Archive | Milton Bradley

Cubs Split With Cards – Still Trail by 3.5 Games

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Lou

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

The Cubs and Cards split Sunday afternoon’s Day-Night Double-Header on Wrigley Field.  It could have been better, but I guess it could have been worse too.  The Cubs trailed the 1st place Cards by 2.5 games in the NL Central when the 2 teams started the 4-game weekend series on Friday, and after 4 games, nothing had changed.  At least they didn’t get swept.

Carlos Zambrano picked up the win in the early game as the Cubs won 7-3.

Randy Wells suffered the loss in the nightcap as the Cubs lost 4-2.

The most interesting play of the day-night, came in the 9th inning of Game 2.

We’ll have a mid-year report in the next couple of days as we have a few days off for the All-Star Break.

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Cardinals Cubs Baseball

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Cubs Bats Silent Again in 4-1 Loss to Braves

Posted on 09 July 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs lost to the Braves 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon.  It was the same old story for the Cubs bats – only 6 total hits and only 2 walks drawn.  Not good.  The Cubs sole run came on a Kosuke Fukodome home run in the 6th inning.  The Cubs went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, never coming through with the clutch hit.  Kevin Hart took the loss for the Cubs.  The Cubs have now scored 1 or less runs in 15 of their last 47 games.  Incredible.

The Cubs are 41-41 and trail the 1st place Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central race.  The Cubs and Cards open a big 4-game weekend series at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.

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Finally – Lou Pinella Moves Alfonso Soriano Down in Order!

Posted on 04 July 2009 by Lou

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It’s about time!  Manager Lou Pinella has finally moved Alfonso Soriano down in the lineup for today’s game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  Soriano has been awful in 2009 after a decent start – .226 batting average; .291 on-base percentage; 26 walks, 77 K’s.  From June 24th-28th, Soriano actually had 2 hits in each of 4 of 5 Cubs games, but he has gone hitless in his last 3 games.  Soriano will bat 6th in the lineup in today’s game, with Kosuke Fukodome assuming the lead-off role for the Cubs.  The rest of the Cubs lineup looks like Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, Milton Bradley, Jake Fox – 2-5 – and then Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot 7th and 8th in the lineup.

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Cubs Top Brewers 2-1 with Walkoff Walk; Bradley a Disaster in Right Field

Posted on 04 July 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Brewers 2-1 in 10 innings on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Jake Fox’s bases loaded walk with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th inning forced in the winning run.  The Cubs may have caught a break as Mark DiFelice’s pitch appeared to get much of the plate despite being a tad high.  DiFelice was shocked that the home plate umpire called the pitch a ball, but it is what it is and the Cubs have taken the first 2 games of this big weekend series.

Jeff Suppan and Carlos Zambrano dueled for much of the game.  Zambrano lasted 7 innings, giving up just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  The lone run scored when Big Z walked Corey Hart with the bases loaded in the 4th inning.  Zambrano also hit Prince Fielder with a pitch.  Suppan also pitched 7 innings, giving up just 1ER on 4 hits and 2 walks.  His lone run scored on a Carlos Zambrano single to center field.  Suppan also hit Derrek Lee and Jake Fox.

Kosuke Fukodome had a game-saving play in the 7th inning with the score tied at 1.  On Prince Fielder’s line drive single to center field, Kosuke came up firing and nailed Suppan at the plate to prevent the Brewers from taking a 2-1 lead.

The Cubs left 2 runners on base in each of the 8th and 9th innings, but finally got the winning run in the 10th.  Ryan Theriot got a 1-out single and advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch.  After Derrek Lee flew out to right field, the Brewers intentionally walked Milton Bradley to get to Geovany Soto.  DiFelice threw 3 straight balls and ultimately intentionally walked him to get to rookie Jake Fox.  With the count 3-2, Fox fought off pitch after pitch and eventually took ball 4 to win the game.

