Posted on 19 January 2015 by Lou
Theo & Co. clearly have a vision and they continue to make moves to improve the major league ballclub just about each and every day. Today the Cubs announced a trade with the Houston Astros – CF Dexter Fowler for 3B Luis Valbuena and Pitcher Dan Straily. This adds a proven hitter to the Cubs top of the lineup with Fowler – a career .271 hitter with a great .366 on-base percentage. In 2014, Fowler boasted a phenomenal .375 on base-percentage with 120 hits and 66 walks in just 434 at-bats.
The Cubs ranked 28th in all of baseball in on-base percentage in 2014, so adding more consistent, patient batters was a clear mission for Theo & Co. this off-season. The Cubs previously added reserve infielder Tommy La Stella from the Atlanta Braves (.328 on-base percentage in 2014) and Catcher Miguel Montero (.329 on-base percentage in a down 2014). The addition of Fowler makes the lineup that much better, especially at the top of the order to set the table for the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler and eventually Kris Bryant.
Current Cubs hitting coach who came from the Astros this winter raved about Fowler’s plate approach: “He understands the strike zone so well, but it doesn’t take the attack out of him. He doesn’t just take pitches to take. He takes them because he recognizes the strike zone.” Gotta love it.
It will be interesting to see what Manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs do with the rest of the lineup. Fowler bumps Arismendy Alcantara out of the CF starting position and pushed him to more of a “super sub” role. Alcantara could even make noise back in the infield with the 3rd base position wide open. Or will we see La Stella share some time at 3rd base with Alcantara or Mike Olt until the arrival of Kris Bryant in late April. This is just the kind of move that Maddon probably loved. Maddon has a knack for moving his players around and getting the most out of his players, so having a “deeper” lineup to play around with in 2015 will sure make things more interesting.
The other interesting news was Max Scherzer going to the Nationals for $210 million over 7 years. Does that mean the Nats will make one of their other “ace” starters available via trade sooner rather than during the course of the season. We’ll write more about that over the next few days as it impacts the Cubs…
Posted on 19 June 2012 by Lou
It’s also nice to get an easy win – especially for the Cubs who still have the worst record in all of baseball at 23-44. The Cubs belted 5 home runs and cruised to an easy 12-3 win over the White Sox on the south side. It was the 1st time the Cubs beat the White Sox in 4 tries this year. Matt Garza pitched 6 innings on a 90+-degree night and won just his 3rd game of the season. He gave up 3 ER on 2 home runs, but limited the damage while striking out 6. He lowered his WHIP to 1.11, but his ERA is still over 4 at 4.07.
The Cubs clobbered 15 hits and scored 12 runs. Starlin Castro had 3 hits (1 home run), 2 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. Bryan LaHair added 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored on his 13th homer of the year. Alfonso Soriano (1 home run) had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. But the real star was Luis Valbuena who added 3 hits including a 3-run homer in the 7th inning. He has raised his batting average to .294 while getting extended playing time while Ian Stewart is injured.
Jake Peavy and Travis Wood get to face the 90+degree elements tonight in what should be another high-scoring affair. Look for lots more long balls – this time probably a few more from the south siders who “only” hit 2 on Monday night.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 18 June 2012 by Lou
The Red Sox took the final 2 games against the Cubs during the weekend set at Wrigley Field. Jeff Samardzija’s struggles continued in the heat on Saturday night at the Friendly Confines. He gave up 3 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks in just 5 1/3 innings. He racked up 6 K’s but his high 108-pitch count forced Manager Dale Sveum to pull the big righty early in the game. The Cubs tallied their 3 runs on Luis Valbuena’s 1st career major league home run – a 3-run blast off of Jon Lester that cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. But the game would end like that.
Franklin Morales started for the injured Josh Beckett on Sunday night and he out-dueled Cubs starter Paul Maholm. Maholm pitched OK – 3 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk, with 6 K’s – but it wasn’t good enough. The Red Sox scored 3 runs in the 7th and 1 in the 8th to break open a 3-3 tie. Starlin Castro finally broke out of his slump with 3 hits, including a double and a triple. He drove in 2 of the Cubs 3 runs.
The Cubs fell to 22-44 with the series loss to the Red Sox – they once again have the worst record in baseball. The Cubs “travel” south to take on the White Sox for 3 games at U.S. Cellular Field starting tonight. Matt Garza will square off against Zach Stewart in the series opener.