Posted on 23 March 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza worked 5 strong innings in the Cubs 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday. He scattered 2 hits and 3 walks during his outing and all 3 runs that the Rangers scored in the 4th inning were unearned due to erros by Darwin Barney and Bryan LaHair. He struck out 3 batters and tried to make it tough on Manager Dale Sveum who was about to name his opening day starter.
But at the end of the day, it was Ryan Dempster who gets the opening day nod for the 2nd consecutive season. Dempster will square off against Nats’ phenom Stephen Strasburg on Thursday April 5th at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Sveum also named Paul Malholm his 5th starter and reserved the right to name his 3rd and 4th starters until later next week. Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez are fighting for the final 2 spots in the starting rotation. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on that front…
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 08 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija is making a strong case to be named a starter for the Cubs during the 2012 campaign. Manager Dale Sveum predicted that the Kansas City Royals would not be able to hit Samardzija in Wednesday’s cactus league came, and his prediction almost came true. Samardzija bearly broke a sweat, tossing 3 scoreless innings with 3 K’s. The only hit allowed was a cheap blooper by Chris Getz in the 2nd inning. Samardzija needed just 35 pitches. Many baseball people around the country named Samardzija the most improved pitcher during the course of the 2011 MLB season. Samardzija has been on a “mission” this winter, vowing to do whatever it takes to make the Cubs starting rotation in 2012. So far so good for the big righty. He consistently through his fastball in the mid 90’s and he already has great control on his slider and changeup. That is a lethal combo. Look for Samardzija to continue to put pressure on Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office who might be reluctant to move Samardzija out of the bullpen where he was so effective last year.
Cubs hitters also played well – 6 runs on 15 hits – including 2 hits apiece for Starlin Castro, Reed Johnson and Bryan LaHair.
Posted on 14 January 2012 by Lou
All is good on the north side, as Theo & Co. and Kerry Wood figured out a way to keep the veteran reliever with the Cubs in 2012. The Cubs and Wood signed a 1-year, $3 million deal just before the start of the 2012 Cubs Convention on Friday night. The deal includes a club option for 2013. Wood pitched in 55 games for the Cubs in 2011, going 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA.
It was a win-win situation for both sides. With the departure of Sean Marshall via trade to the Reds, the Cubs needed a veteran presence in the bullpen besides Carlos Marmol. Wood will help anchor the back-end of the bullpen with Marmol and Jeff Samardzija.
Although it got a little scary at times during negotiations, Wood is thrilled to be back with the Cubs and is glad that he did not have to retire. “I didn’t want to be forced into that. I still love the game. I still have plenty left… It all worked out in the end. I’m back in Chicago and I’m back where I want to be.”
Let’s hope it is a productive season for the both Wood and the Cubbies…
Posted on 25 July 2011 by Lou
Believe it or not – yesterday’s 5-4 win in 10 innings gave the Cubs their 1st 3- game winning streak of the 2011 campaign. The Cubs were the last team to reach that mark this season. What a joke…
Jeff Samardzija wasted another great outing from Matt Garza. Garza allowed just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks over 7 impressive innings. He struck out 9 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 and his WHIP to 1.30. He left with a 3-2 lead, but when Samardzija served up Carlos Lee’s go-ahead 2-run HR in the 8th inning, he was forced to take another no decision.
Fortunately, 3 straight hits allowed the Cubs to tie the game on Alfono Soriano’s single to start off the 8th inning.
And after Carlos Marmol survived a bases loaded, 1-out jam in the 9th inning, karma seemed to be on the Cubs side when Hunter Pence lost Marlon Byrd’s flyball in the sun to lead off the 10th inning giving Byrd a “gimme” triple. After Geovany Soto struck out for the 1st out of the inning, the Astros walked the bases loaded intentionally. And Jeff Baker came through with the clutch game-winning line drive single to left field that plated Byrd with the winning run.
Byrd had 4 hits and 3 runs scored. Soto had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored.
The Cubs are now 42-60 and they have opened up a “safe” 8.5 game lead over the Astros to avoid having the worst record in the NL. Now that’s something to cheer about – Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 22 June 2011 by Lou
Each team had 7 hits and no errors. Neither team scored more than 1 run in any given inning. But it was the White Sox who emerged with a 3-2 win after a lengthy rain delay because of heavy storms that pounded the Chicago area.
The White Sox took an early 2-run lead on Paul Konerko’s solo homer in the 2nd and Juan Pierre’s sac fly in the 3rd. It was Konerko’s 5th straight game with a home run, tying a franchise record.
Carlos Pena homered for the 2nd straight night in the 5th and Aramis Ramirez tied it up at 2 with a sac fly in the 6th.
Matt Garza tossed 5 solid innings before the rains came – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 6th inning before running into trouble in the 7th. Samardzija got Alex Rios to pop out with 1st and 3rd and nobody out, but then Brett Morel delivered the game-winning sac fly that gave the Sox a 3-2 lead.
The Cubs had their chances. They scored only 1 run in the 6th after having a 1st and 3rd, 1 out scenario. They had 2 on and 1 out in the 8th inning and came away empty.
