Posted on 23 March 2015 by Lou
The Cubs have started to play a lot better over the last week and a half, but Sunday was not meant to be. Jason Hammel had his best spring outing – 9 strikeouts in 5 scoreless innings allowing just 3 hits. But it was not enough — as Padres’ starter James Shields stymied the Cubs with 5 hitless innings.
Despite the loss, the Cubs have won 7 out of 10 and have been competitive in just about every game during this 2 week stretch. They now sit in the middle of the Cactus League standings with a 9-11 record.
The Cubs have an off-day today, before squaring off against the Oakland A’s on Tuesday afternoon. Edwin Jackson will get a chance to prove to Manager Joe Maddon that he deserves a spot in the rotation. Right now, Travis Wood appears to be the front-runner for that spot, but anything can happen during the last 10 days of spring ball. We may also see top prospect Kris Bryant in left field at some point during the contest.
We’ll keep you posted if anything else develops.
Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 11 March 2015 by Lou
Is it time to panic? The Cubs are the only major league baseball team that has yet to win a spring training baseball game. After a 10-6 loss to the Indians on Tuesday, the Cubs fell to 0-6-1 on the season.
But to soften the blow a little bit, Cubs fans saw what they hope to see often at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in the very near future. In the 4th inning with the Cubs trailing 4-0, Jorge Soler clubbed a monster HR to left field. Just 2 pitches later, Javier Baez broke an 0 for 9 slump to start the spring with a monster shot to left field right near Soler’s HR. And just a few pitches later, Kris Bryant made it 3 in a row with a bomb to right center field. It was Bryant’s 2nd HR of the spring.
Travis Wood struggled in his 2nd spring start. Wood allowed 4 runs on 7 hits over 3 innings. His defense didn’t help, as only 2 of the 4 runs were ER. In fact, with 4 errors on the day, only 4 of the 10 runs scored by the Indians were earned runs. So the team really needs to clean up the defense a lot the next few weeks of spring training is they expect to be in tip-top shape come the regular season.
Jon Lester makes his 2nd spring start against Zach Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Let’s hope it’s another gem from the Cubs’ ace.
Posted on 02 December 2014 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs are expected to tender a contract to starting pitcher Travis Wood before tonight’s deadline. Although Wood had a rough 2014 (8-13 record with a 5.03 ERA), the Cubs will hope that he can return to his 2013 form when he was named a National League All-Star.
The Cubs have 9 other arbitration-eligible players for whom they need to make decisions. The list includes pitchers Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, Wesley Wright and Felix Doubront; Catchers Wellington Castillo and John Baker; Outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Chris Coghlan; and infielder Luis Valbuena.
Once we get the final word tonight, we will give you all the details tomorrow. Contracts with these 10 players can be negotiated at any time through spring training — typically the team agrees to one-year deals with the players to whom they tender contracts.
Still no word on Jon Lester either. The winter meetings kick off in San Diego next week, so I would think we’ll have an answer at some point by the end of next week, if not sooner.
Go Cubs Go!!!
Posted on 27 November 2012 by Lou
The Cubs signed Scott Feldman to a 1-year, $6 million deal. Feldman made 21 starts for the Texas Rangers in 2012 and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer expects Feldman to be a starter for the Cubs in 2013. Hoyer stated: “I know he has bounced around a little bit with the Rangers, but in large part that was due to the amount of starting pitchers they had. We clearly see him as a starter, and we are excited to add him to the rotation.” He posted a high 5.09 ERA for the Rangers and only went 6-11. He had a breakout year with the Rangers in 2009, going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 31 starts. He hopes a change of scenery knowing that he will be a starter will help him return to form. Feldman stated: “Starting is something I have always wanted to do during my career. When Cubs executives gave me the go ahead on that and let me know I was in their plans from the get-go it was something that made me very interested in coming to the Cubs.
The Cubs are starting to round out the group of starting pitchers expected to be in the mix in 2013. Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood appear to be locks. Feldman is in that mix as well and Scott Baker could compete for a spot as well assuming his continued recovery from surgery stays on track.
We’ll keep you posted as the Cubs make further moves this winter…
Posted on 11 November 2012 by Lou
The Cubs qualifying bid for South Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu was not good enough as the Los Angeles Dodgers won the right to sign Ryu with a $25.75 million posting bid. The Dodgers keep taking on more salary under Magic Johnson’s new ownership team now that the nasty McCourt divorce issue is behind the organization. The Dodgers traded for Josh Beckett Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this season all of whom have hug contracts down the line.
In Ryu’s 1st professional season back in 2006 the lefty went 18-6 with a 2.23 ERA while racking up 205 strikeouts. Ryu helped South Korea top Cuba in the championship game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And despite a 9-9 record last season Ryu still had a sparkling 2.66 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 27 starts.
