Posted on 20 May 2010 by Lou
A week ago, the Chicago Cubs had committed at least 1 error in 7 straight games. Since last Friday’s loss against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, however, the Cubs have committed just 1 total error in those 7 games. That is a major improvement for a club that has already committed 32 errors on the season – good for a .979 fielding percentage.
The one glaring problem, Starlin Castro is 2nd on the team in errors with 5, just 1 behind 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez. Castro was supposed to provide stellar defense for the middle of the Cubs defense, but so far, it has been a bit suspect. Sure 3 of those errors came in his 1st game in front of the home town fans at Wrigley Field, but we need him to remember about the routine plays and not just the spectacular ones. Hopefully as he gets more comfortable in his new surroundings at the major league level we’ll see more consistency in his defense.
Kudos to Ryan Theriot who hasn’t skipped a beat despite moving over to 2nd base to make room for Castro at shortstop. Theriot has just 3 errors in 153 chances good for a .980 fielding percentage.
Derrek Lee is having another solid year – just 1 error in 335 chances, good for a .997 fielding percentage.
Lastly, let’s hear it for catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill – not one single error during the 1st 42 games of the season – pretty damn impressive.
Posted on 19 May 2010 by Lou
Carlos Silva pitched 6+ strong innings for his 5th win as the Cubs beat the Rockies 6-2 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.
After blowing a great scoring chance in the 1st inning – 1st and 3rd and nobody out after singles by Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot to start the game – I thought here we go again. But my prayers were answered in the bottom of the 4th inning as the same situation presented itself. Tyler Colvin had struck out on 3 pitches with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 1st inning, but this time he came through with a clutch line drive single to center field that plated Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs got 2 more runs in the inning on a Starlin Castro fielder’s choice play and a 2-out single from Kosuke Fukudome, and just like that, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead. That seemed to relax everyone in Wrigley Field and it seemed to give some confidence to this struggling Cubs team.
Silva pitched well until he ran out of juice in the 7th inning. He issued his only walk of the game to Troy Tulowitzki to lead off the inning and then he served up Todd Helton’s 2-run bomb to deep right field. That was all Manager Lou Pinella wanted to see as he turned to trusted lefty James Russell (after Esmailin Caridad walked the only batter he faced) to get the Cubs out of the jam. Russell notched 2 K’s and a weak fly ball out and the Cubs still had a 3-2 lead.
Then the Cubs tacked on some insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th inning on a Starlin Castro single and a 2-run Ryan Theriot single. That increased the Cubs lead to 6-2 which allowed Pinella to use Zambrano in the 9th instead of closer Carlos Marmol. Zambrano pitched a perfect 9th inning with 2K’s – think he’s happy to know he’s going back to the starting rotation sometime soon?
The Cubs have won 3 straight and embark on a quick 5-game road trip to take on the Phillies in Phialdelphia on Wednesday and Thursday and the Rangers in Texas over the weekend. Stay tuned Cubs fans…
Posted on 16 May 2010 by Lou
This is such a joke. The Cubs lost to the Pirates 4-3 at home on Saturday afternoon. They have now dropped 8 of their last 10 games and they are just 8-10 at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in 2010. In short, this season is only 37 games old and it is already turning into a comedy of errors. Whether it be horrible relief pitching… Whether it be the lack of ANY clutch hitting when the game is on the line or when the Cubs have a chance to blow games open in the early innings… Or whether it be poor starting pitching when the Cubs offense actually comes through with some runs… This team simply does not know how to win.
For a 2nd straight day, a Cubs starting pitcher put his team in an early hole with a 3-run 1st inning deficit. And just like on Friday with Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Dempster recovered after the shaky 1st inning and kept his team in the ball game. Dempster ended up pitching 7 innings giving up just those 3 1st inning runs on 4 hits and 5 walks. Dempster did ring up 9 K’s and he has a solid ERA (3.49) and WHIP (1.09) despite a 2-4 record.
