Posted on 11 May 2012 by Lou
It is a night of returns for the Cubs in the 1st game of a 3-game weekend set against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Matt Garza who skipped his last scheduled start because of a nasty flu bug penetrating the Cubs clubhouse will square off against Randy Wolf in the series opener. Garza is 2-1 on the season with a nasty 0.89 WHIP and solid 2.67 ERA. Garza loves facing the Brew Crew – he has a career 1.90 ERA against the club and in his last outing against the Brewers back on April 12th at Wrigley Field, he fell just 1 out shy of a complete game shutout as the Cubs won 8-0.
Dale Sveum spent the last 6 seasons on the Brewers coaching staff and is looking forward to his return – this time as the Cubs manager – “Yeah, I have a lot of memories there and a lot of friends, but when the games start, you don’t think about anything like that. You just think about winning the game and managing the baseball game.”
The Cubs and Brewers are both tied for last place in the NL Central – 13-18 – 7 games back of the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s hope the Cubs can take at least 2 out of 3 this weekend with the starters they have going – Garza, Dempster and Samardzija…
Posted on 24 April 2012 by Lou
Just what the doctor ordered – Joe Mather’s 2-out 2-run single gave the Cubs a much-needed 3-2 win over Jason Motte and the Cardinals on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Trailing the Cards 2-1, Motte walked both Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto with 1 out. Steve Clevenger’s groundout to 1st base moved the runners over into scoring position with 2 outs. Then it was time for Joe Mather to be the hero with his sharp groundball single up the middle. Just like that, the Cubs had an improbable come-from-behind 3-2 win over the defending world champs.
Could this be the catalyst that the Cubs need to show that their really not as bad as their 5-12 record? Only time will tell.
Jaime Garcia shut the Cubs offense down for much of the night – 1 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk in 6+ innings.
Matt Garza did the same in his 7 innings of work – 2 ER on only 4 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 5, but did not factor in the decision. James Russell recorded just 1 out in the 8th inning and he walked 2 batters. Rafael Dolis came in and shut the Cards offense out for the final 5 outs of the game. He picked up his 1st major league win.
Jeff Samardzija can help the Cubs get their 1st series win and 1st winning streak of the season if he can pitch effectively tonight at Wrigley. He’ll go up against Adam Wainwright again – the Cubs pasted Wainwright for 8 ER (2 homers) in a 9-5 win over the Cards on April 13th. Let’s hope they can do the same tonight…
Posted on 12 April 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza was dominant in the Cubs 8-0 win over the Brewers today at Wrigley Field. Garza should have even had a complete game shutout if he hadn’t thrown the ball into the stands on Aoki’s come-backer with 2 outs in the 9th inning. That was his 119th pitch and Manager Dale Sveum decided it was time to pull the righty. Garza ended up going 8 2/3 innings, scattering 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9. The Cubs have had some great starting pitching efforts so far this season from Ryan Dempster, Garza and Jeff Samardzija. Now if they could just get some consistent hitting, they might be able to string some wins together here.
The big inning for the Cubs came in the 3rd when they rocked Zach Greinke for 6 hits in 7 batters scoring 6 runs. Steve Clevenger had 2 doubles, a single and scored 2 runs. David DeJesus, Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart each had 2 hits. Castro and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 RBI’s.
The 2-5 start was not exactly what the Cubs wanted, but it is what it is, and now they need to get off to a better start on the road with games against the Cardinals in St. Louis and the Marlins in Miami…
Posted on 07 April 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza has been sharp in his 2012 MLB debut. He had worked 3 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit and the Cubs leading 1-0. But a lead-off walk in the top of the 4th cost him. Although Garza retired the next two batters, an Adam LaRoche 2-out home run off the right field foul pole gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Cubs.
The Cubs have 4 hits and 2 walks off of Nats’ lefty Gio Gonzalez, but have just 1 run to show for it. Joe Mather drew a 1-out walk in the 1st inning and moved over to 3rd base on a perfectly executed hit-and-run with Starlin Castro. Mather then came around to score on a Gonzalez wild pitch. But that is all the Cubs have mustered against the tough lefty.
Jeff Samardzija makes his 1st start of 2012 on Easter Sunday. He and the Cubs will square off against Jordan Zimmerman in the series finale.
Posted on 29 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija locked up the 3rd spot in the Cubs starting rotation with his 6 scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians in the Cubs 2-0 win on Wednesday. He scattered 3 hits and just 1 walk while striking out 5. He has had good outings this spring, but that was by far his best performance to date. The pressure was on, as Samardzija knew he had to bounce back from his last outing when the Rockies rocked the big righty for 7 ER. He answered the call and it looks like all the hard work that he put in this off-season – he showed up in Arizona back in November – really paid off.
Manager Dale Sveum had this to say about picking Samardzija – “I’s say it convinced me more than anything. He did a good job yesterday, especially because they had seven or eight left-handers in their lineup, which is always a test against a right-handed pitcher. He kept them off-balance, got weak popups. That shows he was controlling bat speed and doing a good job of it.”
