Tag Archive | "Marlon Byrd"

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Not What the Doctor Ordered for Cubs in Cincy – Cubs 3, Reds 2 – Saturday 8/28/10 & Cubs 5, Reds 7 – Sunday 8/29/10

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Lou

I hate to admit this, but the Cubs actually played better than I thought they would against the Reds in Cincinnati this weekend.  They were going up against 3 pitchers that have given them fits in the past — Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood.  Plus, they were coming off of a 3-game losing streak, the perfect time for the Cubs to go into a nose dive and perform miserably against a good Reds team.  While Friday night’s 7-1 loss was entirely expected, I was surprised that the Cubs stayed in both games over the weekend, splitting the Saturday and Sunday contests.

There really weren’t too many highlights, but here’s a quick re-cap:

Cubs 3, Reds 2 Saturday night –

Randy Wells continues to be an enigma in 2010.  Sometime he looks great like he did on Saturday night and other times he looks lost out there as his 6-12 record indicates.  He limited the Reds to just 6 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  He gave up a Joey Votto home run and an RBI single in the 6th inning, but otherwise limited the Reds scoring chances throughout his outing.  Bronson Arroyo limited the Cubs offense to just 6 hits in 7 innings, but he made 2 costly mistakes.  He served up Xavier Nady’s solo homer in the 2nd inning and then Kosuke Fukudome’s game-winning 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

One other pitching positive – the bullpen preserved the 3-2 lead handed to them by Wells.  James Russell worked a scoreless 7th inning while striking out the side.  Andrew Cashner worked a perfect 8th as did Carlos Marmol in the 9th inning as he picked up his 24th save.  We know what we have in Marmol, but once again, Cashner and Russell could potentially be good pitchers at the major league level for years to come.  It’s just a matter of getting these kids and building their confidence by getting them in games in the right situations.  Let’s hope Manager Mike Quade can continue to do that the rest of the year with these young pitchers so that they have the right mental attitude heading into the 2011 MLB schedule.

Cubs 5, Reds 7 Sunday afternoon –  The Cubs squandered a great number of chances against Wood and Arthur Rhodes.  The Cubs got 10 hits and 4 walks off of Wood, but only scored 3 times.  You have to do better than that.  A couple of typical bad Cubs moments — bases loaded in the 1st inning and only 1 out and the Cubs don’t score; Jeff Baker makes the 3rd out at 3rd base in the 2nd inning on Starlin Castro’s RBI single; & 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 5th inning and they only push across 1 run on a ground out.  Kosuke Fukduome went from here to goat in just 1 short innings-time.  He hit a game-tying 2-run home run off of Arthur Rhodes in the top of the 8th inning.  Then in the bottom half of the inning, his fielding error in right field allowed Chad Heisey to score all the way from 1st base on Ramon Hernandez’s single.   That was the difference in the game.  Jeff Baker, Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady and Geovany Soto each had 2 hits in the loss.

Casey Coleman was back to his mediocre self after a really nice outing against the Nationals.  He gave up 4 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings.  But more importantly, he did not walk a batter.  That is always a good sign for a young pitcher.

Now it is time for the Cubs to battle their 2010 nemesis in a 3-game set this week at Wrigley Field.  The Pittsburgh Pirates come to town with their mouths watering for blood.  Despite an overall record of 43-87 — the worst record in the entire major leagues, the Pirates have beaten the Cubs 9 out of 12 times this season — ouch!  Look out Carlos Zambrano – you better bring your A-game tonight at the Friendly Confines.

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Gorzelanny Cracks Under Pressure in Cincinnati – Cubs 1, Reds 7 – 8/27/10 Great American Ballpark

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Lou

Tom Gorzelanny had a golden opportunity to continue to showcase his stuff for a 2010 starting rotation spot.  He was going up against the 1st place Reds in a hostile environment facing a lineup that loves to rake in its home park.  It was the perfect time to show that he can pitch on the big stage against one of the more productive lineups in the National League today, but Gorzelanny cracked under the spotlight, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits (including 3 home runs) over his 5 innings of work.  Maybe he just had an off-night, but he clearly showed that he is still simply a back-of-the-rotation starter on your average-to-bad major league ballclub.  Gorzelanny walked 2 and struck out 1 and fell to 7-8 on the season with a 3.98 ERA.  The ERA is still under 4.00 (a stat I like), but with his 1.46 WHIP, he gives too many teams too many chances throughout an outing.  And eventually, that usually comes back to haunt you like it did last night.  Jay Bruce stroked 3 home runs on the night (2 off of Gorzelanny) and Chris Valaika stroked the other homer off of Gorzelanny.

