Tag Archive | "Derrek Lee"

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Winter Meetings Start This Week – Cubs Need to Find An Answer at 1st Base — Wrigley Field 12/4/10

Posted on 04 December 2010 by Lou

While the Cubs continue to mourn the loss of Ron Santo, they’re also turning their attention to their 2011 needs as the Winter Meetings start next week.  Tops on the list is a 1st baseman.  The Cubs traded Derrek Lee at the end of last season and also decided not to re-sign Xavier Nady who played well at the end of 2010.  The Cubs had hoped to lure Adrian Gonzalez away from the San Diego Padres via trade, but the Red Sox beat them to the punch by pulling off a trade for the 29-year old stud today.  No shock there that GM Jim Hendry is a few steps too slow once again.

That leaves a few very mediocre 1st baseman free agents on the market for several teams to compete for.  That is a not a good sign for the Cubs who are being cost-conscious this winter.  Let’s hope they don’t have to overpay for one of these guys – Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche and Lance Berkman.  I like Pena the best out of the mix.  He strikes out a ton, but he hits a ton of HR’s and is a good clubhouse presence.

The other option is to move Tyler Colvin to 1st base.  Especially if the Cubs cannot move Alfonso Soriano or Kosuke Fukudome this off-season, moving Colvin to 1st base would be a great way to make sure he gets enough playing time in 2011.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything breaks next week at the Winter Meetings.

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Dunn on North Side in 2011 More of a Reality?!

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Lou

We wrote about Adam Dunn coming to the north side this off-season more because of the quotes from Carlos Zambrano indicating that he would love to have Dunn on the Cubs because of his big left-handed bat.  While it made a lot of sense from several perspectives, I wasn’t sure how likely it would be given the tenuous financial position that the Cubs are in – they had the highest payroll of any National League team in 2010, but only finished with 75 wins.

Now it looks like Dunn has the Cubs on his radar screen and the Cubs have Dunn high on their wish list.  But will it happen.  Dunn has averaged 40 HR’s and 100 RBI’s a season for each of the last 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.  At 31 years of age (by the start of the 2011 MLB season), those numbers will likely dip a little bit, but Dunn should still be a nice fit for the Cubs after the departure of Derrek Lee.  The Cubs need a left-handed bat to take some of the pressure off of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  Dunn is also durable – having missed just a total of 26 games during those 7 years.  Dunn also has good numbers at Wrigley Field – 25 HR’s in 66 games – tied for the most with Albert Pujols by any active player for the most home runs by an opponent at the Friendly Confines.  He has 41 career home runs against the Cubs, 2nd only to Pujols’ 47 for active players.  Sure he strikes out a lot – his 199 strikeouts in 2010 was the 2nd most in the major leagues – and his batting average is never great – .267 in 2009was his career-best – but he would be a major upgrade from Lee at 1st base.  His .358 career on-base percentage would fit nicely in the Cubs lineup as well.  How you would like to a see a projected lineup of – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Blake DeWitt?  If the Cubs can somehow move Soriano, you c ould see another average-type player in his place on a daily base which would be an upgrade as well.

GM Jim Hendry and Dunn do have some sort of personal relationship from over the years.  The Cubs couldn’t sign Dunn back in 2009 (when he signed a 2-year deal with the Nationals), because Derrek Lee was under contract until the end of the 2010 MLB season.  Makes sense that Dunn only signed a 2-year stint with the Nats, making look ahead to 2011 when the Cubs would be in the market for a 1st baseman.  The Nats never pulled the trigger on a trade to move Dunn this past July before the trading deadline, and their attempts to lure Dunn back at the end of the season went nowhere.  Dunn clearly won’t be back in DC – the question is will he end up playing for the Cubs and if so, how long of a deal will he get?

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Derrek Lee Still Playing Ball for Braves in 2010 MLB PLayoffs

Posted on 11 October 2010 by Lou

The Cubs traded Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves in mid-August and Lee is still fortunate enough to be playing baseball in October, something he never got to do during his last 2 seasons with the Cubs on the North Side.

Lee finished the 2010 season with a .260 batting average, 19 HR’s, 80 RBI’s and 80 runs scored.  In 39 games with the Braves, Lee hit .287 with 3 HR’s and 24 RBI’s.  His .384 on-base percentage with the Braves was well above his career .367 average.

