Posted on 31 August 2012 by Lou
Chris Volstad picked up his 2nd win in a row after going winless in 24 straight starts. Volstad pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, allowing just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks. He is now 2-9 on the season.
In the Cubs 6-4 win, Anthony Rizzo, Alfonso Soriano and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits. Soriano hit his 24th homer of the season and drove in 3 runs. Rizzo hit his 10th long ball of the season.
Darwin Barney played in his 116th straight errorless game at 2nd base, extending the National League single-season record that he set on Wednesday night.
And just 2 days after signing a monster 7-year, $60 million contract extension, Starlin Castro had 2 hits, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s in the Cubs dramatic, come-from-behind 12-11 win over the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Castro is hitting .277 on the season with 12 home runs, 65 runs scored and 65 RBI’s. Castro received a $6 million signing bonus and the rest of the deal breaks down like this — $5 million in 2013 and 2014; $6 million in 2015; $7 million in 2016; $9 million in 2017; $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019. Castro will be a fixture in the Cubs lineup for years to come…
Cubs continue the weekend series against the Giants on Saturday afternoon at 12 noon.
Posted on 27 August 2012 by Lou
Chris Volstad finally ended the streak – picking up his 1st win in 25 starts. Volstad had to endure 2 rain delays (1 for over 2 hours that delayed the start of the game and then 1 more after 8 innings that lasted a half hour before the umpires made the game official). Volstad was glad to get the “monkey” off his back: “I got a pretty big welcome, reception whatever you want to call it when they called the game. Everyone was prety happy. I was pretty happy, as well… There is a little sense of relief to get it over with.”
Volstad worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings to endure the win. He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3.
On the offensive side, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 3 hits in the win. Castro scored 3 runs.
The Cubs are now 49-77 and they host the Milwaukee Brewers for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field starting tonight.
Posted on 14 May 2012 by Lou
It was an ugly weekend for the Cubs all-around, but at least they didn’t get swept. The Cubs scored in each of the game’s final 5 innings en route to their 1st “easy” win in a LONG time. The top of the order has been on fire for the Cubbies. David DeJesus had 2 hits and a run scored. Tony Campana had 3 hits, 1 run scored and 1 RBI. And Starlin Castro added 2 hits with an RBI. Jeff Samardzija pitched 5 innings but needed 91 pitches to labor through his outing. He allowed just 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6, but he did not factor in the decision.
James Russell, Kerry Wood and Michael Bowden each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.
It was a much-needed victory given how they lost the 1st 2 games of the series. On Friday night, after taking a 4-1 lead on David DeJesus’ grand slam in the top of the 7th, the Cubs gave it right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the frame. DeJesus came through again in the clutch in the 9th inning as they rallied for a 7-5 lead with 3 runs in the inning. But Rafael Dolis gave it right back with a 2-run shot to Corey Hart in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs would go on to lose 8-7 in 13 innings.
On Saturday, it was the same old story for Chris Volstad. He always seems to have 1 brutal inning that costs him and the Cubs the game. It was a 1-1 game through 5 1/2 innings and then Volstad served up a 5-run 6th inning, capped off by Edwin Maysonet’s 2-out grand slam. Just brutal. Volstad fell to 0-5 while watching his WHIP soar to 1.46 and his ERA soar to 6.92. Something has gotta give with this guy. If the Cubs are still competing at the end of the month (currently they are 14-20, 6 games back of the Cards), look for the Cubs to release/trade Volstad and bring up either Randy Wells or Travis Wood to take his place.
Cubs travel to St. Louis for 2 games against the Cards today and tomorrow. Let’s hope Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm keep up their solid pitching…
Posted on 01 May 2012 by Lou
The Cubs were looking for their 2nd straight series win, but settled for a split with the Phillies after losing 6-4 on Monday night. It was not a pretty night for Chris Volstad yet again as he surrendered 4 1st inning runs to put the Cubs in an early hole. Volstad ended up going a full 6 innings (4ER on 8 hits and 3 walks) to his credit, but he can’t keep having these sub-par outings.
Give the Cubs some credit for battling back against the Phillies though. Geovany Soto wasted a golden opportunity with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th when he grounded into a double play. But at least he didn’t strike out I guess.
In the 8th, Tony Campana walked, stole 2nd and scored on Starlin Castro’s RBI single. Then it was Bryan LaHair who stroked a game-tying 2-run jack to deep right center field to give the Cubs new life.
But it was short-lived as the Cubs bullpen couldn’t force extra innings. Scott Maine plunked Juan Pierre with 1 out in the 8th. Then Rafael Dolis served up a Jimmy Rollins single which put runners on the corners with 2 outs. Dolis couldn’t close the door as he gave up a game-winning 2-run double to Placido Palonco to give the Phils a 6-4 win.
