Posted on 01 July 2012 by Lou
What a way to kick off the month of July as the Cubs swept the Astros in a 3-game weekend set at Wrigley Field.
Travis Wood continued his dominance since being called up to take the place of the struggling Chris Volstad. Wood tossed 7+ scoreless innings, scattering 3 hits and no walks in an almost perfect game. Wood picked up his 3rd win and lowered his WHIP to 1.09 and his ERA to 3.05. Theo & Co. are looking like genies for pulling off the Sean Marshall for Wood trade this past off-season. In his last 3 starts, Wood has yielded just 1 ER in his last 20 2/3 innings pitched – not too shabby…
Anthony Rizzo had another “game-winning hit” as his RBI single in the 6th scored Wood with the 1st run of the game. That lone run would be good enough for the Cubs to roll to a 3-0 victory. Jeff Baker followed that up with a 2-run single that gave Wood and the bullpen a little cushion.
And Carlos Marmol picked up his 8th save and looks to have things back on track since being removed from the closer role. He gave up a single in the 9th, but buckled down to strike out 2 and close out the win.
And what about Danica Patrick throwing out the first pitch?! I think the photos tell it all. Look at that form?! What do ya think James Russell was thinking after catching that strike to the plate?!
GO CUBS GO! The Cubs finished June with a nice 5-1 home stand. Sure they are 29-49 and they still trail the 1st place Reds by 14 games, but it’s been fun to watch this team the last week or so. Let’s hope they can continue playing good baseball on their road trip to Atlanta and New York before the All-Star Break. And then let’s hope they can keep the momentum going as the 2nd half starts up back at Wrigley Field on Friday July 13th!!!
Posted on 21 December 2011 by Lou
Let the questions start rolling. Theo & Co. have traded their most reliable reliever, 29-year old Sean Marshall, to the Reds for lefty starter Travis Wood. Not sure how this makes the Cubs better, but is clear that Theo & Co. value starting pitching above relief pitching and that the Cubs intend to try to acquire younger talent to continue building from the ground up.
Wood is 25 years old. In 2011, Wood made 18 major league starts, going 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA (he also made 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville). His rookie season was much better – in 2010, Wood made 17 starts, going 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA. But the 200+ innings in 2010 may have taken a toll on his body thereby limiting his effectiveness in his sophomore season.
Marshall was one of the best left-handed relievers in all of baseball in 2011. He had a nasty 2.20 ERA and his 34 holds was 2nd best in all of baseball among lefties. The 34 holds was a Cubs record. Marshall was set to make $3 million in 2012 and he was eligible to test the free agent market following season, so the Cubs struck first while the iron was hot.
The bullpen is going to be a wreck next year with this move. Maybe with an improved starting pitching staff, there will be less pressure on the bullpen, but taking Marshall out of the mix leaves a huge void for that lefty set-up man. You can’t tell me that James Russell, Scott Maine or John Gaub are going to be the guys to step right in and become reliable or dependable all of a sudden. I just don’t see it.
But I guess this is the time where we just have to trust the observations, research and decision-making of Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new.
Posted on 24 August 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells made his best start of the 2011 season with a dominating 6+ inning effort in Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Braves. Wells gave up just 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks as he worked into the 7th inning. His lone run came on a solo home run to Jason Heyward. Wells even got into the offensive act in the 2nd inning as the Cubs plated all 3 runs in the frame. Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run home run and then Wells’ RBI groundout added the much needed 3rd run.
The bullpen did the rest as Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol closed the door on the Braves bid for a comeback. Marmol worked a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s to notch his 30th save of 2011.
Posted on 22 July 2011 by Lou
They did it! The Cubs beat the worst team in baseball 4-2 on a perfect day at Wrigley Field on Friday. With the heat and humidity finally gone for the most part, Carlos Zambrano labored through 6 innings, but kept the feisty Astros at bay. Despite allowing 9 hits and 1 walk in his outing, Big Z minimized the damage to just 2 ER. He had 3 K’s and he improved to 7-5 on the season.
The Cubs scored in only one inning but they made it count. They plated 4 runs in the 5th inning. Alfonso Soriano hit his 15th HR of the year as he put the Cubs on the board with a leadoff solo home run. Darwin Barney and Zambrano each reached base. After Barney stole 3rd base, he came home on Starlin Castro’s important sac fly which tied the game at 2. And then Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs ahead for good with his 2-run HR, his 18th of the season.
