Archive | Kevin Gregg

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Finally – 2 in a Row to Boot!

Posted on 27 May 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

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.

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Gregg Blows Cubs 4-Run Lead in 9th, But Cubs Win on Soriano Single

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4 in frustrating, but dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Randy Wells gave the Cubs another great start – 6 innings, 0 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Wells left the game with a 3-0 and was set to earn his 1st majore league win.  The Cubs had built the lead on an RBI single by Derrek Lee in the bottom of the 6th inning, which was then followed by a 2-run homer from Micah Hoffpauir.  The Cubs added what turned out to be an all-important insurance run on a Geovany Soto single in the 8th inning.  Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol worked scoreless 7th and 8th innings to set it up perfectly for closer Kevin Gregg.

But it all fell apart for Gregg in the 9th.  Gregg gave up back-to-back homers to Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee to lead off the inning.  Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blumm singled and Gregg loaded the bases when he hit Hunter Pence with a pitch.  That was it for Gregg as Manager Lou Pinella replaced him with Aaron Heilman.  Heilman promptly served up a single to Ivan Pudge Rodriguez which scored Tejada and Pence to tie the game at 4.  But Heilman buckled down to induce 2 flyouts.  Heilman then walked Michael Bourn to load the bases again with 2 out, and Pinella called on Sean Marshall to finish off the rally.  He did just that – getting the deadly Lance Berkman to ground out to end the inning.

The Cubs rallied in the bottom of the 9th inning quickly.  Bobby Scales lead off the inning with a walk against former Cubs pitcher Latroy Hawkins.  Aaron Miles sacrificed Scales over to 2nd base and Alfonso Soriano delivered Scales home with the winning run on a single to right field.

The 2 teams finish off the series on Sunday afternoon – Rich Harden will take on Brian Moehler.

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Cubs Top Padres 6-2 in Shocking Fashion at Wrigley Field

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Padres 6-2 on Tuesday night behind the solid pitching of Rich Harden and the clutch hitting of Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley.  Harden improved to 4-1 on the season and settled down after he gave up a 2-run 1st inning home run to Adrian Gonzalez which gave the Padres the early.  Harden retired 12 Padres in a row after the HR and allowed only 3 more base runners in the next 5 innings.

I must admit, I had my doubts especially after the Cubs blew a golden opportunity off Peavy in the 4th inning.  Kosuke Fukodome led off the inning with a double and advanced to 3rd base with nobody out on a wild pitch by Jake Peavy.  All the Cubs had to do was put the ball in play to plate Kosuke, but Peavy struck out Derek Lee and Milton Bradley and was saved by a great play by the 3rd baseman who robbed Mike Fontenot on a line drive to the hot corner.  I figured the Cubs were done after blowing that scoring chance, especially against Peavy.  But the Cubs didn’t give up.

Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double in the 5th inning score Geovany Soto with the Cubs 1st run of the game.  In the 6th inning, Kosuke led off with another double.  After another Derek Lee strike out – how many is that on the season now???!!! – Milton Bradley exacted revenge on Peavy with a deep bomb to center field.

Side rant – instead of just running around the bases, Bradley just dropped the bat at home plate and stared at the ball going well into the center field bleachers.  Bradley didn’t stop there, however.  At the top of the Cubs dugout steps, Bradley put his left hand up to his ear to the crowd as if to say “Where are the boos now?”  Is this guy for real?  Gimme a break.  Bradley needs to quit worrying about the fans, the opposition and the media, and start focusing on his health, his at-bats and playing the field.  Although Bradley has quietly put together a nice 6-game hitting streak with 2 home runs, only 1 of the games has been a multi-hit game and his batting average is still a measly .186.  Hey Milton – you can get on your high horse when you have double-digit home runs, RBI’s and runs scored and when your batting average is higher than .200…  Check out the Bradley antics here!

