Posted on 15 February 2012 by Lou
Wow – I was a bit nervous when I heard that Kosuke Fukudome was heading back to Chicago. Thankfully it’s on the south side with GM Kenny Williams and the White Sox.
Fukudome will make $500,000 in 2012 and the White Sox have a 2013 club option worth $3 million. Or they can just buy him out for another $500,000 before the start of the season. And to think that the Cubs actually paid him $48 million for his 4 years on the north side. Good old GM Jim Hendry – every player’s (and player’s agent) best friend.
After the Cubs outbid everyone to land the Japanese League MVP back in 2008, Fukudome went on to become an average (at best) major league outfielder. Sure, he made the All-Star team in his 1st year with the Cubs (pretty much every Cub did that season except for back-up catcher Koyie Hill). And if you’re looking for someone with a great on-base percentage (.361 career average) but very little offensive skills, Kosuke is your man. In 4 seasons in the NL, Fukudome had a .260 batting average, with 42 HR’s, 191 RBI’s, 262 runs scored, 491 hits and 299 walks. But if you look more closely at his numbers, he had 129 hits and scored 79 runs in each of his 1st 2 seasons with the Cubs, so his numbers have really dropped off the last 2 years.
Fukudome turns 35 years old in April, so he will be nothing more than a back-up/spot starter for Robin Ventura’s White Sox during the 2012 MLB campaign. Assistant GM Rick Hahn pretty much echoed those sentiments when discussing his role with the White Sox – “We’re not looking for this guy to come in and completely change his approach. We just want him to be the player he’s proven to be over the last four years.” Good luck with that one…
Posted on 30 November 2011 by Lou
Deal #1 Done – the Cubs sign David DeJesus to a “cheap” 2-year deal for $8.5 million. The Cubs have a club option for $6.5 million for the 2014 MLB season, but they can also buy out the contract for $1.5 million. DeJesus is coming off his worst season in the big leagues – struggling to a .240 batting average in 131 games (442 at-bats) with the Oakland A’s. DeJesus’ best season was in 2008 when he hit .307 with a .366 on-base percentage. He hit 12 home runs that season and drove in 73 runs. He hit 13 home runs with 71 RBI’s and a .281 batting average in 2009, but battled through injuries in 2010 – playing in only 91 games.
The Cubs like the qualities that DeJesus brings to the table, even if he has lost some of the “pop” in his bat. GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about DeJesus: “We’re very excited to sign David. He’s a player who does a lot of things very well, including runnig the bases and getting on base. And he doesn’t strike out very much. These are all areas we wanted to improve on going into next year…It’s early, but we see him playing right field. He has the ability to play all the positions but he’s playing the corner outfield spots.”
I like this move. He’s cheap compared to the freaking $12 million we’ve been paying to Kosuke Fukudome each of the last 4 seasons. And he should provide more output than Tyler Colvin at this point (let’s hope).
Now we just need to get our Christmas/Chanukah present a little early when we hear about the miracle signing of Prince Fielder to a long-term deal…
Posted on 23 June 2011 by Lou
The White Sox defeated the Cubs 4-3 to take the opening series of the 2011 Crosstown Classic. Jake Peavy outdueled Doug Davis, although the Cubs did have plenty of opportunities to tack on some runs against a rusty Peavy who was coming off the DL. Peavy allowed 10 hitters to reach base in only 5+ innings, but the Cubs only managed to push across 3 runs against him. Not good at all. Carlos Pena hit a home run for the 3rd straight game, while Starlin Castro continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits. He is now hitting .322 with 36 RBI’s and 42 runs scored. Kosuke Fukudome and Blake DeWitt also each had 2 hits in the loss.
For the 3rd straight night, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead – 3-0 in the 4th on A.J. Pierzynski’s 2-run triple and Brent Lillibridge’s great bunt single that scored Pierzynski. Doug Davis struggled with his command again, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in just 5 innings. The game-winning run that scored in the 5th inning, however, was unearned because of DeWitt’s fielding error that would have ended the threat. Instead, it allowed the Sox to load the bases and Davis ended up plunking Lillibridge to force in the go-ahead run.
The Cubs can take some solace in playing 3 “OK” games, but the bottom line is wins. And the Cubs just aren’t doing enough of that this season.
The Cubs have a day off before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals in more inter-league play this weekend.
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 11 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs 2-game winning streak ended with a frustrating 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Friday night. Carlos Zambrano did his best to keep his team in the game against the dominant Roy Halladay, but he ran out of steam in the 7th inning after throwing 128 pitches. But was Manager Mike Quade to blame for the loss. Why was Big Z still in there after throwing over 100 pitches in only 6 innings. The game was still close at 3-0, but when Zambrano served up Placido Polanco’s grand slam, the 3-run deficit quickly became a 7-run deficit. But the big question is why was Zambrano even still in the game? Big Z walked lead off hitter Jimmy Rollins. After a sacrifice bunt moved Rollins to 2nd base, the Cubs opted to walk Chase Utley intentionally to bring up slugger Ryan Howard. The move backfired as Zambrano walked Howard to load the bases. At this point, Big Z was over 120 pitches. Where is the bullpen help? Sure they used guys in the extra innings game the night before, but it was clear that Big Z had nothing left. That became obvious when Polanco crushed the grand slam to deep left.
