Tag Archive | "Tom Gorzelanny"

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Cubs, Tom Gorzelanny Reach 1-Year Deal Pending Trade to Washington Nationals — Wrigley Field 1/18/11

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Lou

The Cubs have reportedly agreed to trade Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals.  The trade is subject to a physical which is scheduled for Wednesday.  The Cubs and Gorzelanny also agreed upon a 1-year, $2.1 million deal before the arbitration deadline.  Assuming the trade goes through, the Nationals will honor that contract.  The Cubs will receive 3 minor league players in return for Gorzelanny.  2 players are expected to be pitchers and 1 is expected to be an outfielder, but we’ll let you know as soon as the trade is confirmed.

Gorzelanny pitched in 29 games for the Cubs in 2010, making 23 starts.  He was 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.  Gorzelanny became “expendable” after the Cubs acquired Matt Garza in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.  It also leaves the Cubs very “right-handed” in the starting rotation – Carlos Zambrano, Garza, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Silva and Randy Wells are all right-handed pitchers.  And 2 of the other 3 pitchers expected to make a run at the 5th spot in the rotation — Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner — are also right-handed.  I guess it’s nice to have 7-8 guys (if you throw in lefty James Russell) legitimately competing for 5 starting spots…

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Cubs Try to Reach Deals with Arbitration-Eligible Players – Wrigley Field 1/4/11

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs will try to reach deals with 5 arbitration-eligible players this month — Closer Carlos Marmol, Top reliever Sean Marshall, lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny, and Catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

The Cubs will likely give Marmol a mammoth raise.  2010 was his first season as the Cubs full-time closer right out of the gates, and he certainly delivered.  Marmol racked up 38 saves with only 5 blown saves.  He struck out 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings pitched – good for a 15.99 strikeouts-per-9-innings ration.  That number set a major league record which was previously held by Eric Gagne who had a 14.98 ratio.  Marmol is 28 years old and he made $575,000 in 2009 and $2,125,000 in 2010.  He has 2 years left of arbitration before he can file for free agency, but will the Cubs try to lock him up with a long-term deal now during his prime?

Sean Marshall had his best year as a pro in 2010.  His 80 appearances and 90 strikeouts were both career-highs.  His 7 wins were also tied for his career-best.  Marshall had a sparkling 2.65 ERA, giving up runs in only 14 of his 80 games pitched.  Marshall also has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent and there is always talk that Marshall could return to work as a starter at some point in his career.

Tom Gorzelanny made 23 starts for the Cubs in 2010, going 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He earned $800,000 in 2010 and has 2 years left before he can become a free agent as well.

Geovany Soto is arbitration-eligible for the 1st time in his career.  He had a solid season despite missing the final 2 weeks of the year after undergoing right shoulder surgery.  Soto clubbed 17 HR’s with 53 RBI’s and made $575,000 in 2010 – his 3rd year as a pro.

Finally, Koyie Hill hit .214 in 77 games during the 2010 campaign.  Hill is 31 years old and has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent.

The Cubs went to arbitration with a player for the 1st time in 17 years in February 2010.  They won their case with former shortstop Ryan Theriot paying him just $2.6 million instead of the $3.4 million that he requested.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any deals with any of the above mentioned players…

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Gorzelanny, Cubs Finish off West Coast Road Trip Strong — Cubs 1, Padres 0 – 9/30/10

Posted on 01 October 2010 by Lou

The Cubs took 3 of 4 from the playoff-contending San Diego Padres this week, as they continue their strong play under interim skipper Mike Quade.

Tom Gorzelanny tossed 6 scoreless innings in his final start of 2010.  Gorzelanny scattered 3 hits and 4 walks during his outing and he struck out 3 Padres batters.  He didn’t get a decision, but it was a great way to end the season for Gorzelanny as he had an up-and-down season while bouncing between the bullpen and starting rotation.

The bullpen shined in the win once again.  Andrew Cashner has really finished the season strong – he retired all 4 batters that he faced with 2 strike outs.  From August 12th through the 21st, Cashner got roughed up giving up 7 ER in 5 appearances.  But since then – a stretch of 17 outings – Cashner has given up just a total of 3 earned runs.  During the positive stretch, he has a 1-1 record and he has racked up 9 holds.  The Cubs are going to need Cashner to play a prominent role in the Cubs bullpen in 2011 if they expect to have more consistency late in close games during the season.