The bullpen even looked good. After James Russell allowed a lead-off single in the 7th inning, Jeff Samardzija, John Grabow, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall retired the final 9 batters to preserve the Cubs win. Marshall picked up his 3rd save.
Yippee!!! The Cubs are now 40-60 while the Astros are 33-66. Ah some breathing room…
Posted on 20 July 2011 by Lou
Manager Mike Quade was all out of ideas as he watched Sean Marshall blow the save in his 1st chance as the Cubs “new closer”. Yippee. Think Quade is happy that he went ahead and accepted this awful Cubs managerial post?!
Quade called on Marshall to pick up a 2-inning save after Matt Garza gave up a lead off hit in the 8th inning. My question is this – if you were going to pull Garza if he allowed a runner to reach base, and since he had already thrown 113 pitches in 7 innings pitched, why not just pull him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning instead of having him lead off and strike out? Sure you might not get an insurance run, but Reed Johnson and Aramis Ramirez each singled later that inning, so you never know. And then maybe you use Kerry Wood or someone else in the 8th inning and bring in Marshall to close the game in the 9th. Forcing Marshall to pick up a 6-out save in his 1st big chance since replacing Carlos Marmol as the club’s closer just did not seem like the smart thing to do. And this is just another example of why the Cubs have to be questioning Quade as the long-term manager of this team…
That being said, Marshall did not perform well. And after allowing the tying runs in the 8th inning, Marshall still could have kept his team in the game. But he allowed 2 more runs in the 9th inning and the Phillies won 4-2. Marshall has now allowed 7 ER in his last 6 appearances. Not good.
Lost in the shuffle was Matt Garza who turned in another good start. Garza pitched 7+ innings, allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He has clearly emerged as the ace of the staff as he has lowered his WHIP to 1.31 and his ERA to 3.80.
The top of the order was en fuego against Cliff Lee. Johnson had 3 hits and a run scored.
Starlin Castro had 2 hits and knocked in the Cubs only 2 runs in the 1st inning with a line drive 2-run HR.
And Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits in 4 at-bats to raise his batting average up to .302.
The Cubs are now 39-59 and they trail the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers by 13.0 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 15 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – Carlos Marmol blew Matt Garza’s gem by allowing 5 runs in the 9th as the Cubs fell to the Marlins 6-3 to start the 2nd half on a down note.
Maybe the Cubs should consider dealing Marmol for some young talent in return…
Posted on 20 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs dropped the final 2 games of the Yankees series over the weekend at Wrigley Field to fall to 29-42 on the season – 10 gamed behind the Cards and Brewers. Both games were nationally televised broadcast losses and they erased some good “mojo” they had developed after taking 3 of 4 from the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley earlier in the week and the opener of the Cubs-Yankees series on Friday afternoon.
Randy Wells pitched 6 solid innings, allowing 4 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks. He was hurt by Starlin Castro’s quick attempt to get a double play in the 4th inning with a runner on 1st base and one out. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were both safe on Cano’s weak grounder in front of home when Castro pulled his foot off the bag at 2nd base on Geovany Soto’s throw. Castro should have made sure that he got the lead runner at 2nd base, but he didn’t, and then his throw to 1st in an attempt to get the speedy Cano was late. Both players were safe and both came around to score to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3.
Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 7th inning, but then surrendered back-to-back hits to start the 8th inning. Manager Mike Quade opted to go with the righty Chris Carpenter to make Nick Swisher bat from the left side and he made them pay with a 3-run jack to deep right field. Just like that, the Cubs 4-1 lead turned into a 7-4 deficit with a few key plays.
Reed Johnson had 2 hits and a run scored in the loss. Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting by going 4 for 5 with a run scored. Alfonso Soriano hit his 6th career homer off of Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia with his 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning.
The Cubs travel down to the south side to take on the White Sox this week. Carlos Zambrano makes his 1st appearance in U.S. Cellular Field since he had a 1st inning outburst during last season’s inter-league play when he felt like certain players were not giving their all. Big Z was suspended for his actions and forced to take anger management classes. Zambrano goes against Gavin Floyd tonight in the opener of the 3-game series.