The Cubs offense left a lot to be desired as well.  The team only managed 6 hits off of Johnny Cueto and a Reds reliever.  They didn’t draw a single walk on the night.  Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Tyler Colvin drove in the only Cubs run with a double in the 4th inning.  Blake DeWitt had the only other Cubs hit in the lead-off spot.

So, the Cubs 3-game winning streak has ended, and now it’s back to reality after winning 3 games in a row over the Nationals.  Sure the Nationals have a better record than the Cubs in 2010, but are they really that much better of a team?  Probably not.  But the Reds are one of the best teams in the NL this year, and it’s clear that the Cubs cannot compete at their level.  Randy Wells will give it a shot tonight as he takes on Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 of the series tonight at the Great American Ballpark.

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Bye Bye Lou – Sweet Lou’s Last Day as Cubs Manager Ends on Down Note – Cubs 5, Braves 16 – 8/22/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Lou

It should not have come as much of a surprise the way the Cubs players sent Lou Pinella off during his last game as Cubs Manager.  The Cubs lost another series at Wrigley Field with their 16-5 loss to the Braves on Sunday.  Despite racking up the same number of hits as the Braves – lucky number 13 – the Braves made their hits count more – scoring 16 runs in the process.  Omar Infante and Jason Heyward each belted 2 home runs in the onslaught against Randy Wells and 4 rookie relievers.  It was definitely not the way that Lou wanted to go out, but given the fact that he pretty much gave up a long time ago, you can’t really expect too much more from his players.  I know Pinella has a lot of personal issues going on, but you can’t help but wonder if he had shown as much emotion during the season as he showed before the game when he announced it would be his last, maybe the results would have been a little bit different this season.  Pinella started his tenure as Cubs manager with a lot more emotion and fire.  Maybe the Milton Bradley saga was too much for him to bear in 2009, and that frustration and struggle seemed to carry over during the 2010 MLB schedule.  He never argued too many calls too vehemently.  He never got upset with his players other than to suggest that “his hands were tied” and that they just had to go back out the next day and try harder.  And he never really tried to motivate his team as far as we can tell.  Sure he tried a lot of different lineups and different arms in the bullpen, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.  And maybe his players could tell that he really didn’t care at all as well, so why should they.

That being said, we’ll have a lot more on Lou and the managerial hunt this week.  You can’t argue with his 1st 2 seasons at the helm – 2 consecutive NL Central Division titles and 2 straight playoff appearances.  The Cubs had not done that in a very long time.  On the other hand, the Cubs didn’t win a single playoff game with Lou in charge – losing 6 straight games to the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in 2007 and 2008.  Maybe they were underdogs in 2007, but there were no excuses for the top National League team in 2008.

As for Sunday’s loss, it the same old story.  Bad pitching.  Some good hitting (lots of hits) but no clutch hitting (only 5 runs).  Cubs players struck out 13 times as rookie Mike Minor racked up 12 K’s in only 6 innings?!  Starlin Castro did have the 1st 4-hit game of his career with 2 doubles.  He is hitting .316 and is very close to qualifying for the NL batting crown which would put him in a tie for 4th place with Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.  Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez also had 3 hits apiece.

The Cubs are now 51-74 on the season and the trail the Cincinnati Reds by 21.5 games?! Ouch.  Keep checking back this week – we’ll have more on Lou as well as some stories on potential candidates to replace Lou in 2011.

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Keep ‘Em Coming — Cubs Lose Again & Hill Looks Like a Fool – Cubs 3, Padres 5 – 8/19/10

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Lou

7 straight losses for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, including 4 in a row this week to the NL-West leading San Diego Padres.  The Padres really made it look easy this week against the “Major League Team called the Cubs”.  Not really sure what that means, but since the players that the Cubs trot out each day collectively play like a top notch high school team instead of a real major league team, I feel like we should put the “Cubs” name in quotes whenever we use it for the rest of this atrocious 2010 MLB schedule.

