Tag Archive | "Randy Wells"

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Padres Continue to Hold Cubs Down; Wells Looks Great – Cubs 0, Padres 1 – 8/17/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells gave me everything I could have hoped for last night and more.  Seven innings – 1 ER on 3 hits and 3 walks, with 6 K’s. His only mistake was giving up a 1st inning run when his wildness hurt him in a big way.  After a lead off single to Jerry Hairston, Jr., Wells walked Miguel Tejada and then hit Ryan Ludwick to load the bases with just one out.  He limited the damage by getting Chase Headley to ground out which scored a run, but that would be all the Padres would get off Wells all night long.  Little did we know that that would be enough to give the Padres the win.

The Cubs actually out-hit the Padres 6-3, but because they didn’t score one lousy run, Wells suffered his 11th loss of the season.  It was good to see Wells bounce back after several bad outings of late.  This will be a learning process for Wells and a good experience for him.  Just because you have a good year one season (in 2009, Wells went 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts and was considered one of the Cubs most consistent and reliable pitchers all season long), doesn’t mean that success will automatically translate over into subsequent years.  You have to work just as hard and put in the off-season training as if you’re fighting to make the 25-man roster coming out of spring training.  Wells clearly didn’t do that this past off-season and it came back to haunt him with his sub-par effort in 2010.  Sure he was the victim of a few good starts where the team didn’t give him the appropriate run support, but there were certainly enough other outings where he never gave his teammates a chance to win.  Hopefully Wells will take it all in and make a better effort this coming off-season.

As for the Cubs offense, or lack thereof, Starlin Castro was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit.  The Cubs had a few chances early – 1st and 2nd nobody out in the 2nd inning; 2 singles and a walk in the 3rd – but never did anything with them.  After that, Jon Garland really shut them down as did Mike Adams and Heath Bell in the 8th and 9th innings.

Ouch – this just in – Cubs lose again – 5-1 to Padres this afternoon.  That makes 3 losses, scoring a total of 1 run in the past 18 innings.  This offense really goes into a funk sometimes.  Doesn’t help when all 6 pitchers used in the game by the Cubs are rookies.  More on the game tomorrow…

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Will Tom Gorzelanny Make the 2010 Starting Rotation? – Cubs 5, Padres 9 – 8/16/10

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Lou

I can’t remember a time when there will be so many question marks heading into the 2010 off-season for the Chicago Cubs.  Who will end up managing the club in 2011?  Who will make up the Cubs starting rotation beyond Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells?  What will the outfield look like?  Who will man 1st base after so many strong years from Derrek Lee?  Besides Carlos Marmol closing out games, who else will be in the Cubs bullpen?  It is going to be a free-for-all this off-season and in spring training – let’s hope there is a lot to look forward to in February of 2011…

Tom Gorzelanny got a chance to start on a regular basis for the Cubs once Carlos Zambrano self-destructed both out of the rotation and then off the team in the 1st half of the season.  Gorzelanny has been good and bad this season.  He had several good starts early in the season, but always seemed to be on the losing end of games because he didn’t get the necessary run support.  For example, in his 1st 6 starts, he allowed more than 2 earned runs only once, but had a 1-4 record with 1 no decision.  He won the 1st 4 starts of the month of July, not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts.  He even bumped his record over the .500 mark at 6-5.  But since that 6-5 win over the Cards at Wrigley Field on July 24th, Gorzelanny has struggled.  Has he hit a wall?  In 25 2/3 innigs pitched against the Rockies, Reds, Giants and Padres, Gorzelanny has given up 17 ER on 30 hits (3 home runs) and 10 walks. With the latest poor outings, his WHIP Has soared to 1.46 while his ERA is now close to the 4.00 mark at 3.85.

Gorzelanny matched Kevin Correja pitch for pitch last night through 4 innings, but then his hits and walks caught up with him.  He gave up single runs in the 5th and 6th innings and then got into serious trouble when the Padres tacked on 3 runs to increase their lead to 5-0.  He ended up yielding 5 ER on 9 hits and 3 walks in his 6 1/3 innings pitched.  Gorzelanny has mainly been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs and he has been an innings0-eater when called upon, but he is nothing more than a 4-5 starter at this point.  And given how the Cubs really don’t have an “ace” – please try to ignore the “ace dollar figures” that GM Jim Hendry has handed over to Zambrano and Dempster on a silver platter for non-ace-like numbers – the Cubs really need more out of a 4-5 starter than Gorzelanny has to offer.  Maybe Gorzelanny can be used as trade bait this off-season, or maybe if the Cubs can sign or pull of a deal for a legitimate top of the line starter, then maybe the Cubs can settle on Gorzelanny in the 5-spot in 2011.  But right now, unless Gorzelanny shows me that he still has some gas in the tank during his last 8 starts of the season, I think the Cubs will consider all possibilities ahead of Gorzelanny for a spot in the starting rotation.

