Archive | Milton Bradley

Have the Cubs “Righted” the Ship?

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Lou

Indians Cubs Baseball

Have the Cubs “righted” the ship?  The upcoming 10-game road trip to Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago (against the White Sox at US Cellular Field) and Pittsburgh should shed a lot of light on that question.

After starting the just-completed home stand at Wrigley Field with 3 losses in 4 games, it was not looking good for the Cubs.  But with miraculous come-from-behind victories on Thursday against the White Sox and Friday and Saturday against the Indians, a calm seemed to settle over the Cubs.  A calm similar to that possessed by the Cubs in 2008 when the finished with the best record in the National League.  On Sunday, the Cubs cruised through a 6-2 win over the Indians to complete the sweep over Cleveland and get Randy Wells his 1st major league victory.

Key players have started to swing the bat better during the 4-game winning streak.  Derrek Lee has an 18-game hitting streak and now has his average up to .287.  Milton Bradley has a 10-game hitting streak and has his batting average up to .248.  Ryan Theriot has a modest 7-game hitting streak and now has his average heading back to the .300 mark at .282.  And Geovany Soto has hits in 4 of his last 5 games and his batting average at .225.  Not where their career numbers are, but at least they are trending in the right direction.  Alfonso Soriano is the only Cubs player still in his hitting funk – with only 4 hits in his last 7 games.  Luckily, 2 of those hits helped the Cubs win recent ball games, but his batting average still sits at .224.  Despite the bad numbers, he still leads the Cubs with 14 HR’s and 43 runs scored.

Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir continue to provide sparks every so often, and seem more comfortable in the part-time contributing roles.

The starting pitching staff continues to go out there and throw quality starts, so they are keeping the Cubs in ball games.  As long as they continue to pitch well, if the Cubs bats consistently provide 4-5 runs per game, the Cubs should win more than they lose.

The Cubs are 34-31 and they trail the Cards by 2.5 games.  The Cubs take on the Braves in Atlanta tonight – making up a game that was rained out at the beginning of June.  Ryan Dempster takes on Javier Vasquez.

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Back-to-Back Dramatic Wins for Cubs – Top Indians 8-7 in 10 @ Rocking Wrigley Field

Posted on 20 June 2009 by Lou

Indians Cubs Baseball

2 – for -2 – as the Cubs made it 2 dreamatic come-from-behind wins in a row, topping the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings.  The Cubs last 3 wins have come as the walk-off variety at Wrigley Field, including the last 2 days against the White Sox in the 9th inning on Thursday and the Indians in the 10th inning on Friday.

It didn’t look like the Cubs were going to build off the momentum of Thursday’s big win over the White Sox in the series finale of the cross-town classic.  The Cubs trailed the Indians 7-0 in the 5th inning and Cliff Lee was dominating the Cubs in every way.  Rich Harden had a poor outing – 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, including a pair of 3-run home runs to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez.  But the Cubs didn’t give up. The bullpen kept the Cubs in the game with 5 scoreless innings – David Patten, Aaron Heilman, Jose Ascansio, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – and the Cubs hitters kept chipping away at the 7-run lead.

Reed Johnson hit a solo home run in the 5th inning and Derrek Lee followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the 6th inning.  With the lead 7-2 starting the bottom of the 8th inning, Milton Bradley got a big leadoff single that knocked Lee out of the ball game.  The Indians have one of the worst bullpens in the league, so no lead is safe with them.  As was the case at Wrigley on Friday afternoon.  A Geovany Soto double and a Reed Johnson loaded the bases with 2 outs.  Then the fun began.  Andres Blanco hit a 2-RBI single to right field and Koyie Hill smoked a hard groundball to 3rd bases that Jhonny Peralta couldn’t handle.  It was ruled an error, but in any event, the Cubs had cut the lead to 7-5.  Soriano cut the Indians lead to just 1 run with a single to center field.  Ah the Drama.

