Posted on 25 March 2011 by Lou
WOW – what an ugly win for the Cubs over the White Sox on Thursday. There were some positives, but also a LOT of negatives.
It was great that the Cubs hung on to win, but the White Sox actually out-hit the Cubs 16-8. Ouch. Good pitching was clearly not on display yesterday in Mesa.
I’m still waiting for Matt Garza to have that breakout start that shows it was a smart decision for the Cubs to unload 4 top prospects for the big righty from the Tampa Bay Rays. Garza started off well with 3 straight scoreless innings to start the game. But he ended up giving up 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks which actually lowered his ERA to 8.68 for the spring. But a 2.0 WHIP during a game is never good, even if you end up winning. Not sure if Garza is still fine-tuning things and working on pitches no matter what the situation in the game, but I really hope that he starts pitching for real before the season starts. He has 1 more start next week before he makes his Cubs debut next Sunday at Wrigley Field, so it would be nice to see a stellar outing out of Garza early next week.
The bullpen didn’t fare much better. Braden Looper gave up a run on 3 hits and a walk in his 2 innings of work and is out of the running for being the Cubs 5th starter. James Russell gave up 2ER on 2 solo home runs in the 8th inning, but will likely still make the opening day roster as a lefty reliever. And Carlos Marmol gave up a run in the 9th inning but managed to shut the door on the White Sox to preserve the 1-run win for the Cubs. All in all, it was a horrible showing by the pitching staff.
The bats finally came to life in the win. Alfonso Soriano had a solo home run and had 2 RBI’s on the day. Darwin Barney continued to show Manager Mike Quade that he deserves a shot at starting at 2B this season. He had 2 more hits including a triple and he drove in 2 runs and scored 1 run. Marlon Byrd continued his torrid hitting and had 2 RBI’s. Satrlin Castro had a double and a walk and scored 2 runs.
When these guys are being patient and swinging the bats well, the Cubs are capable of putting up some runs each game. But is a matter of consistency and hoping that guys like Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto all don’t go into prolonged slumps at the same time.
It’s a week away from opening day – can’t wait for another fun MLB schedule to begin…
Posted on 07 October 2010 by Lou
Starlin Castro’s performance during the 2010 MLB season certainly lived up to the hype. In the 2nd to last game of the season, Starlin Castro went 2 for 3 to raise his batting average from .298 to .300 in the Cubs 8-3 win over the Houston Astros. Manager Mike Quade opted to sit Castro in the Cubs final game of the season that Sunday so that Castro could finish the season with a .300 batting average. Quade had this to say about his move — “I loved watching it and loved watching him perform. I’d made up my mind that if he does it and gets to .300, and I don’t care if we play 15 innings, and he comes out of it at .300, I’ll stick to my original lineup and let Darwin Barney play shortstop today. Castro earned his yesterday.”
Castro’s .300 batting average was good for 10th in the NL in hitting. Castro also became the 1st Cubs rookie to hit at least .300 for the season since Bill Matlock hit .313 way back in 1974. Castro had 139 hits in only 463 at-bats. He also had a .347 on-base percentage. He had 31 doubles and scored 53 runs while driving in 41. He’ll have to work on his patience at the plate a little – he walked only 29 times while striking out 71 times, but other than that, you can’t really complain too much about how the 20-year old played during the course of the long, frustrating season on the north side…
Posted on 01 October 2010 by Lou
The Cubs took 3 of 4 from the playoff-contending San Diego Padres this week, as they continue their strong play under interim skipper Mike Quade.
Tom Gorzelanny tossed 6 scoreless innings in his final start of 2010. Gorzelanny scattered 3 hits and 4 walks during his outing and he struck out 3 Padres batters. He didn’t get a decision, but it was a great way to end the season for Gorzelanny as he had an up-and-down season while bouncing between the bullpen and starting rotation.
The bullpen shined in the win once again. Andrew Cashner has really finished the season strong – he retired all 4 batters that he faced with 2 strike outs. From August 12th through the 21st, Cashner got roughed up giving up 7 ER in 5 appearances. But since then – a stretch of 17 outings – Cashner has given up just a total of 3 earned runs. During the positive stretch, he has a 1-1 record and he has racked up 9 holds. The Cubs are going to need Cashner to play a prominent role in the Cubs bullpen in 2011 if they expect to have more consistency late in close games during the season.
