Posted on 01 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs continue to find new, lower ways to lose – Carlos Marmol gave up 6 runs in the 9th, blowing the win for Carlos Zambrano and helping the Cubs lose 7-3. Ouch.
The Cubs trailed 1-0 for most of the game. Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs finally had some good things come their way as the Cubs tied the game at 1-1 on a throwing error by the Astros’ pitcher on Tyler Colvin’s sacrifice bunt. Then Darwin Barney and Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead with RBI doubles. It looked like the Cubs would finally get that elusive win.
But it wasn’t meant to be as Carlos Marmol suffered his 3rd blown save, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk to give the Astros a 7-3 lead. Marmol only recorded 1 out in the disastrous 9th inning.
Kudos to Carls Zambrano who had one of his best starts of the season and kept his cool after the Marmol debacle. Big Z worked 8 innings of one-run ball, scattering 7 hits and no walks with 7 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a Brett Wallace solo home run back in the 4th inning.
The Cubs fell to 3-5 on the current home stand and now trail the Cards by a whopping 8.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 20 May 2011 by Lou
I love to be wrong in situations like this, as Casey Coleman led the Cubs to a 2-game sweep of the Marlins in Miami with a convincing 5-1 win.
Coleman picked up his 2nd win of the season, throwing 109 pitches in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Manager Mike Quade brought in the recently called up Scott Maine to get Coleman out of trouble in the bottom of the 6th inning after Coleman walked 2 batters with 2 outs in the inning. Maine made it a little scary but Byrd cuaght Wes Helms’ deep drive to center field to end the inning.
And how about John Grabow — he has given up just 1 ER in his last 10 appearances and he notched his 4th hold of the season with a scoreless 7th inning. If Grabow can regain the form that made him such an effective reliever before he signed a 3-year free agent deal with the Cubs, the Cubs bullpen will be that much deeper as the season progresses.
Kerry Wood gave up the Marlins only run on a homer to Mike Stanton. Wood is trending in the exact opposite direction as Grabow — in his last 5 trips to the mound, Wood has 2 blown saves and 2 losses, and has given up 7 runs (3 earned) on 10 hits and 3 walks. Not good.
Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning in a non-save situation.
At the plate, Reed Johnson got the Cubs out to an early lead with an RBI double in the 2nd inning. Marlon Byrd continues to swing a hot bat. He had 2 more hits including a 2-run home run in the 4th inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-0. And Starlin Castro had 2 hits including a 2-run double in the top of the 9th inning that gave the Cubs some breathing room heading into the bottom of the inning with a 4-run lead.
After an atrocious start to the tough road trip with 2 frustrating losses to the 1st place Reds, it was nice to see the Cubs bounce back against the Marlins. The Cubs now trail the Cards by 5.5 games in the NL Central and need a 3-game sweep over the Red Sox in Boston this weekend in order to get back within 1 game of the .500 mark…
Posted on 19 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs rallied for a much-needed 7-5 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night in Miami. After falling behind 5-3 at the end of the 5th inning, the Cubs tied it up in the top of the 6th inning on pinch-hitter Reed Johnson’s 2-run bomb. The Cubs then took the lead for good in the 8th on Marlon Byrd’s solo shot to left field. The Cubs tacked on an insurance run on Jeff Baker’s fielder’s choice play later that inning.
Koyie Hill had a nice game at the plate – 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored. Kosuke Fukudome, Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez each had 2 hits on the night.
Ryan Dempster struggled through 5 innings – 5 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks. Jeff Samardzija earned his 3rd win of the season by pitching 2 scoreless innings. Sean Marshall notched his 9th hold of the 2011 campaign, and Carlos Marmol picked up his 9th save by pitching an inning and a third of scoreless ball.
Casey Coleman looks to help the Cubs sweep the quick 2-game series over the Marlins tonight in Miami. Then it’s off to Boston for a 3-game set against the Red Sox at historic Fenway Park.
