Posted on 04 April 2011 by Lou
It was the same old story for the Cubs during their opening weekend series loss to the Pirates at Wrigley Field. By dropping 2 of 3 to the Pirates, the Cubs already fell 2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds (who swept the Milwaukee Brewers) for 1st place in the NL Central.
Friday Opener – Cubs 3, Pirates 6. Ryan Dempster took the loss as he gave up a grand slam to Neil Walker in the 5th inning and a 2-run home run to Andrew McCutchen in the 7th inning on his 114th pitch of the game. A lack of clutch timely hitting hurt the Cubs as it did oh so often in 2010. It became the theme for the weekend. With the bases loaded and only 1 out in the 3rd inning, Carlos Pena grounded out in a fielder’s choice and the Cubs were held to 1 run instead of having a big inning. In the bottom of the 7th, with 2 on and only 1 out, Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez flew out to end the scoring chance. The same exact thing happened in the 9th inning with 1 out. This time Byrd struck out and Ramirez grounded out to end the game. Not good.
Saturday #2 – Cubs 5, Pirates 3. Although the Cubs rallied to win the game, the Cubs wasted 2 runners in each of the 5th and 6th innings without scoring any runs. Kudos to the Cubs hitters for taking advantage of Lyle Overbay’s error in the 8th inning that permitted the Cubs to score 3 unearned runs and win the game. Blake DeWitt proved his worth as a pinch hitter by delivering the game-winning 2-run double. Big Z kept the Cubs in the game by allowing just 3 ER in 6 good innings of work and he didn’t let the lack of run support get him down. Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol all looked sharp in their 1st 2011 game action. Each reliever tossed a scoreless inning of relief without allowing a single hit. Wood had 2 K’s, Marshall had 1 K and Marmol struck out the side in the 9th inning for his 1st save of the season.
Sunday #3 – Cubs 4, Pirates 4. The Cubs came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to take a 4-3 lead on Alfonso Soriano’s solo home run in the 6th inning. However, a leadoff walk by Carlos Marmol in the 9th inning came to haunt him. Pedro Alvarez’s 2-run single gave the Pirates the 5-4 win. Matt Garza was not good. Although Garza worked out of trouble well, he allowed way too many base runners – 12 hits?! You gotta love the 12 K’s though. Once again, the game should not have been that close as the Cubs blew numerous opportunities to have a big inning. The Cubs got runners on in each of the 1st 2 innings but never scored. In the 4th inning, Carlos Pena tied the game at 2 with a 2-run double with nobody out. But with 2nd and third and nobody out, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano could not push another run across with weak flyouts. Then the Pirates smartly walked Tyler Colvin to get the easy Matt Garza out to end the inning without any further damage. This was completely unacceptable and you just knew it would come back to haunt them at the time. Soto failed to come through in the 5th inning with 2 on and 2 out as he grounded out to end the inning. Then again in the 9th inning down by 1, the Cubs blew a great chance to win the game or at least send it into extra innings. With 1st and 2nd and only 1 out, Byrd grounded into the game-ending double play. Not good.
All in all, the pitching was pretty good, especially the bullpen (ignoring Marmol’s blown save on Sunday). Then again, the Cubs continue to show that they have trouble pushing across runs and winning close games. Manager Mike Quade needs to nip this in the bud before the trend grows too strong…
Posted on 30 March 2011 by Lou
Ouch – what is going on with Matt Garza. Garza allowed 7 ER on 11 hits and 2 walks in just 3 innings of the Cubs 15-8 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Garza’s finished the spring with a woeful 1-4 record and a whopping 10.38 ERA. While no one is openly saying that they are worried about Garza’s pitching this season, you can’t help but be concerned that he doesn’t have his head on straight this spring. Did the trade from the Rays mess with his mind a little? Is Garza hurt? Has he just not gotten into a groove yet? Who knows at this point, but I am really looking forward to his first start at Wrigley Field on Sunday to see if he has his act together against the Pirates.
More pitching woes surfaced in the loss as Jeff Samardzija struggled mightily with his control. Samardzija only pitched 1 inning, but he gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks. Not good.
On a positive note, Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood each tossed scoreless innings in the loss.
It was the final spring game for the Cubs who finished with a 14-19 record…
Posted on 10 March 2011 by Lou
Although the hitting was non-existent, you have to be thrilled with the Cubs pitching in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Ron Santo day.
Randy Wells started it all off with 4 scoreless innings. Wells struck out 2 and gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk during his outing. Wells has yet to give up a run this spring and it looks like the fact that Wells knew he had to compete for a starting spot in the rotation has brought out the best in the righty. His 0.00 ERA is tops among Cubs starters this spring.
Kerry Wood struck out the side in his 1 inning of work. He gave up just 1 hit and lowered his ERA to 4.50.