The Cubs go to Cincinnati to take on the Reds – they are 8-15 – 7 games back of the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals.
Posted on 26 April 2012 by Lou
Chris Volstad is 3 for 3 – not in a good way – he has lost each of his last 3 starts. The Cubs dropped the series finale to the Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon, just missing out on their 1st sweep of the young campaign.
Volstad actually didn’t pitch all that bad, but a 3-run 6th inning did him in. He allowed a go-ahead double to Carlos Beltran and then a 2-run bomb to deep left field to David Freese. Just like that, a 1-1 tie turned into a 4-1 deficit. Volstad finished the 6th and was hit up for 4 ER on 6 hits. The good news was that he did not walk a batter. The bad news was that he lost his 3rd straight decision and still has an ERA of 6.14.
The Cubs offense didn’t do him any favors on Wednesday. They managed just 6 hits and 2 walks against surprise “ace” Lance Lynn. Lynn is 4-0 with a nasty 0.81 WHIP and 1.33 ERA. However, the Cubs had their chances – but never seemed to put a solid inning together. In the 2nd, Ian Stewart erased Alfonso Soriano’s lead-off single with a double play. The next hitter Steve Clevenger doubled, but nobody was on base. In the 5th inning, Darwin Barney reached 3rd base with only 1 out, but Tony Campana and Starlin Castro could not deliver him home. The Cubs lone run scored on Bryan LaHair’s solo shot in the 4th inning. LaHair has lived up to the pressure of playing 1st base at Wrigley Field so far. He leads the teams with 4 home runs and 11 RBI’s and he is hitting .364 with a plentiful .463 on-base percentage.
The Cubs now start on a difficult 7-game road trip through Philadelphia and Cincinnati. At least the Phillies are still without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley which should give the Cubs pitchers a slightly better chance…
Posted on 20 April 2012 by Lou
The losses keep piling up for skipper Dale Sveum and his mediocre ball club. The Reds handed the Cubs a 9-4 loss today at Wrigley Field in a brutally cold, annoying contest. I’m not sure how I missed this, especially after a lot of positives built up during a “successful” spring training. But this team is bad and it is going to take a LONG time for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and staff to build it back up.
Chris Volstad dropped to 0-2 after giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in his 5 innings of work. His 1.38 WHIP and 6.19 ERA needs to improve. The Cubs position players didn’t help much – they committed 3 errors in the field and managed just 5 hits. The Reds committed 2 errors themselves leading to 3 unearned runs on the day. Not good when only 1 of your 4 runs scored was a legit run. The star of the day was clean-up hitter Bryan LaHair who had 2 doubles on the day.
The Cubs also got some bad news off the field. They placed Kerry Wood on the 15-day with shoulder tiredness. And Ryan Dempster has a sore right quadriceps muscles which he had examined in Chicago today. If he can’t go on Sunday against the Reds, Randy Wells will make the spot start for the Cubs in the series finale against the Reds.
The Cubs are now on a 6-game losing streak. Their 3-11 record is the worst in baseball and they trail the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals by 6.5 games already…
Posted on 15 April 2012 by Lou
It was a lost weekend for the Cubs in St. Louis, especially after Jeff Samardzija pitched the Cubs to the opening win of the series on Friday. Game 1 went smoothly for the Cubs. Ian Stewart gave the Cubs an early lead with his 3-run homer in the 1st inning. Bryan LaHair’s 1st career grand slam opened that lead up to 8-0 in the 3rd inning. Sure, Samardzija made it interesting with his 5-run 5th inning, but the bullpen shut down the Cards offense the rest of the way. Rafael Dolis worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit. James Russell and Kerry got 3 outs in the 8th inning to set it up for closer Carlos Marmol in a non-save situation in the 9th. Marmol pitched a perfect 9th with 2 K’s and just like that, the Cubs had their 1st winning streak of 2012.
But the rest of the weekend was awful. The bats went quiet against Lance Lynn in a 5-1 loss on Saturday and against Jake Westbrook in a 10-3 drubbing on Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, the Cubs offense combined for just 4 runs on 12 total hits. And on Saturday, Chris Volstad pitched 6 innings, but a 4-run 4th inning (due in part to 2 Starlin Castro errors) doomed him and the Cubs. Volstad only gave up 6 hits and didn’t walk a batter, but Cubs pitchers are going to have to be better than that night in and night out. On Sunday, Paul Maholm had his 2nd straight awful start giving up 6 ER on 6 hits in just 4 innings of work. A veteran used to pitching to NL central ball clubs has now racked up a 1.88 WHIP and 13.50 ERA in 2 starts. Ouch…
The Cubs now travel to Miami to take on Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano and the new-look Marlins in a much-anticipated series. I can’t wait…
Posted on 11 April 2012 by Lou
Ouch – this series against the Brewers at Wrigley has been downright awful. Not sure why I thought this team as constructed would be able to compete on a daily basis, but it is very clear that Theo & Co. have a LOT of work to do over the next few years. It is going to be a LONG stretch of poor play on the north side for Cubs fans. We’ve already endured the miserable 2010 and 2011 MLB seasons and it doesn’t look like anything is going to all that much better in 2012 or 2013.
