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Carlos Zambrano Pitches & Hits Cubs to 4-0 Win – Cubs 4, Brewers 0 – 9/10/10 Miller Park

Posted on 11 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano looked like the Zambrano that merited the 5-year, $78 million deal he signed 3 years ago as he dominated the Brewers in the Cubs 4-0 win.

Ryan Dempster looks to follow Big Z’s M.O. and shake off 2 bad starts in a row as he takes on Randy Wolf and the Brewers at Miller Park today.

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Wells Disappointing Sophomore Season Continues on North Side – Cubs 0, Astros 4 – 9/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 September 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells’ disappointing sophomore season continued on the north side in Wednesday night’s 4-0 loss to the Astros.  Wells gave up 4 ER on 9 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  Although the Astros did not score more than 1 run in any inning, Wells always seemed to be working out of a jam.  This has become a much-too-familiar story for Wells all season long.  I really hope the new manager decides to part ways with Larry Rothschild.  Rothschild has been the Cubs pitching coach since the Dusty Baker days.  Lou Pinella kept him on when he took over 4 years ago.  Not one single pitcher has really emerged as a consistent baseball star coveted by other teams under his tutelage.  Pitchers have had a good year or 2 and then regressed or gotten injured on his watch.  It’s about time that the new manager bring in his own staff with some fresh ideas and how to develop some of these young pitchers coming up in the Cubs organization.

Bret Myers had another dominant effort against the Cubs.  Myers had a perfect game going until he walked Geovany Soto in the 5th inning.  The Cubs ended up getting just 5 hits and 1 walk in the game.  They had more than 1 runner on base in only 3 innings.  In the 5th, Alfonso Soriano singled after Soto’s walk, but both players were left stranded on base.  Tyler Colvin had a double in the 7th inning, but couldn’t score on Soto’s shallow single to left field.  Both runners were left stranded.  In the 8th inning, Starlin Castro and Blake DeWitt had back-to-back singles, but neither player scored.  All in all, it was not a good offensive showing by the Cubs.

After an off-day today, the Cubs embark on a 9-game road trip that will have them playing the Brewers in Milwaukee, the Cardinals in St. Louis and the Marlins in Florida.  Oh boy – what fun.  Do you think the Cubs will even draw a total of 30,000 fans for the 3-game weekend series in Miami next weekend?  I doubt it…

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Is This the “Real-New- Carlos Zambrano?” – Cubs 5, Mets 3 – 9/4/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 05 September 2010 by Lou

Is this the new “real” Carlos Zambrano.  Zambrano picked up his 3rd straight win in as many starts with a dominating 7-inning outing against the Mets.  Zambrano scattered 4 hits and 2 walks during his outing and gave up only 2 ER.  He racked up 8 K’s and only needed 103 pitches to go the full 7 innings.  Most importantly, Big Z maintained his composure after the Mets pulled off a rare double-steal of 2nd base and home in the 4th inning which allowed the Mets to score a run on a strikeout.  Zambrano struck out Lucas Duda, but when Carlos Beltran eluded the tag at 2nd base by Starlin Castro, Luis Castillo was able to score from 3rd base for the Mets first run of the game.  In the past, a play like that would have sent Big Z into a tizzy.  But on Saturday, he kept his composure and was able to strike out Ike Davis to end the inning.  Back in the dugout, Castro apologized to Zambrano, but Big told him not to worry about it.  Amazing?!  Big Z later said — “I’m still going to the doctor, you know.  Still have, like, six more sessions… You realize that he’s still learning.  It’s still his first year in the big leagues.”  Unbelievable.  Not sure if this is the Zambrano we’re always going to see, but if he really starts to make an effort like that, you have to like his chances for staying with the Cubs in the future and actually being productive.  We’ll be following this closely as the season closes and as the winter meetings heat up in December.

Castro had 2 more hits and a run scored.  Castro became the first Cubs rookie to have a multi-hit game in 6 straight games since Don Johnson (not the Miami Vice Don Johnson) did so back in 1944.  His batting average is now .321 – still good for 3rd place in the NL.

Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits including his 21st home run of the season in the 7th inning.  Marlon Byrd also had 2 hits as every Cubs starter – including Zambrano – had a hit.

