Posted on 09 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs rode Jeff Samardzija 8 2/3 innings to get their 1st win of the 2012 MLB campaign. Samardzija was one of the Cubs top pitchers all spring and he carried that over into the 2012 regular season. He should have gotten the complete game 4-1 win if not for Starlin Castro’s 9th inning error with 2 outs. Manager Dale Sveum then kept Samardzija in the game, but he served up Adam LaRoche’s 2-run home run which cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. That prompted Sveum to tab Cubs closer Carlos Marmol to close out the game.
Marmol suffered the loss in Thursday’s opener and gave up 2 more earned runs in Saturday’s loss to the Nats, but someone had to get the Cubs out of the jam. Despite walking Jayson Werth to put the tying run on base, Marmol induced former Cub Xavier Nady to pop out to Ian Stewart right in front of the Cubs dugout. That gave the Cubs their 1st 2012 win and Samardzija of what looks to be one of many wins this season.
Samardzija struck out 8 in his outing and most importantly, he did not walk a batter. He scattered 4 hits and gave up just 1 ER.
Satrlin Catrso had 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Bryan LaHair – in his 1st start of the season – also had 2 hits. Alfonso Soriano drove in 2 runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
It has been a rough opening weekend series for the Cubs who could have been 0-3, 2-1 or 3-0. Instead they are sitting at 1-2 in last place in the NL Central. What else is new?!
Posted on 07 April 2012 by Lou
Matt Garza has been sharp in his 2012 MLB debut. He had worked 3 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit and the Cubs leading 1-0. But a lead-off walk in the top of the 4th cost him. Although Garza retired the next two batters, an Adam LaRoche 2-out home run off the right field foul pole gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Cubs.
The Cubs have 4 hits and 2 walks off of Nats’ lefty Gio Gonzalez, but have just 1 run to show for it. Joe Mather drew a 1-out walk in the 1st inning and moved over to 3rd base on a perfectly executed hit-and-run with Starlin Castro. Mather then came around to score on a Gonzalez wild pitch. But that is all the Cubs have mustered against the tough lefty.
Jeff Samardzija makes his 1st start of 2012 on Easter Sunday. He and the Cubs will square off against Jordan Zimmerman in the series finale.
Posted on 04 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs finished up spring ball with a nice little 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Travis Wood made his best spring start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 ER on 6 hits. He walked only one batter all day and the lone run came on Andy Gonzalez’ solo home run in the 2nd inning. This bodes well for Wood who is going to need to fine-tune his pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs got off to a fast start with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning from Starlin Castro. The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 2nd inning on a Joe Mather double and a Darwin Barney single.
The real action begins at Wrigley Field on Thursday when the Cubs take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster makes his 2nd straight opening day start for the Cubs.
Posted on 01 April 2012 by Lou
The Cubs ruined Angels’ ace Jeff Weaver’s spring finale with an 8-1 on April Fool’s Day. The Cubs touched up Weaver for 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. The big blow came on Darwin Barney’s RBI triple in the 6th inning when the Cubs took a 3-0 lead over Weaver and the Angels. The Cubs then blew the game open with Jeff Baker’s 3-run jack off of Jason Isringhausen as part of a 5-run 8th inning. The Cubs racked up 13 hits – their most of the spring – including 2 hits apiece for David DeJesus and Starlin Castro.
Minor League lefty Chris Rusin continued a nice spring by throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings against a potent Angels offense. He gave up only 2 hits and most importantly, he did not walk a batter.
The only negative was that the Cubs fielders committed 3 infield errors – Ian Stewart, Castro and Blake DeWitt. While the pitchers bailed out the fielders in this game, the Cubs defensive players are going to have to be a lot more careful once regular season action starts later this week if they expect to stay in the NL Central hunt in 2012…
Posted on 21 March 2012 by Lou
The Cubs impressed in split squad games and Carlos Marmol is going to be just fine.
Even though the Cubs lost to the Rangers 6-2, it wasn’t all bad. Ryan Dempster worked 6 innings of 2 run ball. He scattered 4 hits – one of which was a 2-run jack in the 2nd inning – and 2 walks with 3 K’s. Dempster appears to be on track to make his 2nd consecutive opening day start at Wrigley Field when the Cubs battle Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals on April 5th at the Friendly Confines.
Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo each had 2 hits for the Cubs.
