1 run with a single to center field.  Ah the Drama.

Carlos Marmol worked out of a 9th inning 1st and 2nd, 2-out jam, by striking out Martinez to end the threat.  The Indians brought in former Cubs closer Kerry Wood to close out the 1-run win for the Indians, but he promptly served up a 1-out game-tying homer to Derrek Lee that sent the Wrigley faithful into a tizzy.

Kevin Gregg had to escape a rough 10th inning as well – a single, 2 errors and a HBP led to a 2-out bases loaded jam.  But Gregg got pinch-hitter Ryan Garko to line out to center field on a great sliding catch by Kosuke Fukodome to preserve the 7-7 tie.

In the 10th, the Cubs used small ball once again to get the job done.  With 2 outs, Alfsonso Soriano coaxed a walk and stole 2nd base to get into scoring position.  Ryan Theriot hit a hard ground ball towards the right side that took a bad hop to evade the glove of Martinez.  Soriano scored easily from 2nd and the Cubs had the 8-7 win. Cubs win!  Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

It was not a great day for former Cubs Wood, but Mark DeRosa put in a solid 1 for 3 effort, with 2 walks, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.

Let’s hope the Cubs can get out to an early lead on Saturday behind Ted Lilly.  It would be the Cubs first 3-game winning streak in a very long time…

Indians Cubs Baseball

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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.

White Sox Cubs Baseball

White Sox Cubs Baseball

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De Ja Vu – Astros Beat Cubs 2-1 in Houston

Posted on 12 June 2009 by Lou

cubs lose 2 1 again 1

It felt like Grounds Hog Day on Thursday in Houston.  The Astros beat the Cubs 2-1, this time in 13 innings.  For the 2nd straight day, the Cubs scored only 1 run courtesy of a solo home run – this time by Derrek Lee.  The HR was a little more dramatic as it tied the game at 1 when the Cubs were down to the their last 2 outs in the 9th inning.  But the Cubs bats were mostly silent the rest of the way, and the Cubs eventually fell in the 13th inning on a run-scoring single by Geoff Blum.  It was the 2nd consecutive game in which Geoff Blum had a walk-off hit to win the game for the Astros.

The Cubs had a frustrating road trip.  Although the Cubs went 4-4 (good for them on the road), 5 of the 8 games went to extra innings and the Cubs continue to blow chance after chance in each game.  The Cubs are getting no clutch hitting in 2009, and because of that, they are losing way to many close games.   They outscored their opponents 28-21 on the road trip, but only won 4 games. The Cubs endured 4 1-run losses on the trip and they continue to waste good pitching efforts from the starting pitchers.  Ryan Dempster pitched 7 innings, giving up 7 hits and only 1 earned run in the 1st inning.  He didn’t walk a batter and he racked up 4 K’s.  Carlos Marmol worked 2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit (he did walk 1 batter).  Kevin Gregg also worked 2 scoreless innings, but he did have to work out of a few jams as he allowed 3 hits during his work.  Jose Ascansion took his 1st loss of the season by giving up the game-winning hit to Blum in the 13th inning.

Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about the frustrating road trip:  “What am I going to do?  Just keep running them out there and hope it gets better. They’re going to have to find the answers on the field.  That’s the bottom line.  It sounds cruel, it sounds harsh, but it’s reality.  We really did nothing.  When we had chances, we’re swinging at bad pitches out of the zone, can’t make contact.  Come on.  This is Major League Baseball.  I know the game isn’t easy to play because I played it for a long time, but it’s not this darn hard.”

The Cubs are now just 1 game over .500 at 29-28.  Luckily, the Brewers have lost 4 in a row, so the Cubs are only 2.5 games out of 1st place.  The bad news – the Cubs still have to jump over the Cards and Reds to catch the Brewers.  The Cubs return home to Wrigley Field for a 9-game home stand.  The Cubs will face 3 members of the AL Central division in inter-league play.  Friday-Sunday, June 12th-14th v. the Minnesota Twins; Tuesday-Thursday, June 16th-18th v. Chicago White Sox; and Friday-Sunday, June 19th-21st v. Cleveland Indians.

Cubs Astros Baseball

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Zambrano, Cubs Beat Reds 2-1

Posted on 06 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Reds Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Reds 2-1 on Friday night in Cincinnati behind an all-around effort from Carlos Zambrano.  Carlos Zambrano won his 100th career game, pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball.  Zambrano needed a lot of pitches, however (108 total), as he walked 5 batters and struck out 7.  Zambrano’s solo home run to deep center field in the 5th inning ended up being the game-winning run.

