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Cubs Run Into a Buzzsaw as Scherzer Goes Seven Strong; Strikes Out 13

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Bob

In a match up of two of the highest paid pitchers in the game, Max Scherzer pitched seven strong innings of shutout ball while striking out 13 batters  to best Jon Lester and the Cubs, 3 – 0 in the series’ final game on Wednesday night in Chicago.  Scherzer was dominant, scattering five hits and one walk to keep the Cubs at bay all night.  While Lester’s performance was nothing to sneeze at after striking out 10 in seven innings of work, he couldn’t quite keep pace with Scherzer as he allowed seven hits and two runs, with only one being earned. The other came on a throwing error by Addison Russell that could have yielded a double play out.  Bryce Harper continued his incredible tear through May smacking his 18th home run which puts him in a tie for the Major League lead.

max Scherzer

“I’ve said, as well as he’s doing right now, I still feel like he can get better, and that’s the crazy thing,” Scherzer said, referencing Harper’s 28 RBI’s this month.

While Harper continues to light up the score board, Jon Lester’s batting still leaves something to be desired as he searches for the first Big League hit of his career. He came close to not only getting a hit, but a home run in the bottom of the second when he flied out to deep center but it ran out of gas. Still, as his pitching continues to improve the Cubs won’t have to worry too much about his hit-less streak. That’s not the reason they signed him to a $155 million contract this past off-season.

The Cubs have now dropped four  of their last six games and face a stiff test this weekend with the AL Central leading Kansas City Royals come to town. The Royals are currently on a four game skid and the Cubs will look to make it five as they send Jake Arrieta to the mound to take on Edinson Volquez on Friday for a late afternoon, 3:05PM CST start time.

The Cubs desperately need a series win as their division deficit grows to 5.5 games back of the Cardinals, with the Pirates nipping at their heels.

Go Cubs Go!

 

 

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Cubs Bullpen Falters Again; Offense Doesn’t Capitalize in Split Vs. Pirates

Posted on 23 April 2015 by Bob

The Cubs were in prime position entering the sixth inning, up 4-1 and chasing Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke to get to the Bucs’ used and abused bullpen, but the script was flipped as the Pirates relievers shut down the Cubs potent offense over the last four innings allowing a single hit while the Cubs’ pen gave up five hits and turned a 4-1 victory into a 5-4 defeat as Pittsburgh managed a split in the four game series. The Cubs offense also didn’t capitalize on its opportunities as Castro grounded into an inning-ending double-play with the bases loaded in the fifth inning after Bryant had walked to bring in a run.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

This was the prime opportunity for the Cubs to put the game out of reach but it slipped through their fingers. It’s hard to place the blame on Castro though as he recorded another two hits today to make it eight for the series. Still, these opportunities are what separate the good teams from the great and the Cubs will need to put games like these away in the win column if they are to make a run at a playoff spot.

The injuries to Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez are gaping holes right now that need to be filled and quickly. Brian Schlitter’s stuff is clearly not working now as his ERA has grown to 9.53 for April. Someone needs to step up.

Despite the split, the Cubs can still be somewhat pleased as they hold tight to second place, two games back of the Cards in the NL Central, while also ruing what might have been in several close losses in this young season.

 

NEXT UP:

The Cubs travel to Cincinnati for a three game series vs. the Reds starting Friday with Jon Lester taking on Mike Leake. First Pitch is 6:10 PM CT.

 

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Cubs Get 1st W of the Year Behind Arrieta’s Strong Effort

Posted on 09 April 2015 by Bob

Cubs W Flag

Jake Arrieta allowed three hits over seven innings and four Cubs relievers pitched hit-less relief as the Cubs blanked the Cardinals in the second game of the series after Tuesday night’s game was postponed. This is the effort many expected after Arrieta’s break out season in 2014. The hitting is still not up to snuff though as the Cubs managed to plate two runs on just two hits late in the game from Starlin Castro and Miguel Montero.

Joe Maddon will gladly take his first W as Cubs manager behind an Ace-like effort from his #2 starter. The camaraderie between these Cubs was palpable in post-game interviews and on Twitter with Cubs pitchers ribbing and building each other up. Starlin Castro got in on the action as well complimenting Arrieta, “He’s a great teammate,” Castro said. “I told him the same thing when he came out of the game. ‘Hey we got you now. We got your back.'”

Joe Maddon’s teams have always had a penchant for building team chemistry and these new-look Cubs appear to be cast in the same mold. It’s good to see these positive interactions from a group of guys who genuinely enjoy working together. The sense of investment in each other bodes well for the long grind that 162 games can be, and hopefully that chemistry or camaraderie, whatever you want to call it, leads to more outcomes like Wednesday afternoon’s.