Carlos Zambrano still didn’t have the best control, but he did just enough in his 6 innings of work to give the Cubs a chance to win.  He limited the Padres to just 1 run over his 6 innings – 4 hits, 1 walk and 6 K’s.  The Cubs trailed 1-0 when his pitching day was done, but the Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the inning on RBI doubles from Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez. He could have gotten the win.

But then the wheels came off as Sean Marshall – the Cubs most consistent reliever all season long – ended up giving up 4 runs in the 7th inning as the Braves regained the lead for good at 5-2.  The inning took a turn for the worse when Koyie Hill made an embarrassing play to cap-off the Braves’ 4-run inning.  Will Venable’s 2-run single put the Braves up -2, but it was his heads-up base running that captured the moment.  When the Cubs and Koyie Hill caught Chase Headley in a run down between 3rd base and home plate.  Venable astutely ran over to 3rd base during the action.  Hill made an attempt to tag Venable at 3rd base after he tagged out Headley, but he never actually called time out.  Hill then went over to the mound to talk to reliever Justin Berg.  Since no one officially called time out, Venable darted home to score the 4th run of the inning.  His run really didn’t matter – whether the score was 4-2 or 5-2, the Cubs were still going to lose the game.  But it just goes to show how out-of-touch this Cubs team is with the concept of “baseball”.  I know that sounds weird, but there is something off with the players that GM Jim Hendry has assembled to play on the “Major League Team called the Cubs” (sorry, forgot use the ” ” a few times up there).  It’s almost as if they regressed and forgot how to play the game.  They continue to make mental mistakes, they continue to make physical fielding and running mistakes and they clearly lack the confidence to win ballgames on a consistent basis.  I’m not sure how it is even possible to spend over $140 million and not put together a winning team, but Hendry seems to have pulled off the impossible with the ludicrous deals and trades that he has made over the last 3-4 seasons. And not only are they NOT a WINNING team, they somehow managed to form one of the WORST teams in all of baseball this season.

Were there any positives from the game?  I guess.  Blake DeWitt had 2 more hits, but also struck out twice.  In fact, every Cubs starter struck out at least once during the game as the Padres racked up 12 K’s.  You also like to see the Cubs hang tough until Byrd and Ramirez drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the 6th inning with the game on the line.  Marcos Mateo and Andrew Cashner – both of whom I really criticized the other day for their ineffectiveness – each threw scoreless innings with 2 K’s apiece.  But other than that, there wasn’t too much to like about the Cubs as usual.

This just in – looks like we can call it 5 losses in a row this week at Wrigley Field.  After Ryan Dempster worked the Braves for just 2 runs over 8 great innings on a hot and humid day at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field today, closer Carlos Marmol quickly ruined that with an inning from hell.  3 walks to load the bases and then a bases-clearing triple to Rick Ankiel that changed a 3-2 Cubs lead to a 5-3 Cubs deficit.  Beautiful…

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Blown 1st Inning Scoring Chance Sets Tone for Disappointing Loss – Cubs 3, Cards 6 – 8/13/10

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Lou

It has been a problem all season long – the Cubs get a great scoring chance and only push across 1 run or 2 runs and then go on to lose a close game.  In the 1st inning, the Cubs put together 4 straight 1-out hits but end up stranding runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  Different night, same story.  Starlin Castro singled and Derrek Lee sent Castro to 3rd with a double.  Marlon Byrd then drove home both men with a single to left field.  Blake DeWitt kept the rally going with a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base with only 1 out.  But Alfonso Soriano failed to push across that 3rd run when he grounded out to 3rd base and Darwin Barney – making his 1st ever major league start – flied out to left field to end the threat.  Instead of a 4-0 1st inning lead, the Cubs settled for a 2-run lead.  Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook settled down after that rough 1st inning and the rest if history.  Westbrook gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk from the 2nd through the 6th innings and he picked up his 1st win in 3 starts for the Cards since being traded from the Indians.  Sure the Cubs added a home run by Lee in the 8th inning to cut the Cards lead to 603, but by then, it was too little too late.