The post-season, however, is not going so well for Lee or his new club.  Lee went 0 for 4 in Game 1 with 3 K’s and o for 3 in Game 3 with 1 K and 1 walk, both Braves losses.  He did have 2 hits and 2 runs scored in the Braves 5-4 win in Game 2.  But the major focus of the series has been on Brooks Conrad’s disastrous 9th inning of Game 3.  Conrad – filling in at 3rd base because of injuries to Chipper Jones and Martin Prado – committed 3 errors allowing the Giants to score 2 runs to win the game 3-2.

Lee looks to get the offense on track in Game 4 tonight in Atlanta.  Come on, Derrek, we’d love to see you in the NLCS!

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Ha-Ha-Ha – Definitely Saw This One Coming – Marmol Blows Game as Cubs Lose for 5th Straight Day This Week – Cubs 3, Braves 5 – 8/20/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Lou

You could see this one coming from a mile away.  Ryan Dempster stymied the Braves all game long.  He gave up just 2 ER over his 8 stellar innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks during the process.  He struck out 7, but he labored through the 8th inning, upping his pitch count over the 100-pitch mark.  With a slim 1-run lead, it made sense to go to Closer Carlos Marmol to finish off the game.  3 walks later and a bases-clearing triple to Rick Ankiel with 2 outs in the 9th inning, and the Cubs had lost another frustrating game in 2010.  The loss was the “Major League Team Called the Cubs” 5th straight loss of the week – Monday through Friday – all at Wrigley Field.  It was the Cubs 8th straight loss at home dating back to the last homestand in which the Reds swept them in a weekend series in early August.  What is it going to take for this team to win on a consistent basis again?

The simple answer is “A LOT”.

The Cubs offense racked up 10 hits but once again, the team only scored 3 runs.  Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s.  Kosuke Fukudome continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits in the lead-off role.  Koyie Hill even had 2 hits and an RBI tryuing to make up for his bonehead fielding play the day before.  But it wasn’t enough as the Cubs wasted way too many scoring chances all day long.

Derrek Lee made his 1st start for the Braves against his former team – must have been weird for him getting ready in the other locker room and donning a Braves uniform at the Friendly Confines.  The Cubs fans gave him a standing ovation during his 1st at-bat in the 1st inning.  He went 0 for 4 as Dempster and Marmol each struck him out once.

It’s up to Tom Gorzelanny to try to stop the bleeding today at Wrigley Field — good luck guy!

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Keep ‘Em Coming — Cubs Lose Again & Hill Looks Like a Fool – Cubs 3, Padres 5 – 8/19/10

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Lou

7 straight losses for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, including 4 in a row this week to the NL-West leading San Diego Padres.  The Padres really made it look easy this week against the “Major League Team called the Cubs”.  Not really sure what that means, but since the players that the Cubs trot out each day collectively play like a top notch high school team instead of a real major league team, I feel like we should put the “Cubs” name in quotes whenever we use it for the rest of this atrocious 2010 MLB schedule.

Carlos Zambrano still didn’t have the best control, but he did just enough in his 6 innings of work to give the Cubs a chance to win.  He limited the Padres to just 1 run over his 6 innings – 4 hits, 1 walk and 6 K’s.  The Cubs trailed 1-0 when his pitching day was done, but the Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the inning on RBI doubles from Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez. He could have gotten the win.

But then the wheels came off as Sean Marshall – the Cubs most consistent reliever all season long – ended up giving up 4 runs in the 7th inning as the Braves regained the lead for good at 5-2.  The inning took a turn for the worse when Koyie Hill made an embarrassing play to cap-off the Braves’ 4-run inning.  Will Venable’s 2-run single put the Braves up -2, but it was his heads-up base running that captured the moment.  When the Cubs and Koyie Hill caught Chase Headley in a run down between 3rd base and home plate.  Venable astutely ran over to 3rd base during the action.  Hill made an attempt to tag Venable at 3rd base after he tagged out Headley, but he never actually called time out.  Hill then went over to the mound to talk to reliever Justin Berg.  Since no one officially called time out, Venable darted home to score the 4th run of the inning.  His run really didn’t matter – whether the score was 4-2 or 5-2, the Cubs were still going to lose the game.  But it just goes to show how out-of-touch this Cubs team is with the concept of “baseball”.  I know that sounds weird, but there is something off with the players that GM Jim Hendry has assembled to play on the “Major League Team called the Cubs” (sorry, forgot use the ” ” a few times up there).  It’s almost as if they regressed and forgot how to play the game.  They continue to make mental mistakes, they continue to make physical fielding and running mistakes and they clearly lack the confidence to win ballgames on a consistent basis.  I’m not sure how it is even possible to spend over $140 million and not put together a winning team, but Hendry seems to have pulled off the impossible with the ludicrous deals and trades that he has made over the last 3-4 seasons. And not only are they NOT a WINNING team, they somehow managed to form one of the WORST teams in all of baseball this season.

