Tag Archive | "Blake DeWitt"

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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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Will Tom Gorzelanny Make the 2010 Starting Rotation? – Cubs 5, Padres 9 – 8/16/10

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Lou

I can’t remember a time when there will be so many question marks heading into the 2010 off-season for the Chicago Cubs.  Who will end up managing the club in 2011?  Who will make up the Cubs starting rotation beyond Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells?  What will the outfield look like?  Who will man 1st base after so many strong years from Derrek Lee?  Besides Carlos Marmol closing out games, who else will be in the Cubs bullpen?  It is going to be a free-for-all this off-season and in spring training – let’s hope there is a lot to look forward to in February of 2011…

Tom Gorzelanny got a chance to start on a regular basis for the Cubs once Carlos Zambrano self-destructed both out of the rotation and then off the team in the 1st half of the season.  Gorzelanny has been good and bad this season.  He had several good starts early in the season, but always seemed to be on the losing end of games because he didn’t get the necessary run support.  For example, in his 1st 6 starts, he allowed more than 2 earned runs only once, but had a 1-4 record with 1 no decision.  He won the 1st 4 starts of the month of July, not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts.  He even bumped his record over the .500 mark at 6-5.  But since that 6-5 win over the Cards at Wrigley Field on July 24th, Gorzelanny has struggled.  Has he hit a wall?  In 25 2/3 innigs pitched against the Rockies, Reds, Giants and Padres, Gorzelanny has given up 17 ER on 30 hits (3 home runs) and 10 walks. With the latest poor outings, his WHIP Has soared to 1.46 while his ERA is now close to the 4.00 mark at 3.85.

Gorzelanny matched Kevin Correja pitch for pitch last night through 4 innings, but then his hits and walks caught up with him.  He gave up single runs in the 5th and 6th innings and then got into serious trouble when the Padres tacked on 3 runs to increase their lead to 5-0.  He ended up yielding 5 ER on 9 hits and 3 walks in his 6 1/3 innings pitched.  Gorzelanny has mainly been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs and he has been an innings0-eater when called upon, but he is nothing more than a 4-5 starter at this point.  And given how the Cubs really don’t have an “ace” – please try to ignore the “ace dollar figures” that GM Jim Hendry has handed over to Zambrano and Dempster on a silver platter for non-ace-like numbers – the Cubs really need more out of a 4-5 starter than Gorzelanny has to offer.  Maybe Gorzelanny can be used as trade bait this off-season, or maybe if the Cubs can sign or pull of a deal for a legitimate top of the line starter, then maybe the Cubs can settle on Gorzelanny in the 5-spot in 2011.  But right now, unless Gorzelanny shows me that he still has some gas in the tank during his last 8 starts of the season, I think the Cubs will consider all possibilities ahead of Gorzelanny for a spot in the starting rotation.

As for the rest of the game, there were some good things and bad things.

Kosuke Fukudome kept up his hot hitting – 3 more hits including a 2-run double in the 7th inning that cut the Padres lead to 5-2.  Gotta love the way he is hitting of late.  It could help Hendry make a waiver deal for him over the next 6 weeks or a trade this off-season.  Blake DeWitt had 2 hits including a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning.  He has been as steady as they come since coming off from the Dodgers in a trading deadline move.

On the bad side, Andrew Cashner continued his struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 8th inning.  Ditto for James Russell who also gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 9th inning.  Both of these guys have shown signs of having what it takes to pitch in the major leagues, but right now they are just way too inconsistent to be reliable.  Let’s hope that trends the other way over the next year or so.

Randy Wells looks to right his “sophomore slump” of a season against former Cubs draftee Jon Garland at Wrigley Field tonight.  Wells is 0-3 in his last 4 starts, pitching past the 5th inning only once in the process…

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Blown 1st Inning Scoring Chance Sets Tone for Disappointing Loss – Cubs 3, Cards 6 – 8/13/10

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Lou

It has been a problem all season long – the Cubs get a great scoring chance and only push across 1 run or 2 runs and then go on to lose a close game.  In the 1st inning, the Cubs put together 4 straight 1-out hits but end up stranding runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  Different night, same story.  Starlin Castro singled and Derrek Lee sent Castro to 3rd with a double.  Marlon Byrd then drove home both men with a single to left field.  Blake DeWitt kept the rally going with a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  But Alfonso Soriano failed to push across that 3rd run when he grounded out to 3rd base and Darwin Barney – making his 1st ever major league start – flied out to left field to end the threat.  Instead of a 4-0 1st inning lead, the Cubs settled for a 2-run lead.  Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook settled down after that rough 1st inning and the rest if history.  Westbrook gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk from the 2nd through the 6th innings and he picked up his 1st win in 3 starts for the Cards since being traded from the Indians.  Sure the Cubs added a home run by Lee in the 8th inning to cut the Cards lead to 603, but by then, it was too little too late.