As for the rest of the game, there were some good things and bad things.

Kosuke Fukudome kept up his hot hitting – 3 more hits including a 2-run double in the 7th inning that cut the Padres lead to 5-2.  Gotta love the way he is hitting of late.  It could help Hendry make a waiver deal for him over the next 6 weeks or a trade this off-season.  Blake DeWitt had 2 hits including a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning.  He has been as steady as they come since coming off from the Dodgers in a trading deadline move.

On the bad side, Andrew Cashner continued his struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 8th inning.  Ditto for James Russell who also gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 9th inning.  Both of these guys have shown signs of having what it takes to pitch in the major leagues, but right now they are just way too inconsistent to be reliable.  Let’s hope that trends the other way over the next year or so.

Randy Wells looks to right his “sophomore slump” of a season against former Cubs draftee Jon Garland at Wrigley Field tonight.  Wells is 0-3 in his last 4 starts, pitching past the 5th inning only once in the process…

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Another 1-Run Loss for Cubs – No Team is Even Close to their 29 1-run Losses in 2010 – Cubs 7, Giants 8 – 8/12/10

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Lou

WOW – I was shocked to see how high the number of 1-run losses has climbed in 2010 for the Cubs.  After dropping the 8-7 finale to the Giants on Thursday’s get-away day (all 3 losses to the Giants in the series were by 1 run and this is your wild-card leader Cubs fans), the Cubs are now 13-29 in 1-run games.  That means that 42 of the Cubs 115 games played (48-67 record) in 2010 have been decided by 1 run or less.  That’s more than 1/3 of their games being decided by such a close margin.  It is unbelievable.  No other team has played as many 1-run games as the Cubs in 2010 and only 4 other teams in the entire major leagues have lost more than 20 1-run games in 2010 (Royals – 23; Mets – 22; Blue Jays – 22; & Mariners – 21).  When you factor in losses in games decided by 2 runs or loss (which I have not had the time to do), I’m sure the numbers get even more mind-boggling.  The Yankees (13-9) and Astros (10-12) have only played in 22 1-run games in all of 2010.  That’s 20 games less than the Cubs.  In the Yankees case, it means that they are crushing a lot of teams and in the Astros cases, it means that they were losing a ton of blowouts.  But for a team to lose 29 games decided by 1-run or less, it takes a lot.  It means you’re not sooooo awful that you are going to get blown out a lot,  but it also means that you don’t have what it takes to win on a consistent basis in the major leagues.  For the Cubs, it has largely been due to an inconsistent offense and having too many young players play and pitch throughout the entire regular season.

Randy Wells had another rough start after being staked to a 3-1 lead.  Wells gave himself a 2-run lead with an RBI double in the top of the 4th inning, but being on base too long may have cost him.  In the bottom of the frame, he served up solo home runs to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval.  Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, he served up a Grand Slam to Burrell.  Just like that, a 3-1 Cubs lead turned into a 7-3 Cubs deficit.

You have to give this Cubs team a little credit, however.  A Kosuke Fukudome double scored Starlin Castro in the 7th inning.  Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs rallied to tie the game on

Castro finished the day with 4 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  He is now hitting .320 on the season, surpassing Marlon Byrd as the Cubs best hitter.  Fukudome has started to look better as well (after his typical midsummer swoon) racking up 5 hits in his last 11 at-bats.  His .262 batting average is pretty bad for a $12 million man, but you have to like his .370 on-base percentage (45 walks and 51 K’s in 252 at-bats).

The Cubs weren’t able to dash any of the hopes of the Giants for the playoffs push, but let’s hope the Cubs can do some damage to the Cards in St. Louis this weekend.  The Cards hold a 1-game edge over the Reds in the NL Central race after their sweep in Cincinnati this week, so the Cubs can do some damage by winning the series.  They get Jake Westbrook tonight, Chris Carpenter on Saturday and Jaime Garcia on Sunday.  The key is tonight – if they can find a way to pick up a win in the 1st game of the series against the mediocre Westbrook, they could end up stealing the series from the Cards with Big Z and Ryan Dempster on the hill on Saturday and Sunday.  Whatever happens, it should be an interesting series in St. Louis.

