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Wells Awful as Cubs Drop 2 of 3 to Royals in KC – Wrigley Field 6/27/11

Posted on 27 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs dropped the rubber game of the 3-game weekend series to the Royals in Kansas City by a 6-3 deficit.  Randy Wells’ 2011 struggles continued as he allowed 4 1st inning runs to put the Cubs in an immediate hole.  Wells ended up lasting 6 innings, but he allowed all 6 ER on 10 hits and 2 walks.

Geovany Soto had 3 hits in the loss, including his 7th HR of the season, but he is only hitting ,225 on the year.  Soto had 2 of the Cubs 3 RBI’s.  Blake Dewitt had 2 hits and drove in the other Cubs run.  Starlin Castro went 1 for 4 to keep his hitting streak alive – now at 10 games in a row.  Catsro has a .326 batting average which is good for 3rd best in the National League.

The Cubs played the Rockies today in a make-up of the April 27th game that was postponed due to rain.  The Cubs won 7-3 – more on this in the morning…

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Cubs Use Off-Day to Plan for Royals & the Future… – Wrigley Field 6/24/11

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs used the scheduled Thursday off-day to plan for the weekend series against the Royals as well as for the future…

Manager Mike Quade opted to re-jigger the Cubs rotation after consulting with pitching coach Mark Riggins.  Ryan Dempster will start tonight, while the Cubs will go with Carlos Zambrano on his regular 5 days rest on Saturday.  That move pushes Randy Wells’ start back an extra day to Sunday.  Matt Garza will make his next start on schedule on Monday against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

Off the field, GM Jim Hendry met with his scouts and executives to figure out the direction of the team as the July 31 trading deadline approaches.  Hendry and the Cubs could entertain offers for Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano who have both said that they would like to continue to play in Chicago but that they would waive their no-trade clause if a suitable trade offer comes along.  Aramis Ramirez, on the other hand, has already told the Cubs that he will not waive his no trade clause.  Guess we’ll see how it all shakes out…

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Sox Take Opening Series From Cubs with 4-3 – Wrigley Field U.S. Cellular Field 6/23/11

Posted on 23 June 2011 by Lou

The White Sox defeated the Cubs 4-3 to take the opening series of the 2011 Crosstown Classic.  Jake Peavy outdueled Doug Davis, although the Cubs did have plenty of opportunities to tack on some runs against a rusty Peavy who was coming off the DL.  Peavy allowed 10 hitters to reach base in only 5+ innings, but the Cubs only managed to push across 3 runs against him. Not good at all.  Carlos Pena hit a home run for the 3rd straight game, while Starlin Castro continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits.  He is now hitting .322 with 36 RBI’s and 42 runs scored.  Kosuke Fukudome and Blake DeWitt also each had 2 hits in the loss.

For the 3rd straight night, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead – 3-0 in the 4th on A.J. Pierzynski’s 2-run triple and Brent Lillibridge’s great bunt single that scored Pierzynski.  Doug Davis struggled with his command again, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in just 5 innings.  The game-winning run that scored in the 5th inning, however, was unearned because of DeWitt’s fielding error that would have ended the threat.  Instead, it allowed the Sox to load the bases and Davis ended up plunking Lillibridge to force in the go-ahead run.

The Cubs can take some solace in playing 3 “OK” games, but the bottom line is wins.  And the Cubs just aren’t doing enough of that this season.

The Cubs have a day off before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals in more inter-league play this weekend.

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White Sox Take Game 2 of Evenly Matched Cross-Town Classic 3-2 – Wrigley Field U.S. Cellular Field 6/22/11

Posted on 22 June 2011 by Lou

Each team had 7 hits and no errors.  Neither team scored more than 1 run in any given inning.  But it was the White Sox who emerged with a 3-2 win after a lengthy rain delay because of heavy storms that pounded the Chicago area.

The White Sox took an early 2-run lead on Paul Konerko’s solo homer in the 2nd and Juan Pierre’s sac fly in the 3rd.  It was Konerko’s 5th straight game with a home run, tying a franchise record.

Carlos Pena homered for the 2nd straight night in the 5th and Aramis Ramirez tied it up at 2 with a sac fly in the 6th.

Matt Garza tossed 5 solid innings before the rains came – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.

Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 6th inning before running into trouble in the 7th.  Samardzija got Alex Rios to pop out with 1st and 3rd and nobody out, but then Brett Morel delivered the game-winning sac fly that gave the Sox a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs had their chances.  They scored only 1 run in the 6th after having a 1st and 3rd, 1 out scenario.  They had 2 on and 1 out in the 8th inning and came away empty.

