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 17 July 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood was due for a bad outing. The lefty surrendered 8 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks before Manager Dale Sveum mercifully pulled the starter with 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning. Wood did strike out 6 batters, but Carlos Lee’s 2 hits and grand slam were just too much for Wood to handle. Lee continued his penchant for crushing the ball at Wrigley Field.
David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena each had 2 hits for the Cubs in the loss.
The game marked the return of former White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano was apologetic to the media and Cubs fans before the game: “I still love these fans… I apologize for any inconvenience and anything that I did. The only thing that I wanted to do in Chicago is win, and I really apologize to the Cubs fans and the people here who treated me good.” Ozzie, on the other hand, was less diplomatic. Before the game, he issued a listed of Chicago media who were NOT ALLOWED to attend any of his media press conferences pre- or post-game. One of those included on the list is long-time ESPN Radio 1000 sage Bruce Levine. Bruce Levine has been in the baseball business for over a century and he has know Ozzie for almost 30 years. But Ozzie took offense that Levine did not support Ozzie more when the Marlins suspended Ozzie for 5 games early in the season for statements he made about Cuba’s President Fidel Castro which angered the Miami Latina community. Levine suggested that Ozzie should be suspended indefinitely until Ozzie, the Marlins baseball organization and the community could patch things up. That did not sit well with Ozzie who immediately issued an apologetic statement after he made the Castro comments. This is just another example of Ozzie being Ozzie – what do you expect?
In any event, Jeff Samardzija looks to kick off the 2nd half of the MLB season on a positive note. He’ll square off against Josh JOhnson in Game 2 of the series tonight.
Posted on 15 June 2012 by Lou
The Cubs beat the Red Sox 3-0 in the opener of the much-anticipated series between Theo Epstein’s new team and his old team. And while it is great that the Cubs got the win, barring a herculean pitching effort by Ryan Dempster, it should have been another loss for the north siders. The Cubs managed just 2 hits by a non-pitcher in the win today. Fortunately, both hits drove in the Cubs 3 runs. Steve Clevenger had a timely 2-out bases loaded double that drove in 2 runs in the 1st inning. And the next inning David DeJesus single drove in Ryan Dempster. Dempster had reached base earlier that inning on a “triple” to right field that regular 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez misplayed down the line. So even that 2nd run was a little “lucky”…
Dempster pitched another solid outing – 7 scoreless innings, 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 K’s. Sure the Red Sox lineup is missing a little umph without Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, but if you can keep David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez off the scoreboard for an entire game, you’ve gotta be doing something right.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th. He gave up a hit and a walk and a Luis Valbuena error in between put Marmol in a bases loaded 2-out jam. But Valbuena made a 2nd fabulous play in the inning with a hard line drive grounder by Pedroia to the hot corner that he scooped up and raced to make the game-ending force out just ahead of the racing footsteps by Mike Aviles.
With the win, the Cubs “improved” to 22-42. The Red Sox fell to 31-33. Not exactly the type of match-up that MLB envisioned in the winter.
Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 04 June 2012 by Lou
The Giants beat the Cubs 3-2 on Monday afternoon, extending the Cubs road losing streak to 11 games. It is their longest road losing streak since 1954 – ouch! Jeff Samardzija had a rare bad performance, lasting just 5 innings. He walked 5 batters – a season high – but he kept his team in the game with clutch pitching with runners on base. He allowed just 2 ER even though he permitted 12 runners to reach base in his short outing.
Carlos Marmol took the loss when he gave up 2 walks and a line drive single of his back in the pivotal 7th inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Marmol induced a double play, but the winning run still scored.
The Cubs never scored a run in more than 1 inning during the series against the Giants in San Francisco. In Monday’s 3-2 loss, the Cubs scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning on 5 hits – with RBI singles delivered by Steve Clevenger and Samardzija.
In Friday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs waited until the 9th inning to score all 3 runs on an Alfonso Soriano home run. In Saturday’s 2-1 loss, the lone run came on David DeJesus’ solo HR. And Barry Zito blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Sunday’s loss.
Talk about poor hitting. It is almost shocking how bad a hitting team the Cubs are. The Cubs are 6-14 in 1-run games. That is the worst in the majors…
Posted on 22 May 2012 by Lou
So much for Matt Garza putting an end to the Cubs current 6-game losing streak. Garza endured his worst outing of the season, giving up 7 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in just 3 innings. He gave up 2 3-run jacks that gave the Astros a comfortable 7-0 lead after just 3 innings of play.