Thomas Diamond made it 3 losses in 3 starts for the Cubs.  He needed 87 pitches to labor through 4 innings and his time as a Cubs starter for the remainder of 2010 is numbered.  He gave up 4 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks and just didn’t put his team in position to win on Friday night.  Casey Coleman made a good case to be bumped up into the rotation with a 2nd straight scoreless outing.  Coleman has had his share of troubles in his 1st two appearances (8 ER on 10 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 innings pitched), but he has tossed 3 straight scoreless innings now and has given up just 1 walk with 4 K’s in the process.  Manager Lou Pinella is open to the competition among his young pitchers:  “I would think everybody that comes up here would get an opportunity to pitch and get some playing time, and obviously the ones that are doing better will get more than the others… The young kids that come up here to pitch, we’ll pitch them, and the position players? The same way…  We’re still trying to compete and win some games, and we’re playing a lot of teams in pennant contention so we’d like to beat them and derail them too.”

Couple of positives to take in the loss:

Lee was back in the lineup and had 2 hits.  He was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.

Castro had another hit and is getting close to getting enough at-bats to qualifying for the NL batting crown.  He is hitting .319 on the season and should have enough AB’s to crack the top 5 in hitting at some point next week. Carlos Gonzalez leads the NL in hitting with a .324 batting average and Joey Votto is 2nd with a .320 average.  Castro would slide into the 3-spot on the list in front of Placido Polanco with his .317 average.  Good work – Starlin!  Manager Lou PInella is thrilled with his progress:  “Isn’t that wonderful… This kid here, he’s a player. He’s gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  He makes his rookie mistakes, but we live with them and work with him.  He’s really coming along.  He’s taken to that two-hole.”

Big Z gets the start today on FOX’s Saturday game of the week.  Let’s hope he has better control than he showed when he walked 7 batters in 5 innings of a loss to the Giants on Monday night.

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Gorzelanny Struggles as Cubs Lose to Giants – Cubs 4, Giants 5 – 8/11/10

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Lou

Tom Gorzelanny put the Cubs in an early hole with a 3-run 1st inning.  Although the Cubs would rally to tie the game at 3 in the 6th inning and then again at 4 in the 7th inning, they would end up losing 5-4.

Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin homered for the Cubs in the loss.

This just in – Cubs lose finale in San Francisco as well 8-7.  Andrew Cashner suffered his 5th loss of the season by giving up a 1-out bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th inning…

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Zambrano Rusty as Cubs Free Fall Continues on West Coast – Cubs 3, Giants 4 – 8/9/10 – AT&T Park

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano made his “much-anticipated” return to the starting rotation against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Monday night.  At 1st glance, when I saw that Big Z had tossed 4 scoreless innings to start the game, I got a little bounce in my step.  Maybe Zambrano would be able to pitch well down the stretch.  Maybe he would even be so good that the Cubs might consider keeping him for the duration of his contract, or maybe another team would be more interested in agreeing to a trade for the hefty Venezulan this off-season.  I started to get excited.  But since I turned the game on with 2 outs in the bottom of the inning, I didn’t really get a full feel for how Zambrano was pitching.  And when I looked at the box score, my positive thoughts were quickly dashed.

Big Z was laboring as his control was atrocious.  He ended up making it through 5 innings with the score tied at 2.  He gave up both ER in the 5th inning as he ran out of steam.  He gave up only 4 hits, but he walked 7 batters and he threw 96 pitches in the process.  Not exactly what we were looking for.  I’m not exactly sure how he even lasted that long without giving up more runs.  The 2nd inning was a perfect example of sheer luck.  He walked Pat Burrell to start the inning and then gave up a hit to Pablo Sandoval.  Luckily Juan Urube grounded into a double play sending Burrell to 3rd base with 2 outs.  But then Big Z issued 2 straight walks to load the bases.  Only a Andres Torres strikeout allowed Zambrano to get out of the inning unscathed.  He issued 1 walk in each inning that he pitched and his leadoff walk to Torress in the 5th finally came back to haunt him on a Buster Posey double.  Zambrano then allowed another run to score on a wild pitch.  When you are wild, you’re going to throw lots of pitches and you’re going to get into loads of trouble.  It is a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly what happened to Zambrano.  Now I know it was his 1st start since June 25th so we have to give him a little time to get back into the starter’s mind frame.  But he doesn’t have much time – only another 8-9 starts the rest of the way, so he really needs to come out firing on all cylinders in his next start – time is of the essence if we want to show the rest of the league that Big Z still has some value.

