Archive | Mike Fontenot

Dempster, Cubs Shut Out Dodgers 7-0 @ Wrigley

Posted on 31 May 2009 by Lou

Dodgers Cubs Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 7-0 on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  It was the 1st time that the Dodgers had been shut out all season long.

Ryan Dempster pitched 7 scoreless innings for the Cubs.  He gave up only 3 hits and 3 walks, with 5 K’s.

Reed Johnson was the Cubs hitting hero – going  3 for 3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, including a home run.  Milton Bradley was 3 for 4 with 1 run scored and Mike Fontenot went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Cubs trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 3.5 games in the 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.

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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.

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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

Marlins Cubs Baseball

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

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Lou

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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.

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Zambrano Leads Cubs to 11-3 Win Over D’Backs with His Bat & Arm

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Lou

Cubs Diamondbacks Baseball

The Chicago Cubs defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3 on Tuesday night.  Carlos Zambrano pitched 7 strong innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Zambrano also had 3 strikeouts.  More importantly, Zambrano just missed hitting for the cycle – getting a single in the 3rd inning, an RBI-double in the 5th inning and a solo home run in the 7th inning.  All-in-all, he had 2 RBI’s and 3 runs scored during the game.

Koyie Hill had a 3 for 5 night with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  Alfonso Soriano was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, including a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning which gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead.  Mike Fontenot also hit a 2-run home run in the 3rd inning which extended the Cubs lead to 5-0.  It was Fontenot’s 2nd consecutive game with a home run.

The Cubs are back up over .500 with a 10-9 record.  They play the rubber game of the 3-game series in Arizona today before heading back home for a 6-game homestand at Wrigley Field against the Florida Marlins and San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

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