Now I know there are a lot of factors to go into Quade’s decision. Sure Big Z had had success against Howard. And let’s say Big Z or a reliever gets the Cubs out of trouble and the lead is still 3-0, the Phillies probably bring Halladay back out for the 8th inning, instead of pulling him after 107 pitches in 7 innings. If they do that, then maybe the Cubs don’t rally for 5 runs off Halladay and the bullpen in the 8th inning. But you have to put your team in the best position to win. And leaving Big Z in the game and intentionally walking Utley to get to Howard when Big Z was clearly struggling just didn’t make sense to me.
In any event, Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro each had 2 hits in the loss. Darwin Barney went 0 for 4 and hasn’t gotten a hit in 14 at-bats. When Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker come back off the DL next week, look for Barney to get more days off with Blake DeWitt and Baker getting more time at 2nd base.
Matt Garza goes against Cliff Lee in what should be a good pitching match-up this afternoon. Let’s hope the Cubs can steal today’s game or tomorrow’s game against Roy Oswalt before they return home for a nice 7-game homestand against the Brewers and Yankees.
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 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 02 June 2011 by Lou
This is getting comical. Doug Davis lost again as the Astros rallied for another late win over the Cubs (3-1) at Wrigley Field. Davis gave up 3 ER on 8 hits over 6 1/3 innings and he suffered his 4th straight loss for the Cubs.
The Cubs bats did little to help – 1 run on 3 hits with 3 walks. The lone run scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run to lead off the bottom of the 1st inning for the Cubs.
Good job guys. Heading into this home stand, the Cubs had reason to be optimistic – getting to face equal-caliber teams – the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros – on your home turf. The Cubs finished the home stand with a 3-6 record after getting swept by the Astros. The Cubs are now a season-high 8 games under .500 at 23-31. They trail the Cards by 9 games in the NL Central and they will now face the Cards, Reds and Phillies on a brutal 10-game road trip. Good luck with that one…
Posted on 27 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs offense took it to the Mets pitching twice this series – today it was a 17-hit, 9-run attack that paved the way for an easy 9-3 win at Wrigley on Thursday afternoon. Like Ryan Dempster in Tuesday night’s big win, Carlos Zambrano was the beneficiary of the big day. Zambrano worked 6+ innings, giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks in a solid effort. Big Z picked up his 5th win of the season and also added 3 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.
Kosuke Fukudome broke out of his little mini slump with 3 hits, including a solo home run off of Jason Isringhausen in the 8th inning. It was his 1st homer of the year and only his 4th RBI on the season. Tony Campana also added 3 hits in the win and Darwin Barney, Blake DeWitt and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits as well. Carlos Pena clubbed homer #6 on the season in the 4th inning – his 2-run shot gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Kudos to Big Z for not losing his cool in the top of the 3rd inning. Jose Reyes lined an extra base hit down the right field line. As Reyes cruised into 2nd base, Fukudome’s errant throw to Darwin Barney got away from him and Reyes was able to move over to 3rd base on the error. But then Barney made matters worse by trying to throw out Reyes at 3rd base. Barney’s throw eluded 3rd baseman Blake DeWitt and Reyes was able to race home with the game’s 1st run. It literally looked like a little league home run, but what else do you expect from this under-achieving Cubs squad in 2011? Check out the video here — .
The Cubs improved their record to 22-26, but they still trail the Cards by 6.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 26 April 2011 by Lou
After taking a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning, Starlin Castro helped give it all back in the top of the 2nd inning with 3 costly errors. That set the tone for a major momentum swing as the Rockies rallied for the 5-3 win over the Cubs on a cool, wet night at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs jumped out to the 3-0 lead on a 2-run HR by Darwin Barney and a sacrifice fly by Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the 1st inning.
But Castro’s 1st error allowed Troy Tulowitzki to reach 1st base to lead off the 2nd inning. After a strikeout and a single, Castro’s next error on a groundball that popped out of his glove, allowed Tulowitzki to score with the Rockies 1st run. Then with runners on 1st and 2nd, Castro fielded Chris Iannetta’s groundball cleanly, but then air-mailed the throw over Barney’s head at 2nd base into the right field bullpens which allowed both runners to score. Just like that, the game was tied at 3.
The Cubs had their chances. They got 8 hits and 4 walks off of Rockies’ starter Esmil Rogers in 5 1/3 innings, but were only able to score the 3 1st inning runs against him. 3 Rockies relievers then held the Cubs scoreless for the final 11 outs of the game to preserve the Rockies win.
Matt Garza had to deal with the 3 Castro errors and then his own error on a throw to 1st base in the 5th inning that allowed the game-winning run to score. Garza worked 6 innings, allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 1 walk with 7 K’s. He lowered his WHIP to 1.47 and his ERA to 4.11, but he is still searching for his 1st Cubs win. He’ll have 1 more chance to pick up that 1st win in the month of May when he takes on the DBacks in Arizona on Saturday – the last day of the month.
There were a few bright spots – Kosuke Fukudome hit lead-off and went 5 for 5 with 1 run scored. He is now hitting .478!
Jeff Samardzija had another solid appearance. He pitched 2 scoreless innings in the 7th and 8th to keep the game within reach. He allowed just 1 hit and struck out 2 and has now made 5 straight appearances without allowing a run to score – streak spanning 8 1/3 innings. Not too shabby.
Casey Coleman looks to rebound from an awful start last Wednesday as he takes on the Rockies tonight at Wrigley Field.