Posted on 11 June 2009 by Lou
The Astros defeated the Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday night, as the Cubs bats wasted a 3rd straight gem by Carlos Zambrano. After their 16-hit, 7 runs barrage on Tuesday night, the Cubs scored only 1 run on a solo home run by Geovany Soto in the 2nd inning. The Cubs managed only 7 hits and 2 walks against Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Sampson. Ryan Theriot was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit. The Cubs had more than 1 batter reach base in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, but only scored 1 run in that span. They didn’t have another serioues threat until the 8th inning when Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee singled, but Reed Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Zambrano needed only 104 pitches to work through 8 innings. Zambrano gave up only 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 3 batters. His only mistake was issuing a lead off walk to Hunter Pence in the 7th inning. Pence advanced to 3rd base on Carlos Lee’s single to center field and then scored on a weak groundball by Geoff Blum. In his last 3 starts, Zambrano has pitched 21 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs (3 total) on 12 hits and 10 walks. He has 16 K’s along the way, but only a 1-0 record to show for it.
Angel Guzman had been the Cubs most reliable reliever until last night. Guzman gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Tejada and then walked Hunter Pence. Carlos Lee’s flyout to right field moved Tejada to 3rd base with only 1 out. Manager Lou Pinella opted to walk Lance Berkman to load the bases to set up a force play at every base, but Geoff Blum’s soft single to center field won the game for the Astros.
The two teams play an afternoon finale on Thursday in Houston. Ryan Dempster will face off against Roy Oswalt.
Posted on 08 June 2009 by Lou
The Cubs 6-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday wasn’t pretty – but they will take it, especially since the Brewers and Cards lost too. With the win, the Cubs moved just 1.5 game behind the Cards and 3.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central race.
Once again, the Cubs bats left a lot to be desired. The Cubs managed only 12 hits in 14 innings. The Cubs scored 1 run in the 1st inning on Ryan Theriot’s solo home run and 2 runs in the 3rd inning on Derrek Lee’s 2-out 2-run single, but they didn’t score another run until their 3-run “outburst” in the top of the 14th inning. Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a solo home run. Ryan Theriot singled and Kosuke Fukodome walked, and after a Derrek Lee foul out, Mike Fontenot drove in the 2nd run of the inning with an infield single. Reed Johnson then doubled home Fukodome to give the Cubs the 6-3 lead.
The Cubs used 8 pitchers in all. David Patton picked up his 2nd win of the season by pitching a scoreless 13th inning. Angel Guzman picked up his 1st career major-league save by working a scoreless bottom of the 14th inning. Randy Wells turned in another solid start – 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk and 4 K’s. And once again he did not get the win – because of a familiar character – Carlos Marmol. Marmol faced only 2 batters in the 8th inning and he walked them both. By this time, Manager Lou Pinella had seen enough and he yanked Marmol for Aaron Heilman. Heilmand minimized the damage as best as he could by allowing only 1 run to score. The most impressive outing may have come from Jose Ascansio, however. Ascansio worked 3 scoreless innings in the 10th, 11th and 12th to keep the Cubs in the game. He did give up 2 hits and 2 walks, but he was able to navigate through some tricky waters to get through his 3 innings unscathed.
The Cubs are now 28-26. The Cubs can rest on Monday with a scheduled day off, and then make the trip to Houston to take on the Astros. Heres how the match-ups look: Ted Lilly v. Brian Moehler on Tuesday night; Carlos Zambrano v. Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday night; and Ryan Dempster v. Roy Oswalt on Thursday afternoon.
Posted on 07 June 2009 by Lou
Lack of hitting continues to plague the Cubs day in and day out. The Cubs could must only 8 hits and 3 runs off of a 1st time starter and a trio of Reds relievers in the 4-3 11-inning loss on Saturday night in Cincinnati. With Fukodome’s average dropping below the .300 mark, the Cubs do not have an every day hitting over .300 – what a joke for a high-payroll team.
