Posted on 09 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster helped the Cubs end their longest skid of the 2011 campaign with a 4-1 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Dempster worked 6 solid innings of 1-run ball to even his record at 5-5. Dempster worked out of tough jams in the 1st and 3rd innings, limiting the Reds to just a single run despite excellent scoring chances. Dempster gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.
The Cubs bullpen finally delivered in a pressure-packed situation. Kerry Wood notched hold #9 despite a 2-out triple in a scoreless 7th inning.
Sean Marshall struck out 2 in his perfect 8th inning – his 12th hold of the season.
And Carlos Marmol notched save #11 with a perfect 9th inning.
Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief as Marmol closed the door on the Cubs 1st win in 9 days.
Carlos Pena gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with a 2-run bomb to deep right field in the 4th inning. On the next pitch, Aramis Ramirez increased the Cubs lead to 3-1 with only his 3rd homer of the season. And Kosuke Fukudome scored an insurance run on a balk in the 7th inning that gave the bullpen some room to work with.
The Cubs “improved” to 24-36 and they trail the Cards by 11.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 20 May 2011 by Lou
I love to be wrong in situations like this, as Casey Coleman led the Cubs to a 2-game sweep of the Marlins in Miami with a convincing 5-1 win.
Coleman picked up his 2nd win of the season, throwing 109 pitches in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Manager Mike Quade brought in the recently called up Scott Maine to get Coleman out of trouble in the bottom of the 6th inning after Coleman walked 2 batters with 2 outs in the inning. Maine made it a little scary but Byrd cuaght Wes Helms’ deep drive to center field to end the inning.
And how about John Grabow — he has given up just 1 ER in his last 10 appearances and he notched his 4th hold of the season with a scoreless 7th inning. If Grabow can regain the form that made him such an effective reliever before he signed a 3-year free agent deal with the Cubs, the Cubs bullpen will be that much deeper as the season progresses.
Kerry Wood gave up the Marlins only run on a homer to Mike Stanton. Wood is trending in the exact opposite direction as Grabow — in his last 5 trips to the mound, Wood has 2 blown saves and 2 losses, and has given up 7 runs (3 earned) on 10 hits and 3 walks. Not good.
Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning in a non-save situation.
At the plate, Reed Johnson got the Cubs out to an early lead with an RBI double in the 2nd inning. Marlon Byrd continues to swing a hot bat. He had 2 more hits including a 2-run home run in the 4th inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-0. And Starlin Castro had 2 hits including a 2-run double in the top of the 9th inning that gave the Cubs some breathing room heading into the bottom of the inning with a 4-run lead.
After an atrocious start to the tough road trip with 2 frustrating losses to the 1st place Reds, it was nice to see the Cubs bounce back against the Marlins. The Cubs now trail the Cards by 5.5 games in the NL Central and need a 3-game sweep over the Red Sox in Boston this weekend in order to get back within 1 game of the .500 mark…
Posted on 18 May 2011 by Lou
Can it get any worse? 7’s were wild as the Reds swept the Cubs in a quick 2-game series in Cincinnati this week. The 2nd ugly loss in a row to the Reds dropped the Cubs 7 games back of the 1st place Reds in the NL Central race. All 7 runs scored by the Reds in the 7-4 win were of the “unearned” variety because of 4 errors committed by Cubs players. Sure 2 of the errors came from pitchers Matt Garza and Kerry Wood, so maybe those runs should not be considered “unearned”, but the Cubs clearly did not get the message that Skipper Mike Quade was trying to send when he held a closed-door meeting after Monday’s embarrassing loss.
Ryan Dempster looks to help stop the bleeding for the Cubs when he takes on former Cubs pitcher Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins in Miami tonight…
Posted on 11 May 2011 by Lou
Chris Carpenter and Carlos Zambrano each pitched 7 innings and the game was tied at 4-4 when both pitchers departed. But the Cards got the best of the Kerry Wood in the 8th inning, scoring 2 runs off of the dependable righty. Wood allowed 2 hits and 3 walks in the inning as the 2 winning runs scored on Daniel Descalso’s 2-out bases loaded single.
The Cubs pounded out 13 hits and drew 3 walks, but only managed to score 4 runs. The 1st inning set the tone once again. The 1st 4 Cubs batters reached base as they scored 2 runs on Aramis Ramirez’s single up the middle. But with 1st and 2nd and nobody out, Alfonso Soriano grounded into a double play and even though the Cubs loaded the bases again, they failed to push across another run. Ramirez ended the night with 3 hits and the 2 RBI’s, while Darwin Barney had 3 hits and 2 runs scored. Marlon Byrd also had 2 hits and 1 run scored. In the 7-hole, Starlin Castro came through with an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th inning which tied the game at 4.