Andrew Cashner picked up his 11th hold of the season despite giving up a run on a walk and a hit in the 8th inning that cut the Cubs lead to 5-3.  But Carlos Marmol notched his 27th save with a scoreless 9th inning.  Marmol struck out the side despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate when he gave up a hit to Ike Davis with 1 out in the 9th.

The Cubs go for the sweep over the Mets this afternoon.  Ryan Dempster looks to rebound from his worst start of the season (7 ER in 3 innings of a 14-7 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night) in the Sunday afternoon finale.

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Can the Cubs Trust Carlos Zambrano in 2010? – Cubs 5, Nationals 4 – 8/24/10 Nationals Park

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Lou

Can the Cubs trust Carlos Zambrano for the 2010 MLB schedule?  It is a great question.  Zambrano continued his surprisingly good return from his anger management treatment with a 4th straight positive start.  This one was clearly his best as his control – both mental and physical – were clearly on display.  Big Z has yet to let up more than 2 ER in any of his last 4 starts, and although his control has been suspect in 2 of the starts (7 walks in 5 innings against the Giants and 6 walks against the Padres in 6 innings), he is putting the Cubs in position to win ball games.  He is 2-0 in the 4 starts.  In last night’s 5-4 win, Zambrano worked into the 8th inning, striking out 8 batters along the way. He ran out of steam in the 8th inning after giving up a 1-out hit to Nyger Morgan on his 108th pitch.  Manager Mike Quade (I’m still having trouble saying that) decided to go with the usually-reliable Sean Marshall who promptly loaded the bases with walks to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn.  So Quade had to call upon Carlos Marmol to put out the threat, which he did when he struck out Ian Desmond.  Marmol made things interesting in the 9th inning when he loaded the bases on 2 walks, a balk and hit and then gave up a bases-clearing double to Adam Kennedy to turn a 4-run lead into a 1-run lead.  But he got Zimmerman to fly out to right field to end the game and preserve the win for Quade and the Cubs.

It would have been interesting to see Big Z’s reaction had Marmol fully blown the save with his disastrous 9th inning. Would the “old-angry” Zambrano have erupted if the Cubs ended up losing the game, costing Zambrano a win.  Or would we have seen the “softer-compassionate” Zambrano give Marmol a hug after he blew the game, consoling him with words of kindness and “Go Get ‘Em tomorrow kid.”  While I’d like to think that Zambrano would have been “fine” with a loss, part of me can’t help but wonder when the next “Z-eruption” will occur.  He is 5-6 on the season, but it’s tough to judge his 1.68 WHIP and 4.64 ERA.  He had so many poor starts early in the season and a few bad relief outings which has really skewed his numbers.  The recent walk issues haven’t helped his WHIP at all either.  I guess we’ll have to see how he pitches the rest of the way.  He is dealing with a sick nephew in Venezuela who could die at any moment from an infectious disease, so Big Z’s focus could be a bit limited over the remaining 6 starts or so, but it would be nice to see him continue to pitch well down the stretch.  It wouldn’t completely convince me that the Cubs need to keep Big Z on the roster in 2010, but it would make that decision that much tougher.

I guess if Big Z’s trade value improves with more good starts, then I would be open to dealing him, but only if the Cubs don’t have to pay a good chunk of his salary.  But if a team is only going to take him IF the Cubs take on 50% of his salary (he is owed just under $40 million over the next 2 seasons), I would advise against it.  For as much of a headache as he can be, he is still young at 29 years of age and if he can give the Cubs innings and wins over the final 2 years of the deal, it may be worth it to keep him and then use him as a trade chip for a contender in July 2012 – the year before he becomes a free agent.  Sure, Big Z is clearly not worth the $91.5 million GM Jim Hendry agreed to pay him in his new deal back in 2008, but to get pennies on the dollar for Big Z in an off-season move now, might not be the best move for the Cubs for the 2010 and 2011 MLB seasons.

Alfonso Soriano and Tyler Colvin continued to respond to their new spots in the lineup under Quade.  In the 7-hole, Soriano crushed a 3-run home run to deep left field that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning.  In the 4th inning, Colvin extended the Cubs lead to 5-1 with a 2-run homer to deep right that scored Soriano (who had reached on an error).  Colvin was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit on the night.