But once again, the Cubs bats managed just 2 runs through the games 1st 8 innings. Not good. The Cubs had more than 2 runners on base only once during that stretch — in the 3rd inning. After Dempster doubled and Ryan Theriot singled to put 1st and 3rd with nobody out, Marlon Byrd lined out and Derrek Lee popped out to put pressure on Aramis Ramirez to drive in runs with a hit with 2 outs. Granted, Ramirez did come through with a clutch 2-run double, but the Cubs should have scored more than 2 runs with the middle of their lineup coming up in that situation. If Ramirez didn’t get that hit, it likely would have been a shutout on the north side on Saturday. Then there was the missed opportunity in the 9th inning (Carlos Marmol serving up a home run to Jeff Clement in the top of the inning proved costly as it gave the Pirates a 2-run lead). Starlin Castro walked with 1 out and came around to score on Kosuke Fukudome’s triple to right field. All Ryan Theriot had to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to score Fukudome from 3rd base with only 1 out, but he struck out and Marlon Byrd followed suit to end the threat.
This is getting pretty ridiculous for the Cubs. They clearly have NO confidence that they can win close games down the stretch. They are in 5th placed in the NL Central with an awful 15-22 record – this from the highest payrolled team in the National League. Talk about under-performing?! Don’t look now, but the Cubs are just 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros who have the worst record in the NL. If we hit that low-water mark, look for major moves on the north side – namely a Lou Pinella or JiM Hendry firing.
Can Ted Lilly break the slide today at Wrigley. My bet is a big fat NO!
Posted on 02 May 2010 by Lou
WOW — Alfonso Soriano had an unbelievable weekend for the Cubs, propeling the North Siders to 2 big wins over the DBacks at Wrigley Field. In Saturday afternoon’s 7-5 win, Soriano’s 2-run bomb to deep left center field tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the 7th inning. An inning later, Derrek Lee’s 2-run single with the bases loaded plated the winning runs. Sean Marshall worked 2 scoreless innings in relief of Carlos Silva to pick up his 1st win of the 2010 MLB schedule. Carlos Marmol – despite getting into a bases loaded jam – picked up the save by striking out the side in the top of the 9th inning to preserve the 7-5 win.
Today, Alfonso Soriano picked up right where he left off on Saturday. His 2-run home run in the 1st inning gave the Cubs a 4-0 early lead. He slugged another 2-run home run later in the game to increase the Cubs lead to 10-2. Marlon Byrd also hit a 2-run home run, and Chad Tracy and Ryan Theriot each had 3 hits to pace a powerful Cubs offense. Tom Gorzelanny finally got some run support in his start and he cruised to an easy win – his 1st of 2010. He worked 7 innings, giving up just 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. He racked up 10 K’s and lowered his ERA to 2.48 and his WHIP to 1.10. Outstanding.
The Cubs got back to .500 on the season with a 13-13 record. They still trail the Cards by 4.5 games in the NL Central, but the Cards have played flawless ball throughout the entire month of April. It hasn’t been all pretty for the Cubs, but they survived a few rough patches and seem to be clicking before their upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati starting on Tuesday.
Posted on 29 April 2010 by Lou
Ted Lilly was awful and the Cubs offense managed just 2 hits through the game’s 1st 6 innings as they lost to the DBacks 13-5 at Wrigley Field.
Ted Lilly looked sharp through the game’s 1st 3 innings, but he got into trouble in the 4th when he lost all control of the strike zone. Lilly walked Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds to start the inning and then served up Adam LaRoche’s 3-run bomb to deep left center field. After a double to Cole Gillespie, then Lilly served up a 2-run bomb to deep left field that put the DBacks up 5-1. Lilly worked through the 5th inning, but served up another homer to LaRoche in that inning as well. Not good.