Zambrano gave up 4 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in his outing. He did not factor in the decision.
Matt Garza goes up against Jake Westbrook in game 2 of the series tonight. They need Garza to be the “stopper” tonight if they look to avoid the sweep with the Cards having a favorable match-up tomorrow – Jaime Garcia (4-0, 1.99 ERA) v. Casey Coleman (1-2, 6.29 ERA). Good luck with that one…
Posted on 09 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs got some great pitching over the weekend against the Reds, but only came away with 1 win against their Division Rivals. Not good… not good at all. It is the same old alarming trend as the Cubs continue to fail to come through with the clutch hit to break open a close game.
The Red Sox stopped their 3-game skid with 2 impressive wins over the Twins at Fenway Park.
In Saturday’s 3-2 win, Casey Coleman gave the Cubs every chance it needed to win. Coleman worked 6 solid innings, giving up 2 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks with 6 K’s. After Coleman allowed the 1st 2 batters to reach base in the 7th inning, Kerry Wood couldn’t limit the damage and allowed the Reds to score 2 runs on a fielder’s choice and single. That gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
It came down to the 9th inning trailing 2-1 as Carlos Pena came through with the clutch home run to right field that tied the game at 1. After Blake DeWitt’s single, it looked like the game was over as Jeff Baker’s double to deep center field would have easily scored DeWitt from 1st. But the ball bounced over the well and was ruled a ground rule double since the center fielder Daniel Stubbs never made contact with the ball before it left the field of play. That put the pressure on Kosuke Fukudome with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. But Fukudome lived up to the challenge, stroking a no-doubt, line drive single up the middle to score DeWitt with the winning run. Marcos Mateo picked up his 1st major league win by pitching a scoreless inning and a third.
On Mother’s Day on Sunday, Ryan Dempster made his second straight good start — 7 innings, 2 ER on 5 hits and no walks. But this time, he did not come away with the win, as the Cubs bats went silent against Johnny Cueto who was making his 1st start of the season. The Cubs managed just 6 hits and 2 walks during the game against Cueto and 4 Cubs relievers. Jeff Samardzija worked his 9th straight appearance in which he has not allowed a run. Carlos Marmol, who had not pitched since May 3rd against the Dodgers worked a scoreless 9th inning. Starlin Castro continues to struggle even after getting the day off on Saturday. Castro has only 2 hits in his last 25 at-bats, a streak spanning 5 games. His batting average has dropped 48 points down to .300 during that stretch.
The Cubs are now 15-18 on the season and they trail the Cards by 4 games in the NL Central race. The Cards come to town for 3 big games this week as the Cubs really have their backs up against the wall yet again.
Posted on 04 May 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster finally turned in a good outing and Carlos Pena finally delivered his 1st home run of 2011 as the Cubs rallied late to beat the Dodgers 4-1 in Los Angeles.
Dempster pitched 7 effective innings in his best start of 2011. Dempster allowed just 1 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks during his outing and although he didn’t factor in the decision, he was thrilled that he finally gave his team a chance to win during one of his starts.
Carlos Pena has struggled all season long and he was still looking for his 1st home run heading into last night’s game. Pena came through with a clutch game-tying home run in the top of the 7th inning off of Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. Pena also came around to score on Geovany Soto’s game-winning double after he worked a 1-out walk in the top of the 9th inning that moved the winning run over into scoring position. Soto delivered the big game winning hit with 2 outs and Blake DeWitt followed that up with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 4-1 cushion.
After Dempster left the game, the bullpen did what they’ve been doing for the majority of 2011. Kerry Wood worked a 1-2-3 8th inning and ended up picking up his 1st win of 2011 when the Cubs scored 3 in the 9th. Carlos Marmol then notched his 8th save of 2011 with a 1-2-3 9th inning. Wood and Marmol both have WHIP’s under 1.09 and ERA’s under 1.84. This gives Manager Mike Quade and the Cubs a TON of confidence when they have the lead in the late innings and they know they can hand the ball over to Wood, Marmol and Sean Marshall. Cubs sit at 13-16 with 1 more game left against the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon.
