Posted on 18 June 2012 by Lou
The Red Sox took the final 2 games against the Cubs during the weekend set at Wrigley Field. Jeff Samardzija’s struggles continued in the heat on Saturday night at the Friendly Confines. He gave up 3 ER on 4 hits and 3 walks in just 5 1/3 innings. He racked up 6 K’s but his high 108-pitch count forced Manager Dale Sveum to pull the big righty early in the game. The Cubs tallied their 3 runs on Luis Valbuena’s 1st career major league home run – a 3-run blast off of Jon Lester that cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. But the game would end like that.
Franklin Morales started for the injured Josh Beckett on Sunday night and he out-dueled Cubs starter Paul Maholm. Maholm pitched OK – 3 ER on 6 hits and 1 walk, with 6 K’s – but it wasn’t good enough. The Red Sox scored 3 runs in the 7th and 1 in the 8th to break open a 3-3 tie. Starlin Castro finally broke out of his slump with 3 hits, including a double and a triple. He drove in 2 of the Cubs 3 runs.
The Cubs fell to 22-44 with the series loss to the Red Sox – they once again have the worst record in baseball. The Cubs “travel” south to take on the White Sox for 3 games at U.S. Cellular Field starting tonight. Matt Garza will square off against Zach Stewart in the series opener.
Posted on 11 June 2012 by Lou
Ryan Dempster won for the 2nd time on the Cubs atrocious 2-8 road trip through San Francisco, Milwaukee and Minnesota. It were Dempster’s first 2 wins of the 2012 MLB season. He pitched 8 scoreless innings to help the Cubs avoid the sweep by the Twins. He scattered 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. He has an amazing 1.03 WHIP and 2.31 ERA, but only has a 2-3 record as the Cubs have failed to provide him much run support in his starts. Starlin Castro led the Cubs 9-hit attack by going 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored. Reed Johnson added 2 hits and 3 runs scored in the lead-off spot.
Off the field, the Cubs landed highly touted Cuban prospect Jorge Soler in the “free agent” market. The 20-year old outfielder was considered the next biggest star out of Cuba after Yoenis Cespedes signed with Oakland for $36 million earlier this spring. The Cubs were able to negotiate a 9-year, $30 million deal for the player they have set their sights on for quite a while now. Other top teams – the Yankees, White Sox, Phillies and Red Sox – were all believed to be involved in the bidding for Soler, but the Cubs got him. The Cubs did not make any public announcement about the deal today, but look for some news later this week.
At 20-40, the Cubs are on pace to finish with more than 100 losses for only the 3rd time in franchise history. Both the 1962 and 1966 Cubs finished 59-103. Not good – not good at all, but at least it looks like new ownership has a plan in place, and the tools necessary to implement that plan…
Posted on 28 May 2012 by Lou
On a hot and humid day at Wrigley Field, the Cubs ended their 12-game skid with a 11-7 slugfest over the San Diego Padres on Memorial Day. Powered by a 14-hit attack including 4 homers, the Cubs finally picked up a win for the 1st time in exactky 2 weeks – the Cubs last won against the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 14th.
Randy Wells picked up the win going 1 2/3 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. He picked up after Travis Wood labored through his 5 innings – 6 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks. Wood surrendered 4 homers in the hitter-friendly day at the Friendly Confines.
Darwin Barney, Ian Stewart, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro each hit home runs in the slugfest. Bryan LaHair had 3 hits, 1 RBI and 3 rns scored. Soriano also had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s. David DeJesus, Castro and Stewart added 3 hits apiece.
The Cubs just missed setting the franchise record for most consecutive losses – which was 14.
Let’s hope the Cubs can make it a winning streak when the 2 teams square off again at Wrigley on Tuesday afternoon with Jeff Samardzija going for the Cubs.
Before the game, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer spoke to the media about the state of the Cubs. It was not all positive – obviously – but the duo feel that they have the organization going in the right direction…
Posted on 14 May 2012 by Lou
It was an ugly weekend for the Cubs all-around, but at least they didn’t get swept. The Cubs scored in each of the game’s final 5 innings en route to their 1st “easy” win in a LONG time. The top of the order has been on fire for the Cubbies. David DeJesus had 2 hits and a run scored. Tony Campana had 3 hits, 1 run scored and 1 RBI. And Starlin Castro added 2 hits with an RBI. Jeff Samardzija pitched 5 innings but needed 91 pitches to labor through his outing. He allowed just 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6, but he did not factor in the decision.
James Russell, Kerry Wood and Michael Bowden each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.
It was a much-needed victory given how they lost the 1st 2 games of the series. On Friday night, after taking a 4-1 lead on David DeJesus’ grand slam in the top of the 7th, the Cubs gave it right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the frame. DeJesus came through again in the clutch in the 9th inning as they rallied for a 7-5 lead with 3 runs in the inning. But Rafael Dolis gave it right back with a 2-run shot to Corey Hart in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs would go on to lose 8-7 in 13 innings.
On Saturday, it was the same old story for Chris Volstad. He always seems to have 1 brutal inning that costs him and the Cubs the game. It was a 1-1 game through 5 1/2 innings and then Volstad served up a 5-run 6th inning, capped off by Edwin Maysonet’s 2-out grand slam. Just brutal. Volstad fell to 0-5 while watching his WHIP soar to 1.46 and his ERA soar to 6.92. Something has gotta give with this guy. If the Cubs are still competing at the end of the month (currently they are 14-20, 6 games back of the Cards), look for the Cubs to release/trade Volstad and bring up either Randy Wells or Travis Wood to take his place.