The Cubs got an insurance run on Bobby Scales 1st career home run in the 7th inning.   Scales was a little bit more diplomatic after his shot as he sped around the bases for his unfamiliar home run trot:  “I was just running.  I kept telling myself, ‘Pick your feet up, pick your feet up, so you don’t trip’.  Even in the Minor Leagues when I hit home runs, there’s no point in showing anybody up.  You hit it and it went over the fence, and that’s enough.  Hit all four bases and get off the field.”

In the 8th inning, the Cubs added 2 more runs on an RBI single by Alfonso Soriano and a wild pitch that scored Micah Hoffpauir.  Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg did the rest – shutting the door on the Padres with scoreless frames in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Let’s hope the Cubs can pull off a sweep of the Padres with Ted Lilly on Wednesday night and Ryan Dempster on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

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Marshall, Bullpen Help Cubs Beat Brewers 4-2, Avoid Sweep at Miller Park

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Brewers 4-2 at Miller Park Sunday afternoon to prevent the Brewers bid for a 3-game weekend series sweep.  Sean Marshall pitched 5 innings, overcoming a rough start in which he gave up single runs in each of the 1st 2 innings.  Marshall settled down, however, and kept the Cubs in the game despite giving up 5 hits and 3 walks over 97 pitches.  The bullpen – which had handed defeat to the Brewers in the 2 previous games – Aaron Heilman with his 2-run home run to Ryan Braun in the 8th inning on Friday night and Neal Cotts, David Patton and Chad Fox collectively imploding in the 7th inning in Saturday night’s 12-6 loss – finally got it done at Sunday afternoon.  Angel Guzman pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings with 2 strikeouts.  Carlos Marmol had another interesting 8th inning allowing Ryan Braun to get to 3rd base on a double and a balk with no one out.  After striking out Prince Fielder, Marmol walked Mike Cameron and after J.J. Hardy popped out to shallow right field, Marmol walked Bill Hall to load the bases.  But Marmol induced a Jason Kendall groundout to keep the Cubs lead 4-2.  Kevin Gregg picked up his 6th save of the season although he did allow the tying run to come to the plate when he walked Rickie Weeks with 1 out.  Gregg rebounded to strike out Corey Hart and Ryan Braun to end the game.

The Cubs tallied their 4 runs in a big 3rd inning off of Jeff Suppan.  Alfonso Soraino tied the game with a 2-run home run.  Aaron Miles doubled and Kosuke Fukkodome singled to keep the rally going, and Milton Bradley drove in Miles with an RBI single to center field.  Fukodome moved up to 3rd base and scored the 4th run of the inning on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Jason Kendall.

The Cubs seem to be getting it done with smoke and mirrors – more about this tomorrow.  But at least the Cubs came away with a victory on Sunday.  At 17-14, the Cubs are just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals.  The next 6 games are against the Padres and Astros, so if the Cubs can win each of those series, they should have a chance to cut into that lead as the Cardinals take on the Pirates and Brewers during that stretch.  Then the Cubs play the Cardinals next week in St. Louis – already the 3rd meeting between the teams this season – for another chance to cut into the lead.  As long as the Cubs can ride out these early season injuries to Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez to keep it close, they should be able to make a push for the division lead during the long, hot summer.

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Cubs Top Astros 8-5 in Wild 9th Inning

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Astros 8-5 on Thursday night, completing a 2-game sweep of the Astros in Houston.  The Cubs are no 4-1 in Houston this season.

Ted Lilly picked up his 4th win of the 2009 campaign – going 6 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Lilly also had 5 K’s.  Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning of relief.

The Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the top of the 9th inning and were prepared to have closer Kevin Gregg finish off the victory for the Cubs.  But in the Cubs half of the inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run home run – his 2nd homer of the game and his 9th on the season – Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single and Mike Fontenot walked with the bases loaded to increase the Cubs lead to 8-2.  So instead of using Gregg, Manager Lou Pinella opted to go with recently called-up reliever Chad Fox.  Fox imploded – recording just 1 out and giving up 3 earned runs on 2 hits and a walk.  And ultimately, Gregg had to come in to close out the game for the Cubs.  Although Gregg did give up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Kaz Matsui and a single to Miguel Tejada, Gregg struck out Lance Berkman to end the game.

