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 01 October 2011 by Lou
The speculation starts now as Cubs fans eagerly await Owner Tom Ricketts’ next moves for the Cubs organization. First up will be the hiring of a new General Manager. Then who knows what else? Surprisingly, overpaid outfielder Alfonso Soriano summed it up best when he cleared out his locker room last week – “Two things can happen. It can change, or stay the way it is now. I don’t know what they want to do. We don’t have control of that. We can only play the game and do our job. The owners have the control. We’d like to stay together, but who knows?” Amen to that.
Changes will have to be made obviously, but given the financial situation with a few long-term deals still hampering the ability of any GM to make necessary trades/free agent signings, only so much can be done. With the firing of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona in Boston, there are some rumors floating around that long-time GM Theo Epstein could also be looking for a change of scenery. The Cubs would need to obtain permission from the Red Sox in order to speak with Epstein and they would be foolish not to ask. What’s the worst that Red Sox barss can say, no? Let’s hope Ricketts & Co. have the common sense to explore ALL options, even Epstein.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the GM front and the rest of the roster. Aramis Ramirez has a $16 million option for the 2012 season, but has already indicated that he will explore the free agent market to see if he can nab one final lucrative long-term deal. Ryan Dempster and the Cubs also have a mutual option that can be exercised for the 2012 MLB season, so we’ll have to see what happens there. Fun, fun, fun…
Posted on 28 September 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster’s disappointing 2012 MLB season ended on a down note with the Cubs 9-2 loss. Dempster suffered his 14th loss of the season, allowing 9 ER on 8 hits and 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched. He did strikeout 7 Padres hitters but he gave up 2 home runs. Dempster finished 10-14 with a 1.45 WHIP and 4.80 ERA – not good numbers for an aging 34-year old starter. He lost 6 of his last 9 starts on the season and did not win a game since August 11th. He did make 34 starts and pitch 202 1/3 innings, but he also gave up 211 hits, 82 walks and 23 HR’s. Dempster has one more year left on his deal and he will likely be the Cubs #2 starter heading into 2012 behind Matt Garza.
The one bright spot – Andrew Cashner tossed another scoreless inning. He walked one and struck out one and finished the season with a 0.66 WHIP and 1.69 ERA. He made 6 relief appearances for the Cubs down the stretch, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 1 hit and 3 walks with 6 K’s. Cashner will likely stay in the bullpen in 2012 in an attempt to show that he can stay healthy for a full MLB season.
Starlin Castro finished his excellent 2012 season without a sophomore slump – he had 1 hit with 1 RBI and finished the season with a .307 batting average.
It should be an interesting off-season for the Cubs…
Posted on 27 September 2011 by Lou
Congrats to Matt Garza – who put the many distractions aside and kept his composure in picking up his 10th win of the season in last night’s 6-2 win over the Padres. As usual, it wasn’t easy and he almost didn’t get that double-digit victory.
Garza threw 122 pitches in 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 8, but left the game trailing 2-1 as the game entered the 8th inning. Fortunately, the Cubs bats rallied in the top of the 8th. Two walks put the go ahead runs on base and then Alfonso Soriano delivered his 26th HR of the season, a 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead. And when Blake DeWitt knocked in 2 insurance runs with a single in the 9th, it secured Garza’s 10th win of the season. Garza has been the lone bright spot in the Cubs 2011 starting rotation. Garza made 31 starts, going 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He He led the team in wins, ERA and strikeouts (197). His 1.26 WHIP was also the best among starters. Ryan Dempster was #2 in each of those categories. Garza turns 28 in November, so he should be a fixture atop the Cubs starting rotation for years to come (assuming they sign him to along-term deal at some point in the near future – maybe even extending him this off-season). Garza should have won a lot more games too. He lost 5 times when he gave up 3 ER or less. He also would have had 2 more wins if not for blown saves. Given those stats, Garza had more of a 15-win season, than a 10-win season.
Here’s looking forward to the new Cubs GM making extending Garza to a long-term deal a high priority in his early tenure. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.
Posted on 01 September 2011 by Lou
After taking 2 of 3 from the Giants in San Francisco, the Cubs return home for a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cubs are 59-78 and they trail the 1st place Brewers by 21.5 games in the NL Central race.
Ryan Dempster starts Friday’s matinee affair at Wrigley Field.
Posted on 22 August 2011 by Lou
The Braves shut out the Cubs 3-0 on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are now 56-72 and they trail the Brewers by 20 games in the NL Central race.
The Cubs offensive woes hurt tough-luck loser Ryan Dempster. The Cubs stranded 15 runners in the game, including 11 in the 1st 6 innings alone. Despite 9 hits and 7 walks, the Cubs could not push even 1 run across the board. Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits and Carlos Pena had 2 hits in the loss.
Dempster worked 6 solid innings, notching his 16th quality start of the season. He gave up just 3 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 8.
The bullpen continued its solid work – James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood combined for 3 scoreless innings and 5 K’s to keep the Cubs in the game.
