Tag Archive | "Alfonso Soriano"

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Dempster, Cubs Sweep Nationals in DC – Cubs 4, Nationals 0 – 8/25/10 Nationals Park

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Lou

Ryan Demspter pitched the Cubs to their 1st series sweep since early July as the Cubs beat the Nationals 4-0.

Now it is off to take on the Reds in a 3-game weekend series against the NL Central-leading Cincinnati ballclub.

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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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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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Cubs Take 1st 2 Games v Phillies – Cubs 12, Phils 6 7/15/10 & Cubs 4, Phils 3 7/16/10

Posted on 16 July 2010 by Lou

Not the way I expected the Cubs’ 2nd half to start – with 2 wins over the Phillies at Wrigley Field.  But I guess we’ll take it.  Now the Cubs batters have to face Hamels and Halladay over the weekend – 2 guys “slightly better” than Moyer and Blanton.  Can Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny get the job done against the Phillies’ aces?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Thursday night – Ryan Dempster was pretty dominant –6 2/3 innings pitched – 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks with 9 K’s.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.20 and his ERA to 3.57.

Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto had home runs for the Cubs in the win.  Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting with 2 2-run doubles to help break open the game.

Ted Lilly sent a message to teams in need of starting pitching in the Cubs 4-3 win this afternoon.  Lilly tossed 7 great innings of 3-run ball, giving up just 4 hits (2 home runs) and 1 walk while striking out 10.  Lilly is good – let’s hope the Cubs can move him to a winner for the final few months of the season and then re-sign him to a 3-year deal in the off-season.  He is worth it.

Marlon Byrd had a 2-run home run and Aramis Ramirez – the red-hit A-Ram – won it in the 8th inning with his deep home run to left field off of Ryan Madsen.

Sweep Sweep Sweep!

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Cubs Blow Perfect Opportunity to Pick up Ground on Reds & Cards – Cubs 2, Dodgers 3 – 7/8/10

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Lou

The Cubs blew a perfect opportunity to pick up ground on the Reds & Cards, but lost to the Dodgers 3-2.  Instead of moving up to “just” 9.5 games behind the Reds and 6.5 games, behind the Cards (who had both lost already), the Cubs stayed put in the standings.  This game – like so many others – have summed up how frustrating a year it has been for the club and Cubs fans alike.

Cubs starter pitches a great 6 or 7 innings, but because of a “weak” bullpen, Manager Lou Pinella opts to keep him in a batter or 2 too long.  Wells had dominated the Dodgers for 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run.  He gave up a lead off single to Russell Martin and while Pinella might have mad a move then with a deeper staff, he had to let Wells finish it out.  Wells did get the next 2 batters out, but Rafael Furcal hit a 2-run home run that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead.  It was only Furcal’s 6th homer of the season.  And as so often has happened this season, a close Cubs lead of 1 or 2 runs turned into another frustrating nightmare as the opposition rallied for a late run or 2.

The Cubs were stymied for most of the night by Clay Kershaw, but they got 7 hits off of him.  They scored on an Alfonso Soriano solo home run and a Geovany Soto RBI single, but that was it.  In a game that the Cubs knew would be close, the 3rd inning was particularly frustrating.  With 1 out, Ryan Theriot singled to right field, but then got picked off of 1st base by Kershaw.  The man at the plate – Marlon Byrd – then singled, but his aggressive base-running forced him to get thrown out at 2nd base.  So even though the Cubs got 2 hits in the inning, they didn’t really threaten because of their base-running mistakes.  With a team like this that is struggling to score runs (and that has typically struggled to score runs in Los Angeles), you cannot make those mistakes and expect to win.

As I wrote yesterday, the Cubs really needed to win 3 of 4 against the Dodgers to finish off a 6-1 road trip before the All-Star Break.  That means they now need to win the final 3 games of this series – which is not going to happen.  Let’s just hope that Ted Lilly and Carlos Silva both pitch well to help increase their trade value over the next few weeks….