Carlos Marmol left the game after retiring only 2 batters in the 7th inning due to cramps in his hand. He has experienced cramping during spring training and he does not think it will be a problem. An MRI today confirmed no damage to his neck or upper shoulder area and he will get a few days off and be re-evaluated later this week. But it is great news that it appears that Marmol avoided any serious injury.
And although the A’s rallied to tie the Cubs in the 9th inning, Rodrigo Lopez worked an efficient 5 innings – just 1 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk with 4 K’s. Lopez will not gain a spot in the starting rotation, but he could prove useful as a nice veteran arm in the bullpen in 2012. After struggling all spring, Tony Campana went 4 for 5 and scored a run.
The Cubs get a much-needed day off today.
Posted on 19 March 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood has had 2 bad starts this spring, so he got just what he needed in his 3rd start today. The Cubs scored 7 runs in the 1st inning to stake Wood to a nice 7-0 lead. All he had to do was come out and throw strikes and get outs. Well it didn’t work out that way, and his poor spring performance has all but assured Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad of the final 2 spots in the Cubs starting rotation heading into 2012. Sure Randy Wells has pitched well too, but he has been given the opportunity as a starter already and he really hasn’t taken advantage of it. It’s time for Samardzija to be given the chance to go out there and prove that he is a legitimate MLB starter. And with how dominant Volstad has been so far this spring, there’s almost no way to justify not making him your 4th or 5th starter.
But back to Wood – he gave back 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st on a Ichiro HR. In the 2nd, after giving up a run-scoring single to Chone Figgins, Wood threw a wild pitch that allowed Figgins to score to cut the lead to 7-4. In the bottom of the 3rd, he gave up a 2-run jack to Jesus Montero and then a game-tying solo HR to Kyle Seager. All 3 homers served up by Wood were the 1st homers for each player this spring. Not good. That was all Manager Dale Sveum needed to see in the 3rd as he yanked Wood after just 2+ innings – 7 runs, all earned on 7 hits and 2 walks. WOW! That Travis Wood for Sean Marshall deal is sure looking like a big mistake now. Let’s hope a year at Triple-A will help get Wood back on track.
Gotta love the Cubs bats today. They didn’t hit one HR in that 7-run 1st inning and all 7 runs were ER. A Starlin Castro double, an Alfonso Soriano sac fly, a Jeff Baker single, a 2-run single by Joe Mather, a David DeJesus single and then a Darwin Barney double. Can’t complain about solid hitting like that.
Posted on 08 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija is making a strong case to be named a starter for the Cubs during the 2012 campaign. Manager Dale Sveum predicted that the Kansas City Royals would not be able to hit Samardzija in Wednesday’s cactus league came, and his prediction almost came true. Samardzija bearly broke a sweat, tossing 3 scoreless innings with 3 K’s. The only hit allowed was a cheap blooper by Chris Getz in the 2nd inning. Samardzija needed just 35 pitches. Many baseball people around the country named Samardzija the most improved pitcher during the course of the 2011 MLB season. Samardzija has been on a “mission” this winter, vowing to do whatever it takes to make the Cubs starting rotation in 2012. So far so good for the big righty. He consistently through his fastball in the mid 90′s and he already has great control on his slider and changeup. That is a lethal combo. Look for Samardzija to continue to put pressure on Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office who might be reluctant to move Samardzija out of the bullpen where he was so effective last year.
Cubs hitters also played well – 6 runs on 15 hits – including 2 hits apiece for Starlin Castro, Reed Johnson and Bryan LaHair.
Posted on 08 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs released infielder Blake DeWitt in order to pick up Adrian Cardenas off of waivers from the Oakland A’s. This was an interesting move.
DeWitt played in 121 games for the Cubs in 2011 – .265 batting average with 5 HR’s, 11 doubles and 25 RBI’s.
Cardenas, on the other hand, played 127 games with Triple-A Sacramento. His offensive numbers were impressive – .314 batting average, 5 HR’s, 28 doubles, 70 runs scored and 51 RBI’s. He is younger and primarily a 2nd baseman, but he also played multiple games at 3rd base and left field for the A’s minor league squad. He is a left-handed hitter who throws right-handed and could make a spirited run at de-throning Darwin Barney from his starting 2nd base job.
DeWitt is clearly more of a back-up infielder these days, while Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer see Cardenas as an up-and-coming youngster who could surprise some people at the major league level. He was picked up by the Phillies as the 37th overall pick in the 2006 draft and has been in the A’s organization since July 2008. And you gotta love what the A’s can do with raw talent…
Posted on 08 December 2011 by Lou
How does Theo & Co. not go after Prince Fielder with everything that they’ve got?
