Same thing every night it seems as once again the Cubs blew a ninth inning lead, this time it was Carlos Marmol giving up a game tying single to Joey Votto. Marmol then loaded the bases and narrowly escaped the jam, lucky he did as the Cubs responded right away in the tenth. An unlikely power source did the trick, Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep to start the tenth, how unlikely you ask? I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, that was Barney’s first home run away from Wrigley Field, in his career. The Cubs were able to tack on another insurance run for good measure and Kevin Gregg nailed down the save, with the tying run on base of course. Lost in this was the performance by Carlos Villanueva, he was sensational, but had to settle for a no decision and Carlos Marmol got the win…. yeah, the win stat in baseball doesn’t always tell the truth, sometimes it’s just a dirty liar, okay, Cubs win!
At The Plate – I know it’s easy to pin the blame on the bullpen with all of these close losses, but one of the other fingers has to be pointed at the offense as well, tonight was a perfect example. The Cubs jumped on the board early in this one, plating two runs in the second, that was it until the tenth, more times than not, that won’t be good enough. Hello Cody Ransom! Ransom made his Cubs debut tonight as was terrific, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano has located the fountain of youth, it’s in Cincinnati, weird place for it, but anyway. Soriano was 3-for-4 but his aggressiveness on the base paths was refreshing, he stole second and third on consecutive pitches which set up the first run, the Cubs need more of that. The Cubs stole four bases tonight, the two from Soriano, one from Sappelt, and one from Julio Borbon. Dave Sappelt had a solid night out of the lead-off spot as well going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and an RBI. Darwin Barney had the game winning hit, a solo home run in the tenth which was his only hit in four at bats.
On The Mound – What else can be said about Carlos Villanueva, he has been outstanding in the early going and only has one win to show for it. Villanueva went 8.1 innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking two and striking out six. Carlos Marmol blew the save, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit which allowed the tying run to score while walking two and striking out one. Kevin Gregg did a solid job in nailing this one down, I don’t expect any Cubs pitcher to go 1-2-3 in a save situation, he gave up two hits while striking out two to earn the save.
Up Next – Great match up in the series finale tomorrow morning at 11:30 AM CST on CSN Chicago. Jeff Samardzija battles Mat Latos, a series win would be fantastic, but again, the Cubs are trying to win a series tomorrow when they could be going for a sweep.
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I understand that the Cubs won’t be competitive this year, maybe competitive in games, but not to the point of winning anything substantial, but the one thing I expect to see at least is strong fundamental play. When the roster is hollowed, which it is, one would expect to see the little things done right, and players paying attention. We are only sixteen games into this season and it is clear that in some games the Cubs just aren’t mentally there. I suppose I shouldn’t be as upset about it because this kind of stuff happens on bad teams, and for the most part the Cubs have fought in games but today just got to me. It also is starting to get to Dale Sveum, “”This is obviously getting old…we’re making mistakes that rookie ball people make.” The Cubs only had four chances with runners in scoring position, they did convert once, but it wasn’t enough as four unearned runs did in the Cubs and Edwin Jackson, just frustrating.
At The Plate – The Cubs managed to out-hit the Brewers in this one 7-6, but the Brewers didn’t make any errors and thus they won. Of the seven Cubs hits only two were of the extra-base variety. David DeJesus was 1-for-3, as was Luis Valbuena. Alfonso Soriano was the only Cubs player to register an RBI, he was 1-for-4, and also made an error. Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 and he also made an error, the other error was made by Edwin Jackson. Nate Schierholtz, and Dave Sappelt were the only Cubs with extra base hits, both doubles.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson had a “quality” start by definition of the rule book as he went six innings giving up five runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out four. Hector Rondon, and Kameron Loe both worked scoreless innings in relief but by then the game was decided.
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Now these are the games that I think a lot of Cubs fans can get used to. Thirteen hits, and six runs, not just thirteen hits but nine extra base hits and many of them very loud. Maybe they just sounded loud because there were only 217 people at today’s game, but they were squared up for sure. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning amid the rain drops and this time they were able to keep their opponent at bay behind some solid pitching and defense. I’m not sure what was the bigger victory today, the Cubs win, or the fact that the game was actually played. Most of Chicago and the suburbs are under water, me included, so great job by the Wrigley grounds crew to get the field in the best shape possible.
At The Plate – Maybe the best day at the plate all year for the Cubs, big days all around. David DeJesus went 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a triple, a double, a walk and a run scored. Starlin Castro was solid as well as he went 1-for-3 with two walks, his first two of the year, a double, and a stolen base. Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, and the longest in the Majors this year, a 475 foot blast. His day could have been better two as it included two line outs, good to see solid contact from Rizzo. Alfonso Soriano also found some production, he went 1-for-5 with his first home run and first RBI of the season. Welington Castillo continued his red-hot start to the season going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s.
On The Mound – The Cubs pitching was just as good as the hitting in this one. Carlos Villanueva was finally rewarded for a solid outing, he earned his first win of the season going seven innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six. James Russell and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning to close this one out. Carlos Marmol was particularly good in this one as he didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
Up Next – The Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a three game series with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will get things going for the Cubs against Marco Estrada at 7:10 PM CST. I guarantee there will be no rain outs this weekend.
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The Cubs do have a flair for the dramatic, but as we have seen so often this season it usually ends with Cubs fans disappointed and another loss. Hey! That’s what happened tonight. Through seven innings it was the Derek Holland and Travis Wood show as the Rangers held a slim 1-0 lead. The Rangers were able to tack on some insurance runs in the eighth which they ended up needing. Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth the Cubs once again fought back and were one swing away from grabbing a victory but ended up falling short after scoring twice to make it 4-2.
At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t do much all night, but at least they were able to snap the 0-for-24 with RISP slump by going 2-for-4 tonight. Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-4 with a double and has his average all the way up to .275 for the season. Nate Schierholtz continued his hot hitting, this time off the bench going 1-for-1 with a two-run double. Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Welington Castillo each had one hit in the loss.
On The Mound – Travis Wood continued his strong start to the 2013 season, he went 7.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three and was hung with the loss. Shawn Camp is clearly not the Shawn Camp of 2012 just yet as he gave up two runs on two hits in just one-third of an inning. James Russell and newcomer Kameron Loe had scoreless appearances.
Up Next – Game two of the series will feature Carlos Villanueva against Justin Grimm as long as they can get it in, the weather is not going to be very helpful. The Chicago area is supposed to get hammered with rain on Wednesday and Thursday so we’ll see.
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Every game seems winnable with this team, more often than not, it still ends up as a loss. Heading into today it looked like a solid pitching match up on paper, and both guys delivered for the most part as Samardzija battled Bumgarner through six innings. The Giants built a 3-0 lead after six and a half innings and for the fifth straight game the Cubs wouldn’t go quietly. Dioner Navarro has a flare for dramatics it seems as for