Tag Archive | "James Russell"

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Dempster Rocked at Wrigley Field — Cubs 7, Pirates 14 8/31/10

Posted on 01 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster had been so dominant during the month of August, it came as a complete shock to everyone when Dempster lasted just 3 innings against the Pirates on Tuesday night.  It was his shortest outing of the season, as he gave up 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks without even giving up a single home run.  It was just hit after hit as Dempster couldn’t seem to find a way to get out of any of the 1st 3 innings without a run scoring against him and his team.  He didn’t even get to take an at-bat as Carlos Zambrano pinch-hit for Dempster when he was scheduled to hit in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Marcus Mateo struck out 5 in 2 2/3 innings of relief, but he also gave up 4 ER on 4 hits including 2 2-run homers.

The 3 runs charged to James Russell in the 7th inning were all unearned because of Starlin Catsro’s error with nobody on and 1 out that allowed C Snyder to reach base.  Russell struck out Jeff Karstens in the next at-bat which should have ended the inning, so the 3 runs that scored after that were all unearned.

Koyie Hill was the big offensive star for the Cubs – 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Hill hit a 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano each added 2 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run scored in the loss.

Tom Gorzelanny looks to rebound from a rough outing last weekend against the Reds as he takes on his former team at the Friendly Cofines this afternoon.

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Rookies Not Getting It Done in Prime Time – Cubs 1, Padres 5 – 8/18/10 Wrigley Field

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…

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Cubs Joke of a Season Continues – Lose 10-5 to White Sox

Posted on 11 June 2010 by Lou

Ouch – Cubs continue losing ways against the Chicago White Sox in the opener of the 2010 Crosstown Classic at Wrigley Field today.  This team keeps getting worse and worse.  Not really much to say here.

Randy Wells was bad again.  He put his team in a 2-0 1st inning hole and then gave up 3 more runs in the 5th inning.  He left with the Cubs trailing 5-2. All 5 runs were earned on 10 hits and 3 walks.  Not good at all.  He is now 3-5 with a 1.49 WHIP and 5.15 ERA.

Another bad offensive showing as Jake Peavy shut down the Cubs with ease.  Peavy who has struggled all season looked like Cy Young against the over-matched Cubs hitters.  He gave up 2 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings.  His only mistake was a 2-run bomb to Alfonso Soriano.

James Russell had another bad outing.  He gave up 4 ER and didn’t retire any of the 4 batters that he faced.  That makes 4 out of 5 appearances in which he has given up at least 1 ER.  Hello Triple-A!

While all Cubs hitters looked bad today, Derrek Lee was especially bad.  Lee went 1 for 4 with 3 K’s inlcuding the game-ending strikeout with 2 runners on base in the 9th inning.

Can Carlos Silva save the day on Saturday and out-pitch another struggling White Sox pitcher – Mark Buehrle (3-6, 1.49 WHIP, 5.40 ERA).  Don’t hold your breathe…

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Game 2 Cubs-Cards Today; Plus Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Randy Wells – No Outs in Start?!

Posted on 29 May 2010 by Lou

The Cubs and Cards square off in Game 2 of the big weekend series at Wrigley Field today.  Carlos Silva looks to go 7-0, while the Cubs bats must figure 1st time major league start Adam Ottavino.

The Cubs have already blown 1 scoring chance.  After Mike Fontenot tripled with 1 out in the 2nd inning, the bottom part of the Cubs order could not bring him home.  Starlin Castro grounded out to 2nd base and Koyie Hill lined out to center field to end the threat.  Fortunately, Carlos Silva appears to have brought his A-game.  He has pitched 3 scoreless innings while striking out 7 of the first 10 batters he has faced.  He gave up a lone single to Matt Holliday to lead off the 2nd inning.

In Saturday’s 7-1 loss to the Cards, Randy Wells had his worst start ever as a major league pitcher.  He faced 6 batters and did not record a single out.  All 6 hitters reached base with hits and the Card scored 5 runs in that dreadful, game-changing first inning.  It was the 1st time a Cubs starter did not record an out in his game since Jeremy Gonzalez did so back in 1998.  James Russell came in and ended the threat and actually pitched great in a tough situation.  Russell ended up going a career-high 4 innings of scoreless ball giving up just 2 hits and  a walk.  He single-handedly kept the Cubs in the game and earned some great respect and praise from Manager Lou Pinella so did not have to go the bullpen too often.  The rest of the bullpen (save for John Grabow who gave up a 2-run HR in his 1 inning of work) also did a great job – Bob Howry 1 scoreless inning; Jeff Stevens 2 scoreless innings and Big Z 1 scoreless inning.  If the Cubs had talen advantage of some earlier scoring chances against Cards’ starter Chris Carpenter, they may have had a chance to win.