Thomas Diamond made it 3 losses in 3 starts for the Cubs.  He needed 87 pitches to labor through 4 innings and his time as a Cubs starter for the remainder of 2010 is numbered.  He gave up 4 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks and just didn’t put his team in position to win on Friday night.  Casey Coleman made a good case to be bumped up into the rotation with a 2nd straight scoreless outing.  Coleman has had his share of troubles in his 1st two appearances (8 ER on 10 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 innings pitched), but he has tossed 3 straight scoreless innings now and has given up just 1 walk with 4 K’s in the process.  Manager Lou Pinella is open to the competition among his young pitchers:  “I would think everybody that comes up here would get an opportunity to pitch and get some playing time, and obviously the ones that are doing better will get more than the others… The young kids that come up here to pitch, we’ll pitch them, and the position players? The same way…  We’re still trying to compete and win some games, and we’re playing a lot of teams in pennant contention so we’d like to beat them and derail them too.”

Couple of positives to take in the loss:

Lee was back in the lineup and had 2 hits.  He was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.

Castro had another hit and is getting close to getting enough at-bats to qualifying for the NL batting crown.  He is hitting .319 on the season and should have enough AB’s to crack the top 5 in hitting at some point next week. Carlos Gonzalez leads the NL in hitting with a .324 batting average and Joey Votto is 2nd with a .320 average.  Castro would slide into the 3-spot on the list in front of Placido Polanco with his .317 average.  Good work – Starlin!  Manager Lou PInella is thrilled with his progress:  “Isn’t that wonderful… This kid here, he’s a player. He’s gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  He makes his rookie mistakes, but we live with them and work with him.  He’s really coming along.  He’s taken to that two-hole.”

Big Z gets the start today on FOX’s Saturday game of the week.  Let’s hope he has better control than he showed when he walked 7 batters in 5 innings of a loss to the Giants on Monday night.

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My Prediction Was Right (Mostly)!!! Cubs 0, Reds 3 – 8/6/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Lou

While I thought the Reds would push across more than 3 runs today, how right was I about the Cubs offense?!  After their 15-run attack against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, you just knew that the Cubs would lay an egg today against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.  I was right on the money!

Arroyo improved to 12-6 by scattering 5 hits and 1 walk over 7 scoreless innings.  50-year old Arthur Rhodes even got into the act for the Reds by pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning to preserve the Reds 3-0 lead.  (By the way, I was just kidding – Rhodes is “only” years old).  And even though Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked 2 batters in the 9th inning, he struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd and got Blake DeWitt to ground out back to the box to end the game.  Ho-hum – another dull Cubs loss at the Friendly Confines.

The Cubs did have a couple of opportunities throughout the game, but like usual, they never came through with the clutch hit.

Example 1 – In the 4th inning, the Cubs squandered back-to-back 2-out hits by Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd as Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to end the inning.

Example 2 – In the 5th inning, the Cubs wasted back-to-back leadoff singles by Blake DeWitt and Geovany Soto.  Both men moved up to 2nd and 3rd base on a wild pitch with nobody out, but were stranded as Tom Gorzelanny struck out, Tyler Colvin popped out and Starlin Castro struck out.

Example 3 – See 9th inning discussion above.  2 walks and no runs – what else is new?!

The Cubs have their best shot at a win on Saturday afternoon.  Randy Wells beat the Reds back in July and he looks to do so again against Edinson Volquez who has been mediocre at best since coming off the disabled list after the All-Star Break…

Go Cubs Go!!!

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Bad Things Await Cubs in Weekend Series with Reds @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 15, Brewets 3 – 8/4/10

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Lou

Now I know you’re thinking that the Cubs are going to feed off of the 15-run, 16-hit beatdown that the Cubs put on the Brewers on Wednesday at Wrigley.  But my money is going down on a Reds sweep at the Friendly Confines as the Cubs continue to frustrate their fans and new owners.

The Cubs have had a nasty habit of failing to keep momentum going when they are playing well this season.  You would think that after every single position player got a hit in the Cubs 15-3 win over the Brewers, that the team would be able find a way to make it 2 in a row in Friday’s game against the Reds.  But I just don’t see it happening.  First, after big breakout wins earlier in the season, the team seems to crawl back into their shell immediately afterwards.  For example, after starting the month of June losing 4 of their 1st 6 games, the Cubs looked like they might turn things around with a 9-4 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee.  But then they proceeded to lose the next 3 games to the Brewers and White Sox, being outscored 17-10 in the process.  Later in June, the Cubs broke out with a 12-0 win over the Angels to avoid a sweep on a Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  But did it help?  No way, as the Cubs lost their next 4 out of 5 games being outscored 21-6 in the process.  The same trend continued in July.  After the Cubs swept the Diamondbacks in early July in a 3-game series (outscoring them 23-11), the Cubs went into a major funk against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, losing 3 of the 4 games and being outscored 22-16.  Later in July, the Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Phillies and 2 of 3 from the Cardinals, but then dropped 4 of 6 games to the “lowly” Astros while being outscored 38-29 in those 6 games.  What gives?This is clearly a team that has very little confidence – a team that can go into a team-wide funk – a team that can lose a lot of games in a hurry.