The Cubs are now 16-12 on the season, just 2 games behind the 1st place Cardinals.  The Cubs open up a weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night.  Randy Wells – just called up from the minors to start in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano – will make hist first ever major league start against Dave Bush and the Brewers.

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Cubs Split 2-Game Series with Giants

Posted on 05 May 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs split the 2-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Monday and Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

In Monday night’s 4-2 win, Ryan Dempster defeated Jonathan Sanchez with 7 strong innings.  Dempster needed only 102 pitches – giving up 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks.  Dempster recorded 7 K’s.  Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 8th inning, giving up 1 hit and striking out 2.  While Kevin Gregg worked a scoreless 9th inning for his 4th save on the season.  Although Gregg did issue another walk, he struck out 2 and recorded the final out of the game on a great catch by Reed Johnson in center field.  The Cubs scored early and often to take a commanding 4-0 lead.  Geovany Soto’s walk with the bases loaded plated the Cubs first run in the 1st.  Ryan Theriot’s 2-run home run in the 2nd inning – his 3rd homer in 4 games – increased the Cubs lead to 3-0.  The Cubs added an insurance in the 5th inning on Reed Johnson’s sacrifice fly.

In Tuesday’s loss, Tim Lincecum outdeuled Sean Marshall 6-2.  The Giants jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 3-run home run by Bengie Molina in the 1st inning.  The Cubs chipped away at the lead with a run in the 2nd inning on a Mike Fontenot ground out and a run in the 5th inning on a Marshall single.  In the meantime, Marshall settled down and kept the Giants without another run until the 8th inning.  Marshall walked Edgar Renteria and gave up a hit to Rich Aurilia before being replaced by Jeff Samardzija.  Samardzija self-destructed hitting the 1st batter he faced and then giving up a 2-RBI double to Aaron Rowand and an RBI single to Randy Winn.  That gave the Giants the cushion that they needed to preserve the 6-2 win. Marshall fell to 0-2 as his ERA rose to 4.15.  Samardzija’s struggles continued in 2009 as his ERA rose to 8.10.

The Cubs went 4-2 on this short 6-game home stand at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs are 14-12 on the young 2009 schedule.

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Zambrano, Lee Power Cubs Past Marlins 6-4

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Marlins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field to take 3 of 4 games from the Marlins during the weekend series.  The Cubs have won 3 straight games and are 3.5 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

The win did not come without a cost.  Starter Carlos Zambrano, who earned his 3rd win of the season, injured his left hamstring while beating out a bunt single in the 5th inning.  Zambrano initially stayed in the game, but came out shortly thereafter because of tightness in the leg.  The Cubs will likely take a cautious approach with Zambrano and that means he could be placed on the disabled list.  The Cubs do not want Zambrano to alter his pitching motion in order to compensate for the injury to his hamstring, so the only way to do that could be to shut him down for 15 days.  We’ll have more as the Cubs update his status over the next few days.

Zambrano’s bunt single actually started the key rally for the Cubs in the 5th inning.  Soriano flied out after Zambrano’s bunt, and then Ryan Theriot also bunted for a single to send pinch-runner Rich Harden to 2nd base.  Kosuke Fukodome then reached on an error by 1st baseman Ross Gload which kept the inning going for Derrek Lee.  And D Lee made them pay – hitting a grand slam to give the Cubs the commmanding 6-2 lead.  Aaron Miles had an RBI double in the 2nd inning and Mike Fontenot hit a solo home run in the 4th inning – his 5th home run of the year.

Zambrano pitched effectively through the games first 5 innings – 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk.  Zambrano also had 1 K.  Angel Guzman gave up 1 run over 2 innings of work, and Carlos Marmol gave up a run on a solo home run to John Baker.  But Kevin Gregg shut the door on his former team for his 2nd straight save and 3rd overall on the season.