Doug Davis will battle Jake Peavy in the series finale tonight at the Cell.  Let’s hope Davis can duplicate his performance last Friday when he stymied the Yankees to just 1 run and 3 hits in 7+ innings of work.

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Carlos Zambrano Resilient, Starlin Castro Shines in Cubs 6-3 Win Over Sox – Wrigley Field U.S. Cellular Field 6/21/11

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Lou

WOW – I thought this one was over after 1, but Carlos Zambrano proved that maybe he has “changed” in the Cubs 6-3 win over the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night.  Zambrano allowed 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to score as Carlos Quentin delivered an RBI single and Paul Konerko delivered a 2-run home run in the 1st inning.  Big Z could have cashed it in and given in to his demons (just a year ago, he got into an altercation with teammates in the dugout of this same cross-town classic rivalry and was suspended by the Cubs for his actions).  Instead, Zambrano re-gained his focus during the break and went on to pitch 8 outstanding innings to give his club a chance to win an important game.  Zambrano allowed 2 White Sox hitters to reach base only once more during the game.  That was in the 5th inning when he put himself in a 1st and 3rd 1-out jam facing the middle of the lineup.  But he battled and got Carlos Quentin to fly out and Paul Konerko to strike out to keep the Cubs trailing by just 1 run.

Starlin Castro was the other Cub player who stepped up big in the win.  Castro’s 2-run single cut the White Sox lead to 3-2 in the 3rd inning.  And after Big Z’s heroics in the 5th inning, Castro led of the 6th inning with a game-tying solo home run to deep left field.  Gavin Floyd seemed shaken by the HR – he then surrendered a single to Blake DeWitt and a walk to Aramis Ramirez.  Then it was time for Carlos Pena to deliver the game-changing 3-run bomb to deep right center field that gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead.  And that’s how it stood the rest of the way.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning – he gave up 1-out singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios to bring the tying run to the plate.  But marmol got Mark Teahen to line out to right field and Juan Pierre to ground out to 2nd base to preserve the 6-3 Cubs win.  It was Marmol’s 15th save and it also gave Big Z his 6th win of the season.

Matt Garza and Mark Buehrle battle it out in game 2 of the cross-town classic series tonight at U.S. Cellular Field…

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Cubs Drop Series to Yankees with 10-4 Loss on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Wrigley Field 6/20/11

Posted on 20 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs dropped the final 2 games of the Yankees series over the weekend at Wrigley Field to fall to 29-42 on the season – 10 gamed behind the Cards and Brewers.  Both games were nationally televised broadcast losses and they erased some good “mojo” they had developed after taking 3 of 4 from the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley earlier in the week and the opener of the Cubs-Yankees series on Friday afternoon.

Randy Wells pitched 6 solid innings, allowing 4 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks.  He was hurt by Starlin Castro’s quick attempt to get a double play in the 4th inning with a runner on 1st base and one out.  Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were both safe on Cano’s weak grounder in front of home when Castro pulled his foot off the bag at 2nd base on Geovany Soto’s throw.  Castro should have made sure that he got the lead runner at 2nd base, but he didn’t, and then his throw to 1st in an attempt to get the speedy Cano was late.  Both players were safe and both came around to score to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3.

Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 7th inning, but then surrendered back-to-back hits to start the 8th inning.  Manager Mike Quade opted to go with the righty Chris Carpenter to make Nick Swisher bat from the left side and he made them pay with a 3-run jack to deep right field.  Just like that, the Cubs 4-1 lead turned into a 7-4 deficit with a few key plays.

Reed Johnson had 2 hits and a run scored in the loss.  Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting by going 4 for 5 with a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano hit his 6th career homer off of Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia with his 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning.

The Cubs travel down to the south side to take on the White Sox this week.  Carlos Zambrano makes his 1st appearance in U.S. Cellular Field since he had a 1st inning outburst during last season’s inter-league play when he felt like certain players were not giving their all.  Big Z was suspended for his actions and forced to take anger management classes.  Zambrano goes against Gavin Floyd tonight in the opener of the 3-game series.

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Zambrano Struggles Again, Cubs Lose 9-5 – Wrigley Field 6/16/11

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano struggled for the 2nd straight start since calling out closer Carlos Marmol for blowing a save in which Big Z stood to get the win back on June 5th against the Cardinals.  Since then, Zambrano has given up 12 ER on 16 hits and 9 walks to the Phillies and Brewers, both games which the Cubs have lost.  After having some impressive outings earlier this season, Big Z has been a mess of late with his ERA rising to 4.59. So much for trading him when the iron was hot.