Andrew Cashner had his best outing of the spring and worked 4 solid innings. He did give up the Indians lone run on a solo home run, but he struck out 3 and walked only 1 and seemed to have a ton of confidence out there. I would love to see Cashner keep up a few more outings like this to knock Silva out of the 5th starting spot. The Cubs really need to find some other club to take Silva off their hands before the start of the season. Even if the Cubs have to eat half of his salary, it’s time to give a youngster a shot in the rotation.
The Cubs managed just 4 hits on the day, but they made them count. James Adduci singled to lead off the 9th inning and eventually scored the winning run on Brett Jackson’s 2-out walk-off single. In the 8th inning, Marquez Smith doubled and came around to score on a wild pitch and throwing error by the Indians catcher. Guess you gotta do what you gotta do to win…
Posted on 01 March 2011 by Lou
Some ups and downs for the Cubs pitching in the Cubs 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday afternoon in Mesa.
Randy Wells looked very sharp in his spring training debut. Wells worked 2 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits and striking out 1.
Andrew Cashner, on the other hand, struggled in his 1st appearance. Cashner is competing for a slot in the starting rotation but didn’t do too much to help his cause. Cashner made it through 2 innings, but he gave up 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk. He did not strike anybody out.
Sean Marshall picked up right where he left off in 2010. Marshall worked a perfect 9th inning striking out 1 in the process.
Kerry Wood returned to the Cubs pitching mound but had an inauspicious inning of work. Wood gave up 2 ER on 3 hits, but he did have 2 K’s.
Not bad, but not great. The Cubs also committed 3 errors for the 2nd straight cactus league start. This can’t sit well with Mike Quade, but I’m sure he’ll take it in stride this early in spring training. If the Cubs keep making errors like this, however, look for Quade to make some noise next week…
Posted on 03 January 2011 by Lou
Let’s put any such idea to rest – Kerry Wood will not be a starter for the Chicago Cubs in 2011. Unlike Ryan Dempster who was able to go from being a starter (up until his August 2003 Tommy John surgery) into the bullpen to help out as a set-up man/closer (from 2004-2007) and then back into the rotation in 2008 because he was healthy enough to do so, Kerry Wood does not have that luxury. Wood has had surgeries on his right shoulder and he still has a tear there that he rehabs each and every off-season to make it as stronjg as possible for the upcoming MLB season. The only way he can make it as a major league pitcher through the grueling 162 game schedule is if he pitches out of the ‘pen.
FYI – as a starter, Wood has a 71-55 record in 178 starts, with a 3.69 ERA and 1,282 strikeouts. Wood has appeared in 203 games (203 2/3 innings)as a reliever in his career. He has a 3.45 ERA with 62 saves and 237 K’s coming out of the bullpen.
As for the Cubs starting rotation, here’s how it will shake out in 2011 — Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner and either Carlos Silva/Tom Gorzelanny. It looks like the Tampa Bay Rays have decided to hold onto Matt Garza unless a team is willing to pony up some high end prospects in return – and the Cubs won’t do that. Brandon Webb whom the Cubs briefly considered signed a 1-year deal with the Texas Rangers. It’s a very mediocre starting rotation, especially in the very difficult NL Central with solid starting rotations in Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee. But if Carlos Zambrano pitches as well as he did at the end of the 2010 MLB season, it could be a much better rotation. Guess we’ll just have to see how it plays out…
Posted on 21 December 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs appear to be falling out of the race for starter Brandon Webb. Webb has pitched a total of just 4 innings combined during the 2009 and 2010 MLB seasons because of shoulder injuries. But it appears that Webb is healthy again and he is receiving strong interest from the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. The Rangers have strong interest because they lost out in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. The Nationals have strong interest because they will be without stud Stephen Strasburg for all of 2010 because of his Tommy John surgery. Any deal would most likely be incentive-laden because of his past arm injuries, but he is an intriguing starter in an otherwise “weak” starters market this winter.
We’ll keep you posted if the Cubs make a strong move down the stretch here. Given the Cubs signing of Kerry Wood which will allow them to move Andrew Cashner back into a starting role for 2011, their need for another starter is not as urgent. But I guess you can never have too many starters, especially if Webb is really healthy and if he only gets paid a hefty sum if he earns it with positive production on the mound…
Posted on 17 December 2010 by Lou
It’s official – Kerry Wood is a member of the Cubs again. The 33-year old returns to the team that drafted him 4th overall in the 1995 draft. Wood was excited to be back in Chicago — “It’s never been about the money. It’s about being home and being here at Wrigley, which is home for me.” He will make $1.5 million in 2011 and he will also have incentive and award based bonuses that could up that figure.
After a rough year and a half with the Indians in Cleveland, Wood emerged as the New York Yankees most dependable set up man for closer Mariano Rivera down the stretch in 2010. In 24 appearances with the Yankees, Wood was 2-0 with a sparkling 0.69 ERA. He is still healthy and he is looking forward to performing in a set-up role out of the bullpen for Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.
