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Speculation Starts Now – What Will 2012 Cubs Look Like? – Wrigley Field 10/1/11

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Lou

The speculation starts now as Cubs fans eagerly await Owner Tom Ricketts’ next moves for the Cubs organization.  First up will be the hiring of a new General Manager.  Then who knows what else?  Surprisingly, overpaid outfielder Alfonso Soriano summed it up best when he cleared out his locker room last week – “Two things can happen.  It can change, or stay the way it is now.  I don’t know what they want to do.  We don’t have control of that.  We can only play the game and do our job.  The owners have the control.  We’d like to stay together, but who knows?” Amen to that.

Changes will have to be made obviously, but given the financial situation with a few long-term deals still hampering the ability of any GM to make necessary trades/free agent signings, only so much can be done.  With the firing of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona in Boston, there are some rumors floating around that long-time GM Theo Epstein could also be looking for a change of scenery.  The Cubs would need to obtain permission from the Red Sox in order to speak with Epstein and they would be foolish not to ask.  What’s the worst that Red Sox barss can say, no?  Let’s hope Ricketts & Co. have the common sense to explore ALL options, even Epstein.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the GM front and the rest of the roster.  Aramis Ramirez has a $16 million option for the 2012 season, but has already indicated that he will explore the free agent market to see if he can nab one final lucrative long-term deal.  Ryan Dempster and the Cubs also have a mutual option that can be exercised for the 2012 MLB season, so we’ll have to see what happens there.  Fun, fun, fun…

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Cubs Finish 71-91 – Lot of Work To Do in Off-Season – Wrigley Field 9/30/11

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Lou

The Cubs have a LOT of work to do this off-season.  They finished a whopping 25 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  A 71-91 record just doesn’t cut it.  Especially after finishing the 2010 MLB season with a 75-87 record – 16 games back of the 1st place Cincinnati Reds.

The lone positive – the NL Central is a very winnable division – each of the last 4 years has brought a new division winner.  So who knows – if a few things go their way in 2012, maybe the Cubs can make it a 5th straight different division winner.

The Cubs first need to hire a new GM to replace Jim Hendry.  Then the new GM with his staff will have to figure out a way to plug up a TON of holes without a lot of money with which to work.  Owner Tom Ricketts has already said that the payroll will not increase much from what it was in 2011.  Sure there is a lot of money coming off the books this off-season – no Kosuke Fukudome; no Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva salary; no full Carlos Zambrano salary (assuming they can shovel him off to another team); and maybe no Carlos Pena or Aramis Ramirez salary.  Will Ricketts be able to stomach making a run at the Scott Boras-led Prince Fielder?  How will the Cubs plug the gaping holes in their starting rotation?  Who will play right field on a regular basis? Will Manager Mike Quade keep his job under the new GM?

There are no easy answers, so it will be an interesting off-season to watch and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way here at MyCubsToday.com.

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Dempster, Cubs Lose Season Finale to Padres 9-2 – Finish 71-91 – Wrigley Field 9/28/11

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Lou

Ryan Dempster’s disappointing 2012 MLB season ended on a down note with the Cubs 9-2 loss.  Dempster suffered his 14th loss of the season, allowing 9 ER on 8 hits and 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched.  He did strikeout 7 Padres hitters but he gave up 2 home runs.  Dempster finished 10-14 with a 1.45 WHIP and 4.80 ERA – not good numbers for an aging 34-year old starter.  He lost 6 of his last 9 starts on the season and did not win a game since August 11th.  He did make 34 starts and pitch 202 1/3 innings, but he also gave up 211 hits, 82 walks and 23 HR’s.  Dempster has one more year left on his deal and he will likely be the Cubs #2 starter heading into 2012 behind Matt Garza.

The one bright spot – Andrew Cashner tossed another scoreless inning.  He walked one and struck out one and finished the season with a 0.66 WHIP and 1.69 ERA. He made 6 relief appearances for the Cubs down the stretch, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 1 hit and 3 walks with 6 K’s.  Cashner will likely stay in the bullpen in 2012 in an attempt to show that he can stay healthy for a full MLB season.

Starlin Castro finished his excellent 2012 season without a sophomore slump – he had 1 hit with 1 RBI and finished the season with a .307 batting average.

It should be an interesting off-season for the Cubs…

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Congrats to Matt Garza – 10 Wins, 3.32 ERA, Future Ace of Cubs Staff – Wrigley Field 9/27/11

Posted on 27 September 2011 by Lou

Congrats to Matt Garza – who put the many distractions aside and kept his composure in picking up his 10th win of the season in last night’s 6-2 win over the Padres.  As usual, it wasn’t easy and he almost didn’t get that double-digit victory.

Garza threw 122 pitches in 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks.  He struck out 8, but left the game trailing 2-1 as the game entered the 8th inning.  Fortunately, the Cubs bats rallied in the top of the 8th.  Two walks put the go ahead runs on base and then Alfonso Soriano delivered his 26th HR of the season, a 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.  And when Blake DeWitt knocked in 2 insurance runs with a single in the 9th, it secured Garza’s 10th win of the season.  Garza has been the lone bright spot in the Cubs 2011 starting rotation.  Garza made 31 starts, going 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.  He He led the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts (197).  His 1.26 WHIP was also the best among starters.  Ryan Dempster was #2 in each of those categories.  Garza turns 28 in November, so he should be a fixture atop the Cubs starting rotation for years to come (assuming they sign him to along-term deal at some point in the near future – maybe even extending him this off-season).  Garza should have won a lot more games too.  He lost 5 times when he gave up 3 ER or less.  He also would have had 2 more wins if not for blown saves.  Given those stats, Garza had more of a 15-win season, than a 10-win season.