On a side note – maybe we’ll see Prince Fielder in a Cubs uni next year?!?!

Jeff Baker homered in the 1st to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead and Reed Johnson cut the Brewers 5-1 lead to 5-4 with his 3-run bomb in the 4th inning, but it wasn’t enough.  Johnson, Blake DeWitt and DJ Lemahieu each had 2 hits in the loss.  The Cubs committed an error for what seems like the 50th game in a row.  It led to 2 unearned runs off of James Russell in the 7th inning that increased the Brewers lead to 7-4.

News Flash – Cubs defeated the Brewers today 12-7 to take 3 of 4 from the Brewers this week at Wrigley…

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Cubs Manufacture Impressive 5-4 Win Over Brewers – Wrigley Field 6/14/11

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Brewers on Tuesday night was a welcome sight for the north-siders.  We haven’t seen them rally like that and actually win the game in a long time.

Randy Wells was mostly ineffective again in his 3rd start since coming off of the DL.  Wells allowed way too many baserunners — 8 hits and 3 walks — but did limit the damage to 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings of work.

And while the Cubs trailed for most of the game – 3-0 and then 4-1 – they rallied for to tie the game off of the Brewers bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro had back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 4-2.  And then Aramis Ramirez tied it up with a home run to deep left field.

Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning and Jeff Samardzija worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 10.  Tony Campana started things off with a “hussle” double to shallow left field to get into scoring position.  After Kosuke Fukudome bunted him over to 3rd with 1 out, Castro delivered the game winning hit with a sharp single to right field.  Game over.  Just like that, Samardzija picked up the win for the 2nd night in a row and the Cubs took 2 in a row from the Brew Crew.

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Cubs Kick Off Homestand with 1-0 Victory over 1st Place Brewers – Wrigley Field 6/14/11

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Lou

Not a bad way to start the 7-game homestand on Monday night – a 1-0 win over the Brewers at Wrigley Field.  Ryan Dempster had his best start of the season, tossing 7 scoreless innings and scattering 4 hits with 1 walk and 7 K’s in the process.  He did not factor in the decision, but he lowered his bloated WHIP to 1.41 and his ERA to 5.48.  Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning and notched his 4th win of the season when the Cubs scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the frame.  Carlos Marmol walked Prince Fielder with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but he struck out former Cubs player Casey McGehee for the final out much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful.  It was Marmol’s 13th save of the season.

As for the bottom of the 8th inning, Darwin Barney singled with 1 out and moved over to 3rd base on Carlos Pena’s double to deep left field.  Aramis Ramirez did what he needed to do drive in the winning run.  His groundball to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gave Barney just enough time to make it home with a nifty little hook slide around catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

While this team certainly doesn’t have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot, they’re probably not as bad as their 26-39 record indicates.  The Cubs activated Jeff Baker from the DL and inserted him into the 3-spot in the lineup.  He had one hit with 1 K, but it was Pena who pinch-hit for Baker in the 8th inning.  The Cubs also put Kerry Wood on the DL with a nagging blister issue on his throwing hand.  The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Cardinals by 11 games in the NL Central race.

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Cubs Continue Losing Ways; Drop 3 of 4 in Philly – Wrigley Field 6/13/11

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs dropped 3 of 4 against the Phillis in Philadelphia this weekend and are now  25-39 and a whopping 12 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central race. Only the Houston Astros have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.

Sean Marshall, who had been so reliable all season long, finally had a hiccup in Sunday’s 4-3 loss.  Marshall surrendered a 2-run single to Ryan Howard in the 7th inning that gave the Phillies their 1st lead of the game.  The loss wasted a golden chance to split the series between the Phillies.  They took a 3-0 lead off of Roy Oswalt in the 1st inning on a Starlin Castro double and an Aramis Ramirez 2-run home run.  But the Cubs never pushed another run across the board the rest of the way.  Doug David was in line to get his 1st win of the season despite a poor outing – he allowed 5 hits and walked 5 hitters, but kept the damage to a minimum by allowing just 2 ER in 5 innings.  But at least he didn’t get the loss – for the 1st time in 6 starts…

On Saturday, Matt Garza looked much better in his 2nd straight since returning from the DL.  He went 6 innings, allowing just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  He allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning but kept the Phillies off the board through his final 5 innings of work.  Sean Marshall struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 7th inning and Casey Coleman was not much better – 3 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 8th.

It does not get much easier for the Cubs this week.  They host the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers for 4 games at Wrigley Field starting tonight and then the Yankees for 3 games over the weekend.

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