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My Prediction Was Right on the Money; Big Z Back on the Bump Tonight – Cubs 3, Reds 4 Saturday 8/7/10 & Cubs 4, Reds 11 Sunday 8/8/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Lou

Boy do I love to gloat – was I right on the money with my prediction of a Reds’ sweep of the Cubs over the weekend or what? This team is just getting way to easy to read these days.

There really isn’t much to say about either game.

Saturday 8/7/10 – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – Randy Wells pitched well but ran out of steam in the 8th inning when the Reds came through with the clutch hits that the Cubs could not during the game. Daniel Stubbs led off the 8th inning with a home run that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.  Wells allowed the next 2 batters to reach base, but Justin Berg got a double play to put the Cubs into position to get out of the inning only down 1 run.  But Paul Janish came through with a clutch 2-out single that gave the Reds a 3-1 lead late in the game.  The Reds tacked on an unearned insurance run in the 9th inning off of Carlos Marmol.  Blake DeWitt’s 2-base error allowed Lance Nix to reach 2nd base.  Then Stubbs came through with another 2-out single to give the Reds a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.  The Cubs would make it interesting in the 9th inning when Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded with only 1 out.  Cordero plunked Starlin Castro to force in a run.  After a Derrek Lee strikeout, Cordero forced in another run by walking Aramis Ramirez.  But he eventually got out of the game by striking out Marlon Byrd to end the game.

Sunday 8/8/10 – Cubs 4, Reds 11 – After a “good” 1st major league start, Thomas Diamond showed his true colors in his 2nd major league start. He had poor control right from the start and that gave the patient hitting Reds team too many early opportunities to tack on runs.  Diamond lasted just 3 innings, giving up 5 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Fellow young pitcher fared equally as bad – Casey Coleman gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in his 3 innings; James Russell gave up an ER on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning; and Mitch Atkins “cleaned up” the mess by allowing 3 ER on 5 hits in his 2 innings.  What a joke…

The weekend series sweep is a perfect example of how bad the Cubs season has been.  They got fairly good pitching overall (except for Sunday maybe), but got literally NO consistent offense from the lineup.  0 runs in Friday’s 3-0 loss.  In Saturday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs got only 6 hits.  Their 1st run scored on a sacrifice fly (not a hit) and their last 2 runs scored because Cordero was a complete wreck – the Cubs didn’t even put the ball in play in the 9th inning against Cordero yet they still scored 2 runs.  How pathetic.  Sunday was even worse.  The Cubs did not get their 1st hit of the game off of rookie Travis Wood  until Koyie Hill’s single in 1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning.  In the 7th inning, Jeff Baker homered for a legitimate run.  Then Lee walked and Ramirez doubled him to 3rd base.  But then Juan Francisco’s throwing error allowed Lee and Ramirez to score.  Now sure, Lee probably would have scored on the ground out even without Francisco’s error and Ranirez likely would have scored on a sacrifice fly during Soriano’s fly out in the next at-bat, but it just seems like the Cub shave to rely on the other team’s mistakes in order to score runs.  In the 3-game series, the Cubs scored runs in only 3 of the 27 innings played.  And in one of those innings – the 9th inning on Saturday – they only scored 2 runs because Cordero handed it to them on a silve platter with 4 walks and 1 hit batsman.  Keep in mind – the Cubs scored 15 runs in 4 different innings in Wednesday’s win over the Brewers – which by the way, is their only win in the last 11 games.

Things have gone from bad to worse for this Cubs squad.  I really feel bad for the new Cubs manager during the 2011 MLB schedule.  This team as constructed has no confidence in themselves.  The team is going to continue to struggle offensively for the forseeable future and the young pitchers that the Cubs keep trotting out in 2010 have not been effective either.  This is going to be a work-in-progress, and it’s going to take a patient manager to bring everything together over the next few years as young players mature and bad contracts come off the books (Soriano, Fukudome, Zambrano, Silva) so that Cubs management can slowly bring in new players via free agency to complement the home grown talent.

