Posted on 06 June 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 04 June 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 23 May 2009 by Lou
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:
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.
Posted on 21 May 2009 by Lou
It looked like the Cards were going to shutout the Cubs for a 2nd straight night. Although the Cubs were able to score their 1st run of the series on Micah Hoffpauir’s 9th inning pinch-hit single, Cards closer Ryan Franklin struck out Reed Johnson with the tying run on 3rd base to preserve the Cards 2-1 win over the Cubs. Cards ace Chris Carpenter made is 1st start in almost a month and held the Cubs to just 3 hits and 2 walks through 5 innings (67 pitches). Carpenter struck out 4 and picked up his 2nd win of the season.
Ryan Dempster pitched a solid game, but it wasn’t enough – 7 innings, 103 pitches, 2 ER, 6 hits, 2 walks and 3 K’s. For the 2nd straight night, the Cubs failed to capitalize on a starting pitcher’s quality start. Carlos Marmol worked a 1-2-3 8th inning to keep the Cubs within striking distance in the 9th inning, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Cubs bats – or lack thereof – was the big story, however. The Cubs only mustered 6 total hits – 2 of them coming from pinch-hitters. The Cubs only have 1 regular hitting over .300 – Kosuke Fukodome at .319. Not good.
The Cubs will rely on Sean Marshall to prevent the Cubs from getting swept in St. Louis and losing 4 games in a row overall. He will take on Adam Wainwright who has always pitched well against the Cubs.
Posted on 17 May 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 28 April 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 27 April 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 26 April 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs are reeling – both on and off the field. The Cubs have lost 3 straight games and are now at 8-8 on the young 2009 MLB schedule. After losing Geovany Soto for a week with a sore right shoulder, and Milton Bradley for 2 weeks with a strained groin muscle, it looks like the Cubs could be without Carlos Marmol and Aramis Ramirez for some time with leg injuries.
Carlos Marmol experienced soreness on the inside part of his left knee during Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs staff took him out of the game after giving up the game-winning hit to Ryan Ludwick. Marmol will likely miss a few games but does not think he will need a stint on the DL.
Aramis Ramirez felt discomfort in his left leg after he doubled in the 2nd inning. He played until the 5th inning, but was removed when the discomfort grew worse. It is unclear whether or not he will go on the DL, but he said that the leg did not feel good after the game.
Pinella is very frustrated with his roster right now. Milton Bradley is still only available to pinch-hit because he cannot run. “We’ve got no bench. We’ve got an extra catcher in Koyie Hill and Micah Hoffpauir and Joey Gathright. We’re going to have to get somebody in here. ”
Not good news for the Cubs. The Cubs are already 3 games behind the Cards and could fall further back if the Cards pull off a sweep at home in St. Louis this weekend. Let’s hope for some healthy legs soon on the North Side.
Posted on 23 April 2009 by Lou
Milton Bradley was held out of Tuesday night’s Cubs game against the Cincinnati Reds because of the inclement weather. Manager Lou Pinella did not want to risk Bradley injuring his injured groin with the wet, sloppy grass given the rain the past 2 days in the Chicago area. Bradley did take batting practice before Tuesday’s game and could be back in the lineup on Wednesday night.
Bradley is in the process of appealing a 2-game suspension issued by MLB. Bradley was ejected from Thursday’s game after arguing a called 3rd strike by home plate umpire Larry Vanover. Bob Watson, MLB’s vice president of on-field operations, issued the 2-game suspension because Bradley “aggressively argued balls and strikes” and made contact with Vanover after he was called out.
We’ll keep you posted if we hear more on Bradley’s suspension and to whether or not Bradley will make an appearance in the Cubs lineup in the next day or so. Micah Hoffpauir has filled in well for the Cubs in Bradley’s absence as he hit his 1st home run of the 2009 season in Tuesday night’s win over the Reds.
Posted on 22 April 2009 by Lou
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.