Archive | Kosuke Fukodome

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

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Lou

Padres Cubs Baseball

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.

Padres Cubs Baseball

Comments (0)

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

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Lou

cubs-beat-brewers-may-10-1

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.

cubs-beat-brewers-may-10-2

Comments (0)

10′s Wild In Arizona – Cubs Lose 10-0; Fall to 10-10

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Lou

cubs-bloopers

Why do I even write this blog.

After 20 games, I really don’t like the feel of this 2009 Cubs team. After losing 10-0 in Arizona on Wednesday, the Cubs completed a miserable 2-4 road trip and fell to 10-10 overall, 4 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals.

I knew I didn’t like the off-season move to acquire Milton Bradley.  GM Jim Hendry had to try too hard to convince everyone that Bradley would be able to stay healthy to play more than 120 games in the outfield in 2009.  Granted, he had only been able to do that twice in his career (way back in 2003 and 2004 ) and although he did play in 126 games in 2008, more than 90% of those games came with Bradley serving as the Rangers DH (an option not available for the Cubs who play in the National League where there is no DH).  Duh?

Right now, Bradley has played in only 13 games.  In 31 at-bats, he had 3 hits, including 1 home run good for a .097 batting average.  He has 1 RBI and 4 runs scored.   Not sure what Hendry was thinking on this one, especially since there were other left-handed hitting options out there – see Raul Ibanez (20 games, 78 at-bats, .359 batting average, 7 home runs, 17 RBI’s and 20 runs scored for the Phillies); Bobby Abreu (17 games, 71 at-bats, .352 batting average, 0 home runs, 12 RBI’s and 6 runs scored for the Angels); Adam Dunn (20 games, 68 at-bats, .324 batting average, 6 home runs, 15 RBI’s and 11 runs scored for the lowly Nationals).  All of these guys signed for similar or less deals than Bradley and have been far more productive than Bradley.  Given Bradley’s inability to play the outfield consistently over the last 5 years, this should have been obvious to Hendry.

What I liked even less was the move to unload Mark DeRosa for 3 minor leaguers.  DeRosa has gotten off to a slow start in 2009 (.236 batting average, 5 home runs, 18 RBI’s and 16 runs scored), but look deeper than that.  He has played in 21 games, and already accumulated 89 at-bats.  His 5 home runs best every player on the Cubs except Alfonso who has 7 home runs, and DeRosa would lead the Cubs in RBI’s (Kosuke Fukodome currently leads the Cubs with only 15 RBI’s).  The numbers don’t even bring into play the intangibles that come along with DeRosa for free.  His versatility is invaluable. Take the injuries to right fielder Milton Bradley and 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez, for example.  If the Cubs still had DeRosa, the Cubs would not be relying on an infield that contained Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles day in and day out.  Or if you went with those guys, DeRosa could play right field, so that Reed Johnson didn’t have to play the outfield everyday.  By not having these options, Soriano, Theriot and Fukodome have had to play in just about every Cubs game so far this year.  DeRosa also a great club house presence and is a great sounding board for younger, up and coming Cubs stars (Soto, Hoffpauir, Theriot).

While I love Mike Fontenot, he is not an everyday player.  In 20 games, he has 66 at-bats and a mediocre .227 batting average.  While he has shown some pop with his 3 home runs, he is better suited as a role player who makes 2-3 starts each week.  Hendry relying on him as an everyday player was a big mistake.  Hendrys’ other move to sign Aaron Miles as a utility infielder has also looked like a big mistake.  Forced into an everyday role, his weaknesses have also been glaring.  Miles has only 8 hits in 41 at-bats and he breaks more bats with his weak-ass swings than Carlos Zambrano does over his leg after a bad at-bat (and that is saying a lot).

Unfortunately Cubs fans, we are in for a long, bumpy ride this season.  Unless Hendry can pull off a Jake Peavy or Matt Holiday trade, the Cubs will likely hover around the top of the NL Central division and need a lot of luck down the stretch to pull of the unprecedented 3rd consecutive NL Central title.

cubs-bloopers2

Comments (0)

Injuries Taking Toll on Cubs Weak Lineup

Posted on 28 April 2009 by Lou

Cubs Diamondbacks Baseball

Reed Johnson as your leadoff hitter?  No offense to Reed Johnson, but Manager Lou Pinella and GM Jim Hendry need to do something.  And they need to do something fast!

