Posted on 05 May 2010 by Lou
It was another frustrating road loss for the Cubs as the bats went dead and the pitching wasn’t “perfect” enough to win the close 3-2 ball game against the Pirates.
Ryan Dempster lost 3-2 for the 2nd start in a row. He pitched well again, but a 1st inning home run to Andy LaRoche and a 6th inning 2-run home run to Ryan Church ended up being just enough for the Pirates to pick up the W. Dempster ended up pitching 7 innings of 3-run, giving up 8 hits and 1 walk with 7 strike outs. He lowered his WHIP to 1.03 and his ERA to 2.95, but he has just 2 wins on the season, mainly because of poor run support.
Against Paul Malholm, the Cubs managed 8 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. But the lack of clutch hitting meant that the Cubs would only score twice – on solo home runs from Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto. Other than that, it was the same old story – getting guys in scoring position with 1 out or no outs, and not coming away with any runs at all. Even plating one run in those situations would mean a tie ball game and extra innings, but it seems like the Cubs go into these funks where no one comes through with the clutch hit.
Ted Lilly looks to bounce back tonight against the Pirates after a rough 2nd start to his 2010 season. He served up 7 ER to the DBacks last Thursday at Wrigley Field.
Posted on 04 May 2010 by Lou
Following up yesterday’s Alfonso Soriano facts/stats with a Kosuke Fukudome sighting seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Back in 2008 (Fukudome’s 1st year in the United States with the Cubs), he started off hot by hitting a game-tying 3-run home run in the 9th inning against the Brewers on Opening Day and staying hot all through the month of April with a batting average over .300. But by the end of the season, Fukudome had a batting average of only .257 hitting just 10 home runs and driving in 58 RBI’s. 2009 brought a similar stat line — .259 batting average, 11 HR’s, 54 RBI’s. Sure his on-base percentage was solid – .359 and .375, respectively, but was he really worth $12 million a year for 4 years?
Well we’re seeing the same hot start for Kosuke in 2010, but I must admit, he seems a lot more relaxed and confident at the plate. Is it having 2 years under his belt in the U.S.? Is it something new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo noticed in his swing and Kosuke’s willingness to listen to his American coaches now? Whatever it is, I have been seriously impressed with the results. Kosuke already has 5 HR’s and 17 RBI’s in the 2-hole. He has a .342 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage. Most importantly, he already has 14 walks and just 11 K’s in 73 at-bats – that is an excellent ratio. He seems a lot more patient at the plate and is really making pitchers work the count so that he sees a lot more pitches. That makes the pitcher throw more pitches so you can get to the bullpen earlier, and it helps the sluggers behind him – Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano – see more pitches as they prepare for their at-bats. It becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Now don’t get me wrong, if he ends up hitting in the .250′s with similar offensive output as in his 1st 2 major league seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. But I’m really seeing a different Fukudome this year and believe he has a great shot at sustaining this output for the entire season. Maybe not 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, but definitely close to 20 HR’s and 75 RBI’s with a lot of hits. Guess we’ll have to wait and see – but I hope Kosuke keeps it up!
Posted on 03 May 2010 by Lou
This is a big surprise for me, but we’re going with Alfonso Soriano as our Cubs Fun Fact of the Day. Soriano has been on fire of late and he helped lead the Cubs to 2 big wins over the DBacks on Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field.
Soriano has hit a home run in each of his last 3 games, including 2 2-run bombs in Sunday’s 10-5 win. Soriano is hitting .325 with a stellar .382 on-base percentage. He already has 6 home runs and 17 RBI’s on the season, and we’re just 26 games in. Considering Soriano hit only 20 home runs and drove in 55 runs in 117 games in 2009, he is well ahead of pace (he also had an atrocious .241 batting average and .303 on-base percentage?!). Now I know, he hasn’t gotten hurt yet, but who knows, maybe getting a few extra days off here and there with Tyler Colvin playing more will be a blessing in disguise. Maybe getting reunited with Rudy Jaramillo – his old hitting coach in Texas – has helped. Maybe the unusually warm weather has helped too.
Whatever it is, something is clearly clicking with Soriano in 2010 – let’s hope he can keep it up…
Posted on 02 May 2010 by Lou
WOW — Alfonso Soriano had an unbelievable weekend for the Cubs, propeling the North Siders to 2 big wins over the DBacks at Wrigley Field. In Saturday afternoon’s 7-5 win, Soriano’s 2-run bomb to deep left center field tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the 7th inning. An inning later, Derrek Lee’s 2-run single with the bases loaded plated the winning runs. Sean Marshall worked 2 scoreless innings in relief of Carlos Silva to pick up his 1st win of the 2010 MLB schedule. Carlos Marmol – despite getting into a bases loaded jam – picked up the save by striking out the side in the top of the 9th inning to preserve the 7-5 win.