The St. Louis Cardinals just lost Albert Pujols to the tune of $254 million over 10 years with the Anaheim Angels in the American League.
That weakens the Cardinals tremendously.
Rumors are out there that the Milwaukee Brewers have upped their offer to try to keep Prince Fielder at Miller Park. Who’s to say that they won\’t up it even more now that they know that the Cards have lost Pujols.
Who knows if the Cards will now try to take a run at signing Fielder away from Milwaukee with a portion of the money that they had allocated towards Pujols?
No one really knows. That’s why the Cubs need to swoop in and lock up the “next-best” 1st baseman available, thereby hurting both the Cards and the Brewers in the process. At 27 years of age, Fielder is about to enter his prime years – that’s 6 amazing years out of an 8-year deal (let’s say). Even in that case, he’s still only 35 years old when the deal ends. How can you go wrong. You can build the Cubs lineup around Starlin Castro and Prince Fielder for years and years to come. And during the next couple of years, you can tweak around the starting rotation a little bit with a focus on signing Matt Garza to a big long-term extension and a “friendly” rate before the end of the 2012 MLB season. You already know that you have around $35 million coming off the books next year when Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano become free agents. You try to make trades this year by moving a Marlon Byrd and a Carlos Marmol that might bring some quality pitchers back. You throw Brett Jackson into the fire by starting him in center field all season and see what he can do. How does a DeJesus, Barney, Castro, Fielder, Soto, Soriano, Jakcson, lineup sound? Sure you still need a 3rd baseman, but maybe you also land an Ian Stewart or Chase Headley. It’s now or never time for Theo and the Ricketts Family. You made a big splash by bringing in Theo, Jed and Jason, now make an even bigger splash and make Fielder an offer he can’t refuse.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 29 November 2011 by Lou
Numerous reports have confirmed that the Cubs have contacted Albert Pujols’ agent regarding the big slugger. While some Cubs fans seem overly excited about the prospects about landing the best hitter in baseball, I have a feeling that this is a HUGE ploy by Theo & Co. Knowing how the Cubs have been hampered by Alfonso Soriano’s 8-year deal and knowing how Theo & Co. rarely enter into a bad “long-term” deal (the 7-year, $142 million Carl Crawford notwithstanding), the Cubs won’t make this deal. You heard it hear first. 8, 9, 10 years for a 32-year old 1st baseman entering the twilight of his career? What happens in Year 6, when Albert Pujols enters the year at 37 years of age and you still owe him a whopping $25-30 million a year for 5 more years?! That’s exactly what we’ve been doing with Soriano for the last 2 years and we still have 3 more years left on his deal. Now sure, Pujols is MUCH MORE productive than Soriano, but it still does not justify mortgaging the club again when we’re so close to getting out from the Soriano deal in another year or two.
So why are the rumors spreading about the Cubs making a play for Pujols? There are several reasons:
1. It drives the price up on the Pujols sweepstakes, maybe knocking him out of the Cardinals price range and sending him to the NL East Marlins or Nationals or the American League with the Texas Rangers or Anaheim Angels. That weakens the Cardinals big time with a move like that.
2. With the Yankees (Mark Teixeira) and Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez) “probably” out of the mix for Pujols or Prince Fielder (you can never say never with either team however), it is plausible that the Cubs could land either player for a “steal of a deal” without the 2 highest payroll teams driving up the price further. So it is “conceivable” that the Cubs would make a play for Pujols.
3. It also hides your cards if your real intent is to go hard for the younger (Fielder is only 27 years old) 1st baseman. Epstein and Fielder’s agent Scott Boras have been known to get deals done and what better way to swoop in and make him an offer he can’t refuse than to let everybody think you’re going after Pujols. New skipper Dale Sveum was Fielder’s hitting coach in Milwaukee and the 2 have a good working relationship. With tons of money coming off of the books the next year, Theo & Co. can also make a commitment to Fielder that in addition to building from within, the Cubs will also have much more flexibility to add pieces from the outside through free agency after the 2012 season. With Theo & Co.’s track record, Fielder has to be reassured that the Cubs will be competitive just about every season once they get things settled.
Maybe I’m just hoping for the best-case ideal scenario – a 1-2-3 combo of Brett Jackson, Starlin Castro and Fielder as the future of a potent offensive lineup – but don’t surprised if Theo & Co. pull off this miracle signing within the next week. Imagine the buzz on the north side then…