Archive | Sean Marshall

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.

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

Cardinals Cubs Baseball

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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.

APTOPIX Cubs White Sox Baseball

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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.

Cubs Tigers Baseball

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All Systems A Go – Lilly, Bats Help Cubs Crush Astros 7-1

Posted on 10 June 2009 by Lou

Cubs Astros Baseball

The Cubs bats finally came to life in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  The Cubs racked up 16 hits and 7 runs, scoring in each of the 1st 3 innings to take a commanding 5-0 lead.  Ted Lilly, Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall did the rest – holding the Astros to just 5 hits and 1 run in the game.  Lilly lasted only 6 1/3 innings, however, because of his high pitch count – 114 pitches as he worked deep in a lot of counts all night long.  He made the most of his pitches as the Astros never really posed any serious threat.

Mike Fontenot had 4 hits – including a solo home run in the 3rd inning – on his 29th birthday.  Geovany Soto continued his hot hitting with 3 hits and an RBI single in the 1st inning.  Kosuke Fukodome, Derrek Lee and Andrew Blanco also had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Lee has his average up to .269 and with 3 walks, you can tell that he is seeing the ball so well right now – he is back to being his patient old self.

With the Brewers and Reds both losing, the Cubs are tied with the Cards and Reds for 2nd place in the NL Central – just 2.5 games behind the Brewers.  Carlos Zambrano will take on Wandy Rodriguez in Game 2 of the Astros series tonight in Houston in an attempt to move the Cubs closer to the 1st place Brewers.

Cubs Astros Baseball

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Cubs Lose to Reds 4-3 In 11 Innings

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Lou

reds-beat-cubsa1

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…

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Cubs Braves Series Finale Rained out in Atlanta

Posted on 05 June 2009 by Lou

carlos-zambrano-cubs

The Thursday night series finale between the Cubs and Braves was rained out.  The game will be made up in Atlanta on Monday, June 22nd – a mutual day off for both teams.

Carlos Zambrano will now start Friday night against Micah Owings and the Reds in Cincinnati.  Zambrano is in search of his 100th career victory.  Ryan Dempster will now start on Saturday and Randy Wells will start on Sunday.  Sean Marshall, Saturday’s schedule starter will now go back into the bullpen until the Cubs need another 5th starter later next week.

Manager Lou Pinella might have an important decision soon, however.  If Rich Harden can return to the Cubs rotation at some point late next week, Pinella might decide to stick with Marshall coming out of the bullpen for the Cubs to give them another option.  With as well as Wells has been pitching as a starter, this would make perfect sense.

We’ll keep a close watch on this as the week continues and as Harden makes a rehab start early next week.

carlos-zambrano-final

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Dodgers Crush Marshall, Cubs 8-2, Earn Split of Weekend Series at Wrigley

Posted on 01 June 2009 by Lou

Dodgers Cubs Baseball

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.

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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.

Braves Cubs Baseball

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Cards Sweep Cubs with 3-1 Win; Zambrano to Start Friday Night Against Peavy in San Diego

Posted on 22 May 2009 by Lou

Cubs Cardinals Baseball

I am starting to get really fed up with this Cubs team.  There is no spark in the 2009 version of the Cubs and there is no fight in the 2009 version of the Cubs.  You’re facing your biggest division rival on their home turf and you lay 3 eggs like that?  It is a joke.

The Cubs bats were atrocious – 0 runs, 3 hits & 0 walks on Tuesday night; 1 run, 6 hits & 3 walks on Wednesday night ; & 1 run, 5 hits & 1 walk on Thursday night.  In a 3-game series, you total 2 runs, 14 hits and 4 walks?  What a joke!

I can see Adam Wainwright shutting you down on Thursday night – he has always pitched well against the Cubs.  But Joel Pineiro throwing a 3-hit complete game shutout on Tuesday?  Gimme a break.  Chris Carpenter pitching 5 scoreless innings on Wednesday night after spending 3 weeks on the DL?  Show some life.

The Cubs pitching actually did excellent in the series – both the starters (Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall) and the relievers.  3 runs, 2 runs and 3 runs to the hard hitting Cards in St. Louis is a job well done.  Even a mediocre offensive attack should have garnered the Cubs at least 1 win in St. Louis.  But it was not meant to be.

The next 10 days are huge for the Cubs.  The Cubs make the long trip to California to take on the Padres in San Diego this weekend.  Carlos Zambrano will make his first start since going on the DL with an aggravated left hamstring strain.  He opposes Jake Peavy on Friday night.  Peavy will be playing with renewed energy after declining to accept a trade that would have sent him to the south side of Chicago to play for the White Sox.

After the Padres series, the Cubs will take on the Pirates – winners of 6 straight games – from Monday through Wednesday at Wrigley Field.  And then it’s a 4-game weekend series against the NL’s best team – the Los Angeles Dodgers from Thursday through Sunday.  The Cubs already trail the 1st place Brewers by 4 games in the NL Central.  If they cannot find their groove soon, that deficit could grow pretty quickly.

Let’s hope that Manager Lou Pinella has some words of wisdom for his ballclub and that GM Jim Hendry has some trade moves up his sleeve, because it is pretty clear that this team is not made up to win on a consistent basis during the 2009 MLB schedule.

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Cubs Bats Silent in St. Louie Again, Lose 2-1

Posted on 21 May 2009 by Lou

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It looked like the Cards were going to shutout the Cubs for a 2nd straight night.  Although the Cubs were able to score their 1st run of the series on Micah Hoffpauir’s 9th inning pinch-hit single, Cards closer Ryan Franklin struck out Reed Johnson with the tying run on 3rd base to preserve the Cards 2-1 win over the Cubs.  Cards ace Chris Carpenter made is 1st start in almost a month and held the Cubs to just 3 hits and 2 walks through 5 innings (67 pitches).  Carpenter struck out 4 and picked up his 2nd win of the season.

Ryan Dempster pitched a solid game, but it wasn’t enough – 7 innings, 103 pitches, 2 ER, 6 hits, 2 walks and 3 K’s.  For the 2nd straight night, the Cubs failed to capitalize on a starting pitcher’s quality start.  Carlos Marmol worked a 1-2-3 8th inning to keep the Cubs within striking distance in the 9th inning, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Cubs bats – or lack thereof – was the big story, however.  The Cubs only mustered 6 total hits – 2 of them coming from pinch-hitters.  The Cubs only have 1 regular hitting over .300 – Kosuke Fukodome at .319.  Not good.

The Cubs will rely on Sean Marshall to prevent the Cubs from getting swept in St. Louis and losing 4 games in a row overall.  He will take on Adam Wainwright who has always pitched well against the Cubs.

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