 

The Cubs are off today and take on the Rockies in Colorado at 3:10PM on Friday.

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Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks Passes On As Cub’s Fans Remember Him Fondly

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Bob

Ernie Banks

Cubs Legend Ernie Banks, known affectionately to the Cubs faithful as “Mr. Cub”, passed away last Friday January 23 as a result of a heart attack. The news trickled into bars around the city late Friday evening as television stations picked up the story. Banks, while 83 years old, behaved like a man half his age brandishing that trademark smile at every public appearance, interview, or game he frequented over the years. His famous saying, “Let’s Play Two” became the de facto motto for the Cubs especially during the lean years, embodying the spirit of the game no matter the final result on the field.

As the tributes poured in it became clear that there really isn’t a bad thing to say about Ernie Banks. He was a hell of a player, winning two NL MVP awards (‘58, ‘59) along with 14 All-Star game appearances but was by most standards an even greater man. For all the stories Cubs fans have after meeting him over the years, this blogger in particular was lucky to have such an occurrence and can tell you that everything you’ve heard is true. I found myself seated two seats over at an empty bar while a small fundraiser went on the in background. With little to no reason to speak with me, he immediately engaged me asking my name, my profession, where my girlfriend was, etc. I barely had time to ask him about himself as the questions rolled in. We shared some laughs, he asked me when I would be marrying my attractive girl friend, and told me he had to get back to watch the Cubs that afternoon.

The man loved baseball but his friendliness and charm led me to believe he loved entertaining people just as much, on the field or off. Our conversation only lasted twenty minutes or so but it’s not often one finds themselves alone with a Major League Hall of Famer, and certainly not one from their favorite team. I thought about this encounter upon hearing the news Friday night and much more on Saturday scrolling through the obituaries and eulogies.

With all the excitement building around the team this year it’s a shame that Mr. Cub won’t be there to see it, to hear the crack of the bat, smell the fresh-cut grass, and listen to throngs of people cheering on his beloved Cubs. His spirit will live on with the fans who remember that larger than life smile, the indomitable optimism, and the calls for a second game on a warm summer’s day.

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Cubs Avoid Weekend Sweep with 8-2 Win over Brewers at Miller Park – Wrigley Field 5/14/12

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Lou

It was an ugly weekend for the Cubs all-around, but at least they didn’t get swept. The Cubs scored in each of the game’s final 5 innings en route to their 1st “easy” win in a LONG time.  The top of the order has been on fire for the Cubbies.  David DeJesus had 2 hits and a run scored.  Tony Campana had 3 hits, 1 run scored and 1 RBI.  And Starlin Castro added 2 hits with an RBI.  Jeff Samardzija pitched 5 innings but needed 91 pitches to labor through his outing.  He allowed just 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6, but he did not factor in the decision.

James Russell, Kerry Wood and Michael Bowden each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.

It was a much-needed victory given how they lost the 1st 2 games of the series.  On Friday night, after taking a 4-1 lead on David DeJesus’ grand slam in the top of the 7th, the Cubs gave it right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the frame.  DeJesus came through again in the clutch in the 9th inning as they rallied for a 7-5 lead with 3 runs in the inning.  But Rafael Dolis gave it right back with a 2-run shot to Corey Hart in the bottom of the inning.  The Cubs would go on to lose 8-7 in 13 innings.

On Saturday, it was the same old story for Chris Volstad.  He always seems to have 1 brutal inning that costs him and the Cubs the game. It was a 1-1 game through 5 1/2 innings and then Volstad served up a 5-run 6th inning, capped off by Edwin Maysonet’s 2-out grand slam.  Just brutal.  Volstad fell to 0-5 while watching his WHIP soar to 1.46 and his ERA soar to 6.92.  Something has gotta give with this guy.  If the Cubs are still competing at the end of the month (currently they are 14-20, 6 games back of the Cards), look for the Cubs to release/trade Volstad and bring up either Randy Wells or Travis Wood to take his place.

Cubs travel to St. Louis for 2 games against the Cards today and tomorrow.  Let’s hope Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm keep up their solid pitching…

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Happy Super Bowl Sunday – Giants, Patriots Battle for Bragging Rights in Indy – Wrigley Field 2/5/12

Posted on 05 February 2012 by Lou

Happy Super Bowl Sunday – the New York Giants battle the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy today.  Some day we’ll get the Bears back there.

