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 01 May 2012 by Lou
The Cubs were looking for their 2nd straight series win, but settled for a split with the Phillies after losing 6-4 on Monday night. It was not a pretty night for Chris Volstad yet again as he surrendered 4 1st inning runs to put the Cubs in an early hole. Volstad ended up going a full 6 innings (4ER on 8 hits and 3 walks) to his credit, but he can’t keep having these sub-par outings.
Give the Cubs some credit for battling back against the Phillies though. Geovany Soto wasted a golden opportunity with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th when he grounded into a double play. But at least he didn’t strike out I guess.
In the 8th, Tony Campana walked, stole 2nd and scored on Starlin Castro’s RBI single. Then it was Bryan LaHair who stroked a game-tying 2-run jack to deep right center field to give the Cubs new life.
But it was short-lived as the Cubs bullpen couldn’t force extra innings. Scott Maine plunked Juan Pierre with 1 out in the 8th. Then Rafael Dolis served up a Jimmy Rollins single which put runners on the corners with 2 outs. Dolis couldn’t close the door as he gave up a game-winning 2-run double to Placido Palonco to give the Phils a 6-4 win.
The Cubs go to Cincinnati to take on the Reds – they are 8-15 – 7 games back of the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals.
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…
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Lou
Paul Maholm was named the Cubs 5th starter, but with more outings like this, he could be a #1-4 in any team’s rotation. Maholm who battled the flu early in the spring and has been behind due to that, finally got in a long outing in Monday’s 2-0 win over the Padres. He pitched 5 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6. He lowered his ERA to 0.90 and he could be a nice surprise for the Cubs at the back end of the rotation.
The rest of the bullpen was just as masterful after Maholm departed in the 6th. Carlos Marmol allowed 2 runners on in the 6th inning, but got out of the game without giving up a run. Casey Coleman worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit with 2 K’s. And spring training surprise Rafael Dolis looks to have all but assured himself a spot in the bullpen with another scoreless outing. He gave up a walk in the 9th but closed the door on any Padres comeback. He has yet to allow an earned run this spring.
The Cubs scored a run in each of the 1st 2 innings to give Maholm a little cushion and the rest was history. You would have liked to see more than 2 runs on 7 hits, but a win is a win, even in spring training.
Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 22 November 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs finalized their 40-man roster prior to the Friday deadline in anticipation of the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in December. The Cubs added the following players:
Pitcher John Gaub – 2.83 ERA at Double A Tennessee (28 2/3 innings in 26 games) and 1.72 ERA at Triple A Iowa (31 1/3 innings in 26 games). At the Iowa, Gaub struck out 40 and walked just 16.
James Adduci – .300 batting average, 4 HR’s, 51 RBI’s and 35 stolen bases in 131 games at Double A Tennessee. He had the 3rd most hits of any player in the Southern League.
Pitcher Blake Parker – started season at Double A Tennessee (12 1/3 innings) and 3.00 ERA at Triple A Iowa (58 K’s in 51 innings in 45 games).
Pitcher Rafael Dolis – 25 starts with a 3.79 ERA at Class A Daytona.
Catcher Wellington Castillo – .232 batting average, 11 HR’s and 39 RBI’s in 95 games at Double A Tennessee.
We’ll keep you posted if any of these players stand out in Spring Training, but most likely all 5 will continue their development in the Cubs minor league system during the 2010 schedule.