Carlos Marmol worked out of a 9th inning 1st and 2nd, 2-out jam, by striking out Martinez to end the threat.  The Indians brought in former Cubs closer Kerry Wood to close out the 1-run win for the Indians, but he promptly served up a 1-out game-tying homer to Derrek Lee that sent the Wrigley faithful into a tizzy.

Kevin Gregg had to escape a rough 10th inning as well – a single, 2 errors and a HBP led to a 2-out bases loaded jam.  But Gregg got pinch-hitter Ryan Garko to line out to center field on a great sliding catch by Kosuke Fukodome to preserve the 7-7 tie.

In the 10th, the Cubs used small ball once again to get the job done.  With 2 outs, Alfsonso Soriano coaxed a walk and stole 2nd base to get into scoring position.  Ryan Theriot hit a hard ground ball towards the right side that took a bad hop to evade the glove of Martinez.  Soriano scored easily from 2nd and the Cubs had the 8-7 win. Cubs win!  Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

It was not a great day for former Cubs Wood, but Mark DeRosa put in a solid 1 for 3 effort, with 2 walks, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.

Let’s hope the Cubs can get out to an early lead on Saturday behind Ted Lilly.  It would be the Cubs first 3-game winning streak in a very long time…

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Cubs Pull off Dramatic 6-5 Win Over Sox in Bottom of 9th Inning

Posted on 19 June 2009 by Lou

White Sox Cubs Baseball

The Cubs defeated the White Sox 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning.  I was getting ready to write my same old blog post over again – Cubs waste good outing from Cubs starting pitcher “X”; Cubs hitters can’t get clutch hit and score only 1 run; Cubs lose… again… – but then the baseball gods smiled upon the Cubs and fans at Wrigley Field.  Micah Hoffpauir had a good at-bat against reliever Scott Linebrink and eventually hit a hard-hit groundball to 2nd base that Chris Getz’s misplayed for an error.  Alfonso Soriano then singled to center field for 1st and 2nd with only 1 out.  Then it looked like the Cubs were back to their usual hitting ways – a Ryan Theriot popout and a Milton Bradley strikeout.  Two on, two outs for Derrek Lee and with 1 swing of the bat, Lee crushed Linebrink’s pitch to righ field for a 3-run home run.  Geovany Soto then cruched a solo home run to left center field to tie the game at 5.

Kevin Gregg worked a scoreless 9th inning despite giving up a leadoff single to Alexei Ramirez.  And the Cubs played small ball to perfection in the bottom of the inning.  Reed Johnson pinch-hit for the 0 for 3 Kosuke Fukodome and singled to lead off the inning.  Andres Blanco sacrificed Johnson to 2nd base to put the winning run into scoring position.  After an Aaron Miles groundout, Alfonso Soriano hit a bloop single to right center field that drove in Johnson with the winning run.

Carlos Zambrano pitched a good game – 7 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks and 3 ER with 3 K’s.  Big Z made only 1 bad pitch all day – that a fastball to Alexei Ramirez in the top of the 7th inning which Ramirez took deep to left to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead.  The game looked finished when Carlos Marmol took over for Zambrano and promptly gave the White Sox 2 insurance runs on a Chris Getz double and a Gordon Beckham single.  But the Cubs never gave up and pulled off the improbable win to the delight of the “Wrigley Faithful”.

The Cubs moved back to .500 with the win at 31-31.  They trail the Brewers by 4 games in the NL Central.

White Sox Cubs Baseball

White Sox Cubs Baseball

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Cubs Replace Hitting Coach Gerald Perry with Von Joshua

Posted on 15 June 2009 by Lou

Twins Cubs Baseball

With the Cubs hitting funk getting worse and worse, the Cubs decided to make a move by replacing Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry with Triple-A Iowa hitting coach Von Joshua.  GM Jim Hendry had this to say about the move:  “Obviously, we’ve been struggling for a long time.  I’m not one to dump all the blame on the coaches.  I’ve never mad a coaching change to my knowledge in the middle of the year.  I think sometimes you need a different voice.  Every day, we have five guys in the lineup who have played in the All-Star Game.  For whatever reason, they are not performing anywhere close to where they’ve performed in their careers.  Sometimes you have to try something different, and sometimes it’s a different voice maybe saying the same things.”