Sean Marshall pitched 2/3 of an inning to keep the score tied at 0 at the end of 8 innings.  He earned the win – his 7th of the season – when the Cubs scored in the top of the 9th inning.  Carlos Marmol notched his 39th save by pitching a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s.  He has now lowered his ERA to 2.58 and his WHIP to 1.20.  Marshall and Marmol should both expect to get big paydays – whether through a contract extension or arbitration – this offseason.

The Cubs offense was not great, but it managed to scrape across a run against Padres closer Heath Bell in the 9th inning.  Aramis Ramirez singled to lead-off the inning.  Darwin Barney pinch-ran for Ramirez and advanced to 2nd base on Xavier Nady’s sacrifice bunt.  Then Brad Snyder delivered the game winning hit with a single to shallow left field.  Blake DeWitt was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit in the game – he had a single and a double off of Jon Garland.

The Cubs finish their season with a weekend series against the Astros in Houston.  Casey Coleman, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are scheduled to make the final 3 Cubs starts.

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Cubs Still Showing Lack of Consistency with Latest Losses @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 0, Giants 13 9/23/10 & Cubs 1, Cards 7 9/24/10

Posted on 24 September 2010 by Lou

So much for that great Cubs finish – the last 2 losses show that the Cubs are still a long ways away from being an NL playoff contender anytime soon.

Thursday 9/23/10 – Cubs 0, Giants 13 – Ouch.  Ryan Dempster was denied his 15th win of the season, as he couldn’t even get out of the 2nd inning.  The Giants used a 9-run 2nd inning to blow the game open courtesy of 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s from the “light-hitting” Juan Uribe in the 2nd inning alone.  He hit his 1st 2-run HR of the inning off of Dempster and then drilled a Grand Slam off of Thomas Diamond to cap the scoring. Dempster has had a few rough outings of late.  Last night, he ended up giving up 9 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks.  He gave up 7 ER to the Pirates back on August 31st.  Dempster will look to pick up win #15 next week and he also needs 8 K’s in order to reach 200 for the season.  He is already over 200 innings pitched for the 3rd consecutive season since being switched from closer to the starting rotation.  While Dempster is no ace, he is a solid #3 starter.  Problem is that the Cubs don’t have a #1 or #2 starter right now.

Friday 9/24/10 – Cubs 1, Cards 7 – Ouch again. The Cubs managed just 6 hits and a walk off of Adam Wainwright who picked up his 20th win of the season.  The Cubs didn’t fare much better against Kyle McClellan and Ryan Franklin as the duo retired 9 of the 10 batters they faced to finish off the Cubs.  Aramis Ramirez accounted for the lone Cubs run with his solo home run.  Tom Gorzelanny was downright bad in his 1st start since August 27th – 7 ER on 7 hits and 5 walks in 3 1/13 innings.  Overall, it was just another bad day for the Cubs at Wrigley.  The Cubs have now scored just 3 runs in 4 games this week.  They have been shutout twice and lost 7-1 today.  Not good…

The Cubs hope that Casey Coleman can even up the series when he takes on Chris Carpenter at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon with an early 12:05PM start.

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“Bad” Win for Cubs Over Pirates – Can We Trust Carlos Marmol? – Cubs 5, Pirates 3 – 9/1/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Lou

If ever there was a “bad” win for a 57-win team, this was it.  I hate to criticize any Cubs win, but if you look more closely at the stats, there is a lot of concern even from the good players.