Carlos Zambrano returns to the starting rotation tonight against the Giants in San Francisco.  This is going to be a must-see event.  I’m really hoping that Zambrano can pitch well the last 8 starts of the season.  If he can show that he has his “head on straight” and that he can still be effective, there could still be some hope that GM Jim Hendry can find a team willing to take a flyer on the problematic Cubs starter.  Should be interesting…

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Cubs Hoping Randy Wells Can Shut Down Reds @ Wrigley Field – Saturday 8/7/10

Posted on 07 August 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells is looking to beat the Cincinnati Reds for the 2nd time this season.  Back on July 3rd, Wells limited the Reds to just 1 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk in 7 2/3 innings in a 3-1 Cubs win at Wrigley Field.  A lot has happened this year, as the Cubs have fallen well out of playoffs contention and Wells has had an inconsistent season.  Wells has a 5-9 record with a 1.43 WHIP and 4.40 ERA, well off of the numbers he put up in his solid rookie campaign in 2009 when he went 12-10 with a 1.28 WHIP and 3.05 ERA.

The game is scoreless right now in the top of the 3rd inning – check that.  Wells gave up a double and a single to the 1st 2 batters in the inning and the Reds now lead 1-0…

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My Prediction Was Right (Mostly)!!! Cubs 0, Reds 3 – 8/6/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Lou

While I thought the Reds would push across more than 3 runs today, how right was I about the Cubs offense?!  After their 15-run attack against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, you just knew that the Cubs would lay an egg today against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.  I was right on the money!

Arroyo improved to 12-6 by scattering 5 hits and 1 walk over 7 scoreless innings.  50-year old Arthur Rhodes even got into the act for the Reds by pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning to preserve the Reds 3-0 lead.  (By the way, I was just kidding – Rhodes is “only” years old).  And even though Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked 2 batters in the 9th inning, he struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd and got Blake DeWitt to ground out back to the box to end the game.  Ho-hum – another dull Cubs loss at the Friendly Confines.

The Cubs did have a couple of opportunities throughout the game, but like usual, they never came through with the clutch hit.

Example 1 – In the 4th inning, the Cubs squandered back-to-back 2-out hits by Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd as Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to end the inning.

Example 2 – In the 5th inning, the Cubs wasted back-to-back leadoff singles by Blake DeWitt and Geovany Soto.  Both men moved up to 2nd and 3rd base on a wild pitch with nobody out, but were stranded as Tom Gorzelanny struck out, Tyler Colvin popped out and Starlin Castro struck out.

Example 3 – See 9th inning discussion above.  2 walks and no runs – what else is new?!

The Cubs have their best shot at a win on Saturday afternoon.  Randy Wells beat the Reds back in July and he looks to do so again against Edinson Volquez who has been mediocre at best since coming off the disabled list after the All-Star Break…

Go Cubs Go!!!

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Bad Things Await Cubs in Weekend Series with Reds @ Wrigley Field – Cubs 15, Brewets 3 – 8/4/10

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Lou

Now I know you’re thinking that the Cubs are going to feed off of the 15-run, 16-hit beatdown that the Cubs put on the Brewers on Wednesday at Wrigley.  But my money is going down on a Reds sweep at the Friendly Confines as the Cubs continue to frustrate their fans and new owners.

The Cubs have had a nasty habit of failing to keep momentum going when they are playing well this season.  You would think that after every single position player got a hit in the Cubs 15-3 win over the Brewers, that the team would be able find a way to make it 2 in a row in Friday’s game against the Reds.  But I just don’t see it happening.  First, after big breakout wins earlier in the season, the team seems to crawl back into their shell immediately afterwards.  For example, after starting the month of June losing 4 of their 1st 6 games, the Cubs looked like they might turn things around with a 9-4 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee.  But then they proceeded to lose the next 3 games to the Brewers and White Sox, being outscored 17-10 in the process.  Later in June, the Cubs broke out with a 12-0 win over the Angels to avoid a sweep on a Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  But did it help?  No way, as the Cubs lost their next 4 out of 5 games being outscored 21-6 in the process.  The same trend continued in July.  After the Cubs swept the Diamondbacks in early July in a 3-game series (outscoring them 23-11), the Cubs went into a major funk against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, losing 3 of the 4 games and being outscored 22-16.  Later in July, the Cubs took 3 of 4 from the Phillies and 2 of 3 from the Cardinals, but then dropped 4 of 6 games to the “lowly” Astros while being outscored 38-29 in those 6 games.  What gives?This is clearly a team that has very little confidence – a team that can go into a team-wide funk – a team that can lose a lot of games in a hurry.