Before the Sunday matinee, the Cubs retired the #31 to honor 2 legendary Cubs pitchers – Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

The Cubs start a 2-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.  Ryan Dempster will face Jonathan Sanchez in the opener, while Sean Marshall will duel defending-Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in Tuesday’s matinee finale.

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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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Lifeless Bats, 6-run 10th Inning = Bad Night @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 01 May 2009 by Lou

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The Florida Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs 8-2 in 10 innings to open up a 4-game series at Wrigley Field on Thursday night.  The Cubs managed only 5 hits on the night – solo back-to-back home runs by Milton Bradley and Mike Fontenot in the 5th inning, 2 hits by Ryan Theriot and a pinch-hit single by pitcher Carlos Zambrano with 2 outs in the 8th inning.  Can you say pathetic?

Granted, the 2 runs should have been enough to get the Cubs and Sean Marshall the much needed win.  But Carlos Marmol walked the 1st 2 batters in the 8th inning and then threw away Chad Maybin’s bunt allowing Ross Gload to score the tying run.  Marmol miraculously escaped the 2nd and 3rd no out rally to preserve the 2-2 tie, but the Cubs bullpen imploded in the 10th inning.  Aaron Heilman gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 3 hits and 2 walks to let the game slip away from the Cubs.  Heilman did not even record an out.

The Cubs wasted Sean Marshall’s best start of the year – 7 innings, 1 earned run, 6 hits, 2 walks and 6 K’s.  He put the Cubs in position to win with the Marmol – Gregg 8th-9th inning combo, but that ended quickly with Marmol’s disastrous outing.  Let’s hope the Cubs can turn it around soon.  At 10-11, the Cubs fell below the .500 mark for the 1st time all season, and are already 5 games behind the Cardinals who are in Washington DC to take on the lowly Nationals this weekend.

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Reds Take 2 of 3 From Cubs; Cubs Head to St. Louis for Big Weekend Series

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Lou

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Maybe another road trip will be good for the Cubs.  After the Reds took 2 of 3 games from the Cubs this week at Wrigley Field, the Cubs home record fell to 4-4.  On the road, the Cubs are a mighty 4-2.  At 8-6, the Cubs trail the Cards by 2 games in the NL Central race, as the 2 teams play 3 games in St. Louis in another big weekend series.  Ryan Dempster, Sean Marshall and Rich Harden will pitch for the Cubs, while the Cards will counter with Adam Wainright, Mitchell Boggs and Todd Wellemeyer.

The Reds Johnny Cueto bested Ted Lilly in Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss.    Although Lilly allowed only 1 unearned in his 7 innings of work, he was on the short end of the stick as Cueto had the Cubs hitters off-balance all night long.  Cueto gave up only 4 hits and no walks as the Cubs never really mounted any serious threat against the youngster.  Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips each had 2 hits for the Reds, and Bruce’s solo shot in the top of the 9th inning off of Kevin Gregg gave the Reds a little cushion for closer Francisco Cordero.  Milton Bradley was in the Cubs lineup, but went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts.  He still has only 1 hit on the season and his batting average is down to .043.

On Thursday afternoon, the Reds Aaron Harang out-dueled Carlos Zambrano as the Reds beat the Cubs 7-1.  Joey Votto was a one man wrecking crew – going 4 for 5 with a home run and 2 doubles.  Votto drove in 2 runs and scored 1 run.  Harang pitched 7 strong innings giving up only 1 unearned run on 7 hits and 1 walk.  Zambrano, meanwhile, gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.  He did have 7 strikeouts.  He is now 1-1 on the year with a hefty 4.85 ERA.  Neal Cotts gave up a run in his 1 inning of work, while newly-called-up reliever Jeff Samardzija gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits in the 9th inning.  Not good all-around.

Let’s hope the Cubs can get back on track on the road.  Although it’s early, the team has played uninspired ball so far this season.  If they think they have the NL Central wrapped up just because they have won it the last 2 seasons, they have another thing coming.  Time for Pinella to light a fire under these guys and see if a change in lineup can spark the lackluster club.

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