Posted on 09 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs got some great pitching over the weekend against the Reds, but only came away with 1 win against their Division Rivals. Not good… not good at all. It is the same old alarming trend as the Cubs continue to fail to come through with the clutch hit to break open a close game.
The Red Sox stopped their 3-game skid with 2 impressive wins over the Twins at Fenway Park.
In Saturday’s 3-2 win, Casey Coleman gave the Cubs every chance it needed to win. Coleman worked 6 solid innings, giving up 2 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks with 6 K’s. After Coleman allowed the 1st 2 batters to reach base in the 7th inning, Kerry Wood couldn’t limit the damage and allowed the Reds to score 2 runs on a fielder’s choice and single. That gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
It came down to the 9th inning trailing 2-1 as Carlos Pena came through with the clutch home run to right field that tied the game at 1. After Blake DeWitt’s single, it looked like the game was over as Jeff Baker’s double to deep center field would have easily scored DeWitt from 1st. But the ball bounced over the well and was ruled a ground rule double since the center fielder Daniel Stubbs never made contact with the ball before it left the field of play. That put the pressure on Kosuke Fukudome with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. But Fukudome lived up to the challenge, stroking a no-doubt, line drive single up the middle to score DeWitt with the winning run. Marcos Mateo picked up his 1st major league win by pitching a scoreless inning and a third.
On Mother’s Day on Sunday, Ryan Dempster made his second straight good start — 7 innings, 2 ER on 5 hits and no walks. But this time, he did not come away with the win, as the Cubs bats went silent against Johnny Cueto who was making his 1st start of the season. The Cubs managed just 6 hits and 2 walks during the game against Cueto and 4 Cubs relievers. Jeff Samardzija worked his 9th straight appearance in which he has not allowed a run. Carlos Marmol, who had not pitched since May 3rd against the Dodgers worked a scoreless 9th inning. Starlin Castro continues to struggle even after getting the day off on Saturday. Castro has only 2 hits in his last 25 at-bats, a streak spanning 5 games. His batting average has dropped 48 points down to .300 during that stretch.
The Cubs are now 15-18 on the season and they trail the Cards by 4 games in the NL Central race. The Cards come to town for 3 big games this week as the Cubs really have their backs up against the wall yet again.
Posted on 04 May 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster finally turned in a good outing and Carlos Pena finally delivered his 1st home run of 2011 as the Cubs rallied late to beat the Dodgers 4-1 in Los Angeles.
Dempster pitched 7 effective innings in his best start of 2011. Dempster allowed just 1 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks during his outing and although he didn’t factor in the decision, he was thrilled that he finally gave his team a chance to win during one of his starts.
Carlos Pena has struggled all season long and he was still looking for his 1st home run heading into last night’s game. Pena came through with a clutch game-tying home run in the top of the 7th inning off of Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. Pena also came around to score on Geovany Soto’s game-winning double after he worked a 1-out walk in the top of the 9th inning that moved the winning run over into scoring position. Soto delivered the big game winning hit with 2 outs and Blake DeWitt followed that up with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 4-1 cushion.
After Dempster left the game, the bullpen did what they’ve been doing for the majority of 2011. Kerry Wood worked a 1-2-3 8th inning and ended up picking up his 1st win of 2011 when the Cubs scored 3 in the 9th. Carlos Marmol then notched his 8th save of 2011 with a 1-2-3 9th inning. Wood and Marmol both have WHIP’s under 1.09 and ERA’s under 1.84. This gives Manager Mike Quade and the Cubs a TON of confidence when they have the lead in the late innings and they know they can hand the ball over to Wood, Marmol and Sean Marshall. Cubs sit at 13-16 with 1 more game left against the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon.
Posted on 25 April 2011 by Lou
It was another lost weekend for the Cubs at Wrigley Field as the Cubs dropped 2 of 3 to the Dodgers and fell to 10-11 overall.