Von Joshua has been a hitting coach since 1984.  He is in his 4th year at Iowa and has worked with several of the young Cubs players on the major league roster, including Ryan Theriot, Micah Hoffpauir and Mike Fontenot.  Joshua also worked at the big league level with the cross-town rival Chicago White Sox.

The move was tough on Manager Lou Pinella who had Perry on his staffs in both Seattle and Chicago.  “It’s tough on me, because I’ve been with Gerald a long time, six years.  This was an organizational decision.  Gerald and I were together in Seattle and together here in Chicago.  We’ve had success together.  I thank him for all the hard work that he’s put in on my staffs.”

It has been frustrating for everyone involved.  In 2008, the Cubs led the National League in runs scored.  But in 2009, the Cubs rank 14th and are hitting only .246 as a team.  Ryan Theriot has the highest batting average of any starter at .278 – what a joke.  Alfonso Soriano is hitting .233; Kosuke Fukodome only .266 after starting the season well over .300; Milton Bradley only .226 and Geovany Soto only .209.  When the Cubs lost 2-0 to the Twins on Saturday, it was the 13th time in the last 23 games in which the Cubs have scored 2 runs or less in a ball game.  Not good. Not good.

I guess it can’t get any worse, and maybe having a new coach working with the players could help.  Maybe he’ll spot something on a player or 2 that Perry missed, and once 1 or 2 guys start to get hot, it could have a snowball effect at some point down the line.  Trying to stay optimistic here…

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Cubs Top Twins 3-2 with Dramatic Walk-Off Theriot Single

Posted on 14 June 2009 by Lou

APTOPIX Twins Cubs Baseball

Cubs Win!  Cubs Win! Cubs Win!  Wow – we haven’t been able to say that in a while, or often enough this year for that matter.  The Cubs avoided a home sweep at Wrigley Field with the thrilling 3-2 win.

Going into the 9th inning, the Cubs had only 5 hits and 2 runs on the day.  After a Milton Bradley out, Derrek Lee singled to start the rally.  In a daring play, Lee made it into 3rd base with one out on Geovany Soto’s single to left field.  Soto smartly advanced to 2nd base when he saw the throw go towards Lee at 3rd base.  The Twins then walked Mike Fontenot to load the bases for Ryan Theriot.  Theriot was 1 of only 4 Cubs to get a hit on Sunday (Milton Bradley had 1 hit, Lee had 2 hits and Soto had 3 hits), and his second hit of the day was a line drive past Twins 2nd baseman Nick Punto that brought Lee in with the winning run.  A much-needed celebration occurred in the middle of the field.

Carlos Marmol worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win.  He bailed out Ted Lilly in a 2 on, 2 out jam in the 8th inning, and he got out of his slef-made jam in the 9th inning after he issued 2 walks.  Amazingly, he got the Twins best hitter Joe Mauer to pop out to left and the Twins clean-up hitter to hit into an inning-ending groundout.

Lilly put in another sensational outing – 7 2/3 innings, 2 ER, 7 hits, 0 walks and 6 K’s.

The Cubs are now 30-30 after 60 games during the 2009 MLB schedule.  Shockingly, because of the poor play in the NL Central, the Cubs trail the Brewers by only 2.5 games and the Cards by 2 games.  It’s still up for grabs, and more importantly, anything can happen in the final 102 games of the season.

Twins Cubs Baseball

Twins Cubs Baseball

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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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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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Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Finally – 2 in a Row to Boot!

Posted on 27 May 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2 on Wednesday to take the series over the Bucs.  After snapping an 8-game losing streak with the 6-1 rain-shortened win over the Pirates on Tuesday night, the Cubs kept the mojo rolling with a big win on Wednesday.