Kevin Gregg pitched 2 scoreless innings in the 9th and 10th to pick up his 3rd win of the season.  Gregg has now held the other team scoreless in 24 of his last 27 appearances.  He has issued only 8 walks in the last 28 appearances as well (he had walked 8 batters in his 1st 10 appearances on the season).  The lone hit charged to Gregg was a pop up that Milton Bradely lost in the sun in the 9th inning that would have ended the inning.  This is not the 1st time that Bradley has lost a ball in the sun this year and luckily it didn’t cost the Cubs the game on Friday.  Bradley is a complete disaster this year – one of GM Jim Hendry’s worst signings ever.  Rumor has it that Bradely and Manager Lou Pinella exchanged wors after the game.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.

The Cubs and Brewers play Game 3 of the weekend series today at 12 noon at Wrigley Field.  Rich Harden will battle Braden Looper – both pitchers have a 1.40 WHIP and ERA’s over 4.50, so it should be a slugfest at the Friendly Confines today!

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Randy to the Rescue – Cubs Top Pirates 4-1

Posted on 02 July 2009 by Lou

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Randy Wells helped the Cubs get back on track with a 7-inning gem that helped the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-1.  Wells needed only 97 pitches, giving up only 1 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 4 and did not allow a run after giving up a 1st inning run. The rookie Wells has turned into the Cubs most dependable starter right now, lowering his ERA 2.43 to and his WHIP to 1.08.  Wells had this to say about his quality 2009 start: “I like to think I’ve been consistent.  When I was called up to make my first start, I said, ‘Just be who you are. Go out, throw strikes, mix speeds and keep the flow of the game going.'”  Wells has certainly done that in his 10 starts – he has given up more than 2 runs in only 2 of his starts.

Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 8th inning although he did hit the leadoff hitter with a pitch.  Kevin Gregg worked a 1-2-3 9th inning to preserve the win and pick up his 14th save of the season.

Derrek Lee got the Cubs off to a good start with a 2-run HR to deep right center field in the 1st inning.  Kosuke Fukodome’s solo HR in the 6th inning gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead and Geovany Soto’s RBI single in the 8th inning tacked on another insurance run for the Cubs.  Sam Fuld, recently called up to take the place of the injured Aaron Miles, had 2 hits and scored a run.  Ryan Theriot, Fukodome and Soto also each had 2 hits.

Manager Lou Pinella was ejected from the game in the 6th inning for arguing a call made by 1st base umpire Chad Fairchild who called Wells out.  The play ended a Cubs threat that would have scored a run.

The Cubs start the month of July with a win – good news.  The potential bad news – they start the most important home stand of the 2009 MLB schedule on Thursday night against the Brewers at Wrigley Field and it’s unclear if they are ready for it.  At 37-38, the Cubs trail the Brewers by 3.5 games, the Cards by 2.5 games and the Reds by .5 games.  The Cubs need to win at least 2 of the games against the Brewers this weekend.  Anything less than that and the season could be over.  Ryan Dempster (4-5. 4.09 ERA) takes the bump against Seth McClung (3-1, 3.55 ERA) in the Thursday night opener.

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Cubs – Have they hit Rock Bottom Yet – We Think Not!

Posted on 01 July 2009 by Lou

Cubs Pirates Baseball

When will the tides turn for the 2009 Cubs?  And if it does turn, how long will it last?  2 frustrating questions for Manager Lou Pinella.

Pinella finally had something to smile about as the Cubs defeated the Pirates 3-1 on Monday night.  Rich Harden picked up the win (his 1st win in 6 starts), despite constantly working in and out of jams in his 7 innings of work.  Harden gave up 9 hits and 1 walk, but only 1 ER, while striking out 9.  The Cubs finally had a team fail to come through in the clutch, as the Pirates left the bases loaded in the 5th inning and 2 runners on base in each of the 6th and 7th innings.  Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – 2 of the Cubs most inconsistent relievers all season long – worked perfect innings in the 8th and 9th to preserve the win.

The Cubs scored their runs on an Andres Blanco single in the 2nd inning; a Ryan Theriot HR in the 3rd inning and a Milton Bradley double in the 4th inning.