Posted on 14 April 2011 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano pitched great for the game’s 1st 5 innings, but then ran out of gas in a 5-run 6th inning. Big Z allowed 5 runs in the frame and was finally removed after he issued a 2-out walk to J.R. Towles. Marcos Mateo came on to retire Jason Michaels which kept Zambrano in a position to win. Big Z gave up 5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, but moved to 2-0 despite a 6.11 ERA. Now Zambrano just needs to learn to put it together for a full 6-7 innings in his next few starts.
The bullpen was superb down the stretch. After Mateo, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol each tossed scoreless innings to preserve the win for the Cubs. Marmol was the only one to allow and Astros hitter to reach base with a walk. Not what you want from your closer, but Marmol shut the door on the rally in a non-save situation.
The Cubs raced out to a 5-0 lead on Jeff Baker’s 2-run double and Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run HR in the 1st inning. Starlin Castro had 3 hits and a run scored. Darwin Barney had 2 hits, an RBI and a run scored. And Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits, an RBI and a run scored. The 9 runs scored and 14 hits were season highs for the Cubs. The Cubs hope to continue their winning ways as they travel northwest to take on the hottest team in baseball – the Colorado Rockies – at Coors Field in Denver…
Posted on 11 April 2011 by Lou
After a Friday night win, the Cubs had high hopes for a weekend series win over the Brewers at Miller Park.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Matt Garza struggled for a 2nd straight start in Saturday’s 6-0 loss and Kerry Wood couldn’t hold the Cubs 5-4 lead with 2 outs in the 8th inning as the Cubs ended up losing 6-5.
Now it’s off to Houston to take on the Astros as Ryan Dempster looks to pick up his 1st win of the 2011 MLB schedule.
Posted on 09 April 2011 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano didn’t have his best stuff, but he tossed 6 effective innings and matched a career-high with his 9th win in a row (dating back to last season). Zambrano gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 5 K’s, but had a quick 1-2-3 6th inning to keep the lead at 6-4 after his 112th pitch of the game. It was clear that he still had enough gas left in the tank and despite his less-than-stellar outing, he kept his wits about him and focused on getting through 6 innings to hand the ball off to the Cubs promising bullpen.
And boy did they do a great job. Sean Marshall worked an 11-pitch 1-2-3 7th inning with 1 K – hold #2 on the season. Kerry Wood worked a 9-pitch 1-2-3 8th inning – hold #3 on the season. And while Carlos Marmol allowed 2 batters to reach base, he struck out 2 in the 9th inning to preserve the win and pick up his 3rd save. Manager Mike Quade has gotta be pleased with this formula and as long as these guys stay healthy (Wood especially), there’s no reason to think that the Cubs shouldn’t feel comfortable with a late-inning lead.
The Cubs offense also pounded out 12 hits and 7 runs, lead by Jeff baker’s 4-hit game. Baker hit a go-ahead 3-run HR in the 4th inning and the Cubs never looked back. He had 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored and is just crushing left-handed pitching. Geovany Soto hit a 2-run HR that tied the game at 2 in the 4th inning, while Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits in the win.
Matt Garza takes the bump against Chris Narverson in Game 2 of the series at Miller Park tonight. Let’s see if they can make it 2 in a row…
Posted on 05 April 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells picked up right where he left off from spring training as he pitched a gem to lead the Cubs to a 4-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon. Wells got the 1st win for any Cubs starter as he tossed 6 solid innings. After giving up a lead-off home run, Wells allowed no runs, 5 hits and 4 walks over the next 18 outs to earn the victory. He struck out 6 on the day. He was happy with the start despite the walks – “A little sloppy… You never want to be around the belt or mid-thighs. Try to attack the bottom of the zone and good things happen.”
The bullpen did the rest as Sean Marshall, Marcos Mateo and John Grabow each recorded an out in the 7th inning to preserve a 2-1 Cubs lead. After a Starlin Castro error allowed the tying run to reach base in the 8th inning, Kerry Wood worked out of a bases loaded, 1-out jam to keep the DBacks off the board. Carlos Marmol bounced back from a blown save on Sunday to pick up the save. It was Wood’s 2nd hold off the early season and Marmol’s 2nd save of the season as each pitcher pitched in 3 consecutive games. Marshall, Grabow, Wood and Marmol are all going to have to have above average years if the Cubs expect to make some noise in the NL Central race this season.
Timely hitting also helped the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano hit his 2nd home run in as many days to tie the game at 1 in the 3rd inning. Carlos Pena’s sacrifice fly in the 4th inning put the Cubs ahead for good. And Geovany Soto and Soriano gave the Cubs some insurance runs with run scoring hits in the bottom of the 8th inning.
The Cubs are back at .500 at 2-2…