Angel Guzman got Zambrano out of a jam in the bottom of the 7th inning by retiring Johnny Gomes on a harmless ground ball with 2 on and 2 out. Guzman has been lights out this season, lowering his WHIP to 0.90 and his ERA to 2.45.  Carlos Marmol struggled again – giving up the Reds only run in the 8th inning on 2 walks and a hit.  But Kevin Gregg stepped up big in the 9th inning to record his 10th save of the season.

The Cubs bats continue to struggle.  It is getting to be a huge issue for the Cubs and very frustrating for Manager Lou Pinella.  No one ever seems to come up with the big hit.  A perfect example was the 1st inning – the Cubs loaded the bases with only 1 out on a Ryan Theriot infield single and consecutive walks to Kosuke Fukodome and Derrek Lee.  But the Cubs could only muster 1 run as Micah Hoffpauir struck out, Miek Fontneot coaxed another walk out of Reds starter Micah Owings, and then Koyie Hill struck out to end the inning.  The Cubs only had 7 hits and left 18 runners on base.

The Cubs and Reds continue the weekend series today – Ryan Dempster v. Matt Maloney who will be making his 1st career major league start.

Cubs Reds Baseball

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Cubs Top Braves 2-1 in Extra Innings

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Braves Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Braves 2-1 in 12 innings on Wednesday night.  Micah Hoffpauir’s clutch, bloop, pinch-hit single gave the Cubs the win in the top of the 12th inning.  And this time the Cubs pitchers did the job all night long.  Ted Lilly pitched 7 innings, giving up 2 runs (only 1 earned) on 6 hits and 1 walk.  Lilly had 7 strikeouts.  Carlos Marmol needed only 13 pitches for his scoreless inning of work.  Angel Guzman was even more efficient – needing only 22 pitches to work 2 scoreless innings.  Guzman has quietly turned into the Cubs most dependable reliever with his 0.91 WHIP and 2.49 ERA.  And Kevin Gregg actually closed out a game – his 9th save of the season – with a 1-2-3 9th inning.  Hip Hip Hoorah!

The Cubs looks to take the series from the Braves with Carlos Zambrano on the bump.  He will have to beat out the Braves best starter, however, Jair Jurrjens who is 5-2 with a 1.23 WHIP and 2.59 ERA.

Cubs Braves Baseball

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Marmol & Gregg Blow Another Great Randy Wells Start, Cubs Lose 6-5

Posted on 03 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Braves Baseball

Randy Wells must have the patience of Yoda.  In 5 major league starts, Wells has pitched 32 innings, giving up only a total of 6 earned runs, 24 hits and 7 walks good for a 1.69 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.  Based on those stats, you would think that Wells is 5-0, 4-1 or maybe even 3-1.  But guess what it really is – 0-2.  Yes, that’s right, he still hasn’t earned a major league win yet, and that includes games in which he has left the game where the Cubs have had a 4-0 lead and a 5-1 lead.

The latest debacle came on Tuesday night in the opener of the Cubs important 9-game road trip.  For this disaster, I actually blame 3 people – Manager Lou Pinella and relievers Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg.  First Pinella – Wells pitched a no-hitter through 6 innings and gave up the first hit of the game with 2 outs in the 7th inning to Chipper Jones.  After Jones reached, Wells was just fine as he got Brian McCann to ground out to end the inning.  With the Cubs leading 5-0 and Wells’ pitch count still under 80 pitches to start the bottom of the 8th inning, this should have been Wells’ game to finish off, especially given the tough luck he has endured over his 1st 4 major league starts.  Wells served up a leadoff home run to Garrett Anderson, and then Martin Prado reached 1st on a weak grounder to shortstop and Derrek Lee’s fielding error.  With his pitch count still at only 83, Pinella decided to take Wells out and bring in Carlos Marmol.  Big mistake.  Wells was about to face the last 3 hitters in the Braves lineup (none of whom had gotten a hit so far).  And while Pinella probably felt like he would bring in his top 2 relievers to finish off the win without any problems, those to relievers – Marmol and Gregg have been so inconsistent this year, there was no assurance that these 2 guys would be able to preserve the 4-run lead.  And guess what happened – these 2 guys blew it.

Marmol walked Jeff Francoeur amd got Gregor Blanco to line out to right field on a great play by Kosuke Fukodome.  Marmol then hit pinch-hitter Greg Norton with a pitch (loading the bases) and walked Kelly Johnson to give the Braves an easy run.  Marmol got Yunar Escobar to hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Kosuke Fukodome on another good play and retired Chipper Jones on a full-count pitch to preserve the 5-3 lead.  Granted Marmol minimized the damage that he created himself, but if Pinella had left Wells in the game, I am confident that Wells would have finished the 8th with a 5-1 lead.