Posted on 16 December 2010 by Lou
It looks like Kerry Wood will be ending his career with the team that he started with – the Chicago Cubs. Wood wanted to end his career in Chicago as he and his wife have decided to make Chicago their permanent home. The Cubs have tentatively agreed to a 1-year, $1.5 million deal. There are still performance and award bonuses to be worked out, but assuming he passes his physical, Wood will be in a Cubs uniform in 2011 and hopefully beyond until he decides to retire.
This is GREAT news for the Cubs. After the Ryne Sandberg fallout, it’s great to see that the Cubs are willing to work with past stars. Plus, because of the low dollar amount on the deal, the Cubs should still be able to add another reliever to the fold with their limited budget. Wood will also serve as a great role model and mentor for young pitchers like Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Scott Maine and Justin Berg. The move also gives Manager Mike Quade some flexibility in being able to move Cashner to a starting rotation spot if the Cubs do not sign or trade for a starting pitcher this winter. And if they do sign a new starter, then the Cubs will have a nice deep bullpen with Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, John Grabow, Wood and Cashner.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as this gets finalized in the coming days.
Posted on 28 October 2010 by Lou
Could Kerry Wood be back with the Chicago Cubs in 2011 and beyond? It’s unclear, but that option became available when the New York Yankees officially declined the club’s $11 million option to sign Wood for the 2011 MLB schedule. No big surprise there, and while Wood could potentially re-sign with the Yankees at a lower dollar amount, this does open the door for a potential return to Chicago after spending seasons with the Cleveland Indians and Yankees.
Wood was lights-out for the Yankees during the 2nd half of the 2010 baseball season and it appears that he can pitch on a consistent basis despite the tear in his right shoulder. In 24 games with the evil Yankees, Wood posted a 0.69 ERA and became one of Manager Joe Girardi’s most trusted relievers down the stretch. Wood still has residences in both Chicago and Arizona and he has already confirmed that his primary residence is Chicago. With his oldest child starting school in the Chicago area, could we see Wood being willing to come back to the north side of Chicago as the veteran presence the bullpen so desperately needs. With the plethora of young arms in the bullpen, Wood would be a perfect role model for a lot of these players. I’m getting a little giddy about having Wood back on the Cubs. Assuming that they don’t have to spend more than a few million dollars on the 34-year old reliever, this seems like a no-brainer to me. Let’s just hope the Ricketts Family and GM Jim Hendry see it that way too…
Posted on 23 October 2010 by Lou
Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is making the most of his chance with the New York Yankees in 2010. After a so-so 1st season with the Cleveland Indians in 2009 (3-3, 20 saves, 6 blown saves, 4.25 ERA and 1.38 WHIP), Wood’s performance with the Indians in 2010 was downright awful. Wood appeared in just 23 games for the Tribe, going 1-4 with 8 saves but 3 blown saves. He walked 11 hitters and struck out 18 in 20 innings pitched, paving the way for his hefty 6.30 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.
Because of their own bullpen issues, the New York Yankees made the surprise move to take a shot on Wood at the July 31st trading deadline. And boy has it paid off. Wood made 24 appearances for the Yankees from August 1st on, tossing 26 innings with a 0.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He struck out 31 batters while walking only 18. After his 2nd Yankees appearance in which he gave up 1 earned run, he made 21 straight appearances without allowing a single run (earned or unearned) before he finally gave up a run on the final game of the season against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He has been just as good in the post-season. He has pitched 6 innings in 6 appearances, giving up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks with 7 K’s. In the ALCS against the Rangers, Wood has pitched 4 scoreless innings.
Manager Joe Girardi – who played 2 seasons with Wood with the Chicago Cubs – has been thrilled with having the veteran on his club – “I had caught him so I remember when he had outstanding stuff. But I don’t think anyone ever thinks you’re going to get a reliever that for two months has an ERA under 1.00. Some of the best relievers of all time don’t do that. I mean, I thought he would help us, but I never would have thought he could help us this much.”
Wood has cherished his opportunity, and even with his team down 3-1 in the ALCS against the Rangers, Wood knows better than anyone that anything can happen in a 7-game series (as we all painfully remember when the Cubs blew that 3-1 NLCS lead to the Florida Marlins back in 2004) – “There weren’t any expectations when I came over here. I just came with the attitude that if I was ready and put up enough zeroes, maybe something would happen for me here… You just keep grinding, keep grinding, in the hopes that eventually, something good happens… I was on a team that was up 3-1 and we didn’t get it done, so I know it can happen. And we had a much better team. Obviously, the deeper a series goes, anything can happen.”
Congrats Kerry – we wish you the best of luck and hope you get that World Series Ring — even if it’s with the New York Yankees.