The biggest question is Carlos Marmol – Marmol entered the game with runners on 1st and 2nd base and 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning with the Cubs leading 5-2.  Sean Marshall – who bailed out Andrew Cashner with a strikeout with a runner in scoring position in the 7th inning – struck out 2 batters in the inning but also allowed 2 runners on with a walk and an error (I’ll get to the error later).  Marmol promptly walked the 1st two batters that he faced to force in a run which cut the Cubs lead to 5-3.  Sure Marmol got the next batter out with a strikeout, but by then the damage was already done.  Marmol walked another batter in the 9th inning as well, giving him 3 walks in an inning and a third in his outing.  Marmol seems to have resorted to his old habits of walking way to many batters in his outings.  In his 5 appearances from August 15th through August 24th, he walked at least 1 batter in each outing.  He issued 3 walks in a blown save showing against the Braves as all 3 runners scored.  Luckily he got out of yesterday’s innings despite the walks, but how much can we rely upon Marmol in the future.  After starting the season with a respectable strikeout to walk ratio, those walk numbers are slowly creeping up again.  In 2010, he has now walked 45 batters while striking out 113.  In 2009 he walked a career-high 65 batters, so depending on how the rest of this month goes, he could come close to that number again (let’s hope not).  Keep in mind, he walked only 35 batters in 2007 and just 41 in 2008.  He’s already eclipsed those numbers this year and we still have 30 games to go.  Batters have only a .167 batting average against Marmol in 2010 (with a career batting average against of .179), so someone needs to get through to him that he cannot keep giving up free passes in his outings.  While it is widely accepted that closers are typically “wild”, I would disagree with this.  Take the top 4 saves leaders in the majors this season, and you’ll see that they have impeccable control – Rays’ Rafael Soriano – 11 walks; Giants’ Brian Wilson – 22 walks; Padres’ Heath Bell – 22 walks; and Royals’  Joakim Soria – 14 walks.  Only 1 closer has more than 30 walks during the course of the season – Francisco Cordero of the Reds with 35.  After that, the next highest is 29 walks by the Tigers’ Jose Valverde.  Somehow, pitching coaches have worked with these closers to limit their walks.  So if the Cubs do intend to continue to rely upon Marmol to be the team’s closer of the future, maybe it’s time for Larry Rothschild to go the way of Lou Pinella following the 2010 MLB season.  He has been Marmol’s pitching coach for his entire career at the major league level and he hasn’t figured out what Marmol needs to do to be more efficient on the mound.  Hopefully the new manager’s new pitching coach will be able to do that in 2011.

I’ve also been a little disappointed with Sean Marshall’s outings of late.  Now I know he was SO good early on that you can’t expect that every time out, but he seems to have lost his focus of late.  It’s hard when you are playing on one of the worst teams in baseball with one of the worst fielding team’s behind you as well, but the walks are killing me.  Since August 4th, Marshall has issued a walk in 7 of his 14 outings (8 total walks).  If you go back to the entire month of July, he issued a walk in only 3 of his 16 appearances (4 total walks). He issued 5 walks in all of June, 7 walks in all of May and only 1 walk in the month of April.  I’m not sure if he is just not as sharp because of the grueling season or because it is frustrating to go out there each day and know that you are probably going to lose, but I hope this does not carry over into the 2011 MLB season.

Well enough of the negative.  Thomas Diamond relieved Tom Gorzelanny after he was hit with a line drive in the 3rd inning.  He gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to pick up his 1st major league win.

Kosuke Fukudome continued his hot hitting.  He had 3 more hits with an RBI and 2 runs scored.  He increased his batting average to .281 and has looked more confident at the plate once again.  I’m not sure why he always has a “summertime swoon” (maybe Chicago baseball is too hot for him), but if he keeps this up, it could help the team to move him in the off-season even if they have to eat some of his salary.  Unlike the Carlos Zambrano situation where I would NOT want to eat his salary in order to move him, I wouldn’t mind doing that to get rid of Fukudome.  He has had 3 years to prove himself and it just doesn’t add up at the major league level.  Plus, moving Fukudome would free up Tyler Colvin to play right field on a daily basis so that the club can scrap the 1st base experiment.

Starlin Castro had 2 hits and 2 runs scored and is now tied for 3rd place in the National League batting crown with a .317 batting average.

The Cubs welcome the New York Mets – another underachieving, frustrated team – to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field this Labor Day Weekend.  Randy Wells will face off against knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey in Friday afternoon’s opener.

