Posted on 09 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs rode Jeff Samardzija 8 2/3 innings to get their 1st win of the 2012 MLB campaign. Samardzija was one of the Cubs top pitchers all spring and he carried that over into the 2012 regular season. He should have gotten the complete game 4-1 win if not for Starlin Castro’s 9th inning error with 2 outs. Manager Dale Sveum then kept Samardzija in the game, but he served up Adam LaRoche’s 2-run home run which cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. That prompted Sveum to tab Cubs closer Carlos Marmol to close out the game.
Marmol suffered the loss in Thursday’s opener and gave up 2 more earned runs in Saturday’s loss to the Nats, but someone had to get the Cubs out of the jam. Despite walking Jayson Werth to put the tying run on base, Marmol induced former Cub Xavier Nady to pop out to Ian Stewart right in front of the Cubs dugout. That gave the Cubs their 1st 2012 win and Samardzija of what looks to be one of many wins this season.
Samardzija struck out 8 in his outing and most importantly, he did not walk a batter. He scattered 4 hits and gave up just 1 ER.
Satrlin Catrso had 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Bryan LaHair – in his 1st start of the season – also had 2 hits. Alfonso Soriano drove in 2 runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
It has been a rough opening weekend series for the Cubs who could have been 0-3, 2-1 or 3-0. Instead they are sitting at 1-2 in last place in the NL Central. What else is new?!
Posted on 05 April 2012 by Lou
For a while it looked like the Cubs might actually win on opening day, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Cubs ‘pen blew a great outing from Ryan Dempster. Dempster worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up just 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 10 Nationals hitters. Dempster got out of 2 early jams (2nd and 3rd with only 1 out in the 1st inning; bases loaded and only 1 out in the 3rd inning) to keep the game scoreless against Nats ace Stephen Strasburg. The Cubs eventually took the lead in the 4th inning on a timely 2-out single by Marlon Byrd which gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Dempster worked all the way into the 8th and had 2 outs with a runner on base when Manager Dale Sveum made his move. Sure it is only Game 1 and sure Dempster had racked up 108 pitches, but leave the guy out there. Sveum brought in Kerry Wood – who had a limited spring due to injury – to try to get the final out of the inning. But Wood walked 3 straight batters to force in the tying run. Not good.
Then Sveum called on Carlos Marmol in the 9th with the game tied 1-1. After he got 2 quick outs, Marmol gave up a double to Chad Tracy and a game-winning single to Ian Desmond and just like that the Cubs has lost 2-1. Hey, I guess at least Marmol threw strikes and didn’t walk a batter, right?
The Cubs did make it interesting in the 9th when Ian Stewart “tripled” to right field when Jayson Werth lost the ball in the sun in that dreaded corner-outpost area. Joe Mather pinch-ran for Stewart and Mather was quickly gunned down at the plate in a bang-bang play on Jeff Baker’s grounder to 3rd.
I have a feeling we’re going to see a LOT of games like this. Cubs starters keep the Cubs in the game with a lot of 3-2, 2-1 scores. Cubs offense doesn’t produce enough run-support. Cubs bullpen blows game. Cubs lose. I wish I could be more optimistic, but this team just has way too many holes and with no dead-on power-hitter who can serve as an equalizer with a big home run with runners on base, the Cubs will have one of the poorest offenses in 2012. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson a lot sooner than President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have led on. Only time will tell…
Posted on 31 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm looked good in his 2nd to last start of the spring – a 3-3 tie with the Angels. Maholm worked almost 5 innings, giving up 2 ER on 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 6 and had some nice control of all of his pitches. Maholm could surprise this season as the Cubs 5th pitcher in the rotation. Carlos Marmol, Rafael Dolis and James Russell also tossed scoreless perfect innings of relief to keep the score tied at 3.
The Cubs managed just 6 singles and doubles by Joe Mather and Darwin Barney in 10 innings and it looks like consistent offense could plague the Cubs again in 2012. The Cubs are going to need a lot of clutch timely hitting this year as the rotation and bullpen will likely keep the Cubs in a bunch of games. Then it will come down to the hitters coming through when they have runners on base and taking advantage of errors committed by the opposition – something they have struggled to do each of the last 2 seasons.
We’ll see how it goes, but spring training is quietly closing up and we’ll have “real” games very very soon on the north side of Chicago…
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm was named the Cubs 5th starter, but with more outings like this, he could be a #1-4 in any team’s rotation. Maholm who battled the flu early in the spring and has been behind due to that, finally got in a long outing in Monday’s 2-0 win over the Padres. He pitched 5 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6. He lowered his ERA to 0.90 and he could be a nice surprise for the Cubs at the back end of the rotation.
The rest of the bullpen was just as masterful after Maholm departed in the 6th. Carlos Marmol allowed 2 runners on in the 6th inning, but got out of the game without giving up a run. Casey Coleman worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit with 2 K’s. And spring training surprise Rafael Dolis looks to have all but assured himself a spot in the bullpen with another scoreless outing. He gave up a walk in the 9th but closed the door on any Padres comeback. He has yet to allow an earned run this spring.
The Cubs scored a run in each of the 1st 2 innings to give Maholm a little cushion and the rest was history. You would have liked to see more than 2 runs on 7 hits, but a win is a win, even in spring training.
Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 21 March 2012 by Lou
The Cubs impressed in split squad games and Carlos Marmol is going to be just fine.
Even though the Cubs lost to the Rangers 6-2, it wasn’t all bad. Ryan Dempster worked 6 innings of 2 run ball. He scattered 4 hits – one of which was a 2-run jack in the 2nd inning – and 2 walks with 3 K’s. Dempster appears to be on track to make his 2nd consecutive opening day start at Wrigley Field when the Cubs battle Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals on April 5th at the Friendly Confines.
Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo each had 2 hits for the Cubs.
Carlos Marmol left the game after retiring only 2 batters in the 7th inning due to cramps in his hand. He has experienced cramping during spring training and he does not think it will be a problem. An MRI today confirmed no damage to his neck or upper shoulder area and he will get a few days off and be re-evaluated later this week. But it is great news that it appears that Marmol avoided any serious injury.
And although the A’s rallied to tie the Cubs in the 9th inning, Rodrigo Lopez worked an efficient 5 innings – just 1 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk with 4 K’s. Lopez will not gain a spot in the starting rotation, but he could prove useful as a nice veteran arm in the bullpen in 2012. After struggling all spring, Tony Campana went 4 for 5 and scored a run.
The Cubs get a much-needed day off today.
Posted on 09 March 2012 by Lou
Another great started from a Cubs starter – Chris Volstad tossed 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit with 3 K’s. Kerry Wood made his spring debut with a scoreless 4th inning. But then Carlos Marmol bucked that trend with a disastrous 5th inning. He only recorded 2 outs (both by strikeout) before being yanked from the game. He was charged with 4 ER on 4 hits including a home run.
I guess you have to take the good with the bad – let’s just hope this was a blip on the radar for Marmol this spring and that he can bounce back in his next outing…
Posted on 04 March 2012 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs lost to the Oakland A’s 12-10 in their spring opener under new manager Dale Sveum.
Rodrigo Lopez pitched 2 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts. He did not allow a base runner. Carlos Marmol also retired all3 batters that he faced in the 3rd inning with 1 strikeout. Sveum was especially pleased with Lopez’s strong outing – “He looked great. The guy is smart. He knows what to do. He came into camp in incredible shape. He’s definitely in the mix.”
9 runs allowed in the 4th and 5th innings did the Cubs in. Jeff Beliveau gave up 4 earned runs – 3 walks and a run-scoring single to Josh Reddick. Dae-eun Rhee did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings pitched – 4 earned runs on 6 hits, including 2 home runs.
Darwin Barney had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s in his debut. Adrian Cardenas, another guy competing for the 2nd base job, drove in 3 runs with a triple and he scored a run.
The Cubs and A’s battle again on Monday in Arizona…
Posted on 14 January 2012 by Lou
All is good on the north side, as Theo & Co. and Kerry Wood figured out a way to keep the veteran reliever with the Cubs in 2012. The Cubs and Wood signed a 1-year, $3 million deal just before the start of the 2012 Cubs Convention on Friday night. The deal includes a club option for 2013. Wood pitched in 55 games for the Cubs in 2011, going 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA.
It was a win-win situation for both sides. With the departure of Sean Marshall via trade to the Reds, the Cubs needed a veteran presence in the bullpen besides Carlos Marmol. Wood will help anchor the back-end of the bullpen with Marmol and Jeff Samardzija.
Although it got a little scary at times during negotiations, Wood is thrilled to be back with the Cubs and is glad that he did not have to retire. “I didn’t want to be forced into that. I still love the game. I still have plenty left… It all worked out in the end. I’m back in Chicago and I’m back where I want to be.”
Let’s hope it is a productive season for the both Wood and the Cubbies…
Posted on 30 August 2011 by Lou
The Cubs made it 2 in a row behind Matt Garza en route to a 5-2 win over the Giants.
Garza had another solid start and has really shown “ace” stuff since getting settled into his new digs on the north side of Chicago. Garza went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 ER on 9 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 6 and lowered his ERA to 3.64 and his WHIP to 1.32. If he can win 3 of his September starts, he will hit double-digit wins for the Cubs in 2011.
Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol recorded the final 7 outs of the game without allowing a Giants hitter to reach base. Marshall notched his 29th hold, while Wood notched his 20th hold. Marmol picked up save #31.
Alfonso Soriano hit another HR. He now has 24 on the season. He and Garza each had 2 hits in the win.
The Cubs finish up the 3-game road trip against the Giants Wednesday afternoon with Rodrigo Lopez on the bump. After a day off Thursday, the Cubs face the Pirates and Reds at Wrigley Field from Friday through Wednesday of next week.
Posted on 24 August 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells made his best start of the 2011 season with a dominating 6+ inning effort in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Braves. Wells gave up just 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks as he worked into the 7th inning. His lone run came on a solo home run to Jason Heyward. Wells even got into the offensive act in the 2nd inning as the Cubs plated all 3 runs in the frame. Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run home run and then Wells’ RBI groundout added the much needed 3rd run.
The bullpen did the rest as Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol closed the door on the Braves bid for a comeback. Marmol worked a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s to notch his 30th save of 2011.