Oh well — let’s hope the Cubs bats come to life in this afternoon’s game.

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Cards Light Up Wells in 5-Run 1st Inning – Cubs Lose 7-1

Posted on 28 May 2010 by Lou

It wasn’t the way the Cubs wanted to start the 3-game weekend series with the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.  Wells did not record an out as the 1st 6 Cards batters recorded hits – scoring 5 runs in the process.  The Cards went on to win 7-1 on a beautiful Friday afternoon at the Friendly Confines.

Carlos Silva takes his perfect 6-0 record to the bump on Saturday.  He will face Adam Ottavino who will be making his 1st ever major league start.

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Cubs Struggles Continue in New York — Bad Bullpen & Lack of Hitting Leads to 6-1 Loss

Posted on 20 April 2010 by Lou

The Cubs struggles continued in the Big Apple as the Cubs dropped the opener of a 4-game set at Citi Field in New York 6-1.  Randy Wells pitched another solid game – 6 innings of 1-run ball scattering 6 hits and 2 walks during his outing.  He also had 5 strike outs and lowered his ERA to 2.45.  But with the game tied at 1 in the 7th inning, the bullpen had another atrocious showing as the Mets opened up the game with a 5-run 7th.  James Russell hit Jose Reyes and then gave up Angel Pagan’s game winning 2-run home run 1 batter later.  Jeff Samardzija tried to keep the game close, but he faced 3 batters and didn’t even retire one of them.  Sure Aramis Ramirez’ error kept the inning alive, but these guys have to do better.  Then Sean Marshall came in and allowed 2 of Samardzija’s runs to score on a base hit and a wild pitch.  Not good, not good at all…

The Cubs offense wasn’t much better.  The Cubs had 9 hits, 5 walks and 1 hit batsman, but still only scored 1 lousy run.  How bad is that?  Ramirez’s batting average is down to an awful .157?!  They don’t even have one regular starter hitting above .300 anymore.  Ouch.  It is last year all over again.  No clutch hitting and no patient hitting.

Manager Lou Pinella is reaching his limits and tinkering with his lineup just about every day.  He had this to say about his team’s performance: “The last three ballgames have been the same story.  We don’t score many, and we have to go to our bullpen, and we don’t get it done… We’d like to see a nice double in the gap or something.  They’re trying.  Nobody’s trying to make outs.  You have to score runs.  When you don’t, you have to hold the opposition.”  Despite the negative attitude right now, I’ve never seen Pinella panic this much.  He’s already dropped Ryan Theriot from the lead-off spot after just 2 weeks into the season — he went with Marlon Byrd there last night against lefty Niese.  Tonight, he’s tinkered with his lineup again, entirely removing Theriot from the lineup and putting Mike Fontenot at shortstop against the righty Mike Pelfrey.  The lineup looks like this — Kosuke Fukudome, Jeff Baker, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramrez, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill and Carlos Zambrano.  Crazy – and why even keep Soriano in there?  Not only is he a defensive liability, he doesn’t even hussle anymore.  Why not throw the lefty Tyler Colvin in there?

Guess we’ll see how it all plays out.  But if Zambrano has another bad outing and the Cubs fail to swing the bat in a productive way, look for Lou to lose it really really soon.

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Roy Oswalt Stymies Cubs Thru 7 Innings, Cubs Lose 4-3

Posted on 18 April 2010 by Lou

It wasn’t meant to be as Roy Oswalt stymied the Cubs through 7 innings as the Cubs lost 4-3 at Wrigley Field on Saturday.  The Cubs managed just 5 hits against Oswalt, and although the team rallied for 3 ER on 4 hits against Astros’ closer Brandon Lyon in the 8th inning, it was too little too late.

Tom Gorzelanny gave up 2 ER in his 3 innings of work.  He had to leave after his 3 innings after getting struck with a Pedro Feliz line drive in the top of the 3rd inning.  He was able to finish out the inning, but the Cubs staff decided to pull Gorzelanny as a precautionary measure.  Gorzelanny is expected to make his next scheduled start against the Mets in New York on Thursday.

The bullpen did fairly well in emergency duty.  Jeff Gray and Justin Berg each gave up 1 ER in their 2 innings of work.  James Russell worked a perfect 8th inning and Sean Marshall struck out the side in the 9th inning.  Both Russell and Russell have been the Cubs best relievers thus far this season.

Ryan Dempster squares off against Wandy Rodriguez in the rubber match of the series today at 1:20 at Wrigley Field.  Let’s hope the Cubs can win and finish off a successful 1st homestand with a 4-2 record as they embark on their road trip to New York and Milwaukee this week.