Ryan Dempster and the Cubs go for the sweep over the Nationals tonight in Washington, DC.  They will take on their former teammate Jason Marquis who has yet to win in 2010 – he has lost all 6 of his starts during the 2010 MLB schedule, pitching 5 innings only once all season long.  He has a hefty 11.39 ERA and 2.25 WHIP as he is still dealing with elbow surgery recovery 3 months ago…

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Coleman Helps Quade Earn 1st Win as Cubs Manager; More Lou Memories – Cubs 9, Nationals 1 – 8/23/10 Nationals Park

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Lou

Casey Coleman looked sharp in his 2nd major league start and the Cubs gave Mike Quade his 1st win as the Cubs skipper with an easy 9-1 win over the Nationals in Washington, DC.

Coleman worked into the 7th inning giving up just 1ER on 3 hits and 2 walks.  Coleman wanted to make it through the full 7 innings, but he gave up a single and a double to start the inning and then an RBI ground out to Ivan Rodriguez which plated the Nationals only run.  After Coleman walked Willie Harris to put 2 men on and only 1 out, Quade opted to go with Andrew Cashner to get him out of the jam.  Cashner came through with a double play groundout to end the threat and then pitched a perfect 8th inning as well to give him his most efficient outing in a while.  Hopefully both Coleman and Cashner take the positives from last night’s game and build some confidence before the end of the season.  Guys like Coleman, Cashner, Diamond, Berg are the future of the Cubs pitching staff, so it would be great to see them finish strong after such a long and brutal 2010 campaign.

The bats also came to life for Quade. Quade didn’t waste any time making some immediate changes to Lou Pinella’s lineup.  He moved Blake DeWitt into the leadoff spot (he has had a .392 on-base percentage since he joined the Cubs); he inserted Tyler Colvin back into the lineup in the 6-hole (Pinella inexplicably kept Colvin out of the lineup for most of the last homestand because he was in a hitting slump – gimme a break Lou – what Cubs hitter wasn’t in a hitting daze all season long?); and he dropped Alfonso Soriano into the 7-hole.  Each move paid off.

DeWitt went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s and a home run.  He is now hitting .284 on the season and looks to be a fixture opposite Starlin Castro in the middle of the infield.

Colvin had a 2-run single in the 3rd inning which increased the Cubs lead at the time to 3-0.  He did end up striking out 3 times, however.

And Soriano went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s and a run scored.  His 2-run triple in the 5th inning helped open up the game to 5-0.

Castro had 2 hits, Xavier Nady had 3 hits and 2 runs scored and Kosuke Fukudome had 2 more hits and an RBI after coming into the game for Marlon Byrd who was hit by a pitch on the hand.  X-rays were negative, but he will likely miss a game or 2 to make sure he is fully healthy.

As for the end of the Lou Pinella era, it was a mixed back for the 67-year old manager.  In his 1st season as Managers, he lead the team to an 85-77 record in 2007 and an NL Central Division crown.  His club faced the #1 seed Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the playoffs, however, and his questionable early removal of Carlos Zambrano in the 7th inning of Game 1 of the series paved the way for the series sweep.  The Cubs finished 97-64 in 2008.  The Cubs had the best record in the National League during the regular season and another NL Central Division Crown.  Hopes were high for a trip to the World Series and the unthinkable World Series, but the Cubs pitching and hitting deserted them as they were swept out of the playoffs by the Dodgers in 3 games.  The Cubs finished 83-78 in 2009.  When Lou announced his departure after the game on Sunday, the team’s record was 51-74 through the first 125 games of the 2010 MLB schedule.  Not the best way to leave his legacy, but it is what it is.

