Archive | Kosuke Fukodome

Cubs Losing Streak Hits 3; Drop Opener to Twins 7-4

Posted on 13 June 2009 by Lou

cubs suck 1

Guess it wasn’t home cooking that the Cubs needed to get back on the winning side of things.  The Twins beat the Cubs 7-4 in the opener of the 3-game weekend series at Wrigley Field between the 2 teams.  It was only the third win for the Twins in 10 tries at the Friendly Confines.

Different day, same old story for the Cubs.  No hitting, no hitting, no hitting.  The Cubs managed just 6 hits and 1 walk off of 6 Twins pitchers.  The Cubs had 12 strikeouts at the plate today, including 10 by starter Kevin Slowey.  In fact, the Cubs had only 1 good hitting inning – in the 6th, the Cubs got back-to-back singles from Aaron Miles and Bobby Scales to lead off the inning.  After an Alfonso Soriano K, Mike Fontenot walked to load the bases.  Milton Bradley had the big hit with a 2-RBI double, and Derrek Lee followed with an RBI groundout to cut the Twins lead to 4-3.  But that’s where things turned in the wrong direction for Bradley and the Cubs.

On the Lee groundout, Bradley ran into an easy tag out by Joe Crede at 3rd base, taking away another scoring opportunity by staying at 2nd base and in scoring position.  The next inning, with a runner at 1st base, Bradley lost Jason Kubel’s lazy flyball to right field in the sun.  Instead of a man on 1st and 2 outs, it became 2 men on with 1 out.  Then with 2 outs and 2 on still, Bradley got a bad jump on a ball hit to shallow right field, and his diving attempt fell just short as the ball scooted under his glove.  That allowed a run to score.  Then, as if those plays weren’t bad enough, Bradley lost track of the number of outs in the 8th inning.  With 1st and 3rd and 1 out, Bradley caught Joe Mauer’s flyball to right and thought it was the 3rd out of the inning.  Nick Punto tagged from 3rd and scored, but when Bradley through the ball to the fans in the bleachers, Brendan Harris was awarded 3rd base for his error.  It’s bad enough that Bradley’s numbers are awful and he’s always hurt.  But when you’re not in the game, it makes it look like you’re not even trying.  Hendry should be seriously criticized for the Bradley signing – what a joke.

Randy Wells had his worst outing of 2009.  After the Cubs failed to even make a dent in 2 inings against Slowey, it looked like Wells lost his focus.  Given how much support they’ve given him in his previous 5 starts, it’s hard not to forgive Wells for bailing out early in this contest.  Wells lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.  Oh well.

Manager Lou Pinella mixed things up a bit with his lineup in an effort to jumpstart the offense.  Here are some good numbers for you – Mike Fontenot in the 2 hole – 0 for 2 with a walk and K; Geovany Soto in the 5 hole – 0 for 4 with 2 K’s; Kosuke Fukodome in the 6 hole – 0 for 4 with 3 K’s; & Ryan Theriot in the 7 hole – 0 for 4 with 2 K’s.  Guess it’s back to the drawing board Lou.

There’s always tomorrow, and pretty soon, we’re all going to be saying, there’s always next year…

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Cubs Bats Revert To Old Ways, Lose 2-1 to Astros

Posted on 11 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Astros Baseball

The Astros defeated the Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday night, as the Cubs bats wasted a 3rd straight gem by Carlos Zambrano. After their 16-hit, 7 runs barrage on Tuesday night, the Cubs scored only 1 run on a solo home run by Geovany Soto in the 2nd inning.  The Cubs managed only 7 hits and 2 walks against Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Sampson.  Ryan Theriot was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.  The Cubs had more than 1 batter reach base in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, but only scored 1 run in that span.  They didn’t have another serioues threat until the 8th inning when Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee singled, but Reed Johnson struck out to end the inning.

Zambrano needed only 104 pitches to work through 8 innings.  Zambrano gave up only 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks.  He struck out 3 batters.  His only mistake was issuing a lead off walk to Hunter Pence in the 7th inning.  Pence advanced to 3rd base on Carlos Lee’s single to center field and then scored on a weak groundball by Geoff Blum.  In his last 3 starts, Zambrano has pitched 21 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs (3 total) on 12 hits and 10 walks.  He has 16 K’s along the way, but only a 1-0 record to show for it.

