Posted on 28 September 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster’s disappointing 2012 MLB season ended on a down note with the Cubs 9-2 loss. Dempster suffered his 14th loss of the season, allowing 9 ER on 8 hits and 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched. He did strikeout 7 Padres hitters but he gave up 2 home runs. Dempster finished 10-14 with a 1.45 WHIP and 4.80 ERA – not good numbers for an aging 34-year old starter. He lost 6 of his last 9 starts on the season and did not win a game since August 11th. He did make 34 starts and pitch 202 1/3 innings, but he also gave up 211 hits, 82 walks and 23 HR’s. Dempster has one more year left on his deal and he will likely be the Cubs #2 starter heading into 2012 behind Matt Garza.
The one bright spot – Andrew Cashner tossed another scoreless inning. He walked one and struck out one and finished the season with a 0.66 WHIP and 1.69 ERA. He made 6 relief appearances for the Cubs down the stretch, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 1 hit and 3 walks with 6 K’s. Cashner will likely stay in the bullpen in 2012 in an attempt to show that he can stay healthy for a full MLB season.
Starlin Castro finished his excellent 2012 season without a sophomore slump – he had 1 hit with 1 RBI and finished the season with a .307 batting average.
It should be an interesting off-season for the Cubs…
Posted on 17 May 2011 by Lou
Monday was just not a good day for the Cubs organization as the Reds beat the Cubs 7-4 in Cincinnati. The night started off so well – Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th inning and Big Z had only given up 1 hit to that point. But then the wheels came off. After striking out lead-off hitter Miguel Cairo, Big Z could not get another player out the rest of the inning, surrendering 4 singles, a walk and a double before being lifted for Marcos Mateo. By that point the game was still tied at 4 and the Reds had 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out. A Mateo wild pitch and then a 2-run home run to Johnny Gomes propeled the Reds to the 7-4 win. What a joke…
The only positives on an all-around bad day – Darwin Barney had 3 hits and is now hitting .345. Carlos Pena hit his 4th home run of the season – a 2-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
The Cubs also announced that Tyler Colvin was being sent down to the Triple-A Iowa to “re-find” his swing with some regular at-bats.
Andrew Cashner also took a setback in his rehab from shoulder stiffness when he experienced a twinge in a Mesa, Arizona workout.
Oh yeah, the Cubs sent Mateo down to Triple-A Iowa after another bad outing.
And oh yeah – Manager Mike Quade held a closed-door meeting to talk to his players about accountability after yet another loss. Yippee – think he’s ready to be done managing this squad?
The Cubs have now fallen a season high 5 games under .500. Ouch. They are 17-22 and they trail the 1st place Reds by 6 games…
Posted on 02 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs fell just short of getting a series win for the 1st time since they took 2 of 3 from the Padres at Wrigley Field back on April 20th.
Casey Coleman suffered another loss giving up 4 ER on 4 hits and 5 walks in just 5 innings of work. Coleman is 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP. In 18 1/3 innings pitched in 4 starts, Coleman has given up 15 ER on 23 hits and 13 walks. Why is this guy still in the rotation? Isn’t there someone else in the minors that can give the Cubs more meaningful innings?
Geovany Soto, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits in the Cubs loss. Soto had 2 doubles in the game, the 2nd of which cut the DBacks lead from 4-1 to 4-3 in the top of the 7th inning. The Cubs then stranded Soto at 2nd base in the 7th. After stranding the tying run in scoring position in the 8th inning too, Carlos Pena almost put the Cubs ahead in the top of the 9th with a deep drive to right field that Upton caught right at the wall. Marlon Byrd had doubled to lead off the inning and moved over to 3rd base with only 1 out. The DBacks then walked to Geovany Soto to get to a pinch-hitter. Jeff Baker only needed to hit a fly ball to tie the game but instead he swung at J.J. Putz’s first pitch and grounded into a game-ending double play. Not good.
The Cubs have only won 3 series all season long and have a 12-15 record. Lucky for them that no one else in the NL Central has put together a good stretch of baseball to try to gain a little space between the rest of the pack. Despite the slow start, the Cubs trail the 1st place Cards by only 3.5 games. Every time Casey Coleman and James Russell take the mound, you know the Cubs are likely going to lose, so knowing that Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are both on the mend and hopefully back in the mix in the next few weeks can only mean improved play for the club. After these 3 final road games against the Dodgers in L.A., the Cubs open up a critical 9-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds, Cardinals and San Francisco Giants which could leave them still right in the thick of things or getting ready for 2012…
Posted on 07 April 2011 by Lou
It was not a good day for the Cubs as Ryan Dempster fell to 0-2 as the Cubs lost to the DBacks 6-4. Dempster gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 10 hits over 7 innings pitched. It was the most hits he had allowed in a game since 2008. Dempster did strike out 8 DBacks hitters, but his ERA rose to 6.59 and his WHIP rose to 1.46. Not good for your “ace” of the staff.
Aramis Ramirez hit his 1st home run of the season and has gotten off to a hot start – .333 batting average. Alfonso Soriano hit his 3rd home run of the season, but they have all been solo shots and he is only hitting .273. After a very slow start, Marlion Byrd had 2 hits in the loss and is now up over .300. And Kosuke Fukudome had 2 hits and is hitting .357. Now we just need the rest of the team to start swinging a good bat.