But the optimistism didnt last long for the Cubs, as .500 pitcher Ross Ohlendorf shutout out the Cubs on Tuesday night in a 3-0 embarassing loss for the north siders.  3 miscues summed up this game, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

1 – The Pirates scored their 1st run of the game when Ted Lilly struck out Brandon Moss on what should have been an inning-ending strikeout.  Instead, it turned into a wild pitch and Freddy Sanchez scored on a heads-up play all the way from 2nd base when Lilly couldn’t field Geovany Soto’s low throw at home plate.  Bonehead play #1 for the Cubs.

2 -The Cubs managed only 2 hits off Olendorf through 6 innings, so the Cubs should have been careful when they got on base.  With 2 outs in the 7th inning, Soto singled and Mike Fontenot followed up with a single to left field.  Instead of staying at 2nd base for Ryan Theriot, Soto tried to advance to 3rd with the play right in front of him and he was easily thrown out to end the inning.  Bonehead play #2 for the Cubs.

3 – Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley led off the 8th with singles and they each  advanced a base on Jack Wilson’s throwing error.  2nd and 3rd, nobody out, top of the order coming to the plate – great situation, right?  Maybe not.  Alfonso Soriano strike out, Kosuke Fukodome strike out and a weak Derrek Lee groundout to 2nd base – end of threat – end of ball game.  Bonehead play #3 for the Cubs.  Here’s your 3-0 loss Cubs fans…

This team really sucks…  The Brewers beat up on Johan Santana and the Mets to increase their lead over the Cubs to 4.5 games.  Not good.

The Cubs-Pirates Wednesday night finale will feature Randy Wells (winner of 2 straight) and Virgil Vasquez (who won his 1st start of 2009 last week against the Kansas City Royals).

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Cubs – White Sox Crosstown Classic ReCap

Posted on 30 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs White Sox Baseball

Took a few days off on Sunday and Monday to get ready for the Cubs big home stands at Wrigley Field during the month of July (the Cubs play 18 July games at Wrigley).  I picked a great time to go, as the Cubs looked atrocious on the south side and were lucky to win Friday’s game to avoid the sweep and what would have been a 7-game losing streak.

Here’s a recap of how the weekend went for the Cubs:

Friday, Cubs win 5-4:  Jake Fox hit a 2-run HR in the 4th inning to give the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead (Randy Wells gave the run back on a soloe shot to Jim Thome in the bottom of the inning).  Geovany Soto got the Cubs back on top with a 3-run bomb to left center field off Jose Contreras that gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.  6 outs to go, 3 run lead, easy win, right?  No.  For some unknown reason, Manager Lou Pinella yanks Wells (98 pitches, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K’s) and brings in Mr. Walk himself, Carlos Marmol.  What???!!!  Marmol walks Gordon Beckham to lead off the inning.  Surprise, surprise.  After a Scott Posednik flyout, Marmol walks Alexei Ramirez and then gives up a Jermaine Dye single to load the bases.  Jim Thome hit a soft line drive that knicked off the glove of Derek Lee, scoring Ramirez and Beckham to cut the lead to 5-4.  By that time, Pinella had seen enough of Marmol.  He let Marmol intentionally walk Paul Konerko and then brought in lefty Sean Marshall who coaxed A.J. Pierzynski into a lucky inning ending 3-2-3 doubel play.  Marshall was huge as it preserved the 5-4 Cubs lead.  Kevin Gregg picked up his 12th save of the 2009 MLB schedule, depsite walking Josh Fields with 2 outs.  Wells picked up his 2nd consecutive win and lowered his ERA to 2.57 and WHIP to 1.09.