Cubs travel to St. Louis for 2 games against the Cards today and tomorrow. Let’s hope Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm keep up their solid pitching…
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 07 May 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija improved to 4-1 with a dominant 5-1 win over the Braves on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The Braves had won 3 in a row scoring 29 runs in a 3-game sweep over the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, but Samardzija worked his magic and held the Braves to just 1 run on Jason Heyward’s homer in the 2nd inning. Samardzija worked 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. He lowered his WHIP to 1.19 and his ERA to 3.03. Samardzija continued to show great command and a mastery of mixing up his pitches to keep the hitters off-guard.
Carlos Marmol made his 1st appearance after being removed from the closer’s role. In the 8th inning, he walked the 1st two batters and threw wild pitch before getting the next 3 batters without allowing a run. It wasn’t pretty, but at least he preserved the lead.
James Russell worked the 9th – he allowed a hit with 2 K’s and closed the door for the Cubs 3rd win in 4 games.
Bryan LaHair hit his 8th home run off the season to tie the game at 1. Ian Stewart followed up with a back-to-back homer right after that and Reed Johnson almost made it 3 in a row, but his shot fell just short of the wall in deep left. Starlin Castro added 2 hits including an RBI single in the 7th inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-1. Geovany Soto gave the Cubs some much needed insurance runs with a 2-run blast in the 8th inning.
It’s always good to get the 1st win in a series, so let’s hope the Cubs can clinch another series win with a big W on Tuesday night at the Friendly Confines…
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 26 April 2012 by Lou
Chris Volstad is 3 for 3 – not in a good way – he has lost each of his last 3 starts. The Cubs dropped the series finale to the Cardinals 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon, just missing out on their 1st sweep of the young campaign.
Volstad actually didn’t pitch all that bad, but a 3-run 6th inning did him in. He allowed a go-ahead double to Carlos Beltran and then a 2-run bomb to deep left field to David Freese. Just like that, a 1-1 tie turned into a 4-1 deficit. Volstad finished the 6th and was hit up for 4 ER on 6 hits. The good news was that he did not walk a batter. The bad news was that he lost his 3rd straight decision and still has an ERA of 6.14.
The Cubs offense didn’t do him any favors on Wednesday. They managed just 6 hits and 2 walks against surprise “ace” Lance Lynn. Lynn is 4-0 with a nasty 0.81 WHIP and 1.33 ERA. However, the Cubs had their chances – but never seemed to put a solid inning together. In the 2nd, Ian Stewart erased Alfonso Soriano’s lead-off single with a double play. The next hitter Steve Clevenger doubled, but nobody was on base. In the 5th inning, Darwin Barney reached 3rd base with only 1 out, but Tony Campana and Starlin Castro could not deliver him home. The Cubs lone run scored on Bryan LaHair’s solo shot in the 4th inning. LaHair has lived up to the pressure of playing 1st base at Wrigley Field so far. He leads the teams with 4 home runs and 11 RBI’s and he is hitting .364 with a plentiful .463 on-base percentage.
The Cubs now start on a difficult 7-game road trip through Philadelphia and Cincinnati. At least the Phillies are still without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley which should give the Cubs pitchers a slightly better chance…
Posted on 23 April 2012 by Lou
After Paul Maholm shut down the Reds 6-1 on Saturday, the Cubs finally had a chance to win a series on Sunday. But their hopes were dashed as Randy Wells made a spot start in place of the injured Ryan Dempster. Wells was rusty in his 2012 debut – 6 hits and 5 walks in only 5 innings of work. He only allowed 2 runs as he consistently worked out of trouble but his day was done when he racked up 93 pitches by the end of the 5th frame.
Rodrigo Lopez’s tough luck continued in the 6th inning. He faced 3 batters and all 3 reached base – a leadoff walk and then 2 errors by catcher Geovany Soto – to load the bases. Lopez allowed one run to score on a groundout and he was charged with the 2nd run after Scott Maine walked Jay Bruce with the bases loaded and 2 outs.
The Cubs were still in it though, trailing just 4-2. They made it interesting with Starlin Castro’s lead-off triple in the 9th inning off of former Cub Sean Marshall. But the offense would not muster another hit and they fell to 4-12 on the young season.
Posted on 15 April 2012 by Lou
It was a lost weekend for the Cubs in St. Louis, especially after Jeff Samardzija pitched the Cubs to the opening win of the series on Friday. Game 1 went smoothly for the Cubs. Ian Stewart gave the Cubs an early lead with his 3-run homer in the 1st inning. Bryan LaHair’s 1st career grand slam opened that lead up to 8-0 in the 3rd inning. Sure, Samardzija made it interesting with his 5-run 5th inning, but the bullpen shut down the Cards offense the rest of the way. Rafael Dolis worked 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit. James Russell and Kerry got 3 outs in the 8th inning to set it up for closer Carlos Marmol in a non-save situation in the 9th. Marmol pitched a perfect 9th with 2 K’s and just like that, the Cubs had their 1st winning streak of 2012.
But the rest of the weekend was awful. The bats went quiet against Lance Lynn in a 5-1 loss on Saturday and against Jake Westbrook in a 10-3 drubbing on Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday, the Cubs offense combined for just 4 runs on 12 total hits. And on Saturday, Chris Volstad pitched 6 innings, but a 4-run 4th inning (due in part to 2 Starlin Castro errors) doomed him and the Cubs. Volstad only gave up 6 hits and didn’t walk a batter, but Cubs pitchers are going to have to be better than that night in and night out. On Sunday, Paul Maholm had his 2nd straight awful start giving up 6 ER on 6 hits in just 4 innings of work. A veteran used to pitching to NL central ball clubs has now racked up a 1.88 WHIP and 13.50 ERA in 2 starts. Ouch…
The Cubs now travel to Miami to take on Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano and the new-look Marlins in a much-anticipated series. I can’t wait…