Posted on 19 July 2012 by Lou
The Cubs took the final 2 games of the series against the Marlins to keep their winning ways rolling. They took 5 of 6 games on the current homestand to open up the 2nd half of the MLB campaign.
In Wednesday night’s rain-shortened 5-1 win, Jeff Samardzija struck out 9 in just 5 innings and limited the marlins to only 1 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. James Russell picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 7th inning despite allowing 2 runners to reach base. Starlin Castro tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning with his 8th homer of the season. And the Cubs earned the win before the rains came by tallying 4 runs in the 7th. Geovany Soto had an RBI single, Jeff Baker had a 2-run single and David DeJesus plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.
In Thursday’s matinee, Paul Maholm pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 5 hits and 1 walk. Maholm improved to 8-6 and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 4.09. Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th when he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed him to score on a single. But he closed out the game to pick up his 11th save and preserve the 4-2 win. Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer to get the Cubs on the board in the 5th inning. And Reed Johnson capped off the 4-run 5th inning with a 2-out, 2-run single to left field. Johnson, Soriano, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney each had 2 hits in the win.
Now it’s onto St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final 2012 start as a Cubs player on Friday night.
Posted on 15 July 2012 by Lou
The Cubs swept the Arizona Diamondbacks to kick off the 2nd half of the season with a bang. The Cubs 12 wins since June 25th is tops in the majors. Granted they are still way out of it with a 36-52 record, but at least they seem to be putting things together on a more consistent basis.
Paul Maholm earned the Cubs win in Friday’s 8-1 romp. Maholm worked 7 innings of 1-run ball to pace the club. He scattered 6 hits and struck out 5 to improve to 7-6 on the season. Alfonso Soriano was the hitting star — 2 home runs, 2 doubles and 5 RBI’s! Anthony Rizzo also had 2 hits and 2 runs scored.
Ryan Dempster continued to help his trade value with 6 shutout innings in Saturday’s 4-1 win. He improved to 5-3 scattering 4 hits and 3 walks in the win. He now has a 1.02 WHIP and 1.86 ERA and his 33 consecutive scoreless innings streak . Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Luis Valubuena each had 2 hits in the win. Carlos Marmol notched his 9th save of the season.
Matt Garza worked 7 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 3-1 series finale win to improve to 5-7. He struck out 7 and only allowed 5 hits. Rizzo gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning with an RBI single. And Darwin Barney added a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-0. That would be all that Garza needed in one of his better outings of the season. Marmol recorded the game’s final 2 outs to pick up save #10.
The Cubs open up a 3-game series against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
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.
Posted on 05 June 2012 by Lou
At last – the Cubs crushed the Brewers 10-0 at Miller Park ending their 11-game road losing streak. Ryan Dempster retired the 1st 15 batters that he faced in the game, flirting with a perfect game. But he allowed a lead-off single to Cody Ransom to lead off the 6th inning which ended his bid. Dempster ended up going 7 innings of 3-hit ball AND he picked up his 1st win of the season, ending an 18-start streak (dating back to August 18th of last year) in which he had not won a game. Dempster sounded relieved when the Cubs had won: “It felt nice. It’s been a while. It was nice to go out there and win a game like that, and see everybody, the guys played great defense and hit the ball and they made all the plays and scored a bunch of runs.”
Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker and Bryan LaHair all hit home runs. Starlin Castro had 3 hits.
Let’s hope they can keep it up against Zach Greinke on Wednesday night at Miller Park. Greinke is almost unbeatable at home, so Paul Maholm and the Cubs will have their work cut out for them.
Posted on 21 May 2012 by Lou
The 1st half of the 2012 Crosstown Classic between the Cubs and White Sox was simply brutal for the North Siders. In a rare and fun Saturday night contest at Wrigley Field,the White Sox blanked the Cubs for the game’s first 8 innings amassing a comfortable 7-0 lead behind 3 Sox home runs. The Cubs avoided the shutout when Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather hit 2 run home runs in the 9th inning. But it was too little too late. Ryan Dempster suffered the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season, despite strong individual numbers – 1.06 WHIP, 2.28 ERA, 44 K’s against just 14 walks.
On Sunday, needing a win to avoid the sweep, the Cubs curled up under the favorite blankie and laid an egg against Jake Peavy. The White Sox cruised to an easy 6-0 victory behind Peavy and 3 more Sox home runs and a 10-hit barrage against Paul Maholm. On a 90-degree day with the wind blowing straight out of the park in every direction, the Cubs managed just 5 hits and NO runs. How is that even possible?!