Today, Alfonso Soriano picked up right where he left off on Saturday. His 2-run home run in the 1st inning gave the Cubs a 4-0 early lead. He slugged another 2-run home run later in the game to increase the Cubs lead to 10-2. Marlon Byrd also hit a 2-run home run, and Chad Tracy and Ryan Theriot each had 3 hits to pace a powerful Cubs offense. Tom Gorzelanny finally got some run support in his start and he cruised to an easy win – his 1st of 2010. He worked 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. He racked up 10 K’s and lowered his ERA to 2.48 and his WHIP to 1.10. Outstanding.
The Cubs got back to .500 on the season with a 13-13 record. They still trail the Cards by 4.5 games in the NL Central, but the Cards have played flawless ball throughout the entire month of April. It hasn’t been all pretty for the Cubs, but they survived a few rough patches and seem to be clicking before their upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati starting on Tuesday.
Posted on 01 May 2010 by Lou
After Friday’s big 11-5 win over the DBacks, Carlos Silva looks to make it 5 straight quality starts as the Cubs take on Dan Haren and the DBacks today at Wrigley Field. Silva is 2-0 with a sparkling 1.73 ERA in 4 starts for the Cubs this season. The Cubs have won each of his last 3 starts, but he is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA against the DBacks in his career.
The Cubs have had success against Haren despite the hard-throwing right-hander having a 45-27 with a 3.18 ERA during the last 3 MLB seasons. In 4 career starts against the Cubs, Haren has an ERA of 5.84. He is even worse at Wrigley Field – sporting a hefty 3.84 ERA and 0-2 record in 3 starts at the Friendly Confines.
Let’s hope the Cubs bats pick up where they left off on Friday, clubbing a few more home runs out onto Waveland and Sheffield Avenues en route to a Cubs win…
Posted on 30 April 2010 by Lou
The Cubs bats finally came to life in their 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.
It looked like it might be another long day as the Cubs fell behind 4-1 through 4 1/2 innings, but the Cubs scored in each of the 4th through 8th innings and finally broke it open with Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run homer in the 6th inning that gave the Cubs their 1st lead of the game at 6-4. Although Chris Snyder’s leadoff home run off of Randy Wells cut the lead back to 1 run in the 7th inning, the Cubs added 3 insurance runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Derrek Lee and on bases loaded walks to Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs finally had their first back-to-back homer game as well when Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd went back-to-back in the 8th inning. All in all it was a good showing from the northsiders who desperately needed a win after 2 close losses to the Nats and a blowout loss by Ted Lilly yesterday. Kosuke Fukudome also hit a home run for the Cubs and now leads the team with 5 long balls (and a solid .344 batting average).
Randy Wells improved to 3-0 despite giving up 5 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings pitched. He did however have 8 strikeouts with no walks. John Grabow, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.
Go Cubs! Let’s make it 2 in a row when Carlos Silva takes on Dan Haren at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon at 12:05…
Posted on 29 April 2010 by Lou
Ted Lilly was awful and the Cubs offense managed just 2 hits through the game’s 1st 6 innings as they lost to the DBacks 13-5 at Wrigley Field.
Ted Lilly looked sharp through the game’s 1st 3 innings, but he got into trouble in the 4th when he lost all control of the strike zone. Lilly walked Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds to start the inning and then served up Adam LaRoche’s 3-run bomb to deep left center field. After a double to Cole Gillespie, then Lilly served up a 2-run bomb to deep left field that put the DBacks up 5-1. Lilly worked through the 5th inning, but served up another homer to LaRoche in that inning as well. Not good.
It didn’t help that the Cubs bats were non-existent during the early part of the game. Sure they got on the board 1st with Ryan Theriot’s RBI single in the 3rd inning, but that would be all the excitement you would see until Kosuke Fukudome’s Grand Slam off of Ian Kennedy in the 8th inning. Kennedy and 1 reliever held the Cubs to just 6 hits during the game.
Out of the bullpen, Jeff Gray struggled again – giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and 1 walk in 1 1/3 inning. James Russell didn’t fare much better, although 4 of the 5 runs he gave up were “unearned” because of Aramis Ramirez’s throwing error.
The lone bright spots — Justin Berg and Sean Marshall each worked perfect innings to close out the game. Both Berg (3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) and Marshall (3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP) have been consistent for the Cubs out of the bulpen right from the start of this disappointing season. Manager Lou Pinella had a “mini” blow-up during yesterday’s post-game conference. Man, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in there today – he might take somebody’s head off…
Posted on 29 April 2010 by Lou
Simply put, the Cubs suck in close games in 2010, following a trend that killed the Cubs during the disappointing 2009 MLB campaign. So far this year, the Cubs have played 12 games in which the outcome was decided by 2 runs or less. How many of those games do you think the Cubs have won? You guessed it — just 4. Not good, not good at all. Going 4-8 in close games is not gonna get it done for Manager Lou Pinella and his club. They are 10-12 and they already trail the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals by 4.5 games in the NL Central race.
