Posted on 21 May 2012 by Lou
The 1st half of the 2012 Crosstown Classic between the Cubs and White Sox was simply brutal for the North Siders. In a rare and fun Saturday night contest at Wrigley Field,the White Sox blanked the Cubs for the game’s first 8 innings amassing a comfortable 7-0 lead behind 3 Sox home runs. The Cubs avoided the shutout when Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather hit 2 run home runs in the 9th inning. But it was too little too late. Ryan Dempster suffered the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season, despite strong individual numbers – 1.06 WHIP, 2.28 ERA, 44 K’s against just 14 walks.
On Sunday, needing a win to avoid the sweep, the Cubs curled up under the favorite blankie and laid an egg against Jake Peavy. The White Sox cruised to an easy 6-0 victory behind Peavy and 3 more Sox home runs and a 10-hit barrage against Paul Maholm. On a 90-degree day with the wind blowing straight out of the park in every direction, the Cubs managed just 5 hits and NO runs. How is that even possible?!
It keeps getting uglier and uglier for the Cubs. Now it seems all but a certainty that Theo & Co. will move Matt Garaza and any other chip (Dempster, Maholm) in any attempt to get cheaper and younger.
With the sweep the Cubs fell to 15-25 overall and they trail the Cards and Reds by a full 7 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 24 April 2012 by Lou
Just what the doctor ordered – Joe Mather’s 2-out 2-run single gave the Cubs a much-needed 3-2 win over Jason Motte and the Cardinals on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Trailing the Cards 2-1, Motte walked both Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto with 1 out. Steve Clevenger’s groundout to 1st base moved the runners over into scoring position with 2 outs. Then it was time for Joe Mather to be the hero with his sharp groundball single up the middle. Just like that, the Cubs had an improbable come-from-behind 3-2 win over the defending world champs.
Could this be the catalyst that the Cubs need to show that their really not as bad as their 5-12 record? Only time will tell.
Jaime Garcia shut the Cubs offense down for much of the night – 1 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk in 6+ innings.
Matt Garza did the same in his 7 innings of work – 2 ER on only 4 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 5, but did not factor in the decision. James Russell recorded just 1 out in the 8th inning and he walked 2 batters. Rafael Dolis came in and shut the Cards offense out for the final 5 outs of the game. He picked up his 1st major league win.
Jeff Samardzija can help the Cubs get their 1st series win and 1st winning streak of the season if he can pitch effectively tonight at Wrigley. He’ll go up against Adam Wainwright again – the Cubs pasted Wainwright for 8 ER (2 homers) in a 9-5 win over the Cards on April 13th. Let’s hope they can do the same tonight…
Posted on 07 April 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza has been sharp in his 2012 MLB debut. He had worked 3 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit and the Cubs leading 1-0. But a lead-off walk in the top of the 4th cost him. Although Garza retired the next two batters, an Adam LaRoche 2-out home run off the right field foul pole gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Cubs.
The Cubs have 4 hits and 2 walks off of Nats’ lefty Gio Gonzalez, but have just 1 run to show for it. Joe Mather drew a 1-out walk in the 1st inning and moved over to 3rd base on a perfectly executed hit-and-run with Starlin Castro. Mather then came around to score on a Gonzalez wild pitch. But that is all the Cubs have mustered against the tough lefty.
Jeff Samardzija makes his 1st start of 2012 on Easter Sunday. He and the Cubs will square off against Jordan Zimmerman in the series finale.
Posted on 04 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs finished up spring ball with a nice little 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Travis Wood made his best spring start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 6 hits. He walked only one batter all day and the lone run came on Andy Gonzalez’ solo home run in the 2nd inning. This bodes well for Wood who is going to need to fine-tune his pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs got off to a fast start with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning from Starlin Castro. The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 2nd inning on a Joe Mather double and a Darwin Barney single.
The real action begins at Wrigley Field on Thursday when the Cubs take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster makes his 2nd straight opening day start for the Cubs.
Posted on 31 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm looked good in his 2nd to last start of the spring – a 3-3 tie with the Angels. Maholm worked almost 5 innings, giving up 2 ER on 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 6 and had some nice control of all of his pitches. Maholm could surprise this season as the Cubs 5th pitcher in the rotation. Carlos Marmol, Rafael Dolis and James Russell also tossed scoreless perfect innings of relief to keep the score tied at 3.
The Cubs managed just 6 singles and doubles by Joe Mather and Darwin Barney in 10 innings and it looks like consistent offense could plague the Cubs again in 2012. The Cubs are going to need a lot of clutch timely hitting this year as the rotation and bullpen will likely keep the Cubs in a bunch of games. Then it will come down to the hitters coming through when they have runners on base and taking advantage of errors committed by the opposition – something they have struggled to do each of the last 2 seasons.
We’ll see how it goes, but spring training is quietly closing up and we’ll have “real” games very very soon on the north side of Chicago…
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.