After being swept in 2 straight series, the Cubs hoped that a road trip away from the “Friendly” Confines of Wrigley Field might turn the tides in their favor, especially with one of their best pitchers on the mound. But it wasn’t meant to be. For the 3rd straight game, the Cubs did not score a SINGLE RUN in the game’s 1st 8 innings. That has to be some sort of record. They lost 7-4 on Saturday (4 runs in the 9th); they lost 6-0 on Sunday; and they were losing 8-0 on Monday night before run-scoring singles from Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Blake Lalli in the 9th inning.
The lone bright spot – Randy Wells pitched the game’s final 5 innings allowing just a single ER on 3 hits and 2 walks. Yeah!
The Cubs are 15-26 – 8 games behind the Cards. Ouch!!! Let’s hope Travis Wood can snap the streak. In 3 starts against the Astros as a member of the Reds last season, Wood went 1-0 with a nasty 1.02 ERA against Houston. He still has a 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Astros – let’s hope he keeps that up tonight with the way the Cubs have been scoring runs of late…
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 09 May 2012 by Lou
It was a pitcher’s duel series, as Paul Maholm out-dueled Tim Hudson in the series finale today at Wrigley Field. Maholm pitched 7 scoreless innings, winning his 4th straight decision. He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3. He lowered his WHIP to 1.08 and his ERA to 4.05. Nice!
The Cubs were equally ineffective offensively – 5 hits and no walks. Starlin Castro almost scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 4th inning as his line drive down the right field line scooted past Jason Heyward. He had a triple and tried to score an inside-the-park HR but was gunned down on a nice relay throw by Dan Uggla. They had to wait until the 7th inning when David DeJesus led off with a single. Dejesus moved over to 3rd base on a sac bunt by Tony Campana and groundout by Castro. Then Bryan LaHair came up with the clutch 2-out single to left center field that plated DeJesus with the only run of the game.
James Russell made it interesting in the 8th inning when he put 2 runners on base, but he got Uggla to pop out to DeJesus to end the threat. Then Rafael Dolis worked a perfect 9th inning for his 3rd save of the season. Dolis got Chipper Jones to line out to left field to lead off the inning – that was likely his last at-bat for his illustrious career at Wrigley Field.
With the win, the Cubs improved to 13-18. They have won 2 straight series and they split the 2 series before that against the Phillies and Reds, so they are actually playing some pretty good ball right now.
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 30 December 2011 by Lou
The Cubs inked Reed Johnson to a 1-year deal for the 2012 MLB season. After spending the 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Johnson rebounded with the Cubs in 2011. He started 49 games and racked up 266 at-bats in 111 games. He gained significant playing time with a nice .309 batting average and an impressive .816 OPS. Johnson’s role with the Cubs will remain as the 4th outfielder behind Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and recently acquired David DeJesus.
Posted on 02 December 2011 by Lou
With the GM Meetings starting in Dallas next week, we’re curious what Theo & Co. will be doing all week. While Theo is typically pretty tight-lipped, he did identify a few areas where he thought the Cubs needed help. Here are a few snippets:
“We need starting pitching. You can’t just take your chances of being looked at seriously as a club with just five guys. You have to point to six, seven or eight guys… We are going to have to build our starting pitching staff. We don’t have a ton of depth and that’s a priority.”
When asked about rumors regarding the Cubs possibly dealing Matt Garza – the Cubs best starter – Theo had this to say – “He’s exactly the kind of guy that we would like to build around.” Another words, he’s not going anywhere…
As for hitting, Theo gave out this little secrets: “Adding a left-handed bat would be nice [David DeJesus partially solves that equation]. But under the right circumstances. We are not going to force anything. We’ll look for a well-rounded position player to contribute on defense and maybe run the bases. If that hapens to be a left-handed bat, yes. David DeJesus is a good example of that. He does those things well. And those are things as a club that we don’t do well. The most obvious ways to improve is to look at your weaknesses and try to turn them into a strength.”
Amen – I’m looking forward to an exciting week in Dallas. Let’s just hope it ends with a royal signing of Prince Fielder…