Posted on 07 July 2009 by Lou
Randy Wells is my Cubs MVP for 2009. Wells won his 4th straight start as the Cubs beat the Braves 4-2 at Wrigley Field on ESPN Monday Night Baseball. Wells needed only 87 pitches to get through 6 innings. He gave up 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks while striking out 4. In a tumultuous season in which the Cubs have had to deal with injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, Wells has stepped in to fill the void and even bumped 5th starter Sean Marshall from the rotation once Big Z and Harden were able to return full time. Wells has been nothing but brilliant with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wells should even have 3 more wins under his belt, but the Cubs bullpen blew leads in those games after Wells had left with the lead intact.
Derrek Lee also continued his hot hitting with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Lee went 2 for 4 on the night, while new lead-off hitter Kosuke Fukodome had another great night at the plate going 2 for 3 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. Kosuke’s RBI double in the 2nd inning increased the Cubs lead to 3-0 and Ryan Theriot’s single right after that capped off the Cubs scoring for the evening.
Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win for the Cubs.
The Cubs recalled 3 players from rehab assignments. Aramis Ramirez started at 3rd base and batted 5th in the lineup – he went 0 for 4. Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman were also recalled but did not see game action. To make room for the 3, the Cubs sent Sam Fuld and Kevin Hart back down to Triple-A Iowa and put David Patton on the disabled list. The Cubs also traded Ryan Freel to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later.
The Cubs have won 6 of their last 10 games and are now 41-39 on the season. The Cubs have the same number of losses as the Cardinals and Brewers with less games played, so for as badly as things have gone in 2009, the Cubs are still right in the thick of things.
Posted on 04 July 2009 by Lou
It’s about time! Manager Lou Pinella has finally moved Alfonso Soriano down in the lineup for today’s game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Soriano has been awful in 2009 after a decent start – .226 batting average; .291 on-base percentage; 26 walks, 77 K’s. From June 24th-28th, Soriano actually had 2 hits in each of 4 of 5 Cubs games, but he has gone hitless in his last 3 games. Soriano will bat 6th in the lineup in today’s game, with Kosuke Fukodome assuming the lead-off role for the Cubs. The rest of the Cubs lineup looks like Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, Milton Bradley, Jake Fox – 2-5 – and then Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot 7th and 8th in the lineup.
Posted on 14 June 2009 by Lou
Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Wow – we haven’t been able to say that in a while, or often enough this year for that matter. The Cubs avoided a home sweep at Wrigley Field with the thrilling 3-2 win.
Going into the 9th inning, the Cubs had only 5 hits and 2 runs on the day. After a Milton Bradley out, Derrek Lee singled to start the rally. In a daring play, Lee made it into 3rd base with one out on Geovany Soto’s single to left field. Soto smartly advanced to 2nd base when he saw the throw go towards Lee at 3rd base. The Twins then walked Mike Fontenot to load the bases for Ryan Theriot. Theriot was 1 of only 4 Cubs to get a hit on Sunday (Milton Bradley had 1 hit, Lee had 2 hits and Soto had 3 hits), and his second hit of the day was a line drive past Twins 2nd baseman Nick Punto that brought Lee in with the winning run. A much-needed celebration occurred in the middle of the field.
Carlos Marmol worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win. He bailed out Ted Lilly in a 2 on, 2 out jam in the 8th inning, and he got out of his slef-made jam in the 9th inning after he issued 2 walks. Amazingly, he got the Twins best hitter Joe Mauer to pop out to left and the Twins clean-up hitter to hit into an inning-ending groundout.
Lilly put in another sensational outing – 7 2/3 innings, 2 ER, 7 hits, 0 walks and 6 K’s.
The Cubs are now 30-30 after 60 games during the 2009 MLB schedule. Shockingly, because of the poor play in the NL Central, the Cubs trail the Brewers by only 2.5 games and the Cards by 2 games. It’s still up for grabs, and more importantly, anything can happen in the final 102 games of the season.