Doug Davis will battle Jake Peavy in the series finale tonight at the Cell. Let’s hope Davis can duplicate his performance last Friday when he stymied the Yankees to just 1 run and 3 hits in 7+ innings of work.
Posted on 15 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Brewers on Tuesday night was a welcome sight for the north-siders. We haven’t seen them rally like that and actually win the game in a long time.
Randy Wells was mostly ineffective again in his 3rd start since coming off of the DL. Wells allowed way too many baserunners — 8 hits and 3 walks — but did limit the damage to 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings of work.
And while the Cubs trailed for most of the game – 3-0 and then 4-1 – they rallied for to tie the game off of the Brewers bullpen in the bottom of the 8th inning. Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro had back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 4-2. And then Aramis Ramirez tied it up with a home run to deep left field.
Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning and Jeff Samardzija worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 10. Tony Campana started things off with a “hussle” double to shallow left field to get into scoring position. After Kosuke Fukudome bunted him over to 3rd with 1 out, Castro delivered the game winning hit with a sharp single to right field. Game over. Just like that, Samardzija picked up the win for the 2nd night in a row and the Cubs took 2 in a row from the Brew Crew.
Posted on 14 June 2011 by Lou
Not a bad way to start the 7-game homestand on Monday night – a 1-0 win over the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Ryan Dempster had his best start of the season, tossing 7 scoreless innings and scattering 4 hits with 1 walk and 7 K’s in the process. He did not factor in the decision, but he lowered his bloated WHIP to 1.41 and his ERA to 5.48. Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning and notched his 4th win of the season when the Cubs scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the frame. Carlos Marmol walked Prince Fielder with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but he struck out former Cubs player Casey McGehee for the final out much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful. It was Marmol’s 13th save of the season.
As for the bottom of the 8th inning, Darwin Barney singled with 1 out and moved over to 3rd base on Carlos Pena’s double to deep left field. Aramis Ramirez did what he needed to do drive in the winning run. His groundball to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gave Barney just enough time to make it home with a nifty little hook slide around catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
While this team certainly doesn’t have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot, they’re probably not as bad as their 26-39 record indicates. The Cubs activated Jeff Baker from the DL and inserted him into the 3-spot in the lineup. He had one hit with 1 K, but it was Pena who pinch-hit for Baker in the 8th inning. The Cubs also put Kerry Wood on the DL with a nagging blister issue on his throwing hand. The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Cardinals by 11 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 07 June 2011 by Lou
Matt Garza returned from the disabled list, but was largely ineffective in the Cubs 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Garza labored through 4 innings and left after 81 pitches on a hot, muggy night. Garza allowed 4 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks during his outing and his record fell to 2-5.
Gotta love these stats:
Through 5 innings against Reds starter Matt Leake – the Cubs had 10 hitters reach base, but scored just 2 runs and trailed 7-2.
The Cubs and Reds each had 10 hits, but the Reds made the most of theirs, scoring 8 runs to just 2 for the Cubs.
Jeff Samardzija has struggled of late. He allowed 3 ER on 3 hits in 2 innings of work. Samardzija has now allowed runs in 3 straight appearances and 4 of his last 6 appearances. Not good.
On a few positive notes, Kosuke Fukudome had 3 hits and his batting average is back up to .310. Darwin Barney’s 2 hits knocked him back over the .300 mark as well. And Blake DeWitt has really turned it on of late – he had 3 more hits in the loss and his batting average is now back up to .292. Maybe it jkust took some time before he got completely comfortable with his new hitting swing.
The Cubs have now lost 7 straight games. The Cubs are 23-35 – 12 games under .500. Only the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins have worse records than the Cubs in all of baseball…
Posted on 06 June 2011 by Lou
This 2011 Cubs season keeps getting more and more frustrating as Albert Pujols delivered 2 walk-off home runs on Saturday and Sunday to propel the Cardinals to a 3-game sweep over the lowly Cubs.
On Saturday, the Cubs welcomed the 2 start for Randy Wells after returning from the DL. Save for a 2-run homer to Albert Pujols in the 4th inning and some trouble in the 6th inning when the Cards tied the game at 4, Wells pitched well. He allowed only 3 hits and 1 walk in 5 2/3 innings, but all 4 of those batters who reached base ended up scoring. Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, James Russell and Carlos Marmol all worked 5 scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough. Jeff Samardzija retired the 1st 2 batters that he faced in the bottom of the 12th inning, but then he served up Pujols’ game-winning walk home run as the Cubs lost 5-4.
Then it was time for Pujols to crush a
On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano pitched his 2nd straight unbelievable start to put the Cubs in position to win 2-1 in the 9th inning. Big Z held the Cards to just 1 ER over 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks. But Carlos Marmol served up Ryan Theriot’s game-tying 2-out double that notted the game at 2. The very next inning, Rodrigo Lopez gave up Pujols’ lead-off walk home run as the Cards won 3-2.
With the 3-game weekend sweep, the Cubs fell to 23-34 on the season and they now trail the Cards by a whopping 11-games. OUCH!