Archive | Sean Marshall

Cubs Cards Play for 3rd Time in 2009

Posted on 19 May 2009 by Lou

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Talk about an unbalanced schedule – the Cubs and Cards will meet for a 3rd time already this season when the 2 teams play a 3-game set in St. Louis this week.

Here’s how the match-ups unfold:

Tuesday night – Ted Lilly v. Joel Pineiro.  Lilly has won his last 4 decisions against the Cards and boasts a 2.99 career-ERA against them.  Pineiro has struggled against the Cubs – 2-3 record with an ERA over 5.

Wednesday night – Ryan Dempster v. Chris Carpenter – Carpenter has not pitched since his April 14th start in Arizona.  He tore a muscle in his left side swinging a bat and will be on a pitch count of about 75-80 pitches on Wednesday.

Thursday night – Sean marshall v. Adam Wainwright.

The Cubs trail the 1st place Brewers by 2 games in the NL Central race.  Although the Cubs have been playing well, the Brewers have been even better – winning 8 of 10 games and currently on a 6-game winning streak.  The Cards trail the Brewers by 3 games in the NL Central, so it is a big series for both ballclubs.

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Gregg Blows Cubs 4-Run Lead in 9th, But Cubs Win on Soriano Single

Posted on 17 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4 in frustrating, but dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Randy Wells gave the Cubs another great start – 6 innings, 0 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Wells left the game with a 3-0 and was set to earn his 1st majore league win.  The Cubs had built the lead on an RBI single by Derrek Lee in the bottom of the 6th inning, which was then followed by a 2-run homer from Micah Hoffpauir.  The Cubs added what turned out to be an all-important insurance run on a Geovany Soto single in the 8th inning.  Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol worked scoreless 7th and 8th innings to set it up perfectly for closer Kevin Gregg.

But it all fell apart for Gregg in the 9th.  Gregg gave up back-to-back homers to Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee to lead off the inning.  Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blumm singled and Gregg loaded the bases when he hit Hunter Pence with a pitch.  That was it for Gregg as Manager Lou Pinella replaced him with Aaron Heilman.  Heilman promptly served up a single to Ivan Pudge Rodriguez which scored Tejada and Pence to tie the game at 4.  But Heilman buckled down to induce 2 flyouts.  Heilman then walked Michael Bourn to load the bases again with 2 out, and Pinella called on Sean Marshall to finish off the rally.  He did just that – getting the deadly Lance Berkman to ground out to end the inning.

The Cubs rallied in the bottom of the 9th inning quickly.  Bobby Scales lead off the inning with a walk against former Cubs pitcher Latroy Hawkins.  Aaron Miles sacrificed Scales over to 2nd base and Alfonso Soriano delivered Scales home with the winning run on a single to right field.

The 2 teams finish off the series on Sunday afternoon – Rich Harden will take on Brian Moehler.

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Cubs Astros Opener @ Wrigley Field Rained Out

Posted on 15 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs-Astros Friday afternoon game at Wrigley Field was postponed because of rain.  The game will be made up at Wrigley Field on Thursday, July 30th at 1:20PM.  The two teams have a previously scheduled series at Wrigley Field from Monday, July 27th through Wednesday, July 29th.

Friday’s scheduled starter Randy Wells will make the start for the Cubs on Saturday.  Saturday’s scheduled starter Sean Marshall will be used out of the bullpen for the next 5 days, but will return to the rotation to start against the Cardinals in St. Louis next Thursday.  Rich Harden will remain the Cubs starter for Sunday’s finale.

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Cubs Top Padres 6-2 in Shocking Fashion at Wrigley Field

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Padres 6-2 on Tuesday night behind the solid pitching of Rich Harden and the clutch hitting of Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley.  Harden improved to 4-1 on the season and settled down after he gave up a 2-run 1st inning home run to Adrian Gonzalez which gave the Padres the early.  Harden retired 12 Padres in a row after the HR and allowed only 3 more base runners in the next 5 innings.