The Cubs took an early 2-0 lead on Milton Bradley’s triple and Reed Johnson’s groundout in the 1st inning.  The Pirates, however, were able to tie the game on a Carlos Zambrano wild pitch that allowed Nyjer Morgan to score from 3rd base.  Zambrano thought that he tagged Morgan out before Morgan’s hand reached the base, and was eventually tossed by the home plate umpire for arguing the call and bumping the umpire as he leaned in to get closer to Zambrano.  These umps really go out of there way to antogonize players these days.  I hope this moron home plate umpire gets suspended himself for leaning into Zambrano.  Luckily Pinella and Rothschild got out there quick to prevent Zambrano from flipping out even more then he did.

The Cubs kept fighting though and eventually took the lead for good on Reed Johnson’s solo home run to the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 8th inning.  The Cubs added 2 insurance runs on back-to-back RBI doubles by recent Triple-A call-ups Andres Blanco and Jake Fox.

Carlos Marmol pitch a scoreless 8th inning to pick up the win and Kevin Gregg got the save despite giving up 2 walks in the 9th.  Gregg sure nevers makes it easy on himself.

The Cubs are back over .500 with a 23-22 record.  The Cubs still trail the 1st place Cards by 4 games and the 2nd place Brewers by 3 games in the NL Central.

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When Will Volcano Lou Erupt: Poor Pitching Leads to 8th Straight Cubs Loss

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

The Pirates defeated the Cubs 10-8 on Monday night at Wrigley Field, handing the Cubs their 8th straight loss.  The Cubs have not lost 8 games in a row since the 2002 MLB schedule.

The Cubs should have been jumping for joy that they scored 8 runs in Monday night’s game.  To put that in perspective, in the Cubs previous 6 games – all losses – the Cubs scored a total of 5 runs while being shut out twice.  Unfortunately, the Cubs pitching deserted the team on the cool Memorial Day night at the Friendly Confines.  Starter Ryan Dempster lasted just 4 innings – 7 hits, 3 walks and 6 earned runs – even walking in back to back runs in the 3rd inning.  Dempster let a 4-3 lead slip away in the 4th inning and then after the Cubs re-gained the lead in the bottom of the inning 7-6, the bullpen blew it the rest of the way.  Neal Cotts took the loss – pitching only 1 inning but giving up 3 earned runs on 4 hits.  Aaron Heilman gave up a run on 2 hits and a walk in the 7th inning.  Even the 2 pitchers that didn’t give up any runs struggled – Jose Ascansio gave up 3 hits in his 1 inning of work, while David Patton gave up 2 hits and a walk in his 2 innings of work.

3 Cubs players had good hitting nights – Milton Bradley broke out of his funk with a 2 for 5 night.  Bradley had a double and a home run and had 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Ryan Theriot was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  And Geovany Soto was 2 for 3 with 2 walks and an RBI.

You’d like to think that once the Cubs get some consistent hitting, they should be able to start winning some games.  But the starting pitching has been inconsistent and the bullpen has been downright awful.  At this point, if the Cubs are to stay in it in the short-term, they are going to need a lot of luck and a lot of poor play from the Cards, Brewers and Reds.  If not, we should see Volcano Lou erupt very very soon.

Sean Marshall faces off against Ian Snell Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs have had recent success against Snell, so maybe this is the night that the Cubs break the atrocious losing streak.

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Cubs Keep Losing – 7 & Counting..

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Lou

Cubs Padres Baseball

I feel like a keep writing the same post over and over.  So today, I’ll focus on the 1 positive – Reed Johnson hit a 2-run home run today.  Woo-hoo!

The Cubs bats were silent again – only 4 hits.  I can’t believe Manager Lou Pinella hasn’t killed someone yet…

And for a change, the pitching was bad today too.  Ted Lilly lost his 2nd straight decision, giving up 5 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks over 6 1/3 innings.

The Cubs are 21-21 – this time last year (after 42 games), the Cubs were 10 games over .500.  Remarkably, the Cubs are only 4 games behind the slumping Brewers.  Only problem, I don’t see the Cubs making any major strides until Aramis Ramirez gets back in the lineup or until GM Jim Hendry makes a trade for some offensive help.  Neither of these will happen anytime soon.

The Cubs return home for a 7-game home stand against the Pirates and Dodgers.  Maybe the Cubs will find their swings back at Wrigley Field.

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