Here’s looking forward to the new Cubs GM making extending Garza to a long-term deal a high priority in his early tenure.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.

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Coleman Impressive in 2-0 Loss to Padres – Wrigley Field 9/26/11

Posted on 26 September 2011 by Lou

As the season winds down, Casey Coleman has made a big statement during his last 2 starts.  Coleman worked into the 6th inning before giving up a home run and RBI double that gave the Padres a 2-0 lead.  Coleman gave up just those 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks.  He had 7 strike outs.  In his previous start, Coleman picked up the win over the Brewers with a 6-inning gem against one of the better-hitting lineups in the National League.  Coleman held the Brew Crew to just 1 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 K’s.

Coleman also broke up Matt Latos’ no hit bid with a 1-out triple in the top of the 6th inning. The Cubs managed just 1 other hit on the night – Starlin Castro’s single to lead off the 7th inning.  Despite stealing 2nd base with nobody out, Carlos Pena, Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger could not bring him in.

With their 3rd straight loss, the Cubs fell to 70-90 on the season.

Matt Garza looks to continue his solid end to the 2011 campaign with his last start on Tuesday night.  A win would give him double-digit wins in his 1st full season as a Cubs starter.  Garza has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his last 10 starts dating back to August 3rd – hello ace!!!  Let’s hope he finishes off the great streak with his 10th win on Tuesday…

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Cubs Return Home After Taking 2 of 3 From Giants in San Francisco – Wrigley Field 9/1/11

Posted on 01 September 2011 by Lou

After taking 2 of 3 from the Giants in San Francisco, the Cubs return home for a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs are 59-78 and they trail the 1st place Brewers by 21.5 games in the NL Central race.

Ryan Dempster starts Friday’s matinee affair at Wrigley Field.

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Cubs Make it 2 In a Row Over Giants – 5-2 – Wrigley Field 8/30/11

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Lou

The Cubs made it 2 in a row behind Matt Garza en route to a 5-2 win over the Giants.

Garza had another solid start and has really shown “ace” stuff since getting settled into his new digs on the north side of Chicago. Garza went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 ER on 9 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 6 and lowered his ERA to 3.64 and his WHIP to 1.32.  If he can win 3 of his September starts, he will hit double-digit wins for the Cubs in 2011.

Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol recorded the final 7 outs of the game without allowing a Giants hitter to reach base.  Marshall notched his 29th hold, while Wood notched his 20th hold.  Marmol picked up save #31.

Alfonso Soriano hit another HR.  He now has 24 on the season.  He and Garza each had 2 hits in the win.

The Cubs finish up the 3-game road trip against the Giants Wednesday afternoon with Rodrigo Lopez on the bump.  After a day off Thursday, the Cubs face the Pirates and Reds at Wrigley Field from Friday through Wednesday of next week.

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Wells Out-duels Lincecum, Cubs Top Giants 7-0 – Wrigley Field 8/29/11

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Lou

Randy Wells tossed his 1st career complete game shutout in the Cubs 7-0 win over the Giants in San Francisco on Monday night.  Wells has turned his season around with some good pitching of late. In his last 4 starts, he has given up just 7 ER on 16 hits in 27 2/3 innings pitched.  He is 3-0 in those 4 starts.  While his ERA is still over 5.00 at 5.06, he has lowered his WHIP to 1.38 and he has re-gained the confidence that deserted him after he went on the DL after just 1 start to kick off the 2011 campaign.

Wells faced only 4 batters over the minimum in the game – 2 hits and 2 walks allowed.  He allowed only 2 runners to reach base 2nd base.

Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs the 1st lead of the game with a solo HR of Tim Lincecum in the 5th inning.  Then the Cubs blew the game open with 2 more HR’s against Lincecum in the 7th inning.  Geovany Soto hit a solo shot and Blake DeWitt’s 3-run bomb to right field finally chased Lincecum from the game with the Cubs leading 5-0.  Carlos Pena added a solo shot later in the inning and Marlon Byrd singled home DeWitt in the 9th to cap the scoring.

Matt Garza squares off against Ryan Vogelsong in Game 2 of the series Tuesday night.

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Brewers Cruise Past Cubs 5-2 – Wrigley Field 8/26/11

Posted on 26 August 2011 by Lou

Randy Wolf pitched the Brewers past Rodrigo Lopez and the Cubs 5-2 on Friday night at Miller Park.

Lopez gave up 4 runs (2 earned courtesy of a Darwin Barney error) on 5 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings pitched.

Starlin Castro hit a solo home run to lead off the game.

The Cubs now trail the Brewers by 21.5 games in the NL Central race.

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Garza Rare Rough Outing, Cubs Lose to Braves 8-3 – Wrigley Field 8/25/11

Posted on 25 August 2011 by Lou

Matt Garza suffered a rare bad outing in the series finale against the Braves on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Garza gave up 6 runs (only 3 earned because of a Starlin Castro error) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings of work.  The loss dropped Garza down to 6-10 and likely will lead to Garza having a losing record in his 1st full season with the Cubs.  Going into the game, Garza had given more than 3 ER in only 1 start since July 7th.  He had lowered his ERA down to 3.62 and had emerged as the Cubs most reliable starter.

The Cubs are now 57-74 and they have dropped 4 of their last 5 games.  The Cubs trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 20.5 games in the NL Central race.

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