I must admit, I had my doubts especially after the Cubs blew a golden opportunity off Peavy in the 4th inning.  Kosuke Fukodome led off the inning with a double and advanced to 3rd base with nobody out on a wild pitch by Jake Peavy.  All the Cubs had to do was put the ball in play to plate Kosuke, but Peavy struck out Derek Lee and Milton Bradley and was saved by a great play by the 3rd baseman who robbed Mike Fontenot on a line drive to the hot corner.  I figured the Cubs were done after blowing that scoring chance, especially against Peavy.  But the Cubs didn’t give up.

Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double in the 5th inning score Geovany Soto with the Cubs 1st run of the game.  In the 6th inning, Kosuke led off with another double.  After another Derek Lee strike out – how many is that on the season now???!!! – Milton Bradley exacted revenge on Peavy with a deep bomb to center field.

Side rant – instead of just running around the bases, Bradley just dropped the bat at home plate and stared at the ball going well into the center field bleachers.  Bradley didn’t stop there, however.  At the top of the Cubs dugout steps, Bradley put his left hand up to his ear to the crowd as if to say “Where are the boos now?”  Is this guy for real?  Gimme a break.  Bradley needs to quit worrying about the fans, the opposition and the media, and start focusing on his health, his at-bats and playing the field.  Although Bradley has quietly put together a nice 6-game hitting streak with 2 home runs, only 1 of the games has been a multi-hit game and his batting average is still a measly .186.  Hey Milton – you can get on your high horse when you have double-digit home runs, RBI’s and runs scored and when your batting average is higher than .200…  Check out the Bradley antics here!

The Cubs got an insurance run on Bobby Scales 1st career home run in the 7th inning.   Scales was a little bit more diplomatic after his shot as he sped around the bases for his unfamiliar home run trot:  “I was just running.  I kept telling myself, ‘Pick your feet up, pick your feet up, so you don’t trip’.  Even in the Minor Leagues when I hit home runs, there’s no point in showing anybody up.  You hit it and it went over the fence, and that’s enough.  Hit all four bases and get off the field.”

In the 8th inning, the Cubs added 2 more runs on an RBI single by Alfonso Soriano and a wild pitch that scored Micah Hoffpauir.  Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg did the rest – shutting the door on the Padres with scoreless frames in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Let’s hope the Cubs can pull off a sweep of the Padres with Ted Lilly on Wednesday night and Ryan Dempster on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

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Marshall, Bullpen Help Cubs Beat Brewers 4-2, Avoid Sweep at Miller Park

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Brewers 4-2 at Miller Park Sunday afternoon to prevent the Brewers bid for a 3-game weekend series sweep.  Sean Marshall pitched 5 innings, overcoming a rough start in which he gave up single runs in each of the 1st 2 innings.  Marshall settled down, however, and kept the Cubs in the game despite giving up 5 hits and 3 walks over 97 pitches.  The bullpen – which had handed defeat to the Brewers in the 2 previous games – Aaron Heilman with his 2-run home run to Ryan Braun in the 8th inning on Friday night and Neal Cotts, David Patton and Chad Fox collectively imploding in the 7th inning in Saturday night’s 12-6 loss – finally got it done at Sunday afternoon.  Angel Guzman pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings with 2 strikeouts.  Carlos Marmol had another interesting 8th inning allowing Ryan Braun to get to 3rd base on a double and a balk with no one out.  After striking out Prince Fielder, Marmol walked Mike Cameron and after J.J. Hardy popped out to shallow right field, Marmol walked Bill Hall to load the bases.  But Marmol induced a Jason Kendall groundout to keep the Cubs lead 4-2.  Kevin Gregg picked up his 6th save of the season although he did allow the tying run to come to the plate when he walked Rickie Weeks with 1 out.  Gregg rebounded to strike out Corey Hart and Ryan Braun to end the game.

The Cubs tallied their 4 runs in a big 3rd inning off of Jeff Suppan.  Alfonso Soraino tied the game with a 2-run home run.  Aaron Miles doubled and Kosuke Fukkodome singled to keep the rally going, and Milton Bradley drove in Miles with an RBI single to center field.  Fukodome moved up to 3rd base and scored the 4th run of the inning on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Jason Kendall.

