Posted on 19 July 2011 by Lou
Wasn’t sure if I was dreaming last night or watching the unbelievable? Rodrigo Lopez topping Roy Halladay in the Cubs 6-1 win? Crazy stuff – I guess that’s why you play the games.
Lopez picked up his 2nd win of the season, scattering 5 hits over 6+ innings in an improbable win over arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He did not walk a batter and only allowed 1 run on Jimmy Rollins solo home run in the 4th inning. Manager Mike Quade decided to go with James Russell in the 7th after Lopez gave up 2 singles even though one single was erased on a double-play ball. Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning. Carlos Marmol made his 1st appearance since blowing 2 saves. Marmol retired the 1st 2 batters he faced before walking 2 batters with 2 outs. He got John Mayberry to strikeout to end the game.
Aramis Ramirez powered the Cubs offense with a solo home run and a sacrifice fly. Carlos Pena had 3 hits including his 20th HR of the season. Starlin Castro Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits in the win.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Cubs tonight. They will try to beat another “Phillies ace” in Cliff Lee – Lee has dominated the Cubs of late – 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 5 career starts against the north siders. Good luck with that Matt Garza…
Posted on 18 July 2011 by Lou
It was not the way the Cubs wanted to start their 2nd half of the 2011 season – with 3 losses in 4 games to the Marlins at Wrigley Field. In Sunday’s 7-5 loss, Kerry Wood was the goat – giving up 3 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in the 8th inning with the game tied at 4. Just like that, the Cubs were on their way to another loss.
Randy Wells had pitched OK in his 6 innings – 4 ER on 8 hits and 3 walks with 4 K’s. On a humid, steamy day, Wells gave the bullpen a much-needed break with his 102-pitch effort. His 1.74 WHIP and 6.71 ERA are well above his career averages. Coming off of a solid spring, Wells was injured in his 1st start and has struggled mightily since he returned to the Cubs starting rotation back on May 28th.
Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and a run scored in the loss. He is now hitting .300 on the season. Reed Johnson and Starlin Castro each had a hit, an RBI and a run scored in the game.
The Cubs host the Phillies at Wrigley Field for a 3-game set this week. They get to face Roy Halladay tonight, Cliff Lee on Tuesday and rookie stud Vance Worley (5-1, 2.15 ERA) on Wednesday. Can you say sweep?!?!
Posted on 11 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – after losing 7 of their last 10 games heading into the break, the Cubs finished with the 2nd worst record in all of baseball at 37-55. Ouch…
The Cubs trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 12 games in the race for 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs trail the Braves by a whopping 17 games for the wild card spot. Only the Houston Astros (30-62) have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.
Starlin Castro has been the Cubs best and most consistent hitter all season – .307 batting average, 49 runs scored and 39 RBI’s. Aramis Ramirez put together a phenomenal close to the 1st half to help his numbers look more like his career average numbers – .298 batting average, 15 HR’s and 51 RBI’s. Carlos Pena leads the team with 19 HR’s after not hitting a single home run in the entire month of April. And despite a stint on the DL, Alfonso Soriano has put up decent numbers – 14 HR’s and 41 RBI’s.
The pitching stats are not pretty. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are tied for the team lead in wins with 6. Matt garza has the best starter ERA at 4.26. Dempster leads the team with 102 K’s while Garza is right on his heels with 99.
Let’s go Cubs — at least it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen in the 1st half, right?!?!
Posted on 01 July 2011 by Lou
The Cubs rallied for a 5-2, 13-inning win over the Giants at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon. After Aramis Ramirez’ solo home run tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cubs needed to rally again when the Giants Pablo Sandoval hit a home run off of John Grabow in the top of the 13th inning to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. The Cubs did just that. Darwin Barney singled in Jeff Baker to tie the game at 2. Then after a walk to Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto stroked a game-winning, 3-run walk off home run to give the Cubs the 5-2 win. Hip Hip Hooray!