Mike Quade benched Starlin Castro for his lack of effort in Sunday night’s loss to the Cards. Check out more here —
Posted on 11 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – after losing 7 of their last 10 games heading into the break, the Cubs finished with the 2nd worst record in all of baseball at 37-55. Ouch…
The Cubs trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 12 games in the race for 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs trail the Braves by a whopping 17 games for the wild card spot. Only the Houston Astros (30-62) have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.
Starlin Castro has been the Cubs best and most consistent hitter all season – .307 batting average, 49 runs scored and 39 RBI’s. Aramis Ramirez put together a phenomenal close to the 1st half to help his numbers look more like his career average numbers – .298 batting average, 15 HR’s and 51 RBI’s. Carlos Pena leads the team with 19 HR’s after not hitting a single home run in the entire month of April. And despite a stint on the DL, Alfonso Soriano has put up decent numbers – 14 HR’s and 41 RBI’s.
The pitching stats are not pretty. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are tied for the team lead in wins with 6. Matt garza has the best starter ERA at 4.26. Dempster leads the team with 102 K’s while Garza is right on his heels with 99.
Let’s go Cubs — at least it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen in the 1st half, right?!?!
Posted on 30 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster shocked me as he matched 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum pitch-for-pitch in a remarkable pitching duel. Dempster worked 8 scoreless innings and had a 1-run lead as he stepped onto the bump in the top of the 9th at 78 pitches. But when he allowed a lead-off double to Pat Burrell, Manager Mike Quade made the shocking move to “pull” Dempster from the 1-0 game after he had just pitched one of the best games of his career. Come on, Quade – you are 11.5 games out of 1st place. It’s not like this win is that important in the grand scheme of things. Dempster earned the right to pitch out the game and try to get out of the 1-on, nobody out jam in the 9th. But Quade made the move to go with closer Carlos Marmol to “save” the all-important game for the Cubs. And the move totally back-fired. After a strikeout, Marmol allowed an RBI single that tied the game at 1. He then gave up a walk and a hit to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with only 1 out and luckily got Cody Ross to hit into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 1-1 tie. But by then, the excitement over a big 1-0 win over Lincecum was long gone.
That being said, the Cubs showed some grit when Tony Campana singled to lead off the 9th inning and and Reed Johnson sacrificed him over to 2nd base to put the speedster in scoring position with only 1 out. Geovany Soto grounded out, but pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez came through with the clutch game-winning hit to drive in Campana with the winning run.
After 6+ scoreless innings, the Cubs finally broke through off of Lincecum in the 7th inning. Blake DeWitt’s single drove in Carlos Pena who had doubled to lead off the inning. It was nice to see some clutch hitting there.
The Cubs are 33-48 and they trail the Brewers by 10.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 24 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs used the scheduled Thursday off-day to plan for the weekend series against the Royals as well as for the future…
Manager Mike Quade opted to re-jigger the Cubs rotation after consulting with pitching coach Mark Riggins. Ryan Dempster will start tonight, while the Cubs will go with Carlos Zambrano on his regular 5 days rest on Saturday. That move pushes Randy Wells’ start back an extra day to Sunday. Matt Garza will make his next start on schedule on Monday against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.
Off the field, GM Jim Hendry met with his scouts and executives to figure out the direction of the team as the July 31 trading deadline approaches. Hendry and the Cubs could entertain offers for Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano who have both said that they would like to continue to play in Chicago but that they would waive their no-trade clause if a suitable trade offer comes along. Aramis Ramirez, on the other hand, has already told the Cubs that he will not waive his no trade clause. Guess we’ll see how it all shakes out…
Posted on 14 June 2011 by Lou
Not a bad way to start the 7-game homestand on Monday night – a 1-0 win over the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Ryan Dempster had his best start of the season, tossing 7 scoreless innings and scattering 4 hits with 1 walk and 7 K’s in the process. He did not factor in the decision, but he lowered his bloated WHIP to 1.41 and his ERA to 5.48. Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 8th inning and notched his 4th win of the season when the Cubs scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the frame. Carlos Marmol walked Prince Fielder with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but he struck out former Cubs player Casey McGehee for the final out much to the delight of the Wrigley faithful. It was Marmol’s 13th save of the season.
As for the bottom of the 8th inning, Darwin Barney singled with 1 out and moved over to 3rd base on Carlos Pena’s double to deep left field. Aramis Ramirez did what he needed to do drive in the winning run. His groundball to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gave Barney just enough time to make it home with a nifty little hook slide around catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
While this team certainly doesn’t have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot, they’re probably not as bad as their 26-39 record indicates. The Cubs activated Jeff Baker from the DL and inserted him into the 3-spot in the lineup. He had one hit with 1 K, but it was Pena who pinch-hit for Baker in the 8th inning. The Cubs also put Kerry Wood on the DL with a nagging blister issue on his throwing hand. The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Cardinals by 11 games in the NL Central race.