Marcus Mateo – another young Cubs pitcher struggling in his major league debut – flirted with disaster in each of the 10th and 11th innings.  He gave up a single and a double in the 10th inning but avoided giving up a run when Colvin threw out Travis Ishikawa at the plate.  But in the 11th, Mateo didn’t get so lucky as he failed to retire a batter.  He gave up 2 singles and then walked Posey to load the bases with nobody out.  Then Burrell hit the game-winning sacrifice fly to deep center to drive in the winning run in walk-off fashion…

The Cubs offense was actually better than I thought it would be.  The team racked up 11 hits, but once again, clutch hits were lacking.  Starlin Castro, Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits.  Tyler Colvin, Byrd and Alfonso Soriano had the 3 RBI’s.  And hey, all 3 runs were earned, so at least we did something to deserve the runs, right?

Great match-up tonight in Game 2 of the series.  Ryan Dempster gets the honor of facing the 2-time defending Cy Young Award Winner – Tim Lincecum.  Yippee!

In any event, this is getting pretty ugly as the losses keep piling up.  The Cubs have now lost 4 in a row and 11 of 12 games.  Their record is 47-65.  They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 16.5 games for 1st place in the NL Central?!  This is a team that won back-to-back division titles in 2007 & 2008.  My how fast the might have fallen.  With the Reds stockpiling amazing young pitchers who continue to improve each year and with the Cardinals trotting out Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday day in and day out, it is hard to imagine how the Cubs will even compete in the division during the next few seasons.  The Cubs will wither have to get lucky and win the Adrian Gonzales sweepstakes this off-season or hope that their competitors suffer multiple season-ending injuries as the 2011 MLB schedule approaches.  WOW – is this going to be a frustrating few years.

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Lilly Agrees to Forego Remaining 2010 Salary in order to Facilitate Trade from Lowly Cubs — Cubs 1, Astros 6 – 7/27/10

Posted on 28 July 2010 by Lou

Begging clearly didn’t do the trick, so now Ted Lilly has had to take drastic measures.  He has agreed to forego the remaining amounts owed to him for his salary for the 2010 MLB schedule in order to convince a team to take him on for the final 2 months of the season.  Groveling on his knees to Cubs GM Jim Hendry didn’t do the trick last week, so Lilly hopes that pitching for free for the rest of the season will help a team decide to pull the trigger on the stellar lefty.  Lilly has grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of run support that he has received from his teammates in 2010. Last night was a perfect example.  Lilly pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8 Astros hitters.  But when he left the game, the score was still 0-0.  You see, during that time, the Cubs had just 2 base runners against Bret Myers – a double by Tyler Colvin in the 4th inning and a Marlon Byrd walk in the 5th inning.  Yippee!!!

With another wasted outing from Lilly, the lefty is fed up with pitching well and having nothing to show for it.  With a 1.14 WHIP and a 3.69 ERA, it is shocking to see that Lilly has a 3-8 record.  Lilly has now allowed zero earned runs in 4 of his 18 starts and he has won only 2 of those games?!  In 5 of his starts where he has allowed 1 or 2 earned runs, he has a a 1-1 record with 2 no decisions.  Unbelievable.  I know you just have to chalk things up to bad luck sometimes, but this is a little ridiculous.  No wonder the guy is willing to do anything to get traded off of this sham of a team.

Talk about a futile offense at times.  Colvin ended up with 2 of the Cubs 4 hits, while fellow rookie Starling Castro had 1 and Byrd had the other. Colvin accounted for the Cubs lone run with a homer off Myers in the 9th inning.

Andrew Cashner’s streak of good luck finally ran out. After helping Lilly get out of a 2 on, 2 out jam in the 6th inning by striking out Chris Johnson, Cashner imploded in the 7th inning.  2’s were wild as he hit 2 batters, walked 2 batters and gave up 2 hits – with the big blow coming courtesy of a Lance Berkman Grand Slam to deep center.  The 6 runs allowed sealed the Cubs fate, but I like Manager Lou Pinella’s move to keep Cashner in the game after the Berkman bomb.  He showed some toughness once again by getting Chris Johnson to line out for the 3rd out of the inning.

It was another frustrating loss in a long, frustrating season for the Cubs in 2010.  Let’s hope Randy Wells can salvage the series finale on Wednesday.  It’s not looking good, however, as the Cubs trail the Astros 7-1 in the 8th inning.  Ouch…

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Successful Start to 2nd Half with Series Win Over Phillies @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 1, Phils 4 – 7/17/10 & Cubs 11, Phils 6 – 7/18/10

Posted on 19 July 2010 by Lou

While Saturday’s disastrous loss left a bitter taste in my mouth, you have to be pleased with the Cubs taking 3 of 4 games from the better Phillies squad this weekend at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs could really pack it in now that the season is all but over, but they played hard and they played well in the series against the Phillies.

