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Cubs Lose Bid for South Korean Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu – Wrigley Field 11/11/12

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Lou

The Cubs qualifying bid for South Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu was not good enough as the Los Angeles Dodgers won the right to sign Ryu with a $25.75 million posting bid.  The Dodgers keep taking on more salary under Magic Johnson’s new ownership team now that the nasty McCourt divorce issue is behind the organization.  The Dodgers traded for Josh Beckett Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this season all of whom have hug contracts down the line.

In Ryu’s 1st professional season back in 2006 the lefty went 18-6 with a 2.23 ERA while racking up 205 strikeouts.  Ryu helped South Korea top Cuba in the championship game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  And despite a 9-9 record last season Ryu still had a sparkling 2.66 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 27 starts.

The Cubs are still in the free agent market for 2 starting pitchers.  Matt Garza Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are likely starters back in 2013 for the Cubs.

We’ll keep you posted if anything develops over the next few weeks as baseball meetings heat up pretty quickly this winter…

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So Why Did the Carlos Marmol-Dan Haren Trade Really Fall Apart? – Wrigley Field 11/6/12

Posted on 06 November 2012 by Lou

For the 2nd time in 5 months, a Cubs trade fell apart right at the last minute and left a yearning Cubs fan base begging for answers.  It was reported that the Cubs had dealt Carlos Marmol to the Anaheim Angels for starter Dan Haren early Friday evening by a reporter from the Chicago Sun Times and Bruce Levine of Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000 (a similar non-trade occurred back in early July when it was erroneously reported that the Cubs had traded Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for coveted young starter Randall Delgado).  But within an hour or so of those reports, the deal fell apart.  The Angels declined to pick up Haren’s team option for $15.5 million for the 2013 MLB season and essentially bought him out for $3.5 million thereby making him a free agent.  The Cubs are believed to have obtained Marmol’s consent to the trade (he had a full no trade clause), but it is still unclear if the Cubs did not relay that message quickly enough for them to exercise Haren’s option before the Friday night deadline or if there were other issues consummating the trade.

Knowing how thorough Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are, maybe they had concerns with Haren’s lingering back issues during the 2012 campaign.  Haren (32 years old) landed on the DL for the 1st time in his career and appeared in only 30 games tossing less than 200 innings for the 1st time in his career.  Maybe that gave the Cubs pause, especially since they were fully expected to use Haren as a 3-month “rental” in order to deal him prior to the July 2013 trading deadline for prospects.

Or maybe Marmol never really consented to the deal.

Or maybe there was still a hang-up between the Cubs and Angels on money to be paid by either side.  Did the Cubs want the Angels to pay a portion of Haren’s salary since Marmol was only slated to earn $9 million during the 2013 season.

Maybe we’ll never know.  In any event, the Cubs still have Marmol for one more season and will likely deal him this off-season or in the first few months of the season to a team that is struggling with closer/back of the end bullpen issues.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything develops…

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Samardzija Tosses 1st Complete Game in Cubs 4-3 Win Over Pirates – Wrigley Field 9/9/12

Posted on 09 September 2012 by Lou

Jeff Samardzija tossed his 1st career complete game in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  It was also the Cubs 1st team complete game of the season as well.  On an innings limit in his 1st year as a starter, Samardzija used up 120 pitches to accomplish the important feat.  He finished the season 9-13 with a 1.22 WHIP and 3.81 ERA.  He racked up 9 more strikeouts in the outing and walked just 1 batter.  It was his 17th quality start of the season – not bad for a lifetime reliever who finally earned a chance to compete as a starter out of spring training.

David DeJesus, Wellington Castillo and Tony Campana each had 2 hits in the win.  DeJesus’ single drove in Castillo with the winning run in the 8th inning to get Samardzija the win.  Alfonso Soriano hit his 27th home run of the season – it was his 92nd RBI in 130 games played.

Darwin Barney played in his 124th consecutive errorless game at 2nd base.  His streak surpassed the 1,000th innings mark and he also set a National League record in the process…


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Cubs Drop 1st Two Games in DC, Look to Rebound with Volstad on the Hill – Wrigley Field 9/4/12

Posted on 04 September 2012 by Lou

The Nationals have taken the 1st 2 games of the series against the Cubs with 2-1 and 11-5 victories.  The Nats improved their major league best record to 83-52.

