Posted on 06 May 2011 by Lou
The Cubs host the Reds for 3 big games at Wrigley Field this weekend. Even though it is still early in the season, the Cubs need to come out and show that they can play with the NL Central big boys. The Cubs are 14-16 and they trail the Cards by 3 games for 1st place in the division. The Cubs trail the Reds by 1.5 games.
Matt Garza looks to continue a stretch of good starts. Garza has allowed just 4 total earned runs in his last 3 starts – 20 innings. He picked up his 1st win in a Cubs uniform in his last start against the DBacks in Arizona.
Current update – Cubs trail Reds 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning…
Posted on 28 April 2011 by Lou
Mother nature helped the Cubs out on Wednesday – the forecasted rains caused the Cubs and MLB to re-schedule the Cubs-Rockies series finale to a date when the weather should be just a little bit nicer (hopefully) – Monday June 27th. It was an off-day for both teams. The Cubs play in Kansas City the day before and will continue with a home stand at Wrigley Field. The Rockies play the Yankees in New York the day before and will stop in Chicago to make up the game on Monday before heading home for a scheduled home stand.
The Cubs used the day off for some rest and for some early travel to Arizona where they begin a 7-game road trip against the DBacks. The Cubs will skip Casey Coleman in the rotation to keep the 3 “aces” on their scheduled 4 days between starts. Ryan Dempster (1-2, 7.63 ERA) , Carlos Zambrano (2-1, 5.28 ERA) and Matt Garza (0-3, 4.11 ERA) will start the 1st 3 games of the series while Coleman will pitch in the series finale on Sunday. The Cubs have not named who will start their game on Monday night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Looking at the numbers of the Cubs 3 “aces”, it is shocking that the Cubs even have a 10-13 record. Crazy stuff once again for the Cubs in what is shaping up to be another LONG season…
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.
Posted on 20 April 2011 by Lou
With rain due to pound the Chicago area Tuesday during the day and night, the Cubs called Tuesday night’s contest and scheduled a day-night double-header for Wednesday afternoon and night at Wrigley Field. The Padres are not scheduled to visit Wrigley again this season, and with the Padres scheduled to host the Phillies Thursday night back in San Diego, MLB decided to try to pull-off the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
With the 1st game now moving into the 11th inning, when the 2nd game will even start is up in the air. Matt Garza had his 1st good start of the 2011 MLB schedule – 6 scoreless innings, 6 hits and 3 walks with 9 K’s. Despite walking the bases loaded with 1 out in the 6th inning, Garza was able to get out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play by Brad Hawpe. The Padres left the bases loaded in the top of the 7th inning without scoring a run and it looked like the Cubs would put away the Padres in another 1-0 affair with Carlos Marmol closing out the game in the 9th. But Marmol issued a 1-out walk to Cameron Maybin who came around to score the game-tying run on Jason Bartlett’s sacrifice fly.
Garza scored the Cubs lone run in the 3rd inning. After a Geovany Soto double, Garza attempted to bunt him over to the 3rd, but he made a poor bunt and Soto was thrown out at 3rd base. Garza advanced to 2nd base when Bartlett dropped what should have been an inning-ending double play ball. After another fielder’s choice by Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd’s 2-out RBI single plated Garza from 3rd base with the unearned run.
We’re now in the bottom of the 11th inning with the scored still tied at 1. Wait – there is an update – Reed Johnson just hit a walk-off home run into the left field bleachers to lead off the 11th inning as the Cubs win 2-1. Despite 2 hits and 3 walks allowed in just 2 innings pitched, Jeff Samardzija stayed tough and didn’t allow any runs to pick up his first win of 2011. Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 16 April 2011 by Lou
Matt Garza fell to 0-2 as the Cubs dropped the opener to the Rockies 5-0. It’s crazy how one swing of the bat can change a game. Chris Iannetta tripled with the bases loaded and one out in the 2nd inning and then scored on Satrlin Castro’s fielding error. And just like that, the Rockies took a 4-0 lead and never looked back. It was their 8th straight win. Garza ended up giving up 5 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks with 5 K’s. He now has a 1.71 season WHIP and a 6.27 season ERA – not what the Cubs expected when they traded 4 high level prospects for the big righty.
The Cubs offense was just as much to blame for the loss. The Cubs managed just 6 hits against Jhoulys Chacin who tossed his 1st career complete game shutout. Aramis Ramirez had 3 of the team’s hits, but the top 3 in the order – Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd – who had been so hot all season long went a combined 0 for 11. Ouch.
Casey Coleman makes his 2nd start in place of Randy Wells tonight against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Posted on 15 April 2011 by Lou
The Cubs take on the Rockies at Coors Field tonight. Matt Garza looks to pick up his 1st win of 2011 and his 1st win as a Cub. So far, Garza has been less than consistent – he has a 5.68 ERA with a 1.82 WHIP. He is 0-1. The Cubs hope that Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd keep up their hot hitting against the Rockies.
Posted on 11 April 2011 by Lou
After a Friday night win, the Cubs had high hopes for a weekend series win over the Brewers at Miller Park.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Matt Garza struggled for a 2nd straight start in Saturday’s 6-0 loss and Kerry Wood couldn’t hold the Cubs 5-4 lead with 2 outs in the 8th inning as the Cubs ended up losing 6-5.
Now it’s off to Houston to take on the Astros as Ryan Dempster looks to pick up his 1st win of the 2011 MLB schedule.
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 25 March 2011 by Lou
WOW – what an ugly win for the Cubs over the White Sox on Thursday. There were some positives, but also a LOT of negatives.
It was great that the Cubs hung on to win, but the White Sox actually out-hit the Cubs 16-8. Ouch. Good pitching was clearly not on display yesterday in Mesa.
I’m still waiting for Matt Garza to have that breakout start that shows it was a smart decision for the Cubs to unload 4 top prospects for the big righty from the Tampa Bay Rays. Garza started off well with 3 straight scoreless innings to start the game. But he ended up giving up 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks which actually lowered his ERA to 8.68 for the spring. But a 2.0 WHIP during a game is never good, even if you end up winning. Not sure if Garza is still fine-tuning things and working on pitches no matter what the situation in the game, but I really hope that he starts pitching for real before the season starts. He has 1 more start next week before he makes his Cubs debut next Sunday at Wrigley Field, so it would be nice to see a stellar outing out of Garza early next week.
The bullpen didn’t fare much better. Braden Looper gave up a run on 3 hits and a walk in his 2 innings of work and is out of the running for being the Cubs 5th starter. James Russell gave up 2ER on 2 solo home runs in the 8th inning, but will likely still make the opening day roster as a lefty reliever. And Carlos Marmol gave up a run in the 9th inning but managed to shut the door on the White Sox to preserve the 1-run win for the Cubs. All in all, it was a horrible showing by the pitching staff.
The bats finally came to life in the win. Alfonso Soriano had a solo home run and had 2 RBI’s on the day. Darwin Barney continued to show Manager Mike Quade that he deserves a shot at starting at 2B this season. He had 2 more hits including a triple and he drove in 2 runs and scored 1 run. Marlon Byrd continued his torrid hitting and had 2 RBI’s. Satrlin Castro had a double and a walk and scored 2 runs.
When these guys are being patient and swinging the bats well, the Cubs are capable of putting up some runs each game. But is a matter of consistency and hoping that guys like Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto all don’t go into prolonged slumps at the same time.
It’s a week away from opening day – can’t wait for another fun MLB schedule to begin…