Posted on 29 May 2009 by Lou
The Cubs and Dodgers are in the middle of an exciting 4-game weekend series at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. In Friday afternoon’s matinee, Ted Lilly (5-4) will take on Chad Bilingsley (6-2). Lilly has gotten a decision in each of his 9 starts in 2009. Lilly has dropped each of his last 2 starts, however, giving up 8 earned runs, 12 hits and 5 walks over 13 1/3 innings in those 2 starts. Billingsley has been one of the best starters in the NL during the 2009 MLB schedule. Billingsley is 6-2 with a sparkling 2.82 ERA in 2009. He had worst start of the season this past Sunday against the Angels, however, giving up a season-high 5 runs and 9 hits in just 6 innings of work. He took the loss and has now lost 2 of his last 3 decisions.
Let’s hope Lilly and Cubs can he can keep Billingsley and the Dodgers in the losing. It won’t be easy as the Dodgers boast the best record in the NL and the Dodgers swept the Cubs out of the playoffs in October of last year.
Posted on 02 February 2009 by Lou
Figured we all might be getting a little sick of reading about the Cubs moves to trade proven major league talent for minor league talent this off-season. So here’s a little something about Super Bowl XLIII.
The Steelers beat the Cardinals 23-20. After leading for most of the game, the Steelers choked away a 20-7 lead with 8 minutes left to go in the 4th quarter. The Cardinals took a 23-20 lead with 2:37 left in the game, following 2 touchdown passes from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald and a safety. But, in just under 2 minutes, Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led his team on an 8-play, 78 yard drive which culminated in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. The game ended when Kurt Warner fumbled the football at midfield with 5 seconds left in regulation. The game ended 27-23.
Santonio Holmes was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl. Holmes caught 9 passes for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger also had a solid game and won his 2nd Super Bowl. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He had a 93.2 passer rating. Another key Steelers play involved NFL Defensive Player of the Year – James Harrison. As time expired at the end of the 1st half, Harrison intercepted a Kurt Warner pass at the goal line and returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown which gave the Steelers a 17-7 halftime edge.
Two Cardinals players excelled in defeat. Kurt Warner put forth another solid Super Bowl effort – 31 of 43 completions, 377 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception and 1 fumble – good for a 112.3 passer rating. Warner now holds the 3 best passing games in Super Bowl history – and he also holds the record for most total passing yards of any quarterback in Super Bowl history. Larry Fitzgerald also continued his hot post-season. Although the Steelers defense did keep Arizona off-balance for most of the game, Warner and Fitzgerald connected on 2 key 4th quarter touchdowns to put the Cardinals in position to win. Fitzgerald finished the game with 7 catches, 127 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.
The win marked the 6th Super Bowl Championship for the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise – the most in NFL history.
Posted on 14 December 2008 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs came to terms with 2 pitchers and 1 position player – avoiding salary arbitration in all 3 cases.
The Cubs signed a 1-year deal with outfielder Reed Johnson worth $3 million. He will play center field for the Cubs in 2009 – in a potential platoon with Kosuke Fukodome.
The Cubs signed a 1-year deal with pitcher Chad Gaudin worth $2 million. The Cubs acquired Gaudin from the A’s in the Rich Harden deal, and he pitched well for the Cubs before a back injury cut his season short.
The Cubs also signed a 1-year deal with pitcher Neal Cotts worth $1.1 million. He made 50 appearances for the Cubs in 2008 with a 4.39 ERA. He was a solid component of a good Cubs bullpen.
GM Hendry also announced that the Cubs would come to terms with 3-6 years players – Ronny Cedeno, Michael Wuertz and Kevin Gregg. Hendry has never gone to salary arbitration with any player while serving as the Cubs GM.
Posted on 06 December 2008 by Lou
Future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux is set to announce his retirement on Monday. Baseball will surely miss this gutsy competitor.
Let’s take a quick look at his stats:
4-time Cy Young Award Winner – the 1st time in 1992 with the Cubs when he went 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA. Then he left the Cubs to go to the Atlanta Braves where he stayed for 11 seasons. He won the Cy Young Award 3 times as a Brave (from 1993-1995), and won at least 18 games in 6 different seasons as a Brave.