Were there any positives from the game?  I guess.  Blake DeWitt had 2 more hits, but also struck out twice.  In fact, every Cubs starter struck out at least once during the game as the Padres racked up 12 K’s.  You also like to see the Cubs hang tough until Byrd and Ramirez drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the 6th inning with the game on the line.  Marcos Mateo and Andrew Cashner – both of whom I really criticized the other day for their ineffectiveness – each threw scoreless innings with 2 K’s apiece.  But other than that, there wasn’t too much to like about the Cubs as usual.

This just in – looks like we can call it 5 losses in a row this week at Wrigley Field.  After Ryan Dempster worked the Braves for just 2 runs over 8 great innings on a hot and humid day at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field today, closer Carlos Marmol quickly ruined that with an inning from hell.  3 walks to load the bases and then a bases-clearing triple to Rick Ankiel that changed a 3-2 Cubs lead to a 5-3 Cubs deficit.  Beautiful…

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Cubs Surprise Cards with Series Win in St. Louis over the Weekend – Cubs 3, Cards 2 – Saturday 8/14/10 & Cubs 9, Cards 7 – Sunday 8/15/10

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Lou

It was a surprising series win for the Cubs over the Cards over the weekend in St. Louis.  That makes 2 straight series wins for the Cubs over the 2nd place team in the NL Central (the Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Cards at Wrigley Field from July 24th through July 26th).  Unfortunately, it’s still just too little too late for this underachieving 2010 Cubs squad.

Saturday 8/14/10 – Cubs 3, Cards 2 – The Cubs didn’t hit all that well against Chris Carpenter and a duo of relievers, but they did just enough to get Carlos Zambrano the win.  Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits including a solo home run in the 2nd inning that tied the game at 1.  Koyie Hill doubled in Marlon Byrd with a 2-out double later in the inning that gave the Cubs the lead for good.  Derrek Lee also added a solo shot in the 3rd inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-1.  It was lee’s 2nd home run in as many days since returning from the bereavement list.

As for Big Z, Zambrano notched his 1st win in over 2 months, tossing 5 2/3 innings.  He gave up 2 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3.  It wasn’t great, but anytime you beat the Cardinals it is a good thing.  Sean Marshall worked an inning and a third of scoreless ball and then handed the ball off to Carlos Marmol with a man on and 1 out in the 8th inning.  Marmol worked the 5-out outing for his 20th save of the season.

Sunday 8/15/10 – Cubs 9, Cards 7 – Derrek Lee led the way with solo home runs in the 1st and 3rd innings.  A bigger day eluded the big man as he left the game in the 5th inning with lower back spasms.  But it was his 4th home run in the weekend series.

The Cubs then blew the game open with a 6-run 4th inning off of Kyle Lohse and Mike McDougal.  Koyie Hill had a 2-run double; Ryan Dempster helped his own cause with an RBI single; Fukudome had an RBI double; and Marlon Byrd had an RBI single – his 2nd hit of the inning.  Byrd had 3 hits and also scored a run when he led off that frame with his 1st hit of the inning.

The Cubs did their best to try to hand the game back to the Cards in the 9th inning.  Marcos Mateo recorded 2 straight outs in the 8th inning, but then self-destructed in the 9th inning.  He gave up a lead-off home run and then a single and 2 hits before being replaced by James Russell.  Russell walked in a run making the score 9-4, which forced Manager Lou Pinella to go with closer Carlos Marmol to save the day.  Marmol gave up a 2-run single which cut the lead to 3 runs, and then he gave up a run-scoring ground out.  But eventually he closed the door on the win for the Cubs, notching his 21st save in the process.

Ryan Dempster pitched well – 6 2/3 innings, 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks on a hot and humid St. Louis day.  He picked up his 11th win on the season.

Now it’s back to Wrigley Field where the Cubs host the NL-West-leading San Diego Padres.  Tom Gorzelanny looks to start the series off on a positive note tonight at the Friendly Confines.