The Cubs dropped the series opener to the Brewers on Monday night 7-5. Chris Volstad had a ho-hum start for the Cubs – 5 innings, 3 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks with 6 K’s. Shawn Camp was bad in his 2 innings of work – he allowed the Brewers to increase their lead with 3 more ER on 5 hits. His ERA balooned to 8.10 and his WHIP rose over 2 at 2.10. Not good.
The Cubs rallied in the 9th to cut the lead to 7-5 and had the bases loaded with 2 outs for their best hitter – Starlin Castro. But John Axford got Castro on 3 straight pitches, and just like that, the game was over.
In game 2, Paul Maholm gave the Brew Crew a nice 5-run cushion in the 1st inning and just like that the game was over. Maholm lasted just 4 innings in his dismal 1st start as a Cub – 6 ER on 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBP. Not good. David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano are the only 2 Cubs hitters batting consistently. Each player had 2 hits and Soriano had 2 RBI’s.
In Game 3, Ryan Dempster pitched his heart out for a 2nd second start, but it wasn’t meant to be … again. Dempster protected a 1-0 lead all the way into the 7th inning before he served up a 2-run jack to back-up catcher George Kottaras with 2 outs in the inning. That would be enough for the Brewers to rack up a 3rd straight win over the Cubs as Yovani Gallardo overmatched the Cubs through 7 innings. Game, set match.
Kudos to Dempster, however. He scattered 5 hits and 3 walks over 6 2/3 innings pitched and is sporting a nasty 0.91 WHIP and 1.88 ERA despite his 0-1 record.
Matt Garza tries to keep the Cubs from being swept by the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at the Friendly Confines…
Posted on 29 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija locked up the 3rd spot in the Cubs starting rotation with his 6 scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians in the Cubs 2-0 win on Wednesday. He scattered 3 hits and just 1 walk while striking out 5. He has had good outings this spring, but that was by far his best performance to date. The pressure was on, as Samardzija knew he had to bounce back from his last outing when the Rockies rocked the big righty for 7 ER. He answered the call and it looks like all the hard work that he put in this off-season – he showed up in Arizona back in November – really paid off.
Manager Dale Sveum had this to say about picking Samardzija – “I’s say it convinced me more than anything. He did a good job yesterday, especially because they had seven or eight left-handers in their lineup, which is always a test against a right-handed pitcher. He kept them off-balance, got weak popups. That shows he was controlling bat speed and doing a good job of it.”
Samardzija was thrilled and relieved: “We just kind of said thanks to each other, for me personally to get the opportunity to do it and they were happy I didn’t take it for granted and just show up and go through the motions. It felt good… You don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to start. I really wanted to give this a full head of steam and have a full shot.”
This is a great move. I like the idea of 2 veterans at the front of the rotation – Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. Then you can throw Samardzija out there against other teams’ # 3’s and he is going to surprise a lot of people. Then you have a Chris Volstad who has had a good spring and may have favorable match-ups against some weaker starters. And then you might see Paul Maholm really take advantage of being in the #5 spot in the rotation. That will give him a little extra time with an extended spring to get up to full game strength, and he has been around the block once or twice. This rotation is going to surprise some people – you heard it hear 1st!
The Cubs also optioned Randy Wells back down to Triple-A Iowa…
Posted on 23 March 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza worked 5 strong innings in the Cubs 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday. He scattered 2 hits and 3 walks during his outing and all 3 runs that the Rangers scored in the 4th inning were unearned due to erros by Darwin Barney and Bryan LaHair. He struck out 3 batters and tried to make it tough on Manager Dale Sveum who was about to name his opening day starter.
But at the end of the day, it was Ryan Dempster who gets the opening day nod for the 2nd consecutive season. Dempster will square off against Nats’ phenom Stephen Strasburg on Thursday April 5th at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Sveum also named Paul Malholm his 5th starter and reserved the right to name his 3rd and 4th starters until later next week. Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez are fighting for the final 2 spots in the starting rotation. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on that front…