Saturday, White Sox win 8-7.  Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot and Andres Blanco each had 2 hits for the Cubs, while Soriano, Theriot and Lee each had 2 RBI’s in the win.  After the Cubs took a 7-6 lead in the top of the 8th inning on Andres Blanco’s groundout to shortstop, the Cubs bullpen blew the final 6 outs once again.  Carlos Marmol gave up a run on 2 hits in another inffective outing (at least he didn’t walk anybody this appearance).  The run tied the game at 7 in the 8th inning.  In the 9th inning, Sean Marshall gave up a single to Paul Konerko and then Pinella took him out when White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen pinch-hit righty Jayson Nix for Chris Getz.  Pinella brought in Jose Ascansio who promptly walked Nix and then gave up the game-wining single to Gordon Beckham.  Ryan Dempster looked awful again – 5 innings, 5 ER, 8 hits, 3 walks and 2 K’s.  Not good…

Sunday – White Sox win 6-0.  John Danks shut down the Cubs with 7 masterful innings of 0-run, 4 hit ball.  The pivotal point came in the 6th inning with the White Sox having a 3-0 lead.  Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff double and moved to 3rd with only 1 out on a Ryan Theriot groundout.  Milton Bradley thought he earned walk as a 3-1 pitch from Danks sailed low, but the home plate umpire called it a strike.  Bradley wasn’t happy with the call as he was already a third of the way down the line and his lack of focus cost him as he struck out on a bad changeup that was well out of the strike zone.  Once again, the Cubs can’t get a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs, a problem that keeps recurrnig way too many times in 2009.  Derrek Lee and Jake Fox both worked walks out of Danks to get the bases loaded with 2 outs for Geovany Soto.  A hit would have turned the game around, but Alexei Ramirez slid and caught Soto’s line drive one-hopper and he forced Lee out at 3rd base for the final out.  The only other fire works came when Carlos Zambrano plunked DeWayne Wise in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Chris Getz had just scored on a suicide squeeze off Zambrano – Big Z spotted the squeeze but in an attempt to throw the ball to the outside corner of the plate so Wise couldn’t hit the ball, he threw the ball straight for the back stop.  Big Z’s next pitch went straight at the back of Wise.  Words were exchanged, but no fight occurred.  Danks plunked Ryan Freel in the top of the 7th in retaliation, and Freel calmly rubbed his arm and laughed at Danks on his way to 1st – pretty funny.  That brought an end to the disastrous 1-6 start to the Cubs 1st 7 games on a 10-game road trip.

The Cubs have 3 games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh at the start of the week before starting a big 4-game weekend series against the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers from Thursday to Sunday at Wrigley Field.

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Cubs Losing Streak at 3, with 5-3 Loss to Tigers

Posted on 25 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Tigers Baseball

The Cubs are falling back into their poor hitting ways.  The Cubs had 11 hits and 7 walks, but scored only 3 runs in the 5-3 loss.  The Cubs had their chances, but never seemed to come up with the clutch hit.  After a 1-2-3 1st inning, the Cubs got at least 2 runners on base in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th innings, but never scored more than 1 run in a given inning.  In the 5th inning, Micah Hoffpuair struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs.  In the 6th inning, the Cubs had the bases loaded with no one out and scored only 1 run on a Mike Fontenot ground out.   In the 7th inning, the Cubs had the bases loaded and only 1 out, but scored only 1 run on Jake Fox’s sacrifice fly.  And in the 9th inning, Derrek Lee walked and moved to 2nd on Hoffpauir’s single with no one out.  But Milton Bradley struck out, Jake Fox flew out to deep right field and Kosuke Fukodome struck out to end the game.  The Cubs are 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position during the 3-game losing streak and have averaged only 2.3 runs in each loss despite numerous scoring chances.

The pitching left a lot to be desired in the game as well in a rare off-night.  Rich Harden needed 109 pitches to labor through 5 1/3 innings.  He gave up 4 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks.  Not a good start by any means.  Aaron Heilmand gave up 3 hits in his 1 2/3 innings of work and walked in a run, while Jose Ascansio also gave up 3 hits and a run in his 1/3 of an inning. Manager Lou Pinella called upon Carlos Marmol to put out Ascansio’s 2 on, 2 out mess in the 8th inning and promptly walked the 1st 2 batters that he faced, giving the Tigers an important insurance run that pushed the lead from 1 to 2 runs.

All in all, another bad road showing from the Cubs as they provided little fireworks in an 11-hit offensive attack.  Back at .500 – 34-34 – the Cubs still trail the Cards by 3.5 games in the NL Central race.

