Posted on 25 July 2011 by Lou
Believe it or not – yesterday’s 5-4 win in 10 innings gave the Cubs their 1st 3- game winning streak of the 2011 campaign. The Cubs were the last team to reach that mark this season. What a joke…
Jeff Samardzija wasted another great outing from Matt Garza. Garza allowed just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks over 7 impressive innings. He struck out 9 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 and his WHIP to 1.30. He left with a 3-2 lead, but when Samardzija served up Carlos Lee’s go-ahead 2-run HR in the 8th inning, he was forced to take another no decision.
Fortunately, 3 straight hits allowed the Cubs to tie the game on Alfono Soriano’s single to start off the 8th inning.
And after Carlos Marmol survived a bases loaded, 1-out jam in the 9th inning, karma seemed to be on the Cubs side when Hunter Pence lost Marlon Byrd’s flyball in the sun to lead off the 10th inning giving Byrd a “gimme” triple. After Geovany Soto struck out for the 1st out of the inning, the Astros walked the bases loaded intentionally. And Jeff Baker came through with the clutch game-winning line drive single to left field that plated Byrd with the winning run.
Byrd had 4 hits and 3 runs scored. Soto had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored.
The Cubs are now 42-60 and they have opened up a “safe” 8.5 game lead over the Astros to avoid having the worst record in the NL. Now that’s something to cheer about – Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 22 July 2011 by Lou
They did it! The Cubs beat the worst team in baseball 4-2 on a perfect day at Wrigley Field on Friday. With the heat and humidity finally gone for the most part, Carlos Zambrano labored through 6 innings, but kept the feisty Astros at bay. Despite allowing 9 hits and 1 walk in his outing, Big Z minimized the damage to just 2 ER. He had 3 K’s and he improved to 7-5 on the season.
The Cubs scored in only one inning but they made it count. They plated 4 runs in the 5th inning. Alfonso Soriano hit his 15th HR of the year as he put the Cubs on the board with a leadoff solo home run. Darwin Barney and Zambrano each reached base. After Barney stole 3rd base, he came home on Starlin Castro’s important sac fly which tied the game at 2. And then Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs ahead for good with his 2-run HR, his 18th of the season.
The bullpen even looked good. After James Russell allowed a lead-off single in the 7th inning, Jeff Samardzija, John Grabow, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall retired the final 9 batters to preserve the Cubs win. Marshall picked up his 3rd save.
Yippee!!! The Cubs are now 40-60 while the Astros are 33-66. Ah some breathing room…
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 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 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 15 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Brewers on Tuesday night was a welcome sight for the north-siders. We haven’t seen them rally like that and actually win the game in a long time.
Randy Wells was mostly ineffective again in his 3rd start since coming off of the DL. Wells allowed way too many baserunners — 8 hits and 3 walks — but did limit the damage to 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings of work.
And while the Cubs trailed for most of the game – 3-0 and then 4-1 – they rallied for to tie the game off of the Brewers bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning. Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro had back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 4-2. And then Aramis Ramirez tied it up with a home run to deep left field.
Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning and Jeff Samardzija worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 10. Tony Campana started things off with a “hussle” double to shallow left field to get into scoring position. After Kosuke Fukudome bunted him over to 3rd with 1 out, Castro delivered the game winning hit with a sharp single to right field. Game over. Just like that, Samardzija picked up the win for the 2nd night in a row and the Cubs took 2 in a row from the Brew Crew.
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.
Posted on 10 June 2011 by Lou
Could this be the win that turns the Cubs 2011 season around? Probably not, but you have to like the resolve that the Cubs showed in erasing a 3-0 2nd inning deficit against one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Little by little, the Cubs chipped away at the Phillies lead. Starlin Castro drove in the Cubs first run with a single in the 6th inning. Carlos Pena delivered a nice run-scoring double in the top of the 8th inning that brought the Cubs within 1 run. And Geovany Soto tied it up off of closer Ryan Madsen with a 1-out solo home run in the 9th inning. And when Tyler Colvin crushed a ball that appeared to be another home run that put the Cubs ahead 4-3, the Cubs thought they might have their first winning streak in a long, long time. But reply of the “home run” showed that a fan touched the ball before it went over the wall, so the umpires ruled it a ground rule double. The Cuibs failed to drive Colvin home, so it was off to extra innings. And Colvin finally got his chance at redemption when he scored the game winning run from 2nd base after Placido Polanco threw Darwin Barney’s groundball away with 2 outs in the 11th inning. Just like that, the Cubs finally had it in the bags.
Give some credit to the Cubs bullpen who stepped up to the plate after Manager Mike Quade pulled Randy Wells after a long rain delay after just 2 1/3 innings pitched. Rodrigo Lopez, James Russell, John Grabow, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way which enabled the Cubs to make the comeback. Lopez, Grabow and Marshall each worked at least 2 innings. Gotta love it. Marshall got the win – his 3rd of the season – and Marmol picked up his 12th save.
Now I know it’s only 2 wins in a row, but the Cubs need to take it one game at a time. Now it’s time for Carlos Zambrano to out-pitch Roy Halladay tonight at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark…
Posted on 09 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster helped the Cubs end their longest skid of the 2011 campaign with a 4-1 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Dempster worked 6 solid innings of 1-run ball to even his record at 5-5. Dempster worked out of tough jams in the 1st and 3rd innings, limiting the Reds to just a single run despite excellent scoring chances. Dempster gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.
The Cubs bullpen finally delivered in a pressure-packed situation. Kerry Wood notched hold #9 despite a 2-out triple in a scoreless 7th inning.
Sean Marshall struck out 2 in his perfect 8th inning – his 12th hold of the season.
And Carlos Marmol notched save #11 with a perfect 9th inning.
Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief as Marmol closed the door on the Cubs 1st win in 9 days.
Carlos Pena gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with a 2-run bomb to deep right field in the 4th inning. On the next pitch, Aramis Ramirez increased the Cubs lead to 3-1 with only his 3rd homer of the season. And Kosuke Fukudome scored an insurance run on a balk in the 7th inning that gave the bullpen some room to work with.
The Cubs “improved” to 24-36 and they trail the Cards by 11.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 06 June 2011 by Lou
This 2011 Cubs season keeps getting more and more frustrating as Albert Pujols delivered 2 walk-off home runs on Saturday and Sunday to propel the Cardinals to a 3-game sweep over the lowly Cubs.
On Saturday, the Cubs welcomed the 2 start for Randy Wells after returning from the DL. Save for a 2-run homer to Albert Pujols in the 4th inning and some trouble in the 6th inning when the Cards tied the game at 4, Wells pitched well. He allowed only 3 hits and 1 walk in 5 2/3 innings, but all 4 of those batters who reached base ended up scoring. Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, James Russell and Carlos Marmol all worked 5 scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough. Jeff Samardzija retired the 1st 2 batters that he faced in the bottom of the 12th inning, but then he served up Pujols’ game-winning walk home run as the Cubs lost 5-4.
Then it was time for Pujols to crush a
On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano pitched his 2nd straight unbelievable start to put the Cubs in position to win 2-1 in the 9th inning. Big Z held the Cards to just 1 ER over 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks. But Carlos Marmol served up Ryan Theriot’s game-tying 2-out double that notted the game at 2. The very next inning, Rodrigo Lopez gave up Pujols’ lead-off walk home run as the Cards won 3-2.
With the 3-game weekend sweep, the Cubs fell to 23-34 on the season and they now trail the Cards by a whopping 11-games. OUCH!