Saturday’s come-from-behind 10-8 win was a wild roller-coaster ride. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-1 lead after 4 innings – courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez in the 1st inning; an RBI single from Darwin Barney in the 3rd inning; and an RBI double from Reed Johnson and back-to-back RBI singles from Starlin Castro and Barney in the 4th inning.
But the Dodgers rallied to re-take the lead from Ryan Dempster with 3 runs in each of the 5th and 6th innings. Dempster could not hold the lead again and has had a brutal start to the season. He could not make it out of the 6th inning, giving up 7 ER on 9 hits (3 home runs) and 3 walks with only 3 K’s. The Dodgers added an insurance run in the 7th to increase their lead to 8-5. But a disastrous bottom of the 8th inning for Matt Guerrier cost them the win. Castro drove in 2 runs with a bases loaded single to center field that cut the lead to 1. Barney fielder’s choice groundout allowed Kosuke Fukudome to score with the tying run. And then Jeff Baker’s 2-out, 2-run, game-winning double to the gap in right field put the Cubs ahead for good 10-8.
Jeff Samardzija struck out 3 of the 4 batters that he faced in his inning and a third work to pick up the W. Carlos Marmol picked up his 5th save by working a scoreless 9th inning despite issuing another walk. He has now issued 7 walks in 10+ innings of work. Thos walks eventually come back to haunt you, as they already have in his 2 blown saves this season.
In Sunday’s 7-3 loss, Carlos Zambrano allowed a 5-run 1st inning and the Cubs could never recover. Big Z ended up lasting 5 innings, but he gave up 6 ER on 8 hits with 4 K’s. His 10-game winning streak is now over as he suffered his 1st loss of 2011. He has a 1.30 WHIP and a 5.28 ERA.
Kosuke Fukudome, Darwin Barney, Aramis Ramirez and Marlos Byrd each had 2 hits in the loss. The Cubs drew only one walk all game long.
The Cubs host the Rockies for 3 games this week at Wrigley Field before embarking on a 7-game road trip to Arizona and Los Angeles on Thursday. Matt Garza starts tonight for the Cubs still looking for his 1st win in a Cubs uniform.
Posted on 20 April 2011 by Lou
With rain due to pound the Chicago area Tuesday during the day and night, the Cubs called Tuesday night’s contest and scheduled a day-night double-header for Wednesday afternoon and night at Wrigley Field. The Padres are not scheduled to visit Wrigley again this season, and with the Padres scheduled to host the Phillies Thursday night back in San Diego, MLB decided to try to pull-off the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
With the 1st game now moving into the 11th inning, when the 2nd game will even start is up in the air. Matt Garza had his 1st good start of the 2011 MLB schedule – 6 scoreless innings, 6 hits and 3 walks with 9 K’s. Despite walking the bases loaded with 1 out in the 6th inning, Garza was able to get out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play by Brad Hawpe. The Padres left the bases loaded in the top of the 7th inning without scoring a run and it looked like the Cubs would put away the Padres in another 1-0 affair with Carlos Marmol closing out the game in the 9th. But Marmol issued a 1-out walk to Cameron Maybin who came around to score the game-tying run on Jason Bartlett’s sacrifice fly.
Garza scored the Cubs lone run in the 3rd inning. After a Geovany Soto double, Garza attempted to bunt him over to the 3rd, but he made a poor bunt and Soto was thrown out at 3rd base. Garza advanced to 2nd base when Bartlett dropped what should have been an inning-ending double play ball. After another fielder’s choice by Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd’s 2-out RBI single plated Garza from 3rd base with the unearned run.