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Blown 1st Inning Scoring Chance Sets Tone for Disappointing Loss – Cubs 3, Cards 6 – 8/13/10

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Lou

It has been a problem all season long – the Cubs get a great scoring chance and only push across 1 run or 2 runs and then go on to lose a close game.  In the 1st inning, the Cubs put together 4 straight 1-out hits but end up stranding runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  Different night, same story.  Starlin Castro singled and Derrek Lee sent Castro to 3rd with a double.  Marlon Byrd then drove home both men with a single to left field.  Blake DeWitt kept the rally going with a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  But Alfonso Soriano failed to push across that 3rd run when he grounded out to 3rd base and Darwin Barney – making his 1st ever major league start – flied out to left field to end the threat.  Instead of a 4-0 1st inning lead, the Cubs settled for a 2-run lead.  Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook settled down after that rough 1st inning and the rest if history.  Westbrook gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk from the 2nd through the 6th innings and he picked up his 1st win in 3 starts for the Cards since being traded from the Indians.  Sure the Cubs added a home run by Lee in the 8th inning to cut the Cards lead to 603, but by then, it was too little too late.

Thomas Diamond made it 3 losses in 3 starts for the Cubs.  He needed 87 pitches to labor through 4 innings and his time as a Cubs starter for the remainder of 2010 is numbered.  He gave up 4 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks and just didn’t put his team in position to win on Friday night.  Casey Coleman made a good case to be bumped up into the rotation with a 2nd straight scoreless outing.  Coleman has had his share of troubles in his 1st two appearances (8 ER on 10 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 innings pitched), but he has tossed 3 straight scoreless innings now and has given up just 1 walk with 4 K’s in the process.  Manager Lou Pinella is open to the competition among his young pitchers:  “I would think everybody that comes up here would get an opportunity to pitch and get some playing time, and obviously the ones that are doing better will get more than the others… The young kids that come up here to pitch, we’ll pitch them, and the position players? The same way…  We’re still trying to compete and win some games, and we’re playing a lot of teams in pennant contention so we’d like to beat them and derail them too.”

Couple of positives to take in the loss:

Lee was back in the lineup and had 2 hits.  He was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.

Castro had another hit and is getting close to getting enough at-bats to qualifying for the NL batting crown.  He is hitting .319 on the season and should have enough AB’s to crack the top 5 in hitting at some point next week. Carlos Gonzalez leads the NL in hitting with a .324 batting average and Joey Votto is 2nd with a .320 average.  Castro would slide into the 3-spot on the list in front of Placido Polanco with his .317 average.  Good work – Starlin!  Manager Lou PInella is thrilled with his progress:  “Isn’t that wonderful… This kid here, he’s a player. He’s gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  He makes his rookie mistakes, but we live with them and work with him.  He’s really coming along.  He’s taken to that two-hole.”

Big Z gets the start today on FOX’s Saturday game of the week.  Let’s hope he has better control than he showed when he walked 7 batters in 5 innings of a loss to the Giants on Monday night.

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My Prediction Was Right on the Money; Big Z Back on the Bump Tonight – Cubs 3, Reds 4 Saturday 8/7/10 & Cubs 4, Reds 11 Sunday 8/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Lou

Boy do I love to gloat – was I right on the money with my prediction of a Reds’ sweep of the Cubs over the weekend or what? This team is just getting way to easy to read these days.

There really isn’t much to say about either game.

Saturday 8/7/10 – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – Randy Wells pitched well but ran out of steam in the 8th inning when the Reds came through with the clutch hits that the Cubs could not during the game. Daniel Stubbs led off the 8th inning with a home run that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.  Wells allowed the next 2 batters to reach base, but Justin Berg got a double play to put the Cubs into position to get out of the inning only down 1 run.  But Paul Janish came through with a clutch 2-out single that gave the Reds a 3-1 lead late in the game.  The Reds tacked on an unearned insurance run in the 9th inning off of Carlos Marmol.  Blake DeWitt’s 2-base error allowed Lance Nix to reach 2nd base.  Then Stubbs came through with another 2-out single to give the Reds a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.  The Cubs would make it interesting in the 9th inning when Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded with only 1 out.  Cordero plunked Starlin Castro to force in a run.  After a Derrek Lee strikeout, Cordero forced in another run by walking Aramis Ramirez.  But he eventually got out of the game by striking out Marlon Byrd to end the game.