Samardzija was thrilled and relieved: “We just kind of said thanks to each other, for me personally to get the opportunity to do it and they were happy I didn’t take it for granted and just show up and go through the motions. It felt good… You don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to start. I really wanted to give this a full head of steam and have a full shot.”
This is a great move. I like the idea of 2 veterans at the front of the rotation – Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. Then you can throw Samardzija out there against other teams’ # 3’s and he is going to surprise a lot of people. Then you have a Chris Volstad who has had a good spring and may have favorable match-ups against some weaker starters. And then you might see Paul Maholm really take advantage of being in the #5 spot in the rotation. That will give him a little extra time with an extended spring to get up to full game strength, and he has been around the block once or twice. This rotation is going to surprise some people – you heard it hear 1st!
The Cubs also optioned Randy Wells back down to Triple-A Iowa…
Posted on 23 March 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza worked 5 strong innings in the Cubs 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday. He scattered 2 hits and 3 walks during his outing and all 3 runs that the Rangers scored in the 4th inning were unearned due to erros by Darwin Barney and Bryan LaHair. He struck out 3 batters and tried to make it tough on Manager Dale Sveum who was about to name his opening day starter.
But at the end of the day, it was Ryan Dempster who gets the opening day nod for the 2nd consecutive season. Dempster will square off against Nats’ phenom Stephen Strasburg on Thursday April 5th at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. Sveum also named Paul Malholm his 5th starter and reserved the right to name his 3rd and 4th starters until later next week. Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez are fighting for the final 2 spots in the starting rotation. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on that front…
Posted on 17 March 2012 by Lou
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your friends at MyCubsToday.com! Celebrate and enjoy the amazing weather!
Couple of Cubs side notes from yesterday –
Matt Garza worked 4 innings, giving up 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk with 3 K’s. It was a much better outing for the big righty.
Anthony Rizzo clubbed his 2nd home run of the spring.
The Cubs out-hit the Giants 7-6, but still lost 3-2.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 27 February 2012 by Lou
Manager Dale Sveum announced that Rodrigo Lopez will start the Cubs Cactus League opener against the Oakland A’s this Sunday March 4th at HoHoKam Stadium. Ryan Demspter will start the next day and Matt Garza will start game 3. That lineup lines up Garza to start opening day for the Cubs against the Washington Nationals on Thursday April 5th at Wrigley Field – pitching every 5th day during the spring. Dempster could also skip one day at some point during the spring to line up as the Cubs opening day starter at Wrigley (Dempster was the Cubs opening day starter last year knocking for Cubs Carlos Zambrano out of the spot that he had held for 6 straight seasons). When asked for more specifics about his intentions, Sveum was elusive – “No, we’ll probably make that decision in the middle of the Cactus League schedule.”
Let the drama begin…
Posted on 03 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and Matt Garza avoided a scheduled arbitration hearing today when the 2 sides reached agreement on a $9.5 million deal for the 2012 MLB campaign. Graza had requested a $12.5 million salary (more than double the $5.9 million that he earned in 2011), while the Cubs countered with a $7.95 million figure. Both sides were probably “way off” on their numbers, so it was a good idea for the 2 camps to agree somewhere in the middle. Garza has gotta be happy with a near $4 million-raise, and the Cubs are going to have to decide very soon whether or not they intend to trade Garza before the start of the season or ink him to a long-term deal. Theo & Co. have to be hoping that one of the big teams – NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels or Philadelphia Phillies – get hit with a starting pitching injury during training camp. If that happens, they might get the right package that they’ve been waiting for for the reliable and durable Garza.
In his first full season with the Cubs, Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA. He had a stellar 8.96 K’s per 9 innings and he also had another 7 games in which he left with the lead but got tagged with a no decision when the Cubs bullpen blew it. At only 28 years old, the Cubs could also consider signing him to a long-term deal (somewhere in the range of 5 years-$65million), but given where his agents requested a $12.5 million salary for 2012, that might not even get it done. Plus, given how Theo & Co. continue to try to get younger and deeper, they may be more inclined to trade Garza, stock-pile some young talent, shed more salary and wait to fight another day when another top-tier free agent pitcher is out there. If some of their young pitchers mature and develop as expected, they could use the extra salary to bring in an ace to complement and tutor the youngsters. Guess we’ll see how it all plays out…
Posted on 30 January 2012 by Lou
Wow – I’m not sure how Theo, Jed and the Cubs pulled this one off, but they convinced veteran lefty reliever Trever Miller to sign a minor league deal with a much-coveted invite to Spring Training camp in Mesa, Arizona. This could be a Cubs coup if the 39-year old Miller somehow makes the opening day roster. The Cubs would be his 9th MLB team and he has held left-handed hitters to a paltry .225 career batting average (overall, he has a 3.80 career ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in parts of 13 big league seasons. Ouch.
Given this signing, I am keeping my cell phone close to my hip all day long. I just turned 39 in September, so who knows, maybe I’ll get a spring training invite too. It’s a free for all on the north side. If the Cubs do end up trading Matt Garza before the start of the season, the Cubs would arguably have the worst pitching staff in all of baseball…