Further, the 2010 trend against the Reds does not bode well for the Cubs.  Back in July when the Cubs hosted the Reds for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field over the July 4th weekend, the Reds really took it to the flustered Cubs.  The Reds won 3 out of 4 games and outscored the Cubs 30-8 in the series. The Cubs lost a close one 3-2 and won a close one 3-1, but then lost 2 of the games 12-0 and 14-3.  Bronson Arroyo who was involved in the 12-0 win will take on Tom Gorzelanny in Friday’s opener.  Edinson Volquez who has spent much of the season on the DL will start against Randy Wells on Saturday.  Wells won the only game for the Cubs during the July series 3-1.  And then rookie phenom Travis Wood (0.87 WHIP and 2.42 ERA) who held the Cubs to just 2 ER in 7 innings of the 3-2 win back in July will square off against Thomas Diamond on Sunday.  Diamond will be making just his 2nd start of his major league career.  All in all, you have to favor the 1st place Reds in the weekend series after taking 2 of 3 from the Pirates (outscoring them 19-11) earlier this week.

Now back to the game from yesterday.

Starlin Castro led the way with 4 hits and 2 runs scored.  He raised his average to .318 and now has an .364 on-base percentage.  The kid is clearly showing that he is an every day shortstop and a future star in the making.

Geovany Soto had 3 hits, 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  Soto’s 3-run bomb in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a nice 10-3 cushion.

Aramis Ramirez pinch-hit in the 6th inning and came through with a clutch, mammoth 3-run home run to deep left center field that gave the Cubs a 7-3.  It was a big hit as the Cubs had just taken a 4-3 lead on RBI singles from Soto, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker.

DeWitt also stroked his 1st home run in a Cubs uniform – a 3-run shot in the 8th inning.  DeWitt ended up with 2 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

Derrek Lee also chipped in on the attack with 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.  His current .252 batting average is the highest it has been since Lee was hitting .262 way back on April 19th.  Talk about a horrible season for an aging 1st baseman who is coming up for his last MLB contract.  Not a good recipe for getting a good multi-year deal during the winter…

It was a great offensive day for the Cubs, but I’ll doubt we will see that too often on a consistent basis the rest of the way.  I hope I’m wrong, because I’d love to see more “relaxed” pictures of Lou like the one above before he leaves at the end of the season.  Plus, while I know that Lou said there is no room for “moral victories” at the major league level the other day, these guys need to finish with a few positive performances and games down the stretch in order to look forward to starting over fresh.  More bad losses in August and September and more offensive funks where the team just can’t seem to drive in a clutch run could make Spring Training 2011 a tense and uncomfortable place to be next February and March…

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No Joke — Cubs Suffer Worst Loss at Wrigley Field – Cubs 1, Brewers 18 – 8/2/10

Posted on 03 August 2010 by Lou

Wow – where to start.  During the Cubs 6-game skid, the squad has been outscored 62-17.  Ouch – where did the Cubs pitching go?

For most of the season, the Cubs pitching staff boasted the 5th best ERA in the National League and only 1 American League team had a better ERA than the Cubs.  But as of late, the wheels have come off and no one really seems to care anymore.  The 26-hit attack by the Brewers in the 18-1 win on Monday were the most hits allowed by a Cubs team since September 2, 1957!  The loss put the Cubs a season-high 14 games under .500 at 46-60.  They fell 13.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central race and they now found themselves in 5th place in the Central.  Only the Pirates and Diamondbacks have a worse record in the National League than the Cubs.

Where did it all go so wrong?  The Cubs bats have been awful all season (their .258 team batting average is 14th best in all of baseball), but now the Cubs pitching staff has followed suit.  The Cubs now sport a 4.32 team ERA which puts them in the bottom 9 teams in all of baseball.  Unbelievable…

Some of the funny stats from last night’s loss.

The Brewers batted around in both the 4th and the 5th innings.  The Brewers scored at least 1 run in each of the final 6 innings.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each went 5 for 7 in the win.  Fielder had 5 RBI’s while Braun had 2 RBI’s.  Former Cubs player Casey McGehee went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored (with 1 home run).  Corey Hart also had 4 hits, 1 RBI and 3 runs scored.

Cubs pitcher Randy Wells suffered his 9th loss of the season – 6 ER on 10 hits in 4 innings pitched.  Justin Berg pitched through the 5th inning when Wells couldn’t record an out and gave up 3 hits and 1 walk.  All 3 runs charged to him were unearned.