Sean Marshall pitched 2/3 of an inning to keep the score tied at 0 at the end of 8 innings. He earned the win – his 7th of the season – when the Cubs scored in the top of the 9th inning. Carlos Marmol notched his 39th save by pitching a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s. He has now lowered his ERA to 2.58 and his WHIP to 1.20. Marshall and Marmol should both expect to get big paydays – whether through a contract extension or arbitration – this offseason.
The Cubs offense was not great, but it managed to scrape across a run against Padres closer Heath Bell in the 9th inning. Aramis Ramirez singled to lead-off the inning. Darwin Barney pinch-ran for Ramirez and advanced to 2nd base on Xavier Nady’s sacrifice bunt. Then Brad Snyder delivered the game winning hit with a single to shallow left field. Blake DeWitt was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit in the game – he had a single and a double off of Jon Garland.
The Cubs finish their season with a weekend series against the Astros in Houston. Casey Coleman, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are scheduled to make the final 3 Cubs starts.
Posted on 11 September 2010 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano looked like the Zambrano that merited the 5-year, $78 million deal he signed 3 years ago as he dominated the Brewers in the Cubs 4-0 win.
Ryan Dempster looks to follow Big Z’s M.O. and shake off 2 bad starts in a row as he takes on Randy Wolf and the Brewers at Miller Park today.
Posted on 19 August 2010 by Lou
The Cubs used 6 pitchers in the loss and ALL 6 pitchers were rookies. It is believed to be the 1st time since 1957 (according to the Elias Sports Bureau) that a team has done that before the September call-up of minor league players. Casey Coleman started the game and took the loss — 3ER on 6 hits and 3 walks in 4 1/3 innings. James Russell and Justin Berg each recorded the only batters that they faced. Thomas Diamond (who was replaced by Coleman in the starting lineup after 3 bad starts) – tossed 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit while striking out 2. Andrew Cashner gave up a run on 3 hits in the 8th inning and Marcos Mateo gave up a run on 2 hits and a walk in the 9th inning.
The 2 biggest surprises for me are Andrew Cashner and Marcos Mateo. Cashner started his season on fire – he did not allow a single run to score in his first 7 appearances. Then he went through a rough – but somewhat unlucky stretch – where he allowed a run in 4 straight appearances and suffered a blown save and 3 consecutive losses. From July 7th through July 26th, Cashner seemed to have turned it around again – allowing just a total of 2 runs to score in 8 appearances. But since then, Cashner has really struggled. He gave up 6 ER in each of 2 straight outings against the Astros on July 27th and the Rockies on July 30th. And now he has given up a run in each of his last 3 outings. His ERA has risen to 6.15 and his WHIP now stands at 1.78. Not sure where it all went wrong for the young stud, but pitching coach Larry Rothschild really needs to work with the kid to make sure he doesn’t lose too much confidence during this rough rookie campaign. Hopefully Greg Maddux can even re-assure Cashner that this is all part of the growing process and he will get more consistent and effective as his career catapults on.
Mateo is just awful. Mateo gave up a run on 2 walks and a hit. His ERA is now 12.46 and his WHIP is 3.00! That means he let’s at least 3 runners on base every single inning that he pitches?! Isn’t there someone else in Double-A or Triple-A who can offer more than this guy.
Now I know that the Cubs were bit by the injury bug with Jeff Gray all having season-ending injuries throw the bullpen into a tizzy, but you have to be prepared for something like that. And clearly GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs weren’t. It is great experience for these young pitchers to see so much major league action this early in their careers, but it is really making an already painful season to watch that much more excrutiating.
Oh yeah – it wasn’t only rookie pitchers seeing a lot of game action yesterday – outfielder Tyler Colvin, Catcher Wellington Castillo, 2nd baseman Darwin Barney and SS Starlin Castro were all in the game at the same time. Castro and Barney each had singles, while Castillo went 0 for 3 and Colvin did not get a hit in his pinch-hit at-bat.
Alfonso Soriano was the only Cubs starter to have more than 1 hit and Jeff Baker had the Cubs only RBI with a double that plated Soriano.
FYI – Padres just completed the 4-game sweep of the Cubs with the 5-3 win today. Not surprising that Matos shut down the pathetic Cubs offense, but what is surprising is that Sean Marshall blew the 2-1 7th inning lead that Carlos Zambrano handed to him when he allowed 3 ER in the inning to suffer his 4th loss of the season. If Marshall and Carlos Marmol start to have issues, there truly won’t be anything good left to watch on this 2010 Cubs lineup…