Posted on 30 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster shocked me as he matched 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum pitch-for-pitch in a remarkable pitching duel. Dempster worked 8 scoreless innings and had a 1-run lead as he stepped onto the bump in the top of the 9th at 78 pitches. But when he allowed a lead-off double to Pat Burrell, Manager Mike Quade made the shocking move to “pull” Dempster from the 1-0 game after he had just pitched one of the best games of his career. Come on, Quade – you are 11.5 games out of 1st place. It’s not like this win is that important in the grand scheme of things. Dempster earned the right to pitch out the game and try to get out of the 1-on, nobody out jam in the 9th. But Quade made the move to go with closer Carlos Marmol to “save” the all-important game for the Cubs. And the move totally back-fired. After a strikeout, Marmol allowed an RBI single that tied the game at 1. He then gave up a walk and a hit to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with only 1 out and luckily got Cody Ross to hit into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 1-1 tie. But by then, the excitement over a big 1-0 win over Lincecum was long gone.
That being said, the Cubs showed some grit when Tony Campana singled to lead off the 9th inning and and Reed Johnson sacrificed him over to 2nd base to put the speedster in scoring position with only 1 out. Geovany Soto grounded out, but pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez came through with the clutch game-winning hit to drive in Campana with the winning run.
After 6+ scoreless innings, the Cubs finally broke through off of Lincecum in the 7th inning. Blake DeWitt’s single drove in Carlos Pena who had doubled to lead off the inning. It was nice to see some clutch hitting there.
The Cubs are 33-48 and they trail the Brewers by 10.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 29 June 2011 by Lou
What an awful display of baseball from the Cubs on Tuesday as they dropped a day-night doubleheader by the score of 19-10 to the Giants at Wrigley Field.
In the opener, Doug Davis allowed the worst hitting team in baseball to score 10 earned runs off of him in 4+ innings. Davis surrendered 12 hits and issued 3 walks during his embarrassing outing.
Reliever Chris Carpenter did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings of work – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Carlos Pena hit another home run – his 17th of the season – and Koyie Hill also added his 2nd home run of the season in a nice 2nd inning that tied the game at 3. But the Cubs squandered some great chances to score against Ryan Vogelsong as he allowed 10 runners to reach base in his 5 innings of work. Starlin Castro’s hitting streak came to an end with his 0 for 5 effort.
The 2nd game didn’t get much better. Rodrigo Lopez allowed 4 runs (only 1 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Granted 3 of his runs were unearned because of Reed Johnson’s fielding gaffe, but you’ve gotta pick each other up. John Grabow tried to get Lopez out of the 5th inning, but he allowed the 1st 4 batters he faced to reach base with a walk and 3 hits before he recorded the final out of the inning. But by then, it was too little too late as the Giants regained a 6-2 lead over the Cubs.
Luis Montanez hit his 1st career major league home run off of Barry Zito in the 3rd inning. His HR gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo home run in the 9th inning. Starlin Castro started another hitting streak by going 1 for 4 in the loss.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster can bring his “A” game against Tim Lincecum tonight. Lincecum is only 6-6 on the year, but he has a nasty 3/16 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 113 K’s against only 38 walks in 105+ innings pitched… The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 at 32-48.
Posted on 28 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Rockies 7-3 in the makeup game of a game rained out back on April 27th.
Matt Garza pitched into the 8th inning, allowing just 3 ER on 5 hits. Most importantly, Garza did not allow a walk and he struck out 6 hitters in his 111-pitch effort.
Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena are both heating up. Ramirez went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. He hit a 2-run HR in the 1st inning and a solo home run in the 7th inning. Pena hit 2 home runs – a solo shot in the 4th inning and a 2-run bomb in the 5th inning. Pena now leads the club with his 16 home runs and 42 RBI’s despite a batting average in the low .200’s. Starlin Castro had a single to extend his hitting streak to 11-games.
The Cubs are now 32-46 and they trail the Brewers by 11.5 games in the NL Central race. Not good..
Posted on 21 June 2011 by Lou
WOW – I thought this one was over after 1, but Carlos Zambrano proved that maybe he has “changed” in the Cubs 6-3 win over the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night. Zambrano allowed 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to score as Carlos Quentin delivered an RBI single and Paul Konerko delivered a 2-run home run in the 1st inning. Big Z could have cashed it in and given in to his demons (just a year ago, he got into an altercation with teammates in the dugout of this same cross-town classic rivalry and was suspended by the Cubs for his actions). Instead, Zambrano re-gained his focus during the break and went on to pitch 8 outstanding innings to give his club a chance to win an important game. Zambrano allowed 2 White Sox hitters to reach base only once more during the game. That was in the 5th inning when he put himself in a 1st and 3rd 1-out jam facing the middle of the lineup. But he battled and got Carlos Quentin to fly out and Paul Konerko to strike out to keep the Cubs trailing by just 1 run.