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Cubs End Streak – Win Opening Game of Series for 1st Time Since May 25th?! Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 4 – 7/5/10

Posted on 06 July 2010 by Lou

WOW – that was a long time.  The Cubs finally won the opening game of a series for the 1st time since they beat the Dodgers at Wrigley Field back on May 25th.  What an unbelievable stat.  The Cubs invaded Arizona and came out firing with a big 9-4 win after losing 14-3 to the Reds less than 24 hours before.  Cubs pitching gave up 8 home runs to the Reds, including 4 alone in an 8-run 7th inning.

Kosuke Fukudome got the Cubs off to a good start with a lead off home run.  The Cubs added 3 more runs in the 2nd inning on Starlin Castro’s 2-run triple and Geovany Soto’s RBI double.  Soto finished the day with 3 hits,  RBI’s and 2 runs scored – by far one of his best days as a Cubs in 2010.  Fukudome had 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs scored.  Alfonso Soriano also added a 2-run home run in the 9th inning – his team-leading 14th of the season.  Soriano also leads the team with 41 RBI’s.

Tom Gorzelanny was not great, but he pitched the minimum 5 innings to earn his 3rd win of the season.  He gave up 5 hits and issued 6 walks in his short outing, but kept the D’Backs away form the big inning – they would score only single runs off of Gorzelanny in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings.  Although Andrew Cashner struggled in relief of Gorzelanny (1 ER on 2 walks and 1 hit in a third of an inning), the rest of the bullpen did great.  James Russell, Justin Berg, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol closed the door by pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way.  Berg struck out 2 D’Backs hitters, while Marshall and Marmol each struck out 3!

But more importantly, the Cubs finally got that monkey off their back by winning the opnening game of the series.  Will that lead to a series win – their first since they took 2 of 3 from the Oakland A’s from June 15th through the 17th at Wrigley?  Carlos Silva can make that happen with a good outing tonight.  Stay tuned…

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Most Painful Year Ever — It’s Almost As If the Cubs Organization is Playing a Cruel Joke on Cubs Fans – Ricketts Family Must Clean House – Cubs 3, Pirates 1 6/29/10 & Cubs 0, Pirates 2 6/30/10

Posted on 30 June 2010 by Lou

Hah, hah, hah!!!  I cannot stop laughing.  I was planning on writing a positive article on how Alfonso Soriano has really surprised me this season with a solid 2010 effort.  But after today’s awful showing, I had to adapt my focus.

After dropping a 2-0 embarrassing loss to the Pirates today at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have now lost 9 of 11 games played against the NL’s worst team.  The Cubs payroll is over $140 million.  The Pirates payroll is just over $38 million.  What a joke?

THE RICKETTS FAMILY NEEDS TO FIRE GM JIM HENDRY NOW!

Today’s 2-0 loss summed up the Cubs pathetic season once again.  Pirates starter Brad Lincoln (25 years old) threw 7 scoreless innings and he allowed only 6 Cubs to reach base – 4 hits, 1 walk and 1 HBP.  It was his 1st career major league win in 5 starts – he had let up 16 ER in his previous 4 starts with a 1.54 WHIP and 6.00 ERA.  You just have to love these stats.

I’m not really sure that the Cubs could meet a minor league team right now.  They are playing that bad and they are playing that tight.  The presumption that they are going to lose each and every game is clearly contagious and only a total cleansing of the organization is going to fix this giant mess created by Jim Hendry & Co.

Tom Gorzelanny threw 5 scoreless innings in his 1st start back since taking Carlos Zambrano’s spot in the rotation.  Brian Schlitter threw 2 scoreless innings to keep the game tied at 0.  But then Andrew Cashner suffered his 3rd straight loss in as many appearances because of an Aramis Ramirez error that set up a 1-out game-winning rally for the Pirates in the top of the 8th inning.  It is so comical.

Ted Lilly pitched another great game last night — 7 innings, 1 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk (now an ERA of 3.12 and WHIP of 1.06 but only a 3-6 record).  But if not for Alfonso Soriano’s 2 solo home runs, we might be talking about a Pirates sweep of the 3-game series at Wrigley this week.