His best years were probably 2007 when he turned the team around after a horrendous start to the season.  After a slow start, Pinella jump-started his team by getting tossed from a game by the 3rd base umpire in a May game.  He also helped orchestrate the departure of disgruntled catcher Michael Barrett who got into an altercation with Carlos Zambrano.  Barrett was clearly a disruption to the rest of the clubhouse and Lou didn’t want him around anymore.  GM JIm Hendry worked a deal to move Barrett to the San Diego Padres, and after that the Cubs were one of the best teams in baseball through the final 2/3 of the season.  Pinella helped lead them all the way to the division crown that season.  In 2008, everything went right for the Cubs – great hitting, great pitching; lots of come-from-behind wins; lots of close wins, so to say that was his best year is probably an overstatement.  When things go that right, there are usually other things going on other than the Manager.  In 2009, even though the Cubs trailed the Cards by 7.5 games in the NL Central and the Rockies 8.5 for the wild card spot at the end of the season, Lou did an amazing job with his rag-tag bunch of players.  Lou had no Aramis Ramirez for over a third of the season and he had to deal with the Milton Bradley and Carlos Zambrano nightmares for good chunks of the season as well.  It was team that was falling apart at the seams and Lou did his best to keep it together, leading the c lub to a 3rd straight winning season – the 1st time that had been done since the organization had 6 straight winning seasons from 1967 through 1972.  Lou kept the Cubs in contention until the end, even though the team had big problems getting clutch hits and winning close games – they were 16-22 in 1-run games in 2009.  The year took a toll on him and that clearly carried over into the 2010 season.  In 2010, the Cubs were just 28-38 at home and 24-35 on the road under Pinella.  Even worse, the Cubs were a miserable 15-30 in 1 run games.  Take a look at teams who have played around 44 1-run games in 2010 — and you can see how much better they fared than the Cubs – the lowly Royals are 23-24 in their 47 1-run games; the Rays are 22-22 in their 44 1-run games; even the 2 worst teams in baseball play better than the Cubs in 1-run games – the Pirates are 41-84 overall but 17-19 in 1-run games and the Orioles are 44-81 overall but 22-18 in 1-run games.  When you can’t win close games and when you can’t come through with clutch hits on a regular basis, you are not going to win a lot of games.  And that’s just what happened in 2010.

Well enough of my blabbering and statistics.  I was planning on throwing in some Lou quotes, but maybe I will save that for tomorrow.  Stay tuned…

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Another 1-Run Loss for Cubs – No Team is Even Close to their 29 1-run Losses in 2010 – Cubs 7, Giants 8 – 8/12/10

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Lou

WOW – I was shocked to see how high the number of 1-run losses has climbed in 2010 for the Cubs.  After dropping the 8-7 finale to the Giants on Thursday’s get-away day (all 3 losses to the Giants in the series were by 1 run and this is your wild-card leader Cubs fans), the Cubs are now 13-29 in 1-run games.  That means that 42 of the Cubs 115 games played (48-67 record) in 2010 have been decided by 1 run or less.  That’s more than 1/3 of their games being decided by such a close margin.  It is unbelievable.  No other team has played as many 1-run games as the Cubs in 2010 and only 4 other teams in the entire major leagues have lost more than 20 1-run games in 2010 (Royals – 23; Mets – 22; Blue Jays – 22; & Mariners – 21).  When you factor in losses in games decided by 2 runs or loss (which I have not had the time to do), I’m sure the numbers get even more mind-boggling.  The Yankees (13-9) and Astros (10-12) have only played in 22 1-run games in all of 2010.  That’s 20 games less than the Cubs.  In the Yankees case, it means that they are crushing a lot of teams and in the Astros cases, it means that they were losing a ton of blowouts.  But for a team to lose 29 games decided by 1-run or less, it takes a lot.  It means you’re not sooooo awful that you are going to get blown out a lot,  but it also means that you don’t have what it takes to win on a consistent basis in the major leagues.  For the Cubs, it has largely been due to an inconsistent offense and having too many young players play and pitch throughout the entire regular season.

Randy Wells had another rough start after being staked to a 3-1 lead.  Wells gave himself a 2-run lead with an RBI double in the top of the 4th inning, but being on base too long may have cost him.  In the bottom of the frame, he served up solo home runs to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval.  Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, he served up a Grand Slam to Burrell.  Just like that, a 3-1 Cubs lead turned into a 7-3 Cubs deficit.

You have to give this Cubs team a little credit, however.  A Kosuke Fukudome double scored Starlin Castro in the 7th inning.  Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs rallied to tie the game on

Castro finished the day with 4 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  He is now hitting .320 on the season, surpassing Marlon Byrd as the Cubs best hitter.  Fukudome has started to look better as well (after his typical midsummer swoon) racking up 5 hits in his last 11 at-bats.  His .262 batting average is pretty bad for a $12 million man, but you have to like his .370 on-base percentage (45 walks and 51 K’s in 252 at-bats).

The Cubs weren’t able to dash any of the hopes of the Giants for the playoffs push, but let’s hope the Cubs can do some damage to the Cards in St. Louis this weekend.  The Cards hold a 1-game edge over the Reds in the NL Central race after their sweep in Cincinnati this week, so the Cubs can do some damage by winning the series.  They get Jake Westbrook tonight, Chris Carpenter on Saturday and Jaime Garcia on Sunday.  The key is tonight – if they can find a way to pick up a win in the 1st game of the series against the mediocre Westbrook, they could end up stealing the series from the Cards with Big Z and Ryan Dempster on the hill on Saturday and Sunday.  Whatever happens, it should be an interesting series in St. Louis.