Casey Coleman made his major league debut and boy was it bad.  The brew crew lit up Coleman in his 2 1/3 innings of work — 6 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Welcome to the majors Casey.

Brian Schlitter tried to clean up the mess in the 8th inning, but he didn’t fare much better – 2 ER on 5 hits.  Has this guy made any appearances this year without giving up a hit or a run? Since he made 2 scoreless appearances back at the end of June, here are Schlitter’s numbers through his last 5 outings — 5 1/3 innings pitched, 17 hits (2 home runs), 11 ER and 5 walks.  And yes, he has given up at least 1 ER in each of those last 5 appearances.

This is going to be a long, painful ride home during the final 1/3 of the season…

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Another Series Loss to Lowly Astros – It Keeps Getting Clearer That Wholesale Changes are Needed on North Side – Cubs 1, Astros 8 – 7/28/10

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Lou

Another week, another series loss to the 42-59 Houston Astros – ha, ha, ha!  How does a team take 3 of 4 from the Philadelphia Phillies and then 2 of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals, but then lose 4 of 6 games to the Houstonj Astros in a span of 9 days.  It just doesn’t make sense.  But then again, nothing about this 2010 Cubs team or this Cubs organization makes any sense these days.  It is becoming more and more clear that wholesale changes are needed on the North Side of Chicago is we expect to see the Cubs win the World Series “any time soon” – whatever that means.  Let’s look more closely at the 2 Astros series.

Last week at Wrigley Field, the Cubs lost 5-11, won 14-7 and then lost 3-4.  This week in Houston, the Cubs won 5-2, but then lost 1-6 and 1-8.  In the 6 games, the Astros outscored the Cubs 38-29.  How is that possible, especially when the Cubs didn’t have to face the Astros best pitcher – Roy Oswalt in any of the 6 games?  It is simply embarrassing and unacceptable.  Today’s loss can be summed up in 1 inning – the 1st – when the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out.  Ryan Theriot led off with a single, Starlin Castro reached base on an error and Tyler Colvin walked.  But as has happened so many times this season, instead of the Cubs breaking the game open with a 4 or 5 run inning, the Cubs settled for 1 lousy run on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez.  When you have chances like that and you only push across 1 run, you are not going to win a lot of games.  After the Ramirez out, Xavier Nady struck out, Kosuke Fukudome walked to load the bases again, but then Jeff Baker struck out.  What a joke…

Theriot had 3 hits in the loss; Castro had 2 hits and Colvin had 1 hit and 2 walks.  The rest of the team??? 2 walks by Fukudome and 1 hit by Koyie Hill – that’s it.  No more hits, no more walks and because of that, no more runs. The 2-7 Bud Norris with the dazzling 1.61 WHIP and 6.08 ERA manages to hold down the Cubs to just 1 unearned run on 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 strong innings.  It is just too funny.

Randy Wells was cruising along until things started to unravel in the 6th inning.  A Hunter Pence RBI double tied the game at 1 and then a 2-run homer to Carlos Lee gave the Astros the lead for good in the 6th inning.  A 3-1 lead should not really be a big deal at all, but to this Cubs squad, it is almost insurmountable.  Then when you have 2 relievers toss batting practice in the 7th and 8th innings, you are all but assured another loss.  Brian Schlitter gave up 2 ER on 4 hits in the 7th inning and now has a 12.00 ERA and a 2.33 WHIP.  Bob Howry then gave up 3 ER on 4 hits before being replaced by Justin Berg who easily got the last out of the inning.  Why are Schlitter and Howry even on the 25-man roster?  Isn’t there anybody else down in Triple-A or Double-A who can do a better job?

I am getting increasingly frustrated with the product on the field for the Cubs.  It’s a start, with the “indifferent” Pinella leaving after the season, but we have to take a deeper look at what Jim Hendry has done.  All the Cubs “trade-worthy” players all come with a catch.  Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva (because of the bad Milton Bradley contract), Alfonso Soriano – we’d all love to move these over-paid, under-producing bit players, but no team in their right mind will take them because of the crazy dollars still owed to each guy over the next year to 4 years.  And who’s fault is that?  Jim Hendry.  The last 3-4 years have been miserable to Jim Hendry in terms of his off-season moves, and it’s time for the Ricketts Family to take a close look at the guy who runs the team’s baseball operations.  Jim must go – and as soon as he does – this Cubs team will get better in a hurry…

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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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