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Gorzelanny Cracks Under Pressure in Cincinnati – Cubs 1, Reds 7 – 8/27/10 Great American Ballpark

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Lou

Tom Gorzelanny had a golden opportunity to continue to showcase his stuff for a 2010 starting rotation spot.  He was going up against the 1st place Reds in a hostile environment facing a lineup that loves to rake in its home park.  It was the perfect time to show that he can pitch on the big stage against one of the more productive lineups in the National League today, but Gorzelanny cracked under the spotlight, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits (including 3 home runs) over his 5 innings of work.  Maybe he just had an off-night, but he clearly showed that he is still simply a back-of-the-rotation starter on your average-to-bad major league ballclub.  Gorzelanny walked 2 and struck out 1 and fell to 7-8 on the season with a 3.98 ERA.  The ERA is still under 4.00 (a stat I like), but with his 1.46 WHIP, he gives too many teams too many chances throughout an outing.  And eventually, that usually comes back to haunt you like it did last night.  Jay Bruce stroked 3 home runs on the night (2 off of Gorzelanny) and Chris Valaika stroked the other homer off of Gorzelanny.

The Cubs offense left a lot to be desired as well.  The team only managed 6 hits off of Johnny Cueto and a Reds reliever.  They didn’t draw a single walk on the night.  Xavier Nady and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  Tyler Colvin drove in the only Cubs run with a double in the 4th inning.  Blake DeWitt had the only other Cubs hit in the lead-off spot.

So, the Cubs 3-game winning streak has ended, and now it’s back to reality after winning 3 games in a row over the Nationals.  Sure the Nationals have a better record than the Cubs in 2010, but are they really that much better of a team?  Probably not.  But the Reds are one of the best teams in the NL this year, and it’s clear that the Cubs cannot compete at their level.  Randy Wells will give it a shot tonight as he takes on Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 of the series tonight at the Great American Ballpark.

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Cubs Trying to Upset Reds while Managerial Search Heats Up – Cubs, Reds – 8/27/10 Great American Ballpark

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Lou

While the Cubs are riding high after a 3-game sweep of the Nationals, the Cubs managerial search has heated up for a number of reasons. The Cubs invade Cincinnati this weekend to take on the Reds who are led by former Cubs Manager Dusty Baker.  Baker has a bright, young pitching staff and a high octane offensive unit that have the Reds leading the NL Central.  After an up-and-down tenure with the Cubs – he had 1 NL Central division crown and playoff appearance that ended with the disastrous collapse against the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the NLCS – a series that the Cubs led 3 games to 1 – the Cubs replaced Baker with another older, experienced manager – Lou Pinella.  Pinella was more fiery than Baker ever was, and he was definitely NOT a “player’s manager – but he was an old school guy like Baker.  Although Pinella led the team to 2 straight NL Central Division titles and 2 playoff appearances, but when the Cubs exited each October with a 3-game sweep at the hands of an NL-West ballclub, those losses really seemed to take a toll on Pinella.  He never achieved that success in his final 2 seasons and he finally retired this past Sunday to take care of personal matters.

Now the question looming is – what kind of manager do the Cubs and the Ricketts Family want to lead the Cubs into the future?  Do they want an older manager in the mold of Baker or Pinella or do they want to find that young diamond in the rough who will be innovative and creative in leading the Cubs back from the disastrous 2010 MLB schedule?  There are choices on either side of the fence.

Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre are all at the end of their contracts with their respective teams.  The Cubs just interviewed former Indians Manager Eric Wedge and have indicated that Bob Brenly (currently in the Cubs broadcast booth) will also be a candidate at some point down the line.  These former managers all have experience and they have all experiences success with World Series titles (save for Wedge), but is this what the Cubs really need to invigorate the system and a frustrated fan base.