The Cubs seem to be getting it done with smoke and mirrors – more about this tomorrow.  But at least the Cubs came away with a victory on Sunday.  At 17-14, the Cubs are just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals.  The next 6 games are against the Padres and Astros, so if the Cubs can win each of those series, they should have a chance to cut into that lead as the Cardinals take on the Pirates and Brewers during that stretch.  Then the Cubs play the Cardinals next week in St. Louis – already the 3rd meeting between the teams this season – for another chance to cut into the lead.  As long as the Cubs can ride out these early season injuries to Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez to keep it close, they should be able to make a push for the division lead during the long, hot summer.

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Cubs Split 2-Game Series with Giants

Posted on 05 May 2009 by Lou

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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.

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Zambrano, Lee Power Cubs Past Marlins 6-4

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Lou

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The Cubs defeated the Marlins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field to take 3 of 4 games from the Marlins during the weekend series.  The Cubs have won 3 straight games and are 3.5 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

The win did not come without a cost.  Starter Carlos Zambrano, who earned his 3rd win of the season, injured his left hamstring while beating out a bunt single in the 5th inning.  Zambrano initially stayed in the game, but came out shortly thereafter because of tightness in the leg.  The Cubs will likely take a cautious approach with Zambrano and that means he could be placed on the disabled list.  The Cubs do not want Zambrano to alter his pitching motion in order to compensate for the injury to his hamstring, so the only way to do that could be to shut him down for 15 days.  We’ll have more as the Cubs update his status over the next few days.

Zambrano’s bunt single actually started the key rally for the Cubs in the 5th inning.  Soriano flied out after Zambrano’s bunt, and then Ryan Theriot also bunted for a single to send pinch-runner Rich Harden to 2nd base.  Kosuke Fukodome then reached on an error by 1st baseman Ross Gload which kept the inning going for Derrek Lee.  And D Lee made them pay – hitting a grand slam to give the Cubs the commmanding 6-2 lead.  Aaron Miles had an RBI double in the 2nd inning and Mike Fontenot hit a solo home run in the 4th inning – his 5th home run of the year.

Zambrano pitched effectively through the games first 5 innings – 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk.  Zambrano also had 1 K.  Angel Guzman gave up 1 run over 2 innings of work, and Carlos Marmol gave up a run on a solo home run to John Baker.  But Kevin Gregg shut the door on his former team for his 2nd straight save and 3rd overall on the season.

Before the Sunday matinee, the Cubs retired the #31 to honor 2 legendary Cubs pitchers – Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

The Cubs start a 2-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.  Ryan Dempster will face Jonathan Sanchez in the opener, while Sean Marshall will duel defending-Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in Tuesday’s matinee finale.

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Lifeless Bats, 6-run 10th Inning = Bad Night @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 01 May 2009 by Lou

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The Florida Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs 8-2 in 10 innings to open up a 4-game series at Wrigley Field on Thursday night.  The Cubs managed only 5 hits on the night – solo back-to-back home runs by Milton Bradley and Mike Fontenot in the 5th inning, 2 hits by Ryan Theriot and a pinch-hit single by pitcher Carlos Zambrano with 2 outs in the 8th inning.  Can you say pathetic?

Granted, the 2 runs should have been enough to get the Cubs and Sean Marshall the much needed win.  But Carlos Marmol walked the 1st 2 batters in the 8th inning and then threw away Chad Maybin’s bunt allowing Ross Gload to score the tying run.  Marmol miraculously escaped the 2nd and 3rd no out rally to preserve the 2-2 tie, but the Cubs bullpen imploded in the 10th inning.  Aaron Heilman gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 3 hits and 2 walks to let the game slip away from the Cubs.  Heilman did not even record an out.