It keeps getting uglier and uglier for the Cubs. Now it seems all but a certainty that Theo & Co. will move Matt Garaza and any other chip (Dempster, Maholm) in any attempt to get cheaper and younger.
With the sweep the Cubs fell to 15-25 overall and they trail the Cards and Reds by a full 7 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 15 May 2012 by Lou
This is going to be the story for the 2012 Cubs – they play good, just not good enough to win consistently. The surprising fact that they are playing so many close games this season makes it tough to swallow when they do lose close ones. But at least they are battling and at least the players seem to have some renewed fight in them under the new Theo, Jed and Dale regime.
The Cubs dropped the series finale to the Cards 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th. After staking Paul Maholm to a 3-0 lead in the 1st, Maholm slowly gave it back with 2 runs in the 1st, 1 run in the 2nd and 1 more run in the 5th. The Cubs fought back with a game-tying Bryan LaHair homer in the 6th (his 10th of the season) and a go-ahead pinch-hit RBI single in the 7th by Reed Johnson that drove in Darwin Barney who had doubled. But the bullpen ran into trouble after that.
Kerry Wood issued 2 walks in the 7th inning and he allowed the game-tying single to Allen Craig. James Russell served up Matt Carpenter’s go-ahead homer in the 8th that gave the Cards a short-lived 6-5 lead. After the Cubs answered in the top of the 9th with Alfonso Soriano’s 1st home run of the season – yes, you read that correctly – his 1ST HOME RUN! – that tied the game at 6, it was Rafael Dolis’ turn to allow the Cards to win. He served up the game-winning single to Yadier Molina with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.
Sure, you can question Dale Sveum’s decision not to walk RBI machine Molina to face Carpenter, but the Cubs had plenty of chances to win this one, and they just didn’t get it done.
Monday night’s win was equally as frustrating, but at least they pulled that one out. The Cubs finally gave Ryan Dempster some run support with 4 runs in the 5th inning to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead. But he gave it right back in the 6th with a 4-run inning. This time, Shawn Camp and Dolis got the job done with 3 scoreless innings. And Soriano came through with a big game-winning single in the 8th inning. They fought back and won, and it shows that they can compete, but you just wish they had won some of these earlier games in the season.
With a win today, the Cubs could have pulled within 4 games of the Cards for 1st place in the NL Central! But it wasn’t meant to be. They’re now 15-21 and 6 games back. Even if just 3 of those games go the other way this season, they would be 18-18 and would likely be talked about as one of the biggest surprises of 2012…
Posted on 09 May 2012 by Lou
It was a pitcher’s duel series, as Paul Maholm out-dueled Tim Hudson in the series finale today at Wrigley Field. Maholm pitched 7 scoreless innings, winning his 4th straight decision. He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3. He lowered his WHIP to 1.08 and his ERA to 4.05. Nice!
The Cubs were equally ineffective offensively – 5 hits and no walks. Starlin Castro almost scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 4th inning as his line drive down the right field line scooted past Jason Heyward. He had a triple and tried to score an inside-the-park HR but was gunned down on a nice relay throw by Dan Uggla. They had to wait until the 7th inning when David DeJesus led off with a single. Dejesus moved over to 3rd base on a sac bunt by Tony Campana and groundout by Castro. Then Bryan LaHair came up with the clutch 2-out single to left center field that plated DeJesus with the only run of the game.
James Russell made it interesting in the 8th inning when he put 2 runners on base, but he got Uggla to pop out to DeJesus to end the threat. Then Rafael Dolis worked a perfect 9th inning for his 3rd save of the season. Dolis got Chipper Jones to line out to left field to lead off the inning – that was likely his last at-bat for his illustrious career at Wrigley Field.
With the win, the Cubs improved to 13-18. They have won 2 straight series and they split the 2 series before that against the Phillies and Reds, so they are actually playing some pretty good ball right now.