Further, the 2010 trend against the Reds does not bode well for the Cubs.  Back in July when the Cubs hosted the Reds for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field over the July 4th weekend, the Reds really took it to the flustered Cubs.  The Reds won 3 out of 4 games and outscored the Cubs 30-8 in the series. The Cubs lost a close one 3-2 and won a close one 3-1, but then lost 2 of the games 12-0 and 14-3.  Bronson Arroyo who was involved in the 12-0 win will take on Tom Gorzelanny in Friday’s opener.  Edinson Volquez who has spent much of the season on the DL will start against Randy Wells on Saturday.  Wells won the only game for the Cubs during the July series 3-1.  And then rookie phenom Travis Wood (0.87 WHIP and 2.42 ERA) who held the Cubs to just 2 ER in 7 innings of the 3-2 win back in July will square off against Thomas Diamond on Sunday.  Diamond will be making just his 2nd start of his major league career.  All in all, you have to favor the 1st place Reds in the weekend series after taking 2 of 3 from the Pirates (outscoring them 19-11) earlier this week.

Now back to the game from yesterday.

Starlin Castro led the way with 4 hits and 2 runs scored.  He raised his average to .318 and now has an .364 on-base percentage.  The kid is clearly showing that he is an every day shortstop and a future star in the making.

Geovany Soto had 3 hits, 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  Soto’s 3-run bomb in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a nice 10-3 cushion.

Aramis Ramirez pinch-hit in the 6th inning and came through with a clutch, mammoth 3-run home run to deep left center field that gave the Cubs a 7-3.  It was a big hit as the Cubs had just taken a 4-3 lead on RBI singles from Soto, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker.

DeWitt also stroked his 1st home run in a Cubs uniform – a 3-run shot in the 8th inning.  DeWitt ended up with 2 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

Derrek Lee also chipped in on the attack with 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  His current .252 batting average is the highest it has been since Lee was hitting .262 way back on April 19th.  Talk about a horrible season for an aging 1st baseman who is coming up for his last MLB contract.  Not a good recipe for getting a good multi-year deal during the winter…

It was a great offensive day for the Cubs, but I’ll doubt we will see that too often on a consistent basis the rest of the way.  I hope I’m wrong, because I’d love to see more “relaxed” pictures of Lou like the one above before he leaves at the end of the season.  Plus, while I know that Lou said there is no room for “moral victories” at the major league level the other day, these guys need to finish with a few positive performances and games down the stretch in order to look forward to starting over fresh.  More bad losses in August and September and more offensive funks where the team just can’t seem to drive in a clutch run could make Spring Training 2011 a tense and uncomfortable place to be next February and March…

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Bye Bye Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot — Hello Blake DeWitt, Carlos Zambrano

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Lou

The Cubs finally made the trade that had been talked about all week long — Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and 2 pitching prospects.

Lilly had been solid for the Cubs all season long despite a 3-8 record.  As we discussed last week, he had a fine ERA (3.69) and WHIP (1.14), but got very little run support in his starts.

Theriot moved over from shortstop to 2nd base when the Cubs called up young superstar Starlin Castro.  He had a “down” year, hitting only .284 with 10 doubles.  Usually a player who found his way on-base a lot, his on-base percentage was a disappointing .320, his lowest number in 3 years (he has a career .350 on-base percentage).

DeWitt, one the other hand, had a .352 on-base percentage in 2010.  He was hitting .270 with 29 runs and 30 RBI’s mostly hitting in the bottom part of the lineup for the Dodgers.  At (almost) 25, DeWitt has age on his side as well.  Theriot is 30 years old and seems to have hit his peak with the Cubs.  DeWitt has a lot of upside and we could see DeWitt playing along side Castro for a lot of years as the Cubs double-play combination.  In his debut on Sunday in the Cubs 8-7 loss to the Rockies, DeWitt had 3 hits and an RBI.

Aside from the trade and a horrible sweep at the hands of the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, the Cubs also “welcomed” Carlos Zambrano back into the clubhouse.  Big Z made a “sincere” apology to his teammates before Friday’s game.  He also pitched on Saturday and Sunday, although it wasn’t pretty.  He gave up a walk and a hit in 2/3 of an inning on Saturday.  On Sunday, after pitching a scoreless 4th inning despite 2 hits, he cracked in the 5th inning.  He walked the 1st 2 batters he faced and then gave up 2 more hits which scored 2 runs.  Not good.  Maybe the Cubs need to think about bringing him back into the rotation.  With Lilly gone and Carlos Silva, likely headed to the DL to address his heart rate issue, Big Z could get that chance sooner than we think…

Oh yeah, in the Dodgers trade, the Cubs also got 2 minor league pitchers.  Brett Wallach is the son of former MLB player Tim Wallach.  Wallach pitched at the Single A level this season, going 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 17 starts.  He struck out 92 batters in just over 84 innings pitched.  Kyle Smit appeared at the Single-A and Double-A level in 2010.  In 37 appearances, Smit racked up 6 saves with a 2.35 ERA.

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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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