The ageless Jamie Moyer has had some pretty incredible starts this season yet  the Cubs took it to him in the 12-6 series opening win on Thursday night. Ryan Dempster did what he needed to do to get the win.

Joe Blanton continues to baffle the Cubs – as he did in Friday afternoon’s pitching duel with Ted Lilly – but Aramis Ramirez propelled the Cubs to the 4-3 win with his game-winning home run in the 8th inning.  Carlos Marmol picked up a perfect 3-strikeout save in the 9th inning to preserve the 4-3 win.

It was another pitcher’s duel on Saturday as Randy Wells matched Cole Hamels pitch-for-pitch.  The Cubs took the 1-run lead in the bottom of the 7th inning on Ryan Theriot’s perfect suicide squeeze play that scored Starlin Castro.  Castro reached base on a double down the left field line and then made a “heads-up” play on groundball to the shortstop where Castro was able to get over to 3rd base with less than 2 outs.  Castro used his instincts to realize that since the ball was hit behind him, it was going to be a tough play to throw him out at 3rd base.  But then disaster struck in the 9th inning – Carlos Marmol walked 2 Phillies hitters but then managed to get 2 outs to give Cubs fans hope that they could get out of the jam for the 1-0 win.  But when Geovany Soto could not cleanly catch Tyler Colvin’s one hop throw to home that would have nailed Brian Schneider at the plate to end the game, the flood gates opened.  3 more walks and a wild pitch by Marmol led to a devastating 4-1 loss in front of the Wrigley Field faithful.  Just when you think that the 2010 Cubs have lost in just about every frustrating way possible, they go and lose another close game with bad play after bad play.

Fortunately, the Cubs managed to salvage game 4 of the series against Roy Halladay.  The Cubs capitalized on Halladay’s hitting Marlon Byrd twice – Geovany Soto drove him home with a homer in the 2nd inning and Alfonso Soriano drove him home with a  homer in the 6th inning.  The Cubs managed to get 6 runs on 7 hits off of Halladay and then 5 more runs on 5 hits and 1 walk off 2 relievers in the 7th inning that blew the game wide open.  Tom Gorzelanny wasn’t great – 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks in 6 2/3 innings – but he limited the damage and kept the Cubs in the game.

Kudos to Manager Lou Pinella for going with Tyler Colvin and Starlin castro 1-2 at the top of the order on both Saturday and Sunday.  Gotta give these kids chances and both responded in Sunday’s win – Colvin was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored, while Castro was 3 for 4 with and RBI and 1 run scored.

Despite the positive weekend, the Cubs still trail the Cards by 9.5 games in the NL Central and the Reds and Rockies by 9 games in the NL Wild Card race.  But at least it looks like the team is going to fight all the way to the end.  And that’s all you can really ask for at this point in the season.

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Cubs Take 1st 2 Games v Phillies – Cubs 12, Phils 6 7/15/10 & Cubs 4, Phils 3 7/16/10

Posted on 16 July 2010 by Lou

Not the way I expected the Cubs’ 2nd half to start – with 2 wins over the Phillies at Wrigley Field.  But I guess we’ll take it.  Now the Cubs batters have to face Hamels and Halladay over the weekend – 2 guys “slightly better” than Moyer and Blanton.  Can Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny get the job done against the Phillies’ aces?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Thursday night – Ryan Dempster was pretty dominant –6 2/3 innings pitched – 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks with 9 K’s.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.20 and his ERA to 3.57.

Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto had home runs for the Cubs in the win.  Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting with 2 2-run doubles to help break open the game.

Ted Lilly sent a message to teams in need of starting pitching in the Cubs 4-3 win this afternoon.  Lilly tossed 7 great innings of 3-run ball, giving up just 4 hits (2 home runs) and 1 walk while striking out 10.  Lilly is good – let’s hope the Cubs can move him to a winner for the final few months of the season and then re-sign him to a 3-year deal in the off-season.  He is worth it.

Marlon Byrd had a 2-run home run and Aramis Ramirez – the red-hit A-Ram – won it in the 8th inning with his deep home run to left field off of Ryan Madsen.

Sweep Sweep Sweep!

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