Angel Guzman had been the Cubs most reliable reliever until last night.  Guzman gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Tejada and then walked Hunter Pence.  Carlos Lee’s flyout to right field moved Tejada to 3rd base with only 1 out.  Manager Lou Pinella opted to walk Lance Berkman to load the bases to set up a force play at every base, but Geoff Blum’s soft single to center field won the game for the Astros.

The two teams play an afternoon finale on Thursday in Houston.  Ryan Dempster will face off against Roy Oswalt.

Cubs Astros Baseball

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All Systems A Go – Lilly, Bats Help Cubs Crush Astros 7-1

Posted on 10 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Astros Baseball

The Cubs bats finally came to life in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  The Cubs racked up 16 hits and 7 runs, scoring in each of the 1st 3 innings to take a commanding 5-0 lead.  Ted Lilly, Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall did the rest – holding the Astros to just 5 hits and 1 run in the game.  Lilly lasted only 6 1/3 innings, however, because of his high pitch count – 114 pitches as he worked deep in a lot of counts all night long.  He made the most of his pitches as the Astros never really posed any serious threat.

Mike Fontenot had 4 hits – including a solo home run in the 3rd inning – on his 29th birthday.  Geovany Soto continued his hot hitting with 3 hits and an RBI single in the 1st inning.  Kosuke Fukodome, Derrek Lee and Andrew Blanco also had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Lee has his average up to .269 and with 3 walks, you can tell that he is seeing the ball so well right now – he is back to being his patient old self.

With the Brewers and Reds both losing, the Cubs are tied with the Cards and Reds for 2nd place in the NL Central – just 2.5 games behind the Brewers.  Carlos Zambrano will take on Wandy Rodriguez in Game 2 of the Astros series tonight in Houston in an attempt to move the Cubs closer to the 1st place Brewers.

Cubs Astros Baseball

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Cubs Win Ugly in 14 Innings in Cincinnati

Posted on 08 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Reds Baseball

The Cubs 6-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday wasn’t pretty – but they will take it, especially since the Brewers and Cards lost too.  With the win, the Cubs moved just 1.5 game behind the Cards and 3.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central race.

Once again, the Cubs bats left a lot to be desired.  The Cubs managed only 12 hits in 14 innings.  The Cubs scored 1 run in the 1st inning on Ryan Theriot’s solo home run and 2 runs in the 3rd inning on Derrek Lee’s 2-out 2-run single, but they didn’t score another run until their 3-run “outburst” in the top of the 14th inning. Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a solo home run.  Ryan Theriot singled and Kosuke Fukodome walked, and after a Derrek Lee foul out, Mike Fontenot drove in the 2nd run of the inning with an infield single.  Reed Johnson then doubled home Fukodome to give the Cubs the 6-3 lead.

The Cubs used 8 pitchers in all.  David Patton picked up his 2nd win of the season by pitching a scoreless 13th inning.  Angel Guzman picked up his 1st career major-league save by working a scoreless bottom of the 14th inning.  Randy Wells turned in another solid start – 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk and 4 K’s.  And once again he did not get the win – because of a familiar character – Carlos Marmol.  Marmol faced only 2 batters in the 8th inning and he walked them both.  By this time, Manager Lou Pinella had seen enough and he yanked Marmol for Aaron Heilman.  Heilmand minimized the damage as best as he could by allowing only 1 run to score.  The most impressive outing may have come from Jose Ascansio, however.  Ascansio worked 3 scoreless innings in the 10th, 11th and 12th to keep the Cubs in the game.  He did give up 2 hits and 2 walks, but he was able to navigate through some tricky waters to get through his 3 innings unscathed.

The Cubs are now 28-26.  The Cubs can rest on Monday with a scheduled day off, and then make the trip to Houston to take on the Astros.  Heres how the match-ups look:  Ted Lilly v. Brian Moehler on Tuesday night; Carlos Zambrano v. Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday night; and Ryan Dempster v. Roy Oswalt on Thursday afternoon.