As for the other losses, they came off the field. Randy Wells woke up with a strained forearm the day after his Monday start, but an MRI showed no structural damage. Wells with not pick up a baseball for 2 weeks and should be able to pitch fairly soon after that assuming no further pain develops. Wells was the Cubs most consistent pitcher all spring and he followed that up with a great first start – only 1 ER allowed over 6 innings pitched in the Cubs 4-1 win on Monday.
Andrew Cashner was having a similar great 1st start on Tuesday when he developed shoulder soreness in his throwing shoulder. An MRI revealed that he has a mild strain of the back of the rotator cuff of his right arm. Cashner will not do anything for two weeks too, but look for the Cubs to be even more careful with Cashner. He has a powerful arm and is seen as a top major league starter for years to come.
Casey Coleman was called up from Triple-A Iowa and will start against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Sunday. James Russell – who has pitched out of the bullpen thus far this season – could end up starting for the Cubs against the Astros in Houston next week. We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs decide exactly what to do with the 5th starter…
Posted on 06 April 2011 by Lou
The Cubs gave Andrew Cashner a nice 4-1 lead in his major league starting debut and it looked as if he would cruise to a nice easy win over the Diamondbacks. But then disaster struck in the top of the 6th inning. After retiring the first batter that he faced, Cashner walked Willie Bloomquist and then had to be removed from the game with an apparent arm/back injury. Jeff Samardzija came on to strike out the next 2 batters to get out of the inning and preserve the 4-1 lead for Cashner and the Cubs.
However, the DBacks rallied for 3 runs against Samardzija, Marcos Mateo and James Russell, and just like that, the game was tied at 4 and Cashner was no longer eligible for the win after pitching so well.
Fortunately, the Cubs showed some fight and immediately re-rook the lead in the bottom of the 7th on a Marlon Byrd double and a Tyler Colvin bases loaded walk.
And the Cubs hung on for a 6-5 win as Russell got he W and Sean Marshall picked up the save with both Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol unavailable to pitch.
But the big news focused on Cashner and then Randy Wells. Both pitchers will be sidelined for at least 2 weeks with arm issues. Not good, not good at all…
Posted on 28 March 2011 by Lou
Congrats to Andrew Cashner – he is going to be the Cubs 5th starter during the 2011 MLB schedule. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but I love it. As I’ve written before, I think this is a great move to give Cashner some valuable starting experience in a season in which the Cubs have very low expectations for a good season.
Congrats also to Marcos Mateo who earned a spot in the bullpen on the Cubs opening day roster. Mateo had a solid spring in which he compiled a 1.29 ERA in 7 spring appearances.
And good riddance to Carlos Silva. It sucks that the Cubs will end up eating the $11.5 million owed to Silva for this season, but it is the best move for the team. Silva hasn’t pitched well in over a year, he came into camp out of shape, simply assuming that he would be handed a spot in the starting rotation. And he became a cancer in the clubhouse when he started with Aramis Ramirez in the dugout after a bad first inning for the entire team in his 2nd spring start.
I like the Cubs confidence in some of their young pitchers. It won’t always be pretty, but in a year like this where the Cubs have little chance of putting together a quality season, you might as well give some of these guys a shot to see what you really have.
Posted on 23 March 2011 by Lou
So far so good for Carlos Silva today in Mesa – the righty has thrown 6 innings of 1-run ball and the Cubs lead 2-1. This could go a long way in helping Manager Mike Quade and the Cubs decide to go with Silva over Andrew Cashner for the 5th and final starting spot in the Cubs 2011 rotation. After giving up an earned run on 2 hits in the 1st inning, Silva really got into a groove through the next 5 innings. Silva surrendered just 1 hit during that stretch and he has yet to walk a batter while striking out 3. It is also impressive that Silva has made it unscathed through 6 innings. Cashner hasn’t pitched more than 4 innings in any spring appearance, so the length of the start could be a factor in Quade’s decision.
As I stated yesterday, I really think the safe move is to go with Silva in the 5th spot and Cashner out of the bullpen. The Cubs view Cashner as a long-term work-in-progress front-line starter, so there is no need to rush him in a 2011 campaign that will probably leave a lot left to be desired. Cashner hasn’t built up his arm strength to be a starter yet and with less than 10 days to go before the start of the big league season, I have a feeling that the Cubs will opt to go with Cashner out of the bullpen where he had some nice success in 2010. Silva has only this year left on his contract and if he performs well early this spring, the Cubs would more than likely try to move him before the trading deadline, even if they’re still in the hunt for a playoff spot. They would love to move some of Silva’s $12 million salary and if they did move Silva in a trade, they could then stretch out Cashner to be the 5th starter or bring up someone from the minor leagues to take over that 5th spot. Cashner was effective during long stretches in 2010, and although he did endure some bumps along the way, he is a dependable arm in the bullpen for the Cubs.