Pinella snapped at a reporter after the Cubs lost 3-2 to the Nationals at Wrigley Field when he suggested that Pinella should have had Mike Fontenot bunt after Marlon Byrd led off the 8th inning with a double. Pinella responded — “Bunting what? With a left-handed hitter up, you want to bunt? What kind of baseball do you play? How about getting him in? Or getting him over by swinging? How about that?”
Well, Lou, I hate to disagree with you, but given how anemic the Cubs offense has been in close games, that’s precisely the reason you have Fontenot bunting in that situation. With a runner on 3rd and only 1 out, that gives Koyie Hill or Geovany Soto the chance to drive in the tying run. And if either of them can’t get it done, then you still have a pinch hitter coming up with 2 outs needing only a hit or error to drive in the tying run. Call me crazy, but when you’re pressing in close games, you have to make it easy as possible to get any run across the plate, even if it means giving up an out. You’d think Lou’s been around long enough to know that, but it seems he’s being a little stubborn by not playing small ball.
Oh yeah, check out our Cubs Fun Fact of the Day from yesterday! So much for Ted Lilly making it 7 straight quality starts for Cubs starting pitchers. Yikes – Lilly gave up 6 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks (including 3 home runs) in only 5 innnigs of work. That is definitely NOT a quality start…
Posted on 28 April 2010 by Lou
We really hope you like this new feature. We’re giving it a shot, so please send in any comments.
Without any further ado, here is your “Cubs Fun Fact of the Day”:
Although the Cubs are just 10-12 on the young 2010 schedule, the starting pitching has been electric thus far. Ryan Dempster’s 8 inning, 3ER effort in today’s 3-2 loss to the Nats marked the 6th straight game in which the Cubs received a “quality start” from their starting pitcher. A quality start is defined as a game in which the starting pitcher for a team completes at least 6 innings and does not allow more than 3 earned runs. Dempster started off the streak on Friday night in the Cubs 8-1 win over the Brewers. Ted Lilly tossed 6 scoreless innings in Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Brewers and Randy Wells made it 3 straight quality starts with his 7 innings in the Cubs 12-2 win over the Brewers on Sunday. Back home at Wrigley Field, Carlos Silva made it 4 in a row with 7 innings of 3-run ball on Monday night, and Tom Gorzelanny kept it going with 7 innings of 2-run ball in Tuesday night’s loss. Dempster kept the streak alive despite losing today, and Ted Lilly has a chance to make it 7 straight quality starts for the Cubs tomorrow against the Diamondbacks.
Not sure when the last time an MLB team got 6 straight quality starts from its pitching staff, but I thought it was a pretty neat stat. Come on Ted, let’s make it 7 in a row!!!
Posted on 28 April 2010 by Lou
Just when you think the Cubs are going to turn it around riding a 4-game winning streak, they lay an egg and drop the final 2 games of the series to the Nationals @ Wrigley Field. So painful. The Cubs reverted their own old recipe for disaster — waste great starting pitching by not getting any clutch hits. Tom Gorzelanny was the tough-luck lose on Tuesday night as the Cubs couldn’t get through to 67-year veteran Livan Hernandez (just kidding – he’s “only” 35 years old but it seems like he’s been in baseball for 35 years). Gorzelanny recovered after a shaky first inning to limit the Nats to just 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in 7 solid innings. Despite having a 1.05 WHIP and 2.45 ERA, Gorzelanny is 0-3 on the season. Ouch. The Cubs actually out-hit the Nats 7-6, but they were only able to push through 1 run, on a fielder’s choice in the 2nd inning.
As if the 3-1 loss on Tuesday night wasn’t painful enough, the Cubs repeated the feat on Wednesday afternoon’s 3-2 loss. Ryan Dempster pitched 8 great innings, allowing just 3 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 2. Solo home runs to Adam Kennedy in the 1st inning and Adam Dunn in the 4th inning proved might costly for Dempster. Dempster himself has a nifty 0.98 WHIP and 2.78 ERA, but is just 2-1. Ouch. Once again, the Cubs outhit the Nats 9-4, but could only push across 2 runs in the loss. In each of the 5th, 7th and 8th innings, the Cubs got 2 runners on base but were unable to come through with any clutch hitting to tie the game at 3. Poor and poorer. Marlon Byrd led the way with the Cubs futility, leaving 6 runners on base during his 4 at-bats.
The Cubs are back to 2 games under .500, while the Nats improve to 2 games over .500. The Cubs welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to Wrigley Field for 4 straight day games from Thursday through Sunday. Let’s hope the Cubs can find some clutch hitting during this series. Ted Lilly will make his 2nd start of the 2010 campaign and looks to build off a strong 1st outing in which he pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers in Milwaukee last weekend…