Cubs Reds Baseball

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Cubs Lose to Reds 4-3 In 11 Innings

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Lou

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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…

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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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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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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.

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Jake Peavy, Padres Hand Cubs 5th Straight Loss

Posted on 23 May 2009 by Lou

Cubs Padres Baseball

The bad news keeps rolling in for the Cubs.  Jake Peavy and the Padres dominated the Cubs on Friday night at Petco Park in San Diego.  Peavy pitched 6 scoreless innings giving up only 2 hits and 4 walks while striking out 10.  Even the Padres relievers got in on the fun.  25-year old Luke Gregerson kept the Cubs scoreless over 1 2/3 innings while striking out 3.  25-year old Edward Mujica also worked a scoreless inning while striking out 3.  Heath Bell came into a jam in the top of the 9th – with 2 on and 2 out, Bell walked Kosuke Fukodome to load the bases, but got Derrek Lee to pop out to 1st base to end the game and record his 12th save of the season.

Check out the Cubs lineup that Lou Pinella threw out there:

Soriano .263

Theriot .276

Fukodome .320

Lee .240

Hoffpauir .297

Scales .286

Hill .300

Miles .207

Bradley (.182), Soto (.206) & Fontenot (.193) were each out of the lineup for the Cubs.  It’s a joke out there.  With Aramis Ramirez out of the lineup until at least July, if GM Jim Hendry doesn’t add a few pieces to the Cubs roster soon, the Cubs could find themselves way behind the Brewers and Cards by the All-Star Break.

One positive, Carlos Zambrano returned from his stint on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.  Big Z was on a pitch count and showed some rusty signs – making 97 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, walking 4 and giving up 3 earned runs on 3 hits.  He did have 7 K’s.

The Cubs are on a 5-game losing streak and are now 21-19.  They trail the Brewers by 4 games, the Cardinals by 3 games and the Reds by a half game.  Not good.

Cubs Padres Baseball

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Cubs Finish Off Sweep of Padres with 6-4 Win Wednesday & 12-3 Win Thursday

Posted on 14 May 2009 by Lou

Padres Cubs Baseball

The Cubs finished off the 3-game sweep of the Padres on Thursday, as the Padres dropped their 11th straight road game.

The Cubs broke out the big bats in each victory.  In Wednesday night’s 6-4 win, the Cubs hit 4 home runs.  The Cubs nailed back to back home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot in the 1st inning to tie the game at 2.  Geovany Soto’s 2-run home run in the 3rd inning increased the Cubs lead to 5-2 and Ryan Theriot’s 2nd home run of the game in the 4th inning.  Ted Lilly pitched 6 1/3 innings – 3 earned runs, 8 hits, 0 walks and 7 K’s – to pick up his 5th win of the season.  Carlos Marmol picked up his 3rtd save of the season despite giving up 2 earned run on 2 hits and 2 walks in just an inning of work.

In Thursday afternoon’s 11-3 win,  the Cubs had 2 huge innings in which they scored 10 runs.  In the 5th inning, the Cubs scored 6 runs to blow the game open – a Geovany Soto walk with the bases loaded, a Reed Johnson 2-RBI double, a Bobby Scales 2-RBI double; and a Ryan Dempster single.  In the 6th inning, the Cubs scored 4 more runs on another 2-RBI double by Bobby Scales, an Aaron Miles RBI double and a Ryan Dempster RBI double.   Ryan Dempster worked 7 efficient innings – 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 2 walks and 5 K’s – to pick up his 3rd win of the season.  Jose Ascansio made his 1st major league appearance pitching 2 innings with 3 K’s and giving up just a solo home run to Drew Macias.  Ascansio also got his 1st major league at-bat when he struck out in the bottom of the 8th inning.

The lone bright spot in the series for the Padres was Adrian Gonzalez – 1 home run on Tuesday, 2 home runs on Wednesday, and 1 more home run on Thursday.

Manager Lou Pinella has gotta be happy with the way his team has started off this home stand at Wrigley Field.  Next up for the Cubs – a weekend series against the Houston Astros.

cubs-sweep-padres-2

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