The Cubs scored their only runs on Bobby Scales and Geovany Soto solo home runs and a Jake Fox sacrifice fly that tied the game at 3 in the 8th inning.
The pitching was great – Ryan Dempster pitched 6 strong innings. The only 3 runs scored off of Dempster in the 1st inning were all unearned – courtesy of a Mike Fontenot error. Do ya think we miss Mark DeRosa right now? At least we have 3 pitchers in the minor leagues pitching well…
Dempster only agve up 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7. Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman each worked scoreless innings of relief. After Sean Marshall worked a scoreless 10th inning, he fell into immediate trouble in the 11th when he issued a lead-off walk to Jay Bruce (the guy is hitting below .220). Bruce advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch and took 3rd on a sacrifice bunt. Marshall intentionally walked the next batter to set up a force play, but the next batter’s weak groundball to 3rd baseman Mike Fontenot allowed the winning run to score. Fontenot looked lost fielding the ball as he lobbed the ball to Geovany Soto at the plate. The runner easily scored, but may not have if Aramis Ramirez was on the field.
The Cubs are now 4 1/2 games behind the Brewers and they still trail the Cards and Reds as well. Not good for a ball club that was expected to compete for a World Series in 2009…
Posted on 06 June 2009 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Reds 2-1 on Friday night in Cincinnati behind an all-around effort from Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano won his 100th career game, pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball. Zambrano needed a lot of pitches, however (108 total), as he walked 5 batters and struck out 7. Zambrano’s solo home run to deep center field in the 5th inning ended up being the game-winning run.
Angel Guzman got Zambrano out of a jam in the bottom of the 7th inning by retiring Johnny Gomes on a harmless ground ball with 2 on and 2 out. Guzman has been lights out this season, lowering his WHIP to 0.90 and his ERA to 2.45. Carlos Marmol struggled again – giving up the Reds only run in the 8th inning on 2 walks and a hit. But Kevin Gregg stepped up big in the 9th inning to record his 10th save of the season.
The Cubs bats continue to struggle. It is getting to be a huge issue for the Cubs and very frustrating for Manager Lou Pinella. No one ever seems to come up with the big hit. A perfect example was the 1st inning – the Cubs loaded the bases with only 1 out on a Ryan Theriot infield single and consecutive walks to Kosuke Fukodome and Derrek Lee. But the Cubs could only muster 1 run as Micah Hoffpauir struck out, Miek Fontneot coaxed another walk out of Reds starter Micah Owings, and then Koyie Hill struck out to end the inning. The Cubs only had 7 hits and left 18 runners on base.
The Cubs and Reds continue the weekend series today – Ryan Dempster v. Matt Maloney who will be making his 1st career major league start.
Posted on 01 June 2009 by Lou
The Dodgers avoided a series loss by crushing Sean Marshall and the Cubs 8-2 at Wrigley Field on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Dodgers lit up Cubs starter Sean Marshall for 5 earned runs in the 1st inning. The 1st 5 Dodgers reached base on consecutive singles that scored 2 runs. After Marshall struck out Matt Kemp, Mark Loretta’s 2-run double increased the Dodgers lead to 4-0. Jamie Hoffman’s sacrifice fly plated the 5th run of the inning for the Dodgers. All in all, Marshall lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up 7 earned runs (8 total) on 8 hits and 1 walk. Marshall dropped to 3-4 on the 2009 NLB schedule with the loss.
There were a couple of bright spots for the Cubs. Reed Johnson continued his hot hitting, going f 3 for 4 and driving in the Cubs only 2 runs with a double in the 6th inning. Ryan Theriot also plated 2 hits – the only other Cub with more than 1 hit. Cubs relievers – Jose Ascansio, Jason Waddell, David Patton, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – also fared well – pitching 4 2/3 scoreless innings after Marshall departed. Jason Waddell made his big league debut pitching a scoreless 6th inning giving up only 1 hit while striking out 2 batters.