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Big Z Rocked, Bats Quiet = Cubs 16-5 Loss

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Lou

It was an opening day to “not remember”.  Big Z had his shortest start ever – recording just 4 total outs.  Zambrano gave up 8 ER on 6 hits, 2 walks and 1 HBP.  10 Braves batters stepped up to the plate against Big Z in the 1st inning alone.  Not good.  Zambrano’s assessment of his performance — “Too many pitches in the middle.  They have a good lineup.  Against a team like that, you can’t put the ball in the middle.  You have to hit spots and the corner if you want to pitch good against the Braves.”

After being staked to a 3-run lead on Marlon Byrd’s 3-run home run in the 1st inning, Zambrano quickly walked the Braves leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera.  That set the tone for the Braves big 1st inning, capped off by rookie Jason Heyward’s 3-run bomb to deep right field in his 1st major league at-bat.  WOW!

Sean Marshall (5 K’s in 8 batters faced) and rookie James Russell did their best to keep the Cubs in the game with 4 2/3 scoreless innings.  But then Jeff Samardzija and Justin Berg allowed the floodgates to open again in the 7th and 8th innings.  Samardzija walked the first 3 batters that he faced and ended up recording just 1 out while allowing 6 runs (4 earned).  Berg also walked 3 batters and gave up 2 ER on 2 hits.  Bad, bad, bad.

Manager Lou Pinella was clearly upset with his staff’s performance — “I never envisioned giving up 16 runs on Opening Day — never in my wildest dreams.  16 runs after we pitched really well all spring.  And not only did we pitch well, but we threw strikes and got ahead of hitters.  Today was the complete opposite… You can’t pitch from behind against a good-hitting team. And you certainly can’t walk people against a good-hitting team, and that’s exactly what we did.”

One big turning point – in the top of the 6th inning with the Cubs trailing 8-5, Marlon Byrd lined a single to center field that Nate McLouth looked like he caught.  But the ball bounced out of his glove for what should have been a hit and a 1st and 2nd no-out scoring chance for the Cubs.  But McLouth’s body shielded the umpires from seeing the ball squirt loose and he quickly tossed the ball back into the infield as if he caught the ball for an out.  The umpires ruled that he caught the ball and then Aramis Ramirez was doubled off of 1st base for the 2nd out of the inning.  Talk about bad luck.

The Cubs managed just 5 total hits all day long – 2 by Kosuke Fukudome, 2 by Aramis Ramirez who stroked a 2-run bomb to deep left field and 1 by Byrd on his home run.

Let’s hope that Ryan Dempster fairs better in Game 2 of Year 1 on Wednesday night in Atlanta…

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Wells, Cubs Beat Reds 8-1

Posted on 30 March 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells improved to 3-0 this spring en route to the Cubs 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.  Wells pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk.  He settled down after a couple of rough innings to start the game and ended up striking out 5 Reds batters.  Wells has shown that his stellar 2009 season was not a fluke and that he clearly has the stuff to be competitive at the major league level for years to come.  Justin Berg helped get Wells out of the 6th inning.  Sean Marshall then tossed 2 scoreless innings giving up just a hit and a walk while striking out 4.  James Russell stayed perfect working a scoreless 9th inning giving up a hit and recording 1 strikeout.  Russell has still not given up a run this spring and was the surprise addition to the Cubs 2010 bullpen.  Let’s hope he can keep it going during the 2010 MLB schedule.

At the plate, Ryan Theriot had a 3-hit game.  Marlon Byrd crushed a home run to help give the Cubs and early lead in the 1st inning.  Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot – who battled it out this spring for the 2nd base job – each had 2 hits including a home run.

The Cubs now have 15 wins this spring and are really playing some good baseball down the stretch here.  Manager Lou Pinella must be pretty damn excited to get the season started.  Only 6 more days until opening day for the Cubs…

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Carlos Zambrano Good, Carlos Marmol Bad

Posted on 27 March 2010 by Lou

It was a tale of 2 Carlos’ in the Cubs 5-2 loss to the Oakland A’s on Friday.

Carlos Zambrano became the 2nd Cubs pitcher to go 6 innings as he followed Tom Gorzelanny’s lead from Thursday.  Big Z gave up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 6.  He was in command of all of his pitches and it was great to see him pitch 6 strong innings. He lowered his spring training ERA down to 3.15.

James Russell and Jeff Samardzija each pitched scoreless innings in relief, but it was Carlos Marmol who struggled for the second consecutive day.  He gave up another home run, this time a 3-run shot to Travis Buck that broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 9th inning.  Manager Lou Pinella was not pleased with Marmol’s form – “His mechanics are off.  What he’s doing is showing the ball to the hitter quicker and he’s losing that nice depth on his breaking ball.”  Pinella believes that Marmol is throwing too much from the side instead of over the top, and that that is leading to the ball not snapping on each pitch.  He is confident, however, that Marmol and pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be able to fine tune his motion before the start of the 2010 MLB schedule.

We’ll keep you posted…

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