The Cubs wasted Sean Marshall’s best start of the year – 7 innings, 1 earned run, 6 hits, 2 walks and 6 K’s.  He put the Cubs in position to win with the Marmol – Gregg 8th-9th inning combo, but that ended quickly with Marmol’s disastrous outing.  Let’s hope the Cubs can turn it around soon.  At 10-11, the Cubs fell below the .500 mark for the 1st time all season, and are already 5 games behind the Cardinals who are in Washington DC to take on the lowly Nationals this weekend.

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Frustration Buliding for Cubs with 3rd Straight Loss

Posted on 25 April 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs are not getting off to the start that they wanted in 2009.  After starting the season with a 4-2 road trip, the Cubs have lost 6 of their last 10 games and find themselves at the .500 mark for the 1st time this year.  With injuries mounting – Carlos Marmol and Aramis Ramirez were injured in Friday night’s loss to the Cards – the Cubs are pushing way too hard too early in the season.

The Cubs bats have been eerily quiet for the last week or so.  The Cubs did not score until the 7th inning on Friday night, and even then, 2 out of the 3 runs scored were unearned because of an error that prolonged the inning.  Even with the error, the Cubs failed to really take advantage of the break when Ryan Theriot grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and no one out.  Sure it drove in the tying run, but it didn’t provide the Cubs with the big knockout punch that could have helped the Cubs end their 2- game losing streak.

The Cubs ended up losing the game in the bottom of the 8th inning.  After an Albert Pujols single and stolen base, Ryan Ludwick knocked in Pujols with the winning run with a single of Carlos Marmol.  Marmol then left the game with pain on the inside of his left knee.

Ryan Dempster pitched a decent enough ball game – 6 innings, 7 hits and 3 earned runs, with 1 walk and 6 K’s.  Dempster had one bad inning when he gave up a 2-run double to Joe Thurston and an RBI single to Skip Schumacher.  Other than that, he mainly stayed out of trouble.

The Cubs and Cards resume the series on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.  Sean Marshall will face off against Mitchell Boggs.

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Reds Take 2 of 3 From Cubs; Cubs Head to St. Louis for Big Weekend Series

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Lou

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Maybe another road trip will be good for the Cubs.  After the Reds took 2 of 3 games from the Cubs this week at Wrigley Field, the Cubs home record fell to 4-4.  On the road, the Cubs are a mighty 4-2.  At 8-6, the Cubs trail the Cards by 2 games in the NL Central race, as the 2 teams play 3 games in St. Louis in another big weekend series.  Ryan Dempster, Sean Marshall and Rich Harden will pitch for the Cubs, while the Cards will counter with Adam Wainright, Mitchell Boggs and Todd Wellemeyer.

The Reds Johnny Cueto bested Ted Lilly in Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss.    Although Lilly allowed only 1 unearned in his 7 innings of work, he was on the short end of the stick as Cueto had the Cubs hitters off-balance all night long.  Cueto gave up only 4 hits and no walks as the Cubs never really mounted any serious threat against the youngster.  Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips each had 2 hits for the Reds, and Bruce’s solo shot in the top of the 9th inning off of Kevin Gregg gave the Reds a little cushion for closer Francisco Cordero.  Milton Bradley was in the Cubs lineup, but went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts.  He still has only 1 hit on the season and his batting average is down to .043.

On Thursday afternoon, the Reds Aaron Harang out-dueled Carlos Zambrano as the Reds beat the Cubs 7-1.  Joey Votto was a one man wrecking crew – going 4 for 5 with a home run and 2 doubles.  Votto drove in 2 runs and scored 1 run.  Harang pitched 7 strong innings giving up only 1 unearned run on 7 hits and 1 walk.  Zambrano, meanwhile, gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.  He did have 7 strikeouts.  He is now 1-1 on the year with a hefty 4.85 ERA.  Neal Cotts gave up a run in his 1 inning of work, while newly-called-up reliever Jeff Samardzija gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits in the 9th inning.  Not good all-around.

Let’s hope the Cubs can get back on track on the road.  Although it’s early, the team has played uninspired ball so far this season.  If they think they have the NL Central wrapped up just because they have won it the last 2 seasons, they have another thing coming.  Time for Pinella to light a fire under these guys and see if a change in lineup can spark the lackluster club.

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