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Cubs Top Lincecum – You Betcha?! Hey Lou (or Alan) – “It’s Time to Rest Marshall & Marmol!” – Cubs 8, Giants 6 – 8/10/10

Posted on 11 August 2010 by Lou

Pitcher’s duel between Ryan Dempster & Tim Lincecum?  Not a chance as each team racks up 14 hits as Cubs win 8-6.  It was a rare impressive offensive attack for the Cubs as Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome led the way.

Although Colvin has struggled recently, you have to like what he brings to the table every day.  And Starlin continues to shine night in and night out.  Take the 1st inning for example — Colvin led off with a single and stole 2nd base.  Castro drove him in with a single and then stole 2nd base too to get into scoring position.  Ramirez then drove him in with a single and then scored on Fukudome’s home run.  Now I know it doesn’t happen like that too often, but you had to like 4 runs on 4 hits and still only 1 out in the 1st inning.

Colvin and Castro also came through in the 4th inning for the Cubs.  Colvin earned a 2-out walk with the bases loaded and then Castro came through with the clutch 2-out single that plated Koyie Hill and Ryan Dempster to extend the Cubs lead to 6-2.

Ramirez ended up with the best night – 3 hits, and RBI and a run scored.

And Mike Fontenot came through with a clutch 2-run pinch-hit double in the 8th inning that gave the Cubs a much-needed 8-4 lead (see below).

Dempster pitched “OK”.  The Giants are not the best hitting team, so when you’re staked to a 4-0 1st inning lead against a pitcher like Tim Lincecum, you cannot give back lone runs in the 1st 2 innings of the game.  Sure one of the runs was unearned, but Dempster has to be better.  He gave a light-hitting Giants lineup way too many chances to score with 8 hits and 2 walks over 6 2/3 innings.  He gave way to Andrew Cashner in the 7th inning after he gave up a single and a walk with 2 outs.  Cashner gave up Buster Posey’s 2-out double which cut the Cubs lead to 6-4, but he buckled down to strike out Pat Burrell to end the threat.

Sean Marshall struggled again with a walk and a hit in the 8th inning, but he kept the Giants off the scoreboard.

And Carlos Marmol gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in a non-save situation in the 9th inning.

Marshall and Marmol have been so good all season long, but they have made way too many appearances because the rest of the bullpen was so bad.  Marshall has made 59 appearances – 6-3 record, 1.11 WHIP, 2.45 ERA, 69 K’s and 19 walks.  In all of 2009, Marshall appeared in just 55 games (with 9 starts).  Marmol has appeared in 52 games – 2-2 record, 1.24 WHIP, 2.75 ERA, 96 K’s and 34 walks.  Marmol appeared in 79 games in 2009 and 82 games in 2008, but there is NO reason to throw him that many times in 2010.  Lou or Alan – whoever is managing the club day in and day out – please rest Marshall and Marmol!

Tom Gorzelanny battles Barry Zito in Game 2 of the series.  It should be another good picther’s duel, right?!

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Zambrano Rusty as Cubs Free Fall Continues on West Coast – Cubs 3, Giants 4 – 8/9/10 – AT&T Park

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano made his “much-anticipated” return to the starting rotation against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Monday night.  At 1st glance, when I saw that Big Z had tossed 4 scoreless innings to start the game, I got a little bounce in my step.  Maybe Zambrano would be able to pitch well down the stretch.  Maybe he would even be so good that the Cubs might consider keeping him for the duration of his contract, or maybe another team would be more interested in agreeing to a trade for the hefty Venezulan this off-season.  I started to get excited.  But since I turned the game on with 2 outs in the bottom of the inning, I didn’t really get a full feel for how Zambrano was pitching.  And when I looked at the box score, my positive thoughts were quickly dashed.