It didn’t help that the Cubs bats were non-existent during the early part of the game. Sure they got on the board 1st with Ryan Theriot’s RBI single in the 3rd inning, but that would be all the excitement you would see until Kosuke Fukudome’s Grand Slam off of Ian Kennedy in the 8th inning. Kennedy and 1 reliever held the Cubs to just 6 hits during the game.
Out of the bullpen, Jeff Gray struggled again – giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and 1 walk in 1 1/3 inning. James Russell didn’t fare much better, although 4 of the 5 runs he gave up were “unearned” because of Aramis Ramirez’s throwing error.
The lone bright spots — Justin Berg and Sean Marshall each worked perfect innings to close out the game. Both Berg (3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) and Marshall (3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP) have been consistent for the Cubs out of the bulpen right from the start of this disappointing season. Manager Lou Pinella had a “mini” blow-up during yesterday’s post-game conference. Man, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in there today – he might take somebody’s head off…
Posted on 27 April 2010 by Lou
What a way to open the Cubs 7-game homestand at Wrigley Field – with an exciting 4-3 10-inning win over the Washington Nationals. It was a trio of Carlos’ that paved the way for the win for the Cubs.
Starter Carlos Silva notched his 4th straight quality start for the Cubs – 3 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings pitched. If not for Willy Nieves RBI single in the 6th inning, Silva likely would have picked up his 3rd win of the season.
Newly-appointed right-handed set-up man (and former ace) Carlos Zambrano worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings and even worked out of a “mini” 2-on, 1 out jam in the 8th inning by getting an infield popup and a strikeout to end the threat.
And Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 10th inning to keep the game tied at 3. He got the win when Aramis Ramirez walked with the bases loaded to plate Ryan Theriot with the winning run.
Ramirez had a hit and 2 RBI’s in the win. Marlon Byrd raised his batting average to .355 and has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Cubs all season. Ryan Theriot had 2 hits and 1 run scored and is now hitting .333 for the season.
A new feature to our stories on Cubs games – the “Stat You May Have Missed Feature”! For Monday’s win, you may have missed the fact that Alfonso Soriano walked THREE (3) times in the win. Yes, you read that correctly — 3 walks for Alfonso “I swing at anything” Soriano. Unbelievable. If I was the Alias Sports Bureau, I could tell you how many 3-walk games that Soriano has had in his 3+ years in a Cubs uniform. But since I’m not, I’ll simply say that you can count Soriano’s 3-walk games on one hand…
Cubs go for the 5-game winning streak in support of Tom Gorzelanny tonight at Wrigley Field. Back at .500 at 10-10, can the Cubs get over .500 for the 1st time all season? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Posted on 25 April 2010 by Lou
WOW – what a turn of events. The Cubs were reeling after dropping 5 of 7 games to the lowly Astros and Mets. But they didn’t give up and completed an impressive 3-game weekend sweep over the Brewers at Miller Park with a 12-2 rout on Sunday. The Cubs scored 12 runs and belted out 18 hits, including home runs by Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Tyler Colvin and Geovany Soto. Fukudome and Colvin each had 3 hits apiece, while Ryan Theriot had 5 hits and 3 RBI’s and now has his average up to .329 after a slow start to the season. Theriot was even briefly demoted form the lead-off spot during the series against the Mets in New York.
Randy Weels did a great job on the mound – 7 innings, 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks, with 6 K’s. Another great start from the dependable Wells.
The Cubs next face the resurgent Nationals in a 3-game set this week at Wrigley Field. This isn’t your old Nats team, however, as the Nats have already won 11 games this season – 2 more than the Cubs. Let’s keep the good times rolling on Monday night with Carlos Silva on the bump…
Posted on 14 April 2010 by Lou
The Cubs used a 4-run 8th inning to come from behind to beat former Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins and the Brewers 7-6 on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Despite trailing for much of the day, the Cubs never gave up. After the Brewers struck for 2 insurance runs in the top of the 8th inning off of Jeff Gray in his first appearance in 2010, the air seemed to be sucked right out of the Friendly Confines as the Brewers increased their lead to 6-3. But the Cubs batters were patient in the bottom of the inning against Hawkins. After a Jeff Baker single, Geovany Soto and Tyler Colvin worked walks to load the bases for the Cubs. Ryan Theriot’s single to right scored Baker and Soto to cut the lead to 6-5. After Theriot stole 2nd base to get into scoring position as the go-ahead run, Kosuke Fukudome’s seeing-eye single to right field scored Colvin and Theriot with the winning runs. Theriot had 4 hits on the day.