On the other side of the fence, you have Cubs great – Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.  Sandberg has done everything that the Cubs have asked him to do and is in his 4th year managing in the Cubs minor league system.  Sandberg wet his feet in his 1st 2 seasons managing, but really blossomed the last 2 seasons, leading the Double-A Tennessee team to the playoffs in 2009 and currently managing the Triple-A Iowa team to the best record in their league.  He knows the Cubs minor league talent better than anyone, so does it make the most sense to move Sandberg up to the major league level even though he had never managed at that level?  And then you also have a former Cubs catcher – Joe Girardi – who has managed 2 different teams at the major league level with great success.  He even won a World Series with the Yankees just a year ago.  The focus on Girardi has grown even bigger because the Yankees are in town to take on the White Sox on the south side this weekend. He has said all the right things:  “My focus is here…  I have a responsibility to the organization and to the guys in that clubhouse and that’s where my focus is. I’m very happy here. This organization has been great to me.”  But what else can he say.  He never specifically said that he would definitely be back in NY in 2010 and he has always indicated that the Cubs managerial job would be a dream job for him.  So who knows.  It seems unlikely that the Yankees would let him go or that the Cubs would be willing to pay him enough money, but if the stars align, we could see Girardi in charge of the Cubs in 2010.

My gut tells me that Girardi will turn down the Cubs and then it will be Sandberg’s job to lose.  Bringing in an older, “set-in-his-ways” Manager like a Cox, Torre or LaRussa doesn’t seem like the best long-term move to make because the Cubs have so much rebuilding to do (even though they won’t come out and say it).  Plus, unless the Ricketts Family is really willing to jack up the 2011 payroll, the Cubs are not in a position to be a player in free agency for at least another 2 seasons because of the exorbitant contracts still on the books for Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosukue Fukudome, Carlos Silva (via Milton Bradley) and Aramis Ramirez.  That leaves little ability for the Cubs GM to add veteran free-agent talent to complement the growth movement that the Cubs are trying to do with Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto and some of their young pitchers.

As for the weekend series against the Reds, Tom Gorzelanny will make the start tonight against Johnny Cueto.  He has 7 wins on the season with a nice 3.70 ERA.  He is still out to show Cubs brass that he can be a durable starter in the Cubs rotation in 2010, so Gorzelanny has a lot to prove over the final month.  Starlin Castro has continued his hot hitting, taking a modest 5-game hitting streak into the Reds series.  He is hitting .315 on the season, and once he gets the requisite number of at-bats, he should find himself in the top 5 for National League hitters in batting average.  Tyler Colvin started 2 of the 3 games against the Nationals under Mike Quade, so look for Colvin to see more action the rest of the way.  After the weekend series in Cincinnati, the Cubs will return home for a nice 9-game homestand at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field from August 30th through September 8th.

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Will Tom Gorzelanny Make the 2010 Starting Rotation? – Cubs 5, Padres 9 – 8/16/10

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Lou

I can’t remember a time when there will be so many question marks heading into the 2010 off-season for the Chicago Cubs.  Who will end up managing the club in 2011?  Who will make up the Cubs starting rotation beyond Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells?  What will the outfield look like?  Who will man 1st base after so many strong years from Derrek Lee?  Besides Carlos Marmol closing out games, who else will be in the Cubs bullpen?  It is going to be a free-for-all this off-season and in spring training – let’s hope there is a lot to look forward to in February of 2011…

Tom Gorzelanny got a chance to start on a regular basis for the Cubs once Carlos Zambrano self-destructed both out of the rotation and then off the team in the 1st half of the season.  Gorzelanny has been good and bad this season.  He had several good starts early in the season, but always seemed to be on the losing end of games because he didn’t get the necessary run support.  For example, in his 1st 6 starts, he allowed more than 2 earned runs only once, but had a 1-4 record with 1 no decision.  He won the 1st 4 starts of the month of July, not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts.  He even bumped his record over the .500 mark at 6-5.  But since that 6-5 win over the Cards at Wrigley Field on July 24th, Gorzelanny has struggled.  Has he hit a wall?  In 25 2/3 innigs pitched against the Rockies, Reds, Giants and Padres, Gorzelanny has given up 17 ER on 30 hits (3 home runs) and 10 walks. With the latest poor outings, his WHIP Has soared to 1.46 while his ERA is now close to the 4.00 mark at 3.85.

