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 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 04 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs finished up spring ball with a nice little 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Travis Wood made his best spring start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 6 hits. He walked only one batter all day and the lone run came on Andy Gonzalez’ solo home run in the 2nd inning. This bodes well for Wood who is going to need to fine-tune his pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs got off to a fast start with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning from Starlin Castro. The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 2nd inning on a Joe Mather double and a Darwin Barney single.
The real action begins at Wrigley Field on Thursday when the Cubs take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster makes his 2nd straight opening day start for the Cubs.
Posted on 01 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs ruined Angels’ ace Jeff Weaver’s spring finale with an 8-1 on April Fool’s Day. The Cubs touched up Weaver for 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. The big blow came on Darwin Barney’s RBI triple in the 6th inning when the Cubs took a 3-0 lead over Weaver and the Angels. The Cubs then blew the game open with Jeff Baker’s 3-run jack off of Jason Isringhausen as part of a 5-run 8th inning. The Cubs racked up 13 hits – their most of the spring – including 2 hits apiece for David DeJesus and Starlin Castro.
Minor League lefty Chris Rusin continued a nice spring by throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings against a potent Angels offense. He gave up only 2 hits and most importantly, he did not walk a batter.
The only negative was that the Cubs fielders committed 3 infield errors – Ian Stewart, Castro and Blake DeWitt. While the pitchers bailed out the fielders in this game, the Cubs defensive players are going to have to be a lot more careful once regular season action starts later this week if they expect to stay in the NL Central hunt in 2012…
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 19 March 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood has had 2 bad starts this spring, so he got just what he needed in his 3rd start today. The Cubs scored 7 runs in the 1st inning to stake Wood to a nice 7-0 lead. All he had to do was come out and throw strikes and get outs. Well it didn’t work out that way, and his poor spring performance has all but assured Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad of the final 2 spots in the Cubs starting rotation heading into 2012. Sure Randy Wells has pitched well too, but he has been given the opportunity as a starter already and he really hasn’t taken advantage of it. It’s time for Samardzija to be given the chance to go out there and prove that he is a legitimate MLB starter. And with how dominant Volstad has been so far this spring, there’s almost no way to justify not making him your 4th or 5th starter.
But back to Wood – he gave back 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st on a Ichiro HR. In the 2nd, after giving up a run-scoring single to Chone Figgins, Wood threw a wild pitch that allowed Figgins to score to cut the lead to 7-4. In the bottom of the 3rd, he gave up a 2-run jack to Jesus Montero and then a game-tying solo HR to Kyle Seager. All 3 homers served up by Wood were the 1st homers for each player this spring. Not good. That was all Manager Dale Sveum needed to see in the 3rd as he yanked Wood after just 2+ innings – 7 runs, all earned on 7 hits and 2 walks. WOW! That Travis Wood for Sean Marshall deal is sure looking like a big mistake now. Let’s hope a year at Triple-A will help get Wood back on track.
Gotta love the Cubs bats today. They didn’t hit one HR in that 7-run 1st inning and all 7 runs were ER. A Starlin Castro double, an Alfonso Soriano sac fly, a Jeff Baker single, a 2-run single by Joe Mather, a David DeJesus single and then a Darwin Barney double. Can’t complain about solid hitting like that.
Posted on 16 March 2012 by Lou
Thursday was a bad day for the Cubs, as each split squad suffered a bad loss, with players getting injured.
The D’Backs roughed up Ryan Dempster in a 12-2 drubbing. Dempster surrendered 3 ER on 8 hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work. He did have 3 K’s though.
The Rockies also handed the Cubs a 7-5 loss. Rodrigo Lopez gave up 2 ER on 6 hits in his 3 innings of work.
Darwin Barney was a late scratch with a leg injury. Ian Stewart had a similar issue. And Blake DeWitt was hit with a pitch on his hand and it is unknown how severe the injury is.
Wow – what a dousy. Let’s hope the weekend produces better results for the Cubbies…
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 20 February 2012 by Lou
Blake DeWitt has decided to take his “assignment” off of the Cubs 40-man roster and join the rest of the crew in Mesa for Spring Training 2012.
This was purely a “dollars and sense” decision for DeWitt. He avoided arbitration with the Cubs by agreeing to a 1-year, $1.1 million deal back in January. By accepting the Cubs assignment, he is guaranteed that $1.1 million deal, even if he does not make the opening day roster. After the Cubs dumped DeWitt to pick up Adrian Cardenas off of waivers from the A’s, no team claimed DeWitt during the 10-day waiver window, so it then fell back on DeWitt to make his decision. If he did not accept the Cubs assignment, he would have become a free agent for the 1st time in his career, but he likely wouldn’t have found another million dollar deal out there. Good for him for using his head and not holding a grudge against the Cubs for releasing him.
DeWitt will now fight for some role with the Cubs opening day roster this spring. GM Jed Hoyer had some kind words for DeWitt – “We are certainly hopeful that he will remain with us. Our thoughts haven’t changed about Blake. We were able to acquire Cardenas and our hope was to have both guys in the organization. If Blake comes back he has every possible chance to compete for a job in camp and have very much the same role as last year.”
This should make for a fun spring for the young infielders (Darwin Barney, Cardenas, DeWitt) competing for a spot with the major league club.
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…