355 Wins – 8th all-time and 1 more win than Roger Clemens
3.16 ERA with 109 complete games
3,371 strikeouts and 999 walks – the only other pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks are Fergie Jenkins (a Hall of Famer), Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez. And Maddux is the only one out of the group to have 300 wins.
18 Gold Glove Awards – from 1990 through 2008 – the only season he did not win the award was 2003 when Mike Hampton won the award.
To top it all off, Maddux is a great person and a great clubhouse guy. He has always been great with young players who are willing to absorb any knowledge that Maddux has to offer. Major League Baseball will surely miss a player and person of Maddux’s pedigree. Here’s to toasting a Hall of Fame induction to Maddux in 5 short years.
Posted on 05 December 2008 by Lou
Len Kasper will continue to be the “Voice of the Cubs” – at least for 3 more years. The Cubs announced that Kasper will remain as the play-by-play broadcaster on TV through the 2011 MLB season.
Kasper is thrilled and so are Cubs fans. After stints doing TV play-by-play for the Milwaukee Brewers (1999-2001) and the Florida Marlins (2002-2004), Kasper joined the Cubs television ranks for the start of the 2005 MLB season. Four years later, the relationship is still going strong. Kasper and color-man Bob Brenly have a very unique and fun relationship on and off the field. With Brenly inked through 2012, the Cubs will have a formidable broadcast duo for years to come.
Kudos to the Cubs for rewarding the solid work by Kasper, and kudos to Kasper for developing a love for the Cubs and the city of Chicago.
Posted on 24 November 2008 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs are looking for left-handed hitting outfield help. One man that could fit that role is Mark Teahen – the Royals right fielder who has also played left field, first base and third base. Although Teahen’s numbers dropped during the 2008 MLB season, he did hit 15 home runs with 59 RBI’s in 572 at-bats. His batting average was only .255 and his on-base percentage was .313. In 2006, Teahen hit .290 in 393 at-bats, with 18 home runs, 69 RBI’s and a .357 on-base percentage. In 2007, Teahen hit .285 in 544 at-bats, with 7 home runs, 60 RBI’s and a .353 on-base percentage.
The Royals appear to want Sean Marshall and Mike Fontenot in return for the 27-year old Teahen. Marshall appeared in 34 games for the Cubs in 2008, with 7 starts. He was a versatile and dependable pitcher, who had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Marshall walked only 23 batters in 65 1/3 innings. Mike Fontenot was a left-handed hitting spark plug for the Cubs at the 2nd base position. In 243 at-bats, Fontenot hit .305 with a .395 on-base percentage. He also hit 9 home runs and drover in 40 runs in limited play. Fontenot also came through with a ton of clutch hits that don’t appear in the box score, and gave Manager Lou Pinella flexibility to play Mark De Rosa in Right Field when Kosuke Fukodome hit the 2nd half wall once summertime arrived.
In my opinion, giving up both players for Teahen is way too much. Each player played a vital role in the Cubs success last year and were good influences in the locker room. Teahen’s drop in numbers coincides with MLB’s crackdown on steroid use, so who knows if Teahen was caught up in all the “steroid-hype”. Plus, giving up a Marshall will all but mean that any deal for Padres starter Jake Peavy is done.
Message to Cubs GM Jim Hendry – don’t do it unless we get David DeJesus instead of Mark Teahen or we only part with one of the 2 Cubs discussed above.
Posted on 05 November 2008 by Lou
Rumor has it that Chicago Cubs pitcher (and former standout Notre Dame wide receiver) Jeff Samardzija was on the sidelines to watch the Irish lose to Pitt in quadruple overtime on Saturday November 1st. Anybody else see it. According to reliable sources, Samardzija was standing on the ND sideline just behind legendary rocker Jon Bon Jovi. Shoot us some pics if any of you have them. We’re working on it and hope to have some closeups in the next few weeks.
Rumor also has it that Samardzija and Jovi were discussing a professional relationship – Jovi giving Samardzija a shot at playing some guitar for his rock band an on upcoming tour, while Samardzija was giving advice to Bon Jovi on how he should run his arena league football team, the Philadelphia Soul. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything concrete…