Posted on 13 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs dropped 3 of 4 against the Phillis in Philadelphia this weekend and are now 25-39 and a whopping 12 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central race. Only the Houston Astros have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.
Sean Marshall, who had been so reliable all season long, finally had a hiccup in Sunday’s 4-3 loss. Marshall surrendered a 2-run single to Ryan Howard in the 7th inning that gave the Phillies their 1st lead of the game. The loss wasted a golden chance to split the series between the Phillies. They took a 3-0 lead off of Roy Oswalt in the 1st inning on a Starlin Castro double and an Aramis Ramirez 2-run home run. But the Cubs never pushed another run across the board the rest of the way. Doug David was in line to get his 1st win of the season despite a poor outing – he allowed 5 hits and walked 5 hitters, but kept the damage to a minimum by allowing just 2 ER in 5 innings. But at least he didn’t get the loss – for the 1st time in 6 starts…
On Saturday, Matt Garza looked much better in his 2nd straight since returning from the DL. He went 6 innings, allowing just 1 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks. He allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning but kept the Phillies off the board through his final 5 innings of work. Sean Marshall struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 7th inning and Casey Coleman was not much better – 3 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 8th.
It does not get much easier for the Cubs this week. They host the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers for 4 games at Wrigley Field starting tonight and then the Yankees for 3 games over the weekend.
Posted on 10 June 2011 by Lou
Could this be the win that turns the Cubs 2011 season around? Probably not, but you have to like the resolve that the Cubs showed in erasing a 3-0 2nd inning deficit against one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Little by little, the Cubs chipped away at the Phillies lead. Starlin Castro drove in the Cubs first run with a single in the 6th inning. Carlos Pena delivered a nice run-scoring double in the top of the 8th inning that brought the Cubs within 1 run. And Geovany Soto tied it up off of closer Ryan Madsen with a 1-out solo home run in the 9th inning. And when Tyler Colvin crushed a ball that appeared to be another home run that put the Cubs ahead 4-3, the Cubs thought they might have their first winning streak in a long, long time. But reply of the “home run” showed that a fan touched the ball before it went over the wall, so the umpires ruled it a ground rule double. The Cuibs failed to drive Colvin home, so it was off to extra innings. And Colvin finally got his chance at redemption when he scored the game winning run from 2nd base after Placido Polanco threw Darwin Barney’s groundball away with 2 outs in the 11th inning. Just like that, the Cubs finally had it in the bags.
Give some credit to the Cubs bullpen who stepped up to the plate after Manager Mike Quade pulled Randy Wells after a long rain delay after just 2 1/3 innings pitched. Rodrigo Lopez, James Russell, John Grabow, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way which enabled the Cubs to make the comeback. Lopez, Grabow and Marshall each worked at least 2 innings. Gotta love it. Marshall got the win – his 3rd of the season – and Marmol picked up his 12th save.
Now I know it’s only 2 wins in a row, but the Cubs need to take it one game at a time. Now it’s time for Carlos Zambrano to out-pitch Roy Halladay tonight at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark…
Posted on 09 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster helped the Cubs end their longest skid of the 2011 campaign with a 4-1 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Dempster worked 6 solid innings of 1-run ball to even his record at 5-5. Dempster worked out of tough jams in the 1st and 3rd innings, limiting the Reds to just a single run despite excellent scoring chances. Dempster gave up just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.
The Cubs bullpen finally delivered in a pressure-packed situation. Kerry Wood notched hold #9 despite a 2-out triple in a scoreless 7th inning.
Sean Marshall struck out 2 in his perfect 8th inning – his 12th hold of the season.
And Carlos Marmol notched save #11 with a perfect 9th inning.
Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief as Marmol closed the door on the Cubs 1st win in 9 days.
Carlos Pena gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with a 2-run bomb to deep right field in the 4th inning. On the next pitch, Aramis Ramirez increased the Cubs lead to 3-1 with only his 3rd homer of the season. And Kosuke Fukudome scored an insurance run on a balk in the 7th inning that gave the bullpen some room to work with.
The Cubs “improved” to 24-36 and they trail the Cards by 11.5 games in the NL Central race.