Big Z was laboring as his control was atrocious.  He ended up making it through 5 innings with the score tied at 2.  He gave up both ER in the 5th inning as he ran out of steam.  He gave up only 4 hits, but he walked 7 batters and he threw 96 pitches in the process.  Not exactly what we were looking for.  I’m not exactly sure how he even lasted that long without giving up more runs.  The 2nd inning was a perfect example of sheer luck.  He walked Pat Burrell to start the inning and then gave up a hit to Pablo Sandoval.  Luckily Juan Urube grounded into a double play sending Burrell to 3rd base with 2 outs.  But then Big Z issued 2 straight walks to load the bases.  Only a Andres Torres strikeout allowed Zambrano to get out of the inning unscathed.  He issued 1 walk in each inning that he pitched and his leadoff walk to Torress in the 5th finally came back to haunt him on a Buster Posey double.  Zambrano then allowed another run to score on a wild pitch.  When you are wild, you’re going to throw lots of pitches and you’re going to get into loads of trouble.  It is a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly what happened to Zambrano.  Now I know it was his 1st start since June 25th so we have to give him a little time to get back into the starter’s mind frame.  But he doesn’t have much time – only another 8-9 starts the rest of the way, so he really needs to come out firing on all cylinders in his next start – time is of the essence if we want to show the rest of the league that Big Z still has some value.

Marcus Mateo – another young Cubs pitcher struggling in his major league debut – flirted with disaster in each of the 10th and 11th innings.  He gave up a single and a double in the 10th inning but avoided giving up a run when Colvin threw out Travis Ishikawa at the plate.  But in the 11th, Mateo didn’t get so lucky as he failed to retire a batter.  He gave up 2 singles and then walked Posey to load the bases with nobody out.  Then Burrell hit the game-winning sacrifice fly to deep center to drive in the winning run in walk-off fashion…

The Cubs offense was actually better than I thought it would be.  The team racked up 11 hits, but once again, clutch hits were lacking.  Starlin Castro, Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits.  Tyler Colvin, Byrd and Alfonso Soriano had the 3 RBI’s.  And hey, all 3 runs were earned, so at least we did something to deserve the runs, right?

Great match-up tonight in Game 2 of the series.  Ryan Dempster gets the honor of facing the 2-time defending Cy Young Award Winner – Tim Lincecum.  Yippee!

In any event, this is getting pretty ugly as the losses keep piling up.  The Cubs have now lost 4 in a row and 11 of 12 games.  Their record is 47-65.  They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 16.5 games for 1st place in the NL Central?!  This is a team that won back-to-back division titles in 2007 & 2008.  My how fast the might have fallen.  With the Reds stockpiling amazing young pitchers who continue to improve each year and with the Cardinals trotting out Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday day in and day out, it is hard to imagine how the Cubs will even compete in the division during the next few seasons.  The Cubs will wither have to get lucky and win the Adrian Gonzales sweepstakes this off-season or hope that their competitors suffer multiple season-ending injuries as the 2011 MLB schedule approaches.  WOW – is this going to be a frustrating few years.

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Weekend Recap — Rocky High Sweep – Rockies Outscore Cubs 31-14 in 3-Game Weekend Set @ Coors Field – 7/30/10 – 8/1/10

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Lou

What a horrible weekend for the Cubs in Denver this weekend – not sure it’s even worth it to re-live the debacle.

Friday – 7/30/10 – Cubs 2, Rockies 17 – A 12-run 8th inning turned a close game into an embarrassing laugher for the Cubs.  Sean Marshall gave up hits to the 1st 2 batters he faced in the 8th inning, but then got 2 strikeouts and 2 strikes on Carlos Gonzalez before Gonzalez stroked an RBI single to start the record-setting rally.  The Rockies set a major league record by recording 11 straight hits and they had 13 hits in the inning overall which was a franchise-record. The Rockies scored 12 runs to extend their 5-2 lead to 17-2.  WOW.  The Rockies batted around twice in the inning.  Troy Tulowitki, Clint Barmes and Melvin More each had 2 hits in the inning.  Every Rockies hitter got a hit in the inning.

Sean Marshall was charged with 5 ER on 5 hits in 2/3 of an inning.  Andrew Cashner faced 6 batters and did not record a single out – 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 home runs.  And Brian Schlitter mopped up the mess with 1 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks as he recorded the final out of the inning on an Ian Stewart fly ball to deep center field with the bases loaded.

Marshall had this to say — “It was dumbfounding as for us as it was people to watch the game.  You hate to be on the receiving end.  I don’t think it’s going to happen again.”