The Cubs are still in the free agent market for 2 starting pitchers. Matt Garza Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are likely starters back in 2013 for the Cubs.
We’ll keep you posted if anything develops over the next few weeks as baseball meetings heat up pretty quickly this winter…
Posted on 17 July 2012 by Lou
Travis Wood was due for a bad outing. The lefty surrendered 8 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks before Manager Dale Sveum mercifully pulled the starter with 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning. Wood did strike out 6 batters, but Carlos Lee’s 2 hits and grand slam were just too much for Wood to handle. Lee continued his penchant for crushing the ball at Wrigley Field.
David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena each had 2 hits for the Cubs in the loss.
The game marked the return of former White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano was apologetic to the media and Cubs fans before the game: “I still love these fans… I apologize for any inconvenience and anything that I did. The only thing that I wanted to do in Chicago is win, and I really apologize to the Cubs fans and the people here who treated me good.” Ozzie, on the other hand, was less diplomatic. Before the game, he issued a listed of Chicago media who were NOT ALLOWED to attend any of his media press conferences pre- or post-game. One of those included on the list is long-time ESPN Radio 1000 sage Bruce Levine. Bruce Levine has been in the baseball business for over a century and he has know Ozzie for almost 30 years. But Ozzie took offense that Levine did not support Ozzie more when the Marlins suspended Ozzie for 5 games early in the season for statements he made about Cuba’s President Fidel Castro which angered the Miami Latina community. Levine suggested that Ozzie should be suspended indefinitely until Ozzie, the Marlins baseball organization and the community could patch things up. That did not sit well with Ozzie who immediately issued an apologetic statement after he made the Castro comments. This is just another example of Ozzie being Ozzie – what do you expect?
In any event, Jeff Samardzija looks to kick off the 2nd half of the MLB season on a positive note. He’ll square off against Josh JOhnson in Game 2 of the series tonight.
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 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 24 May 2012 by Lou
OUCH! It keeps getting worse and worse. The Cubs fell to the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night as their losing streak reached 9 games. The Cubs have now been swept in each of their last 3 series. Not good, not good at all.
Jeff Samardzija pitched well again, but a key play in the bottom of the 4th inning cost the Cubs the game. Samardijza was cruising right along until the Astros had 2 on and 2 out in the 4th. It looked like the Cubs were going to get out of the inning when David DeJesus caught J.D. Martinez’s bloop hit down the right field line. But Darwin Barney was also going after the ball and as DeJesus caught the ball, Barney barreled into DeJesus knocking the ball out of his mitt. Both runners scored as Martinez hit his 1st career “triple”. The Cubs just keep finding ways to lose. Sanardzija ended up going 6 strong innings and kept the Cubs in the game with a 2-1 deficit, but the Cubs could never muster any offense other than Reed Johnson’s 1st inning home run.
Travis Wood kept the Cubs in the ballgame on Tuesday night as well. He worked 5 2/3 innings of 2 run ball, scattering 2 hits and 2 walks with 3 K’s. But the Cubs could only manage one run on a solo home run by Alfonso Soriano in the 4th inning.
The Cubs scored just 6 runs in the series, the same number of runs that they scored in the 3-game weekend series against the White Sox last weekend. The Cubs fell to 15-29 – a whopping 10 games back of the Cards. With the loss, the Cubs officially have the worse record in ALL of baseball…
Posted on 22 May 2012 by Lou
So much for Matt Garza putting an end to the Cubs current 6-game losing streak. Garza endured his worst outing of the season, giving up 7 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in just 3 innings. He gave up 2 3-run jacks that gave the Astros a comfortable 7-0 lead after just 3 innings of play.
After being swept in 2 straight series, the Cubs hoped that a road trip away from the “Friendly” Confines of Wrigley Field might turn the tides in their favor, especially with one of their best pitchers on the mound. But it wasn’t meant to be. For the 3rd straight game, the Cubs did not score a SINGLE RUN in the game’s 1st 8 innings. That has to be some sort of record. They lost 7-4 on Saturday (4 runs in the 9th); they lost 6-0 on Sunday; and they were losing 8-0 on Monday night before run-scoring singles from Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Blake Lalli in the 9th inning.
The lone bright spot – Randy Wells pitched the game’s final 5 innings allowing just a single ER on 3 hits and 2 walks. Yeah!
The Cubs are 15-26 – 8 games behind the Cards. Ouch!!! Let’s hope Travis Wood can snap the streak. In 3 starts against the Astros as a member of the Reds last season, Wood went 1-0 with a nasty 1.02 ERA against Houston. He still has a 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Astros – let’s hope he keeps that up tonight with the way the Cubs have been scoring runs of late…