Here was the Cubs lineup from Monday night’s loss to Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks – Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukodome, Reed Johnson, Micah Hoffpauir, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot, Aaron Miles, Ted Lilly.  The Cubs managed 3 hits off of Haren all night long – solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot and a single by PITCHER Ted Lilly.  Gimme a break!  The Cubs clearly have the shortest infield in MLB with Theriot (5′ 11″), Miles (5′ 8″) and Fontenot (5”8″) roaming around out there.

The Cubs are lucky to be 9-9 right now and still only 4 games out of 1st place, but if they don’t get Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley back soon, they could end up too far behind to catch up very very quickly.

Hendry and the Cubs really need to make a decision on Bradley soon.  Throw him on the DL and let him fully heal his bum hamstring.  It doesn’t make sense to bring him back in every 3rd or 4th day only to have him aggravate it again.  If they had taken the conservative approach with Bradley when he first injured the hamstring, his 15-day DL stint would be close to being over, and he would likely be back in the lineup soon.  Now we’re forced to wait and hope that the injury magically heals itself.

Ramirez and Lee are expected to be back soon, so hopefully that happens for 1 of the last 2 games in Arizona.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

cubs-pinella2

Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Kosuke – Cubs Avoid Sweep, Cruise Past Cards 10-3

Posted on 27 April 2009 by Lou

kosuke-fukodome-win1

The Cubs defeated the Cards 10-3 on Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.  Kosuke Fukodome had a great birthday game – going 3 for 4 with 5 RBI’s, 2 runs scored and 1 walk.  He capped off his great day with a 3-run home run off Trever Miller in the top of the 8th inning to put the game out of reach.  The Cubs finally got to a Cardinals starting pitcher early and often – striking for 8 hits and 6 runs in the 1st 5 innings.

Alfonso Soriano had 2 hits and 2 runs scored back in the leadoff spot, while Ryan Theriot had 1 hit and scored 3 runs in the 2-hole.  Micah Hoffpauir came in in relief for Derrek Lee and had 2 hits with 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored.  In the 8-hole, Aaron Miles had 3 hits and scored 2 runs.  The only bad news was that Derrek Lee had to leave the game with neck spasms and Geovany Soto continues to struggle at the plate.  Soto was 0 for 4 on the day and his average is still at .128.

Rich Harden had a nice outing for the Cubs – 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs – both solo home runs – with only 2 walks.  Harden struck out 9 batters and has faailed to strike out less than 8 batters in each start in 2009.  Pretty incredible.

The Cubs are 9-8, but still trail the Cards by 3 games in the NL Central.  The Cubs continue their road trip with a 3-game swing out to Arizona, before returning to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with a 4-game series against the NL East-leading Florida Marlins on Thursday night.

cubs-avoid-cards-sweep11

Comments (0)

Cubs Top Reds 7-2 On Cold, Wintry Night @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 22 April 2009 by Lou

harden-beats-reds1

The Cubs showed no ill signs of a 2-day “vacation” as they beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.  On a cold, drizzly night at the “Friendly Confines”, Rich Harden re-found his form and went 6 strong innings.  Harden allowed only 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.  Harden notched 8 strikeouts – his 3rd consecutive start in which he has struck out at least 8 batters.  Harden had good control of all of his pitches – unlike his last game in which he needed 90+ pitches to get through only 3 innings of work.

Micah Hoffpauir drove in 2 runs with a solo home run in the 2nd inning and a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning.  Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s for the Cubs, while Ryan Theriot notched 2 more hits – bringing his batting average up to .409 on the young season.  Kosuke Fukodome did not have any hits, but he did walk twice and each time Ramirez drove him in with a single.

Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol and Luis Vizcaino each pitched well in relief, but Neal Cotts struggled once again – he retired only 1 batter after allowing a walk and a hit.  Cotts’ poor outing forced Manger Lou Pinella to bring in Marmol in the 8th inning to quell the Reds’ mini rally.

Good news for the Cubs keeps rolling in.  The Cubs are now 8-4 on the season and looking strong.

Reds Cubs Baseball

Comments (0)

Cards Top Cubs 7-4 in Ugly Game

Posted on 16 April 2009 by Lou

cards-top-cubs-11

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 7-4 at Wrigley Field today.  It was an ugly affair – 3 Cardinals errors and 1 Cubs error.  Milton Bradley gettng ejected from the game by the home plate umpire.  With the score tied at 4 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Bradley let a 3-0 count slip away with the bases loaded and only 1 out.  He took a called 3rd strike on an off-speed pitch from Adam Wainright and was ejected for arguing the call and getting too close for comfort.

Next up is a Friday matinee at Wrigley Field.  Carlos Zambrano will face off against P.J. Walters who has been called up to replace the injured Chris Carpenter.

cards-top-cubs-2

Comments (0)

Cubs Blank Rockies 4-0 in Wrigley Field Home Opener

Posted on 14 April 2009 by Lou

cubs-rockies-rain-1

The horrible cold, rainy weather didn’t have any negative affect on the the hometown Cubs during their opening day contest against the Colorado Rockies on Monday at Wrigley Field.

Ted Lilly took a no hitter through 6 2/3 innings before Garrett Atkins singled to left field to break up the no-no.  After Lilly walked the next batter, Manger Lou Pinella took him out and the brave fans at Wrigley Field cheered him on to a standing ovation for his remarkable effort.  Angel Guzman retired Brad Hawpe to end the threat and Aaron Heilman and Kevin Gregg took care of the rest.  Although Heilman and Gregg each walked a batter in their scoreless innings of work, neither relief pitcher gave up a hit and Gregg struck out the side in the 9th inning to preserve the Cubs 4-0 win.

Cubs hitters did an excellent job of working counts again – racking up 9 hits and 9 walks.  They never seemed to get the big hit, however, scoring their 1st run in the 2nd inning on a Koyie Hill bases loaded walk.  The Cubs scored 2 more runs in the 4th inning on a Ryan Theriot ground out and a Derrek Lee single.  Kosuke Fukodome’s single in the bottom of the 8th inning drove in Alfonso Soriano with an insurance run.  Soriano, Lee and Hill each had 2 hits for the Cubs.

The 1-hitter marked Lilly’s 2nd 4-pitcher, 1-hitter in less than 8 months.  He, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry 1-hit the Houston Astros in Miller Park on September 15, 2008 – a day after Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros in the same ballpark.  Lilly had this to say about the outing:  “It’s definitely challenging when you’re trying to pitch in weather like this.  I think, fortunately, it never got to where it was raining hard.  When you can’t see and the hitter can’t see, then it’s really tough.  I enjoy this weather, too.  I understand the weather isn’t going to be perfect all the time.  It makes it a little more fun when you have conditions like this, and it makes it a little more challenging.”

Wednesday’s forecast looks a little better for the Cubs and Rockies – sunny weather with temps in he mid 50′s – not great but for Cubs fans used to April and May weather, it couldn’t be any better.  Let’s hope the Cubs can pull of the 2-game sweep over the Rockies and head into the big 4-game weekend series against the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals on a positive note…

Rockies Cubs Baseball

Comments (0)

Did Bradley Groin Injury Help Save Game for Cubs?!

Posted on 13 April 2009 by Lou

cubs-outfield-trio

Sunday’s 8-5 Cubs win over the Brewers at Miller Park could have been a lot different if Milton Bradley did not injure his groin while running the bases in the 4th inning.  Just 1 inning later, Bradley’s replacement, Reed Johnson, made a game-saving catch when he leaped over the right center wall to rob Prince Fielder of what would have been a grand slam that would have tied the game at 6.  Instead, the Brewers scored just 2 runs that inning and the Cubs still led 6-4.  The Cubs tacked on single insurance runs in the 8th and 9th innings to give the Cubs a little more breathing room, and Kevin Gregg tiptoed through another rocky 9th inning to preserve the win.  Greg gave up 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk, but did strike out Prince Fielder with the tying runs on base to preserve the win.