Manager Lou Pinella had this to say — “I’d never seen an inning like that.  We had two outs and two strikes on a hitter and they score 12 runs.  I’d never seen an inning like that.” The problem is Lou – it seems like you or another member of the Cubs organization has said that same thing about a dozen times this year.  The Cub sseem to invent new ways to lose on a daily basis these days…

Saturday – 7/31/10 – Cubs 5, Rockies 6 – After Derrek Lee’s game-tying 3-run home run in the top of the 8th inning, the Cubs thought their luck might change. Marshall even came in and pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the bottom of the inning, but interim Manager Alan Trammell opted to stick with Marshall to face the left-handed hitting Carlos Gonzalez instead of bringing in closer Carlos Marmol to start the 9th.  And that turned out to be a fatal mistake as Gonzalez crushed the 1st pitch he saw into the 3rd deck in deep right field.  It was a walk-off 6-5 win for the Rockies as Gonzalez used that home run to complete hitting for the cycle in his final at-bat of the game.

Tom Gorzelanny looked mortal again in the elevation of Colorado.  He pitched 6 1/3 innings, but gave up 5 ER on 9 hits and 2 walks.

Sunday – 8/1/10 – Cubs 7, Rockies 8 – Another poor start to the game put the Cubs in a hole on Sunday.  Carlos Silva only pitched to 4 batters because he was suffering from an abnormally high heart rate.  He had to make a trip to a Denver area hospital and did not make the trip back to Chicago after the game.  Silva recorded one out, but suffered his 5th loss of the season, giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk.  James Russell did not fare much better, giving up 4 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits and a walk in his 2 2/3 inning of work.  And while Carlos Zambrano tossed a scoreless 4th inning, he ran into trouble in the 5th inning giving up 2 ER on 2 walks and 2 hits.  He walked the first 2 men he faced in the inning and both runners scored.  Just like that – it was 6-0 after 2 innings and 8-0 after 5 innings.  Not good, when you are riding a 4-game losing streak.

The Cubs made it interesting in the late innings.  Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each singled in runs in the 7th inning.  Alfonso Soriano cut the lead to 8-4 in the 8th inning with a solo HR.  In the 9th inning, Rockies closer Huston Street walked Lee and Soto with 1 out.  Marlon Byrd then triple in Lee and Soto and the lead was 8-6.  Soriano’s sac fly on a spectacular play by outfielder Nat Fowler plated Byrd to cut the lead to 8-7.  If Fowler doesn’t catch that ball, who knows how far Soriano goes on the play.  But with no one on base, Street struck out Jeff Baker to end the game.

One other bright spot for the Cubs — newly acquired Blake DeWitt had 3 hits in his Cubs debut.

All in all, it was a brutal road trip for the Cubs. After winning the 1st game in Houston, the Cubs proceeded to drop the final 5 games of the trip.  The Cubs are now 13 games under .500 at 46-59 and they trail the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals by 13 games…

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Thanks for the Memories Lou – Cubs Rally for Win over Astros in Support of Skipper – Cubs 14, Astros 7 – 7/20/10

Posted on 21 July 2010 by Lou

Thanks for the memories Lou – we are going to miss you – even though we know you already checked out midway through the “Milton Bradley saga” in 2009.  You led us to 2 consecutive NL Central titles and back-to-back playoff appearances for the 1st time in a long time, so we have a lot to be thankful for.  Even though the playoff sweeps and the awful last 2 seasons have been tough to bear, you are a good coach and a good man.

That being said, your team’s performance in 2010 has been so difficult to watch.  After losing to the lowly Astros on Monday night, the club fell behind 7-1 after 4 and a half innings before the team rallied for the win at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Ryan Dempster was downright bad – 7 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 4 walks in just 5 innings.  He struggled with his control and made a whopping 113 pitches in one of his shortest outings in 2010.

The top of the lineup was raking again:

Tyler Colvin – 1 for 4 with 2 runs scored.

Starlin Castro – 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 1 RBI.

Derrek Lee – 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI’s.

But the real hero was Aramis Ramirez who hit 3 home runs and drove in 7 runs.  Finally!

Geovany Soto kept up his hot hitting as well – 2 hits including a solo home run.

Congratulations go to the Cubs bullpen as well.  Andrew Cashner has emerged as a legitimate major league pitcher – 2 scoreless innings in the 6th and 7th. Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 8th inning as did Closer Carlos Marmol.

The Cubs go for the series win on Wednesday afternoon with Ted Lilly on the bump…

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