Sunday 8/8/10 – Cubs 4, Reds 11 – After a “good” 1st major league start, Thomas Diamond showed his true colors in his 2nd major league start. He had poor control right from the start and that gave the patient hitting Reds team too many early opportunities to tack on runs.  Diamond lasted just 3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Fellow young pitcher fared equally as bad – Casey Coleman gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in his 3 innings; James Russell gave up an ER on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning; and Mitch Atkins “cleaned up” the mess by allowing 3 ER on 5 hits in his 2 innings.  What a joke…

The weekend series sweep is a perfect example of how bad the Cubs season has been.  They got fairly good pitching overall (except for Sunday maybe), but got literally NO consistent offense from the lineup.  0 runs in Friday’s 3-0 loss.  In Saturday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs got only 6 hits.  Their 1st run scored on a sacrifice fly (not a hit) and their last 2 runs scored because Cordero was a complete wreck – the Cubs didn’t even put the ball in play in the 9th inning against Cordero yet they still scored 2 runs.  How pathetic.  Sunday was even worse.  The Cubs did not get their 1st hit of the game off of rookie Travis Wood  until Koyie Hill’s single in 1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning.  In the 7th inning, Jeff Baker homered for a legitimate run.  Then Lee walked and Ramirez doubled him to 3rd base.  But then Juan Francisco’s throwing error allowed Lee and Ramirez to score.  Now sure, Lee probably would have scored on the ground out even without Francisco’s error and Ranirez likely would have scored on a sacrifice fly during Soriano’s fly out in the next at-bat, but it just seems like the Cub shave to rely on the other team’s mistakes in order to score runs.  In the 3-game series, the Cubs scored runs in only 3 of the 27 innings played.  And in one of those innings – the 9th inning on Saturday – they only scored 2 runs because Cordero handed it to them on a silve platter with 4 walks and 1 hit batsman.  Keep in mind – the Cubs scored 15 runs in 4 different innings in Wednesday’s win over the Brewers – which by the way, is their only win in the last 11 games.

Things have gone from bad to worse for this Cubs squad.  I really feel bad for the new Cubs manager during the 2011 MLB schedule.  This team as constructed has no confidence in themselves.  The team is going to continue to struggle offensively for the forseeable future and the young pitchers that the Cubs keep trotting out in 2010 have not been effective either.  This is going to be a work-in-progress, and it’s going to take a patient manager to bring everything together over the next few years as young players mature and bad contracts come off the books (Soriano, Fukudome, Zambrano, Silva) so that Cubs management can slowly bring in new players via free agency to complement the home grown talent.

Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation tonight against the Giants in San Francisco.  This is going to be a must-see event.  I’m really hoping that Zambrano can pitch well the last 8 starts of the season.  If he can show that he has his “head on straight” and that he can still be effective, there could still be some hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a team willing to take a flyer on the problematic Cubs starter.  Should be interesting…

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Bad Things Await Cubs in Weekend Series with Reds @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 15, Brewets 3 – 8/4/10

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Lou

Now I know you’re thinking that the Cubs are going to feed off of the 15-run, 16-hit beatdown that the Cubs put on the Brewers on Wednesday at Wrigley.  But my money is going down on a Reds sweep at the Friendly Confines as the Cubs continue to frustrate their fans and new owners.

The Cubs have had a nasty habit of failing to keep momentum going when they are playing well this season.  You would think that after every single position player got a hit in the Cubs 15-3 win over the Brewers, that the team would be able find a way to make it 2 in a row in Friday’s game against the Reds.  But I just don’t see it happening.  First, after big breakout wins earlier in the season, the team seems to crawl back into their shell immediately afterwards.  For example, after starting the month of June losing 4 of their 1st 6 games, the Cubs looked like they might turn things around with a 9-4 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee.  But then they proceeded to lose the next 3 games to the Brewers and White Sox, being outscored 17-10 in the process.  Later in June, the Cubs broke out with a 12-0 win over the Angels to avoid a sweep on a Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  But did it help?  No way, as the Cubs lost their next 4 out of 5 games being outscored 21-6 in the process.  The same trend continued in July.  After the Cubs swept the Diamondbacks in early July in a 3-game series (outscoring them 23-11), the Cubs went into a major funk against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, losing 3 of the 4 games and being outscored 22-16.  Later in July, the Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Phillies and 2 of 3 from the Cardinals, but then dropped 4 of 6 games to the “lowly” Astros while being outscored 38-29 in those 6 games.  What gives?This is clearly a team that has very little confidence – a team that can go into a team-wide funk – a team that can lose a lot of games in a hurry.