Jeff Samardzija pitched well on Labor Day, but suffered the loss as the Cubs could not muster any offense. Samardzija fell to 8-13 on the season despite allowing just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings pitched.  He struck out 8 and walked just 1 batter as he lowered his ERA to 3.91 and his WHIP to 1.26.  Starlin Castro and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits in the loss and Castillo knocked in the only Cubs run with a single in the 9th inning that cut the Nats lead in half.  But it was too little too late.

Chris Rusin and the Cubs bullpen served up 6 homers to the Nationals in the 11-5 loss on Tuesday night.  Rusin lasted just 1 inning (he did not record an out in the 2nd inning) before being pulled by Skipper Dale Sveum.  His line was not pretty — 5 ER on 8 hits with a walk and a strikeout.  His WHIP ballooned to 2.00 as his ERA skyrocketed to 9.00.  It was his 2nd loss in 2 starts this season.  Alfonso Soriano did hit his 26th home run and tallied his 2nd triple of the season.  Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 2 hits in the loss.

The Cubs are a woeful 51-84 on the season and it looks like they could suffer a 100-loss season in 2012.  Ouch…

At least they are still finding ways to have fun – check out the picture of Rookie picture Jaye Chapman carrying the “Dora The Explorer Backpack” to the Cubs bullpen before the start of the game!

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Cubs Look to Take Game 2 from Giants with Germano on the Bump – Wrigley Field 9-1-12

Posted on 01 September 2012 by Lou

The Cubs look to take Game 2 of the series against the Giants at Wrigley Field.  But it is not looking so good as Justin Germano has already surrendered 5 ER in just 2 innings of work.  Former Cub Xavier Nady delivered the big blow with a bases-clearing double in the 1st inning.  And while Anthony Rizzo and Wellington Castillo have each gotten a hit off of stud Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, they have yet to get on the scoreboard and trail 5-0.

The Cubs started the day with a 51-80 record and they trail the 1st place Cincinnati Reds by a whopping 29 games.  Will it ever get better on the north side?!?!?!

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Volstad Wins Again; Barney Streaking Along, Castro Big Money-Big Numbers – Wrigley Field 8/31/12

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Lou

Chris Volstad picked up his 2nd win in a row after going winless in 24 straight starts.  Volstad pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, allowing just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  He is now 2-9 on the season.

In the Cubs 6-4 win, Anthony Rizzo, Alfonso Soriano and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits.  Soriano hit his 24th homer of the season and drove in 3 runs.  Rizzo hit his 10th long ball of the season.

Darwin Barney played in his 116th straight errorless game at 2nd base, extending the National League single-season record that he set on Wednesday night.

And just 2 days after signing a monster 7-year, $60 million contract extension, Starlin Castro had 2 hits, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s in the Cubs dramatic, come-from-behind 12-11 win over the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Castro is hitting .277 on the season with 12 home runs, 65 runs scored and 65 RBI’s.  Castro received a $6 million signing bonus and the rest of the deal breaks down like this — $5 million in 2013 and 2014; $6 million in 2015; $7 million in 2016; $9 million in 2017; $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019.  Castro will be a fixture in the Cubs lineup for years to come…

Cubs continue the weekend series against the Giants on Saturday afternoon at 12 noon.


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Finally – Chris Volstad Picks Up 1st Win in 25 Starts! – Wrigley Field 8/26/12

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Lou

Chris Volstad finally ended the streak – picking up his 1st win in 25 starts.  Volstad had to endure 2 rain delays (1 for over 2 hours that delayed the start of the game and then 1 more after 8 innings that lasted a half hour before the umpires made the game official).  Volstad was glad to get the “monkey” off his back: “I got a pretty big welcome, reception whatever you want to call it when they called the game.  Everyone was prety happy. I was pretty happy, as well… There is a little sense of relief to get it over with.”

Volstad worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings to endure the win.  He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3.