Posted on 15 April 2012 by Lou
It was a lost weekend for the Cubs in St. Louis, especially after Jeff Samardzija pitched the Cubs to the opening win of the series on Friday. Game 1 went smoothly for the Cubs. Ian Stewart gave the Cubs an early lead with his 3-run homer in the 1st inning. Bryan LaHair’s 1st career grand slam opened that lead up to 8-0 in the 3rd inning. Sure, Samardzija made it interesting with his 5-run 5th inning, but the bullpen shut down the Cards offense the rest of the way. Rafael Dolis worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit. James Russell and Kerry got 3 outs in the 8th inning to set it up for closer Carlos Marmol in a non-save situation in the 9th. Marmol pitched a perfect 9th with 2 K’s and just like that, the Cubs had their 1st winning streak of 2012.
But the rest of the weekend was awful. The bats went quiet against Lance Lynn in a 5-1 loss on Saturday and against Jake Westbrook in a 10-3 drubbing on Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, the Cubs offense combined for just 4 runs on 12 total hits. And on Saturday, Chris Volstad pitched 6 innings, but a 4-run 4th inning (due in part to 2 Starlin Castro errors) doomed him and the Cubs. Volstad only gave up 6 hits and didn’t walk a batter, but Cubs pitchers are going to have to be better than that night in and night out. On Sunday, Paul Maholm had his 2nd straight awful start giving up 6 ER on 6 hits in just 4 innings of work. A veteran used to pitching to NL central ball clubs has now racked up a 1.88 WHIP and 13.50 ERA in 2 starts. Ouch…
The Cubs now travel to Miami to take on Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano and the new-look Marlins in a much-anticipated series. I can’t wait…
Posted on 11 April 2012 by Lou
Ouch – this series against the Brewers at Wrigley has been downright awful. Not sure why I thought this team as constructed would be able to compete on a daily basis, but it is very clear that Theo & Co. have a LOT of work to do over the next few years. It is going to be a LONG stretch of poor play on the north side for Cubs fans. We’ve already endured the miserable 2010 and 2011 MLB seasons and it doesn’t look like anything is going to all that much better in 2012 or 2013.
The Cubs dropped the series opener to the Brewers on Monday night 7-5. Chris Volstad had a ho-hum start for the Cubs – 5 innings, 3 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks with 6 K’s. Shawn Camp was bad in his 2 innings of work – he allowed the Brewers to increase their lead with 3 more ER on 5 hits. His ERA balooned to 8.10 and his WHIP rose over 2 at 2.10. Not good.
The Cubs rallied in the 9th to cut the lead to 7-5 and had the bases loaded with 2 outs for their best hitter – Starlin Castro. But John Axford got Castro on 3 straight pitches, and just like that, the game was over.
In game 2, Paul Maholm gave the Brew Crew a nice 5-run cushion in the 1st inning and just like that the game was over. Maholm lasted just 4 innings in his dismal 1st start as a Cub – 6 ER on 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBP. Not good. David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano are the only 2 Cubs hitters batting consistently. Each player had 2 hits and Soriano had 2 RBI’s.
In Game 3, Ryan Dempster pitched his heart out for a 2nd second start, but it wasn’t meant to be … again. Dempster protected a 1-0 lead all the way into the 7th inning before he served up a 2-run jack to back-up catcher George Kottaras with 2 outs in the inning. That would be enough for the Brewers to rack up a 3rd straight win over the Cubs as Yovani Gallardo overmatched the Cubs through 7 innings. Game, set match.
Kudos to Dempster, however. He scattered 5 hits and 3 walks over 6 2/3 innings pitched and is sporting a nasty 0.91 WHIP and 1.88 ERA despite his 0-1 record.
Matt Garza tries to keep the Cubs from being swept by the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at the Friendly Confines…
Posted on 31 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm looked good in his 2nd to last start of the spring – a 3-3 tie with the Angels. Maholm worked almost 5 innings, giving up 2 ER on 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 6 and had some nice control of all of his pitches. Maholm could surprise this season as the Cubs 5th pitcher in the rotation. Carlos Marmol, Rafael Dolis and James Russell also tossed scoreless perfect innings of relief to keep the score tied at 3.
The Cubs managed just 6 singles and doubles by Joe Mather and Darwin Barney in 10 innings and it looks like consistent offense could plague the Cubs again in 2012. The Cubs are going to need a lot of clutch timely hitting this year as the rotation and bullpen will likely keep the Cubs in a bunch of games. Then it will come down to the hitters coming through when they have runners on base and taking advantage of errors committed by the opposition – something they have struggled to do each of the last 2 seasons.
We’ll see how it goes, but spring training is quietly closing up and we’ll have “real” games very very soon on the north side of Chicago…