The Cubs are now 25-24, 4.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. The Cubs embark on a 9-game road trip away from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – taking on the Braves in Atlanta, the Reds in Cincinnati and the Astros in Houston.
Posted on 26 May 2009 by Lou
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.
Posted on 23 May 2009 by Lou
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:
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.
Posted on 14 May 2009 by Lou
The Cubs finished off the 3-game sweep of the Padres on Thursday, as the Padres dropped their 11th straight road game.
The Cubs broke out the big bats in each victory. In Wednesday night’s 6-4 win, the Cubs hit 4 home runs. The Cubs nailed back to back home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot in the 1st inning to tie the game at 2. Geovany Soto’s 2-run home run in the 3rd inning increased the Cubs lead to 5-2 and Ryan Theriot’s 2nd home run of the game in the 4th inning. Ted Lilly pitched 6 1/3 innings – 3 earned runs, 8 hits, 0 walks and 7 K’s – to pick up his 5th win of the season. Carlos Marmol picked up his 3rtd save of the season despite giving up 2 earned run on 2 hits and 2 walks in just an inning of work.
In Thursday afternoon’s 11-3 win, the Cubs had 2 huge innings in which they scored 10 runs. In the 5th inning, the Cubs scored 6 runs to blow the game open – a Geovany Soto walk with the bases loaded, a Reed Johnson 2-RBI double, a Bobby Scales 2-RBI double; and a Ryan Dempster single. In the 6th inning, the Cubs scored 4 more runs on another 2-RBI double by Bobby Scales, an Aaron Miles RBI double and a Ryan Dempster RBI double. Ryan Dempster worked 7 efficient innings – 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 2 walks and 5 K’s – to pick up his 3rd win of the season. Jose Ascansio made his 1st major league appearance pitching 2 innings with 3 K’s and giving up just a solo home run to Drew Macias. Ascansio also got his 1st major league at-bat when he struck out in the bottom of the 8th inning.
The lone bright spot in the series for the Padres was Adrian Gonzalez – 1 home run on Tuesday, 2 home runs on Wednesday, and 1 more home run on Thursday.
Manager Lou Pinella has gotta be happy with the way his team has started off this home stand at Wrigley Field. Next up for the Cubs – a weekend series against the Houston Astros.
Posted on 09 May 2009 by Lou
The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun’s 2-run home run off Aaron Heilman in the bottom of the 8th inning was the game-winner. Heilman walked Corey Hart on 4 straight pitches to start the inning, and after falling behind Bruan 1-0, he grooved a fastball that Braun crushed over the right center field fence to give the Brewers the 3-2 lead. They say walks always kill you, and in this situation, it certainly did. Heilman’s ERA is now 5.14 and the Cubs bullpen continues to disappoint in 2009.
Randy Wells made his 1st major league start filling in for the injured Carlos Zambrano. While it wasn’t pretty – 5 hits and 2 walks – Wells was able to get out of jams and stood to earn his first career major league win as he departed with a 2-0 lead. But Angel Guzman gave up a solo home run to JJ Hardy in the 6th inning to cut the lead to 1, and then Heilman worked his disastrous 8th inning.
The Cubs did have a chance to break open the game in the top of the 8th inning. With the bases loaded and only 1 out, Ryan Theriot hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in Koyie Hill being forced out at home and Geovany Soto grounded out to the shortstop to end the threat.
As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Aramis Ramirez injured his left shoulder diving for a ground ball in the 3rd inning. The Cubs believe that Ramirez dislocated his shoulder and will likely spend somewhere between 4-6 weeks on the disabled list to recover. We’ll keep you posted once we hear more on the injury.
The Cubs will need Ryan Dempster to step up his game on Saturday as the Cubs take on Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers again on Saturday. Gallardo has been lights out in his last 4 starts – giving up only 5 earned runs over 30 innings with 30 K’s.
Posted on 05 May 2009 by Lou
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.