We’re now in the bottom of the 11th inning with the scored still tied at 1. Wait – there is an update – Reed Johnson just hit a walk-off home run into the left field bleachers to lead off the 11th inning as the Cubs win 2-1. Despite 2 hits and 3 walks allowed in just 2 innings pitched, Jeff Samardzija stayed tough and didn’t allow any runs to pick up his first win of 2011. Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 19 April 2011 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano didn’t get the win, but he put the Cubs in a perfect position to win the game in 10th inning. Big Z tossed 8 scoreless innings, scattering just 3 hits during his outing while striking out 10. He allowed just 1 walk. He lowered his ERA from 6.11 to 4.21 and retired the last 13 batters that he faced. Sean Marshall retired 2 batters in the 9th inning before handing the ball off to closer Carlos Marmol with 1 on. Marmol recorded the final 4 outs of the game with 2 K’s and picked up the win when Tyler Colvin’s 2-out pinch-hit double scored Geovany Soto all the way from 1st base in the bottom of the 10th. After Kosuke Fukudome’s walk with 1 out in the 10th, Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice but kept the inning alive by not being doubled-up. He showed some speed on Colvin’s hit – one of the few times that you’ll see Soto score in that fashion.
The Cubs got back to .500 with the win at 8-8 and trail the Reds by just 1 game in the NL Central. The Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates are all 8-8. James Russell goes for the Cubs tonight as he looks to rebound from a bad start last week in Houston when he didn’t even make it out of the 2nd inning.
Posted on 14 April 2011 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano pitched great for the game’s 1st 5 innings, but then ran out of gas in a 5-run 6th inning. Big Z allowed 5 runs in the frame and was finally removed after he issued a 2-out walk to J.R. Towles. Marcos Mateo came on to retire Jason Michaels which kept Zambrano in a position to win. Big Z gave up 5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, but moved to 2-0 despite a 6.11 ERA. Now Zambrano just needs to learn to put it together for a full 6-7 innings in his next few starts.
The bullpen was superb down the stretch. After Mateo, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol each tossed scoreless innings to preserve the win for the Cubs. Marmol was the only one to allow and Astros hitter to reach base with a walk. Not what you want from your closer, but Marmol shut the door on the rally in a non-save situation.
The Cubs raced out to a 5-0 lead on Jeff Baker’s 2-run double and Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run HR in the 1st inning. Starlin Castro had 3 hits and a run scored. Darwin Barney had 2 hits, an RBI and a run scored. And Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored. The 9 runs scored and 14 hits were season highs for the Cubs. The Cubs hope to continue their winning ways as they travel northwest to take on the hottest team in baseball – the Colorado Rockies – at Coors Field in Denver…
Posted on 12 April 2011 by Lou
The Cubs wins never seem to be pretty this year, but with this club, any win is a good win. Ryan Dempster was dominant for 6 innings (1 ER on just 3 hits), but once he got over the 100-pitch count, he seemed to lose a little zip and control on his pitches. The Astros rallied with an inside the park home run by Bill Hall and a 2-run home run by Angel Sanchez in the bottom of the 7th inning off of Dempster to cut the Cubs lead to 5-4. John Grabow made it interesting by allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base with a walk and a hit with 1 out. But Grabow was able to preserve the 1-run lead by inducing a flyout and groundout to end the threat. It didn’t get any easier in the 8th as Sean Marshall allowed 2 runners with 2 outs, but Closer Carlos Marmol ended the threat by striking out Sanchez to end the inning. And Marmol had some issues of his own in the 9th (a 2-out walk and single to put the go-ahead runs on base), but he was able to strike out Joe Inglett to pick up his 4th save of the season and get the Cubs back to .500 at 5-5. It was Dempster’s first win of the season.
Starlin Castro was the Cubs hitting star. As the leadoff hitter, Castro had 3 hits and scored 3 runs to pace the Cubs out to an early 5-0 lead. Darwin Barney also looked good in the 2-hole, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI. Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, while Alfonso Soriano came through with a clutch — yes I said the word clutch — 2-out, 2-run double in the 1st inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
James Russell gets his 1st start of the season replacing Andrew Cashner in the starting lineup. Russell squares off against Bret Myers who has been almost unhittable in his 1st 2 games against the Reds and Phillies. Myers has allowed just 3 ER and 9 hits in those 2 games, although he did not receive a decision in either start. Let’s see if the Cubs can inch back over.500 with a win…