Couple of key notes:

Gregg now has a 12.00 ERA.  After blowing the attempted 1 1/3 inning save on Friday, Manager Lou Pinella assured everyone that Gregg was still the Cubs closer, but that he would only work 1-inning saves.  Because his right knee is still getting used to the regular workload, Gregg informed Pinella and the Cubs that his right knee tightens up while sitting in the dugout between innings, so he will only be effective in 9th inning/extra inning save situations.  Carlos Marmol picked up the save on Saturday and has not given up a run yet.  We’ll see how long Pinella sticks with Gregg in the closer role.  If we see more shaky outings from Gregg, we could see a shift to Marmol.

As for Marmol, he has already appeared in 5 of the Cubs 1st 6 games.  Look for Marmol to get an off-day in the Cubs home opener on Monday at Wrigley Field – that will give him 2 full days off with the Cubs having a scheduled day-off on Tuesday.

Several Cubs players have gotten off to good starts in 2009:

Ryan Theriot is hitting .550 with a .615 on-base percentage.  He has 4 runs scored, 3 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases.

Kosuke Fukodome is hitting .409 with a .480 on-base percentage.  He has hit 2 home runs, scored 5 runs and driven in 4 runs.

Alfonso Soriano is hitting .286 with a .355 on-base percentage.  He leads the team with 4 home runs, and has scored 7 runs and driven in 7 runs.  Soriano has also walked 3 times.

Milton Bradley is listed as day-to-day with a strained groin injury.

Aramis Ramirez will likely miss the Cubs home opener with a stiff back.

The Cubs have opened the season with a 4-2 record in 6 road games against intra-division rivals.  Can’t complain about that.  The bullpen has been very shaky and the Cubs have lacked that big hit in certain situations, but overall, it is a great start to the season.  The Cubs starters have pitched great, and the Cubs batters have showed a lot of patience at the plate.  Sunday was a perfect example of this – the Cubs worked 10 walks out of Brewers pitchers and even scored all 4 runs in the 4th inning on bases loaded walks.

milton-bradley-injury

Comments (0)

Fukodome Breaks Out in Cubs 11-6 Win Over Astros On Wednesday Night

Posted on 11 April 2009 by Lou

kosuke-fukodome-win

Kosuke Fukodome picked up his 1st 4 hits of the young 2009 MLB season in the Cubs 11-6 drubbing of the Astros on Wednesday night in Houston.  Fukodome’s big night helped the Cubs record their 1st series win of the season.  Fukodome singled in each of his 1st 2 at-bats in the 1st and 2nd innings and scored a run as part of the 4-run innings.  The Cubs had an 8-0 lead after 2 frames.  In the 5th inning, Fukodome doubled and scored on an Aramis Ramirez double, and in the 9th inning, Fukodome added a solo home run to deep right center to finish off his productive night.  Other players with big nights – Alfonso Soriano – 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored, a walk and a stolen base; Aramis Ramirez – 4 for 6 with 4 RBI’s and 1 run scored; and Mike Fontenot – 2 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and 1 run scored (including a 3-run homer).

The Cubs need more outings like this from Fukodome during the course of the 2009 MLB schedule. As we have been saying along, Fukodome is the “X” factor for the Cubs this year.  If he has a solid year and can hit consistently in the #2 hole behind Alfonso Soriano, that will really give the opposing teams’ tough looks all year long.  Fukodome needs to regain some patience at the plate and not try to do too much.  With Lee, Bradley and Ramirez coming up behind Soriano and Fukodome, pitchers will have a tough time navigating through those 1st 5 batters when Fukodome is on.  If Fukodome struggles at the plate as he did during the 2nd half of 2008, the Cubs lineup becomes a little more mundane, and opposing teams and managers will be able to counteract the predominantly right-handed hitting lineup.  We’ll keep a close eye on Fukodome early on here in the season.

kosuke-fukodome-win2

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Blogroll