This team has really hit rock bottom.  It’s time for Hendry to move several players – Carlos Silva, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano.  It’s time to get some quality young stars into this organization.  And once that is all said and done, it’s time for the Ricketts to show Hendry the door before the season is over so that they can get a legitimate general manager to run the show…

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Pinella-O-Meter – How Long will the Skipper Last in 2010 — Cubs 1, Pirates 2 6/28/10

Posted on 29 June 2010 by Lou

It’s finally time for the Pinella-O-Meter – which will measure how much longer the “elderly” Lou Pinella can take with this awful Cubs team that he is trying to “manage”.  This is truly hysterical.  Just when you think it cannot get any worse, it does.  The Cubs continue to lose games in unimaginable ways.  After last night’s 2-1 loss to the Pirates – their 8th loss to the Pirates in 10 games in 2010 – the Cubs are now 7-18 in 1-run games.  How bad can a team play in close games? Clearly, this team freezes up like no other when they are involved in a close struggle.

The dramatic fall of the Cubs is clearly shown when you look at how they have fared against the Pirates in 2010.  Entering last night’s game, the Pirates had lost 17 straight games on the road – 17!!!  Coming to Wrigley Field for a series against the Cubs was just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Pirates.  They were 25-50 coming into the game, and they had won just 4 games in the entire month of June alone (1 of those was against the Cubs).  At one point during the month, the Pirates had lost 12 straight games and they were on a 6-game losing streak heading into last night’s game.  8 of their 26 wins have come against the Cubs in 2010 – that means they are just 18-48 in their other 66 games?!  One more great stat – the Pirates have been outscored by their opponents by 180 runs!!!  That’s right 180 runs.  They have scored only 247 runs (worst in the major leagues) while their opponents have scored 427 runs.  How bad is this Pirates ball club?  Very very bad — the Pirates have the worst record in the National League and and only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record than the Pirates in all of baseball.    Losing this many games to the Pirates has gotta be killing Pinella.

No matter what Pinella does – lineup changes, bullpen changes, seances – nothing seems to work.

On top of the poor play, Pinella has to deal with all of the side stories that have infected this team the last 2 seasons.  Last year it was hot-head Milton Bradley and this year it is Carlos Zambrano. A 5-week stint in the bullpen didn’t seem to help Big Z at all, so once back in the rotation, still performed at a low level.  It all came to a head last Friday when Big Z blew his head off when he felt that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez didn’t try hard enough to field ground balls that set up a big inning for the White Sox in the bottom of the 1st.  This all from the guy who has admitted that he has had trouble staying in shape and wasn’t always prepared for games.  Now Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely from the team, he is required to undergo anger management treatment, and assuming that he completes the treatment successfully, he will back in the Cubs locker room sometime after the All-Star Break and back in the bullpen.  Pinella must be wondering when he agreed to partake in a season of All My Children instead of manage a major league baseball team.

Pinella isn’t getting any younger and having to deal with the Cubs struggles on a daily basis has gotta be taking its toll on the big man.

Last night’s game was no different – The Cubs scored their only run of the game on a Pirates fielding error.  Ryan Theriot didn’t come through with a clutch hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 2nd inning.   The Cubs didn’t get 2 runners on base in the same inning again until the 7th inning.  After a one-out Starlin Castro double and Jeff Bajer shallow single, it was Theriot who failed to come through in the clutch again as he hit into an inning-ending doubel play.  And in the 9th inning, so-so closer Octavio Dotel opened the door for the Cubs by hitting Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to lead-off the inning.  But then Dotel whipped through the “heart” of the Cubs lineup by striking out the next 3 batters – Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Xavier Nady – to end the threat.  Good job guys.

Randy Wells did not have the best control – 1ER on 3 hits and 4 walks with 6 K’s in 6 innings – but he did enough to keep the Cubs in the game.  Then it was Andrew Cashner who suffered his 2nd loss in 3 games.  Cashner worked out of a self-imposed 2-on jam in the 8th inning, but struggled again when he gave up a single and a walk to start the 9th.  Pinella went with Carlos Marmol to quell the threat, but he served up the game-winning RBI double to Jose Taba, and just like that the Cubs would lose another close one to the lowly Pirates.

You have to think the Cubs & Ted Lilly will find a way to beat the Pirates tonight at Wrigley Field.  But something tells me it’s going to be another long night for the north siders.  Come on, Lou — try to hang on a little longer…

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