Starlin Castro was the other Cub player who stepped up big in the win. Castro’s 2-run single cut the White Sox lead to 3-2 in the 3rd inning. And after Big Z’s heroics in the 5th inning, Castro led of the 6th inning with a game-tying solo home run to deep left field. Gavin Floyd seemed shaken by the HR – he then surrendered a single to Blake DeWitt and a walk to Aramis Ramirez. Then it was time for Carlos Pena to deliver the game-changing 3-run bomb to deep right center field that gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead. And that’s how it stood the rest of the way.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning – he gave up 1-out singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios to bring the tying run to the plate. But marmol got Mark Teahen to line out to right field and Juan Pierre to ground out to 2nd base to preserve the 6-3 Cubs win. It was Marmol’s 15th save and it also gave Big Z his 6th win of the season.
Matt Garza and Mark Buehrle battle it out in game 2 of the cross-town classic series tonight at U.S. Cellular Field…
Posted on 20 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs dropped the final 2 games of the Yankees series over the weekend at Wrigley Field to fall to 29-42 on the season – 10 gamed behind the Cards and Brewers. Both games were nationally televised broadcast losses and they erased some good “mojo” they had developed after taking 3 of 4 from the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley earlier in the week and the opener of the Cubs-Yankees series on Friday afternoon.
Randy Wells pitched 6 solid innings, allowing 4 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks. He was hurt by Starlin Castro’s quick attempt to get a double play in the 4th inning with a runner on 1st base and one out. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were both safe on Cano’s weak grounder in front of home when Castro pulled his foot off the bag at 2nd base on Geovany Soto’s throw. Castro should have made sure that he got the lead runner at 2nd base, but he didn’t, and then his throw to 1st in an attempt to get the speedy Cano was late. Both players were safe and both came around to score to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3.
Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 7th inning, but then surrendered back-to-back hits to start the 8th inning. Manager Mike Quade opted to go with the righty Chris Carpenter to make Nick Swisher bat from the left side and he made them pay with a 3-run jack to deep right field. Just like that, the Cubs 4-1 lead turned into a 7-4 deficit with a few key plays.
Reed Johnson had 2 hits and a run scored in the loss. Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting by going 4 for 5 with a run scored. Alfonso Soriano hit his 6th career homer off of Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia with his 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning.
The Cubs travel down to the south side to take on the White Sox this week. Carlos Zambrano makes his 1st appearance in U.S. Cellular Field since he had a 1st inning outburst during last season’s inter-league play when he felt like certain players were not giving their all. Big Z was suspended for his actions and forced to take anger management classes. Zambrano goes against Gavin Floyd tonight in the opener of the 3-game series.
Posted on 14 June 2011 by Lou
Not a bad way to start the 7-game homestand on Monday night – a 1-0 win over the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Ryan Dempster had his best start of the season, tossing 7 scoreless innings and scattering 4 hits with 1 walk and 7 K’s in the process. He did not factor in the decision, but he lowered his bloated WHIP to 1.41 and his ERA to 5.48. Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning and notched his 4th win of the season when the Cubs scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the frame. Carlos Marmol walked Prince Fielder with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but he struck out former Cubs player Casey McGehee for the final out much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful. It was Marmol’s 13th save of the season.
As for the bottom of the 8th inning, Darwin Barney singled with 1 out and moved over to 3rd base on Carlos Pena’s double to deep left field. Aramis Ramirez did what he needed to do drive in the winning run. His groundball to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gave Barney just enough time to make it home with a nifty little hook slide around catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
While this team certainly doesn’t have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot, they’re probably not as bad as their 26-39 record indicates. The Cubs activated Jeff Baker from the DL and inserted him into the 3-spot in the lineup. He had one hit with 1 K, but it was Pena who pinch-hit for Baker in the 8th inning. The Cubs also put Kerry Wood on the DL with a nagging blister issue on his throwing hand. The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Cardinals by 11 games in the NL Central race.