Gotta love some comments NFL Commish Roger Goodell made the other day about a potential Super Bowl in the Windy City: “Chicago is a great community… As far as football fans are concerned, there is no greater passion in Chicago.  There are a number of issues that go into playing a Super Bowl.  It’s not just the stadium.  It’s clearly the number of hotel rooms, the other infrastructure, all of which I presume that Chicago would meet.  If they’re interested, we certainly will meet with them and discuss the ability to do that.”

It seems like a long shot to me given that the Bears play in the smallest capacity stadium – Soldier Field (61,5000 capacity) – in the entire NFL.  Throw in the fact that all the cold weather places set to hold the Super Bowl either have domes (Detroit’s Ford Field, Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium) or a brand new state-of-the-art stadium (New York/New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium), I just can’t see the NFL agreeing to Chicago.  But it can’t hurt to dream!

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Merry Christmas – Wrigley Field 12/25/11

Posted on 25 December 2011 by Lou

Merry C hristmas from your friends at MyCubsToday.com.  Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

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WOW – 2 Pujols Walk-Off Home Runs Deliver Cardinals Sweep Over Cubs — Wrigley Field 6/6/11

Posted on 06 June 2011 by Lou

This 2011 Cubs season keeps getting more and more frustrating as Albert Pujols delivered 2 walk-off home runs on Saturday and Sunday to propel the Cardinals to a 3-game sweep over the lowly Cubs.

On Saturday, the Cubs welcomed the 2 start for Randy Wells after returning from the DL.  Save for a 2-run homer to Albert Pujols in the 4th inning and some trouble in the 6th inning when the Cards tied the game at 4, Wells pitched well.  He allowed only 3 hits and 1 walk in 5 2/3 innings, but all 4 of those batters who reached base ended up scoring.  Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, James Russell and Carlos Marmol all worked 5 scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough.  Jeff Samardzija retired the 1st 2 batters that he faced in the bottom of the 12th inning, but then he served up Pujols’ game-winning walk home run as the Cubs lost 5-4.

Then it was time for Pujols to crush a

On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano pitched his 2nd straight unbelievable start  to put the Cubs in position to win 2-1 in the 9th inning.  Big Z held the Cards to just 1 ER over 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks.  But Carlos Marmol served up Ryan Theriot’s game-tying 2-out double that notted the game at 2.  The very next inning, Rodrigo Lopez gave up Pujols’ lead-off walk home run as the Cards won 3-2.

With the 3-game weekend sweep, the Cubs fell to 23-34 on the season and they now trail the Cards by a whopping 11-games.  OUCH!

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Last Place Astros Sweep Soon-to-Be Last Place Cubs – Wrigley Field 6/2/11

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Lou

This is getting comical.  Doug Davis lost again as the Astros rallied for another late win over the Cubs (3-1) at Wrigley Field.  Davis gave up 3 ER on 8 hits over 6 1/3 innings and he suffered his 4th straight loss for the Cubs.

The Cubs bats did little to help – 1 run on 3 hits with 3 walks.  The lone run scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run to lead off the bottom of the 1st inning for the Cubs.

Good job guys.  Heading into this home stand, the Cubs had reason to be optimistic – getting to face equal-caliber teams – the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros – on your home turf.  The Cubs finished the home stand with a 3-6 record after getting swept by the Astros.  The Cubs are now a season-high 8 games under .500 at 23-31.  They trail the Cards by 9 games in the NL Central and they will now face the Cards, Reds and Phillies on a brutal 10-game road trip.  Good luck with that one…

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Wrigley Finale with Rockies Postponed; Cubs Off to Arizona – Wrigley Field 4/28/11

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Lou

Mother nature helped the Cubs out on Wednesday – the forecasted rains caused the Cubs and MLB to re-schedule the Cubs-Rockies series finale to a date when the weather should be just a little bit nicer (hopefully) – Monday June 27th.  It was an off-day for both teams. The Cubs play in Kansas City the day before and will continue with a home stand at Wrigley Field.  The Rockies play the Yankees in New York the day before and will stop in Chicago to make up the game on Monday before heading home for a scheduled home stand.

The Cubs used the day off for some rest and for some early travel to Arizona where they begin a 7-game road trip against the DBacks.  The Cubs will skip Casey Coleman in the rotation to keep the 3 “aces” on their scheduled 4 days between starts.  Ryan Dempster (1-2, 7.63 ERA) , Carlos Zambrano (2-1, 5.28 ERA) and Matt Garza (0-3, 4.11 ERA) will start the 1st 3 games of the series while Coleman will pitch in the series finale on Sunday.  The Cubs have not named who will start their game on Monday night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Looking at the numbers of the Cubs 3 “aces”, it is shocking that the Cubs even have a 10-13 record.  Crazy stuff once again for the Cubs in what is shaping up to be another LONG season…

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