Carlos Marmol was filthy-nasty in the top of the 9th inning as he recorded his 3rd save of the season in as many chances with a perfect line through the heart of the Brewers order. Marmol needed just 15 pitches as he struck out Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to preserve the 1-run lead. Randy Wells started off well, but he was a little shaky from the 4th through the 7th innings. Overall, Wells worked 6 1/3 innings giving up 4 ER on 10 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.
The effort was something we rarely saw in 2009, so let’s hope this is a good sign of things to come during the 2010 MLB schedule for the Cubs. Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 30 March 2010 by Lou
Randy Wells improved to 3-0 this spring en route to the Cubs 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Wells pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk. He settled down after a couple of rough innings to start the game and ended up striking out 5 Reds batters. Wells has shown that his stellar 2009 season was not a fluke and that he clearly has the stuff to be competitive at the major league level for years to come. Justin Berg helped get Wells out of the 6th inning. Sean Marshall then tossed 2 scoreless innings giving up just a hit and a walk while striking out 4. James Russell stayed perfect working a scoreless 9th inning giving up a hit and recording 1 strikeout. Russell has still not given up a run this spring and was the surprise addition to the Cubs 2010 bullpen. Let’s hope he can keep it going during the 2010 MLB schedule.
At the plate, Ryan Theriot had a 3-hit game. Marlon Byrd crushed a home run to help give the Cubs and early lead in the 1st inning. Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot – who battled it out this spring for the 2nd base job – each had 2 hits including a home run.
The Cubs now have 15 wins this spring and are really playing some good baseball down the stretch here. Manager Lou Pinella must be pretty damn excited to get the season started. Only 6 more days until opening day for the Cubs…
Posted on 22 March 2010 by Lou
Slowly, but surely, the pieces are falling into place for the Chicago Cubs during spring training. Carlos Zambrano began the 1st Cubs starter to go 5 innings this spring – tossing 5 scoreless innings in the Cubs 4-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Big Z gave up 3 hit and 2 walks while striking out 4 batters. Esmailin Cardidad still hasn’t given up a run this spring – tossing a scoreless 8th inning to set up closer Carlos Marmol. Marmol for his part didn’t disappoint – he gave up one hit, but struck out the side to preserve the Cubs win. I love the Caridad/Marmol combo – which could be an effective combination during the 2010 MLB schedule.
The Cubs only managed 6 hits, but Ryan Theriot came through in the clutch with a base-clearing double in the 2nd inning that plated 3 runs. Theriot is still hitting over .500 for the spring. Marlon Byrd had 2 more hits and has been one of the Cubs more consistent hitters all spring. Alfonso Soriano had another hit and is slowly showing better signs at the plate. And Geovany Soto had 1 hit, with 1 RBI, 1 run scored and 1 walk – he is now batting .400 this spring. The weight loss and better conditioning really seems to have helped Soto regain his 2008 form.
I hate to get too far ahead of myself, but it seems like the Cubs are putting together a good stretch of baseball here. While this doesn’t count for anything, if the Cubs can gain a little momentum at the end of spring training and earn a little confidence in themselves that was lost during a dismal 2009 season, it can only mean good things for the organization. Let’s hope they avoid any injuries down the stretch here and come out swinging against the Braves in Atlanta and the Reds in Cincinnati before they battle the Brewers at home at Wrigley Field during the Cubs home opener…