Now move on to the 9th inning.  For once, Kevin Gregg actually got the lead off out.  But when Gregg struck out Garrett Anderson, his off-speed pitch was very wild and allowed Anderson to reach 1st base.  Gregg got Prado to fly out to center field for the 2nd out, but Jeff Francoeur stroke a 2-run game-tying home run off Gregg to tie the game at 5-5.  Now I know Pinella said that the base runner should not have even been on base because of the quirky wild pitch, but he was and Gregg had to deal with it.  Gregg has been downright awful for the Cubs, and Pinella needs to replace him as the Cubs closer.  Gregg has a 5.24 ERA, a 1.66 WHIP and he has issued 13 walks in 22 1/3 innings.  Not good.

Now I know Marmol isn’t much better – 23 walks in 24 innings and a 1.50 WHIP, but he’s only given up 13 hits and 1 HR (as opposed to 24 hits and 5 HR’s for Gregg in 2 less innings) and he does have that deadly strikeout pitch – 27 K’s in all.   For the good of the time and for morale purposes, Pinella needs to make a drastic move, and that move should start with the closer.  Gregg is not dependable and he cannot be trusted to hold a lead anymore.  Maybe in a less stressful 9th inning role, Gregg will be more effective.

Well I have ranted enough.  Pinella, Marmol and Gregg blew a perfectly phenomenal start from Wells… again.  The game was over when Francoeur hit that HR off Gregg – it just took until the 12th inning on Chipper Jones’ walk-off single to make it official. The Marmol/Gregg disaster also ruined good starts from Alfonso Soriano (who hit a lead off HR), Derrek Lee who had an RBI double and a solo home run and Kosuke Fukodome and Mike Fontenot who each had 2 hits.

It would have been a great way for the Cubs to start the brutal 9-game road trip – especially after going winless on their last road trip, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.  The Brewers and cards keep leaving openings for the Cubs to make a move in the NL Central race, and the Cubs keep making the same move in response – tripping over the own feet in defeat…

Cubs Braves Baseball

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Dodgers Crush Marshall, Cubs 8-2, Earn Split of Weekend Series at Wrigley

Posted on 01 June 2009 by Lou

Dodgers Cubs Baseball

The Dodgers avoided a series loss by crushing Sean Marshall and the Cubs 8-2 at Wrigley Field on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.  The Dodgers lit up Cubs starter Sean Marshall for 5 earned runs in the 1st inning.  The 1st 5 Dodgers reached base on consecutive singles that scored 2 runs.  After Marshall struck out Matt Kemp, Mark Loretta’s 2-run double increased the Dodgers lead to 4-0.  Jamie Hoffman’s sacrifice fly plated the 5th run of the inning for the Dodgers.  All in all, Marshall lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up 7 earned runs (8 total) on 8 hits and 1 walk.  Marshall dropped to 3-4 on the 2009 NLB schedule with the loss.

There were a couple of bright spots for the Cubs.  Reed Johnson continued his hot hitting, going f 3 for 4 and driving in the Cubs only 2 runs with a double in the 6th inning.  Ryan Theriot also plated 2 hits – the only other Cub with more than 1 hit.  Cubs relievers  – Jose Ascansio, Jason Waddell, David Patton, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – also fared well – pitching 4 2/3 scoreless innings after Marshall departed.  Jason Waddell made his big league debut pitching a scoreless 6th inning giving up only 1 hit while striking out 2 batters.

The Cubs are now 25-24, 4.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  The Cubs embark on a 9-game road trip away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – taking on the Braves in Atlanta, the Reds in Cincinnati and the Astros in Houston.

marshall-cubs-lose2

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Cubs Defeat Dodgers 2-1 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 30 May 2009 by Lou

Dodgers Cubs Baseball

The Chicago Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.  Ted Lilly pitched 7 strong innings, giving up just 4 hits and 3 walks with 5 strikeouts.  The lone Dodger run came courtesy of a Matt Kemp solo home run off Lilly in the 7th inning.  The Cubs countered with 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning with a solo home run from Koyie Hill and a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukodome.  The Cubs generated 8 hits and 2 walks off of Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley but could never come up with the clutch hit during scoreing opportunities.

Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless 8th despite issuing 2 walks, while Kevin Gregg picked up his 8th save of the year with a scoreless 9th inning.

The Cubs are now 24-23, but they stil trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 3.5 games inthe NL Central race.

hill-lilly-cubs-win2

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