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Tigers Top Cubs 5-4 on Walk-Off Home Run in 9th Inning

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Tigers Baseball

The Tigers defeated the Cubs 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning on Ryan Raburn’s pinch-hit, game-winning, walk-off HR off Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.

We should have known the way this game was going to end when the Cubs muffed a bases loaded, no out opportunity in the top fo the 1st inning against Edwin Jackson.  Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot started the inning of with singles and Milton Bradley coaxed a walk from Jackson to load the bases with no one out.  What a great way to get off to a good start on the road where the Cubs have won only 13 games this season, right?  Well cue up the tape from at least 30 other games this year.  Derrek Lee grounds into a fielder’s choice which drives in Soriano.  1st and 3rd, one out.  Then Micah Hoffpauir strikes out and Geovany Soto grounds out to end the threat without any further damage.

After those 1st 2 hits against Jackson, the Cubs got only 2 hits against the Tigers through the next 23 outs of the game.  One of those was a bunt single too.  Talk about futility…

With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Derrek Lee singled and Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs a short-lived 4-3 lead with a 2-run bomb to right field off of Joel Zumaya (who helped Micah out in a big way by throwing a change-up right down the heart of the plate).  Lee extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games with 2 hits in the loss.

But just when you think the Cubs are going to pull off the come-from-behind road win in Detroit, flash forward to the 9th inning for closer Kevin Gregg.  Gregg walked the lead off hitter David Taylor.  After getting Brandon Inge to pop out, pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn crushed a Gregg fastball over the left center field fence to give the Tigers the 5-4 win.

How many times do you say – “you can’t walk the lead-off man in an inning 0 it always come back to haunt you.”  And so it did last night against Gregg.  It also hurt Carlos Zambrano in the 7th inning.  With the Cubs leading 2-1, Zambrano walked Taylor and then served up a 2-run HR to Brandon Inge.  That’s 2 runs handed to the Tigers by walks last night.  It is completely unacceptable.

Except for a shaky 1st inning and the Taylor walk in the 7th, Big Z pitched a solid game – 7 innings, 3 ER, 5 hits and 2 walks.  Instead of getting the win, Zambrano suffered a no decision.

The two teams play again tonight in Detroit – Rich Harden against rookie Rick Porcello who is seeking his 9th win of the 2009 MLB schedule.

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No Clutch Hitting = 2-0 Loss for Cubs in Atlanta

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Braves Baseball

The old demons are back – the Cubs lost to the Braves 2-0 on Monday night in Atlanta.  Despite getting 10 hits and 3 walks, the Cubs left 18 runners on base and got shut out.  Beautiful.  Andres Blanco led the Cubs with 4 LOB, while Kosuke Fukodome, Jake Fox and Derrek Lee each had 3 LOB.  Fox had 2 hits filling in for Alfonso Soriano in left field, but they never came at the right time. Same could be said for Blanco who also had 2 hits.  There were 5 innings in which the Cubs had at least 2 runners reach base, but they could never push over a run.

Ryan Dempster pitched well enough to earn a win, but Manager Lou Pinella may have left him in the game too long.  Down 1-0 after 6 innings, Pinella opted to let Dempster lead off the top of the 7th inning – he made an out.  The next 2 Cubs reached base, but Fox and Lee failed to move them home.  Who knows what would have happened if Pinella had sent up a pinch-hitter instead of Dempster.  Then Dempster got into trouble in the bottom of the 7th inning, allowing the Braves 2nd run of the game on a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly.  Pinella then pulled Dempster after 118 pitches, 8 hits, 4 walks and 6 K’s.  While it was another quality start for Dempster, he was constantly working out of jams from the 3rd inning on and he fell to 4-5 on the season.

Pinella gave Milton Bradley and Soriano the night off to get ready for interleague play this week against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox.  The Cubs did not lose any ground in the NL Central race as the New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals at CITI Field in New York.  The Cards still lead the Cubs by 2.5 games.

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