Gorzelanny matched Kevin Correja pitch for pitch last night through 4 innings, but then his hits and walks caught up with him.  He gave up single runs in the 5th and 6th innings and then got into serious trouble when the Padres tacked on 3 runs to increase their lead to 5-0.  He ended up yielding 5 ER on 9 hits and 3 walks in his 6 1/3 innings pitched.  Gorzelanny has mainly been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs and he has been an innings0-eater when called upon, but he is nothing more than a 4-5 starter at this point.  And given how the Cubs really don’t have an “ace” – please try to ignore the “ace dollar figures” that GM Jim Hendry has handed over to Zambrano and Dempster on a silver platter for non-ace-like numbers – the Cubs really need more out of a 4-5 starter than Gorzelanny has to offer.  Maybe Gorzelanny can be used as trade bait this off-season, or maybe if the Cubs can sign or pull of a deal for a legitimate top of the line starter, then maybe the Cubs can settle on Gorzelanny in the 5-spot in 2011.  But right now, unless Gorzelanny shows me that he still has some gas in the tank during his last 8 starts of the season, I think the Cubs will consider all possibilities ahead of Gorzelanny for a spot in the starting rotation.

As for the rest of the game, there were some good things and bad things.

Kosuke Fukudome kept up his hot hitting – 3 more hits including a 2-run double in the 7th inning that cut the Padres lead to 5-2.  Gotta love the way he is hitting of late.  It could help Hendry make a waiver deal for him over the next 6 weeks or a trade this off-season.  Blake DeWitt had 2 hits including a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning.  He has been as steady as they come since coming off from the Dodgers in a trading deadline move.

On the bad side, Andrew Cashner continued his struggled by allowing 2 ER on 3 hits in the 8th inning.  Ditto for James Russell who also gave up 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk in the 9th inning.  Both of these guys have shown signs of having what it takes to pitch in the major leagues, but right now they are just way too inconsistent to be reliable.  Let’s hope that trends the other way over the next year or so.

Randy Wells looks to right his “sophomore slump” of a season against former Cubs draftee Jon Garland at Wrigley Field tonight.  Wells is 0-3 in his last 4 starts, pitching past the 5th inning only once in the process…

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Gorzelanny Struggles as Cubs Lose to Giants – Cubs 4, Giants 5 – 8/11/10

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Lou

Tom Gorzelanny put the Cubs in an early hole with a 3-run 1st inning.  Although the Cubs would rally to tie the game at 3 in the 6th inning and then again at 4 in the 7th inning, they would end up losing 5-4.

Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin homered for the Cubs in the loss.

This just in – Cubs lose finale in San Francisco as well 8-7.  Andrew Cashner suffered his 5th loss of the season by giving up a 1-out bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th inning…

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My Prediction Was Right (Mostly)!!! Cubs 0, Reds 3 – 8/6/10 @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Lou

While I thought the Reds would push across more than 3 runs today, how right was I about the Cubs offense?!  After their 15-run attack against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, you just knew that the Cubs would lay an egg today against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.  I was right on the money!

Arroyo improved to 12-6 by scattering 5 hits and 1 walk over 7 scoreless innings.  50-year old Arthur Rhodes even got into the act for the Reds by pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning to preserve the Reds 3-0 lead.  (By the way, I was just kidding – Rhodes is “only” years old).  And even though Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero walked 2 batters in the 9th inning, he struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd and got Blake DeWitt to ground out back to the box to end the game.  Ho-hum – another dull Cubs loss at the Friendly Confines.

The Cubs did have a couple of opportunities throughout the game, but like usual, they never came through with the clutch hit.

Example 1 – In the 4th inning, the Cubs squandered back-to-back 2-out hits by Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd as Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to end the inning.

Example 2 – In the 5th inning, the Cubs wasted back-to-back leadoff singles by Blake DeWitt and Geovany Soto.  Both men moved up to 2nd and 3rd base on a wild pitch with nobody out, but were stranded as Tom Gorzelanny struck out, Tyler Colvin popped out and Starlin Castro struck out.

Example 3 – See 9th inning discussion above.  2 walks and no runs – what else is new?!

The Cubs have their best shot at a win on Saturday afternoon.  Randy Wells beat the Reds back in July and he looks to do so again against Edinson Volquez who has been mediocre at best since coming off the disabled list after the All-Star Break…

Go Cubs Go!!!

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