Further, the 2010 trend against the Reds does not bode well for the Cubs.  Back in July when the Cubs hosted the Reds for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field over the July 4th weekend, the Reds really took it to the flustered Cubs.  The Reds won 3 out of 4 games and outscored the Cubs 30-8 in the series. The Cubs lost a close one 3-2 and won a close one 3-1, but then lost 2 of the games 12-0 and 14-3.  Bronson Arroyo who was involved in the 12-0 win will take on Tom Gorzelanny in Friday’s opener.  Edinson Volquez who has spent much of the season on the DL will start against Randy Wells on Saturday.  Wells won the only game for the Cubs during the July series 3-1.  And then rookie phenom Travis Wood (0.87 WHIP and 2.42 ERA) who held the Cubs to just 2 ER in 7 innings of the 3-2 win back in July will square off against Thomas Diamond on Sunday.  Diamond will be making just his 2nd start of his major league career.  All in all, you have to favor the 1st place Reds in the weekend series after taking 2 of 3 from the Pirates (outscoring them 19-11) earlier this week.

Now back to the game from yesterday.

Starlin Castro led the way with 4 hits and 2 runs scored.  He raised his average to .318 and now has an .364 on-base percentage.  The kid is clearly showing that he is an every day shortstop and a future star in the making.

Geovany Soto had 3 hits, 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  Soto’s 3-run bomb in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a nice 10-3 cushion.

Aramis Ramirez pinch-hit in the 6th inning and came through with a clutch, mammoth 3-run home run to deep left center field that gave the Cubs a 7-3.  It was a big hit as the Cubs had just taken a 4-3 lead on RBI singles from Soto, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker.

DeWitt also stroked his 1st home run in a Cubs uniform – a 3-run shot in the 8th inning.  DeWitt ended up with 2 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

Derrek Lee also chipped in on the attack with 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  His current .252 batting average is the highest it has been since Lee was hitting .262 way back on April 19th.  Talk about a horrible season for an aging 1st baseman who is coming up for his last MLB contract.  Not a good recipe for getting a good multi-year deal during the winter…

It was a great offensive day for the Cubs, but I’ll doubt we will see that too often on a consistent basis the rest of the way.  I hope I’m wrong, because I’d love to see more “relaxed” pictures of Lou like the one above before he leaves at the end of the season.  Plus, while I know that Lou said there is no room for “moral victories” at the major league level the other day, these guys need to finish with a few positive performances and games down the stretch in order to look forward to starting over fresh.  More bad losses in August and September and more offensive funks where the team just can’t seem to drive in a clutch run could make Spring Training 2011 a tense and uncomfortable place to be next February and March…

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Diamond Pitches Well, But Cubs Drop 7th Straight – Cubs 2, Brewers 4 – 8/3/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Lou

It was just another frustrating loss for the Cubs – a loss that dropped the squad 15 games below .500 at 46-61.  The Cubs have not had that poor a record since the team finished 30-games under .500 in 2006 with a 66-96 record.  Could they fall that low before the end of the 2010 MLB campaign?  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Manager Lou Pinella was back managing his “major league team” after spending 3 days in Florida to attend to a family funeral, and he was not pleased with his team’s continued lack of clutch hitting — “Again, we get people on and we just don’t get them in.  That’s been a recurring theme… It’s good to play hard and be competitive, but moral victories … I think that’s OK for the Little League coach.  You’ve got to work your way out of this.  These other teams, they’re not going to feel sorry for you.  They see a team that’s down and they’re going to play to keep them down.”

I love the Little League line – we’re gonna miss you next year Lou.

Rookie Thomas Diamond made his major league debut and took the loss, but it wasn’t all bad.  He pitched 6 innings giving up 3 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 10 Brewers hitters, becoming only the 2nd Cubs pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in his major league debut (Mark Prior did the same in his 1st start in 2002).  The 27-year old has spent 7 seasons in the minor leagues and he will start against the Reds on Sunday as well.

James Russell, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings of the game without allowing a run (unlike Monday night).

The Cubs had their chances — 11 hits and 2 walks — but like Lou said, they never came through with any clutch hits.  They scored a run in the 1st inning on Derrek Lee’s single, but didn’t find a way to push another run across until the 9th inning.  The Cubs had a runner on base in every inning except for the 5th inning.  They left 2 runners on base in each of the 3rd and 8th innings without scoring a single run.  The Cubs were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position?!  Their team batting average of .243 with runners in scoring position is a joke for the team boasting the highest payroll in the National League – what a waste of money.

Ryan Dempster looks to help the Cubs avoid the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers.  Dempster has struggled of late (allowing at least 3 ER and 7 hits in each of his last 3 starts) as he has not won a game in 3 straight starts…

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