On the offensive side, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 3 hits in the win.  Castro scored 3 runs.

The Cubs are now 49-77 and they host the Milwaukee Brewers for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field starting tonight.

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Will He Stay or Will He Go? Ryan Dempster Update – Wrigley Field 7/20/12

Posted on 20 July 2012 by Lou

The Ryan Dempster watch is on high alert as the Dodgers have made a big pitch to acquire the righty from the Cubs.  As far as we know, it’s unclear if they have included prized pitcher Zach Lee in the package that would come to the Cubs.  If not, it could allow other Dempster suitors like the Tigers or Braves to jump right into the mix.

Dempster is slated to start tonight against the Cardinals in St. Louis.  As a back-up plan, the Cubs acquired Justin Germano from the Red Sox for cash considerations yesterday.  They also scratched Casey Coleman from his Thursday night Triple-A Iowa start just in case Germano did not make it to St. Louis in time.

Ah the drama.  No news yet, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as something breaks.

Go Cubs Go!

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Cubs Take 2 of 3 From Marlins as Samardzija & Maholm Shine – Wrigley Field 7/19/12

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Lou

The Cubs took the final 2 games of the series against the Marlins to keep their winning ways rolling.  They took 5 of 6 games on the current homestand to open up the 2nd half of the MLB campaign.

In Wednesday night’s rain-shortened 5-1 win, Jeff Samardzija struck out 9 in just 5 innings and limited the marlins to only 1 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. James Russell picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 7th inning despite allowing 2 runners to reach base.  Starlin Castro tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning with his 8th homer of the season.  And the Cubs earned the win before the rains came by tallying 4 runs in the 7th.  Geovany Soto had an RBI single, Jeff Baker had a 2-run single and David DeJesus plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.

In Thursday’s matinee, Paul Maholm pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 5 hits and 1 walk.  Maholm improved to 8-6 and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 4.09.  Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th when he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed him to score on a single.  But he closed out the game to pick up his 11th save and preserve the 4-2 win.  Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer to get the Cubs on the board in the 5th inning.  And Reed Johnson capped off the 4-run 5th inning with a 2-out, 2-run single to left field.  Johnson, Soriano, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney each had 2 hits in the win.

Now it’s onto St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final 2012 start as a Cubs player on Friday night.

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Ozzie, Lee, Marlins Crush Wood, Cubs 9-5 @ Friendly Confines – Wrigley Field 07/17/12

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Lou

Travis Wood was due for a bad outing.  The lefty surrendered 8 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks before Manager Dale Sveum mercifully pulled the starter with 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning.  Wood did strike out 6 batters, but Carlos Lee’s 2 hits and grand slam were just too much for Wood to handle.  Lee continued his penchant for crushing the ball at Wrigley Field.

David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena each had 2 hits for the Cubs in the loss.

The game marked the return of former White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano.  Zambrano was apologetic to the media and Cubs fans before the game: “I still love these fans… I apologize for any inconvenience and anything that I did.  The only thing that I wanted to do in Chicago is win, and I really apologize to the Cubs fans and the people here who treated me good.”  Ozzie, on the other hand, was less diplomatic.  Before the game, he issued a listed of Chicago media who were NOT ALLOWED to attend any of his media press conferences pre- or post-game.  One of those included on the list is long-time ESPN Radio 1000 sage Bruce Levine.  Bruce Levine has been in the baseball business for over a century and he has know Ozzie for almost 30 years.  But Ozzie took offense that Levine did not support Ozzie more when the Marlins suspended Ozzie for 5 games early in the season for statements he made about Cuba’s President Fidel Castro which angered the Miami Latina community.  Levine suggested that Ozzie should be suspended indefinitely until Ozzie, the Marlins baseball organization and the community could patch things up.  That did not sit well with Ozzie who immediately issued an apologetic statement after he made the Castro comments.  This is just another example of Ozzie being Ozzie – what do you expect?

In any event, Jeff Samardzija looks to kick off the 2nd half of the MLB season on a positive note.  He’ll square off against Josh JOhnson in Game 2 of the series tonight.

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