On a hitting side, although the Cubs have managed just 2 runs on 4 hits in today’s game so far, you had to like the 1st inning when both Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano came through with clutch 2-out run-scoring singles to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. The Cubs are going to need a lot of clutch hitting this season if they expect to be competitive during the long MLB season. Without a lot of fire power outside of Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, the rest of the team is going to need to be patient and get on base. And once on base, the Cubs are going to need to come through with timely hitting, especially with runners in scoring position or with 2 outs. Consistent quality hitting and patience at the plate are going to be 1 HUGE keys for how well this team does in 2011…
Posted on 22 March 2011 by Lou
Has Andrew Cashner done enough this spring to claim the 5th and final spot in the Cubs starting rotation? That is a very good question.
Cashner started Monday’s rain out and made it through 3 rough innings in cold and wet weather conditions. He allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks and said that it was tough to control anything out there. He still thinks he has a shot to be a starter in 2011 – “I think I’ve thrown the ball well this whole spring and whatever decision they come up with, that’s what I’m going to do. I thought I’ve given it my best shot. I could’ve pitched better, but I thought I pitched well enough so we’ll see what happens.”
Cashner’s main competition is coming from Carlos Silva. But Silva has had an awful spring with an ERA over 15.00.
The decision might come down to something that has nothing to do with pitching performance. Silva has always been a starter and is likely more effective as a starter (assuming he has the right stuff going). Cashner, on the other hand, pitched the entire 2010 MLB season out of the bullpen and at a young age, the Cubs might opt to take it slow with Cashner. The Cubs might want to limit the number of pitches that Cashner throws this season, and pitching out of the bullpen would be the perfect way to do that. Cashner could work on his pitches in relief and he is a dependable arm in the bullpen as well.
We’ll have to see what Manager Mike Quade and the Cubs decide to do. I have a feeling they are going to play it safe and go with Silva as the #5 starter and Cashner as a reliever. If Silva falters after a few starts, then the Cubs could decide to try to move him in a trade and bring in Cashner as the 5th starter. If Silva excels, the Cubs could still try to move Silva when his trade value is high and use Cashner as the 5th starter or bring someone else up from the minor leagues to take that 5th spot. Given the uncertainty of this 2011 MLB club, I have a feeling that the safe option with Silva as #5 will prevail, even though I would prefer that the Cubs allow Cashner to learn on the job during a season where there should be little pressure on the Cubs to do well.
Posted on 18 March 2011 by Lou
Will Carlos Silva be on the Cubs opening day roster when camp breaks at the end of March – that is a key question. With the quality starts by Randy Wells all spring long and the emergence of Andrew Cashner as a viable 5th starter, the Cubs could be looking to move Carlos Silva when camp breaks at the end of March. Lucky for the Cubs, they have some suitors. The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees both have had scouts watching all of Silva’s starts this spring. Both teams are in need of a 5th starter to round out their rotations and the Yankees could easily absorb all or a portion of Silva’s whopping $12 million salary for the 2011 MLB schedule. Despite 2 rough starts to open up the spring and a dugout squirmish with Aramis Ramirez after a dreadful 1st inning in which Silva surrendered 6 runs when his defense committed 3 errors, Silva has put together 2 good starts and clearly still has what it takes to pitch at the major league level. Silva even pitched 5 innings in his last outing and is building up his arm strength.
This would be a great coup for the Cubs if they can find someone to take Silva, even they end up paying for part of his salary to get a deal done. Silva is not in the Cubs long-term plans and by moving Silva for something (a prospect, draft pick, saving some cash), it would be much better than outright releasing the big righty. It would also free up a spot for Cashner to open the season as the Cubs 5th starter. And even if the Cubs have an injury problem or Wells or Cashner struggles out of the gate, they still have some other young options to fall back on with James Russell and Casey Coleman who will most likely start the 2011 campaign starting in the minor leagues.
Posted on 16 March 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner both made good starts on Tuesday which could mean that the duo will round out the Cubs 2011 starting rotation.
Cashner tossed 3 1/3 innings in a split squad game against the A’s, giving up just 1 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks. He had 2 strikeouts. Manager Mike Quade is impressed with the fact that Cashner seems confident in his ability to be effective as a starter at the major league level even though he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2010: “That will take him a long way in his development. I think he enjoys starting. He’s put his heart and soul into this, and I don’t think there’s something in the back that says, ‘Really, I’m a reliever.’ I think hes’ bought into this completely.”
As for Wells, he finally gave up his first runs of the spring. He was tagged for 3 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings of a split squad loss against the Rockies. He has now pitched 14 excellent innings this spring and hopes that he will claim a rotation spot soon. “I have a lot to prove. I don’t think you ca ever do enough. If you’re on that plane to Chicago, you still haven’t done enough… We’ll just keep it rolling and hopefully stay in a nice groove, keep the confidence up and stay healthy, and hopefully everything works out.”
Let’s hope Cashner and Wells keep it up. I would love to see the two make the starting rotation and I would love for GM Jim Hendry to find someone to take on Carlos Silva and his crazy salary. Even if the Cubs have to eat half of it in a trade, I think it would be great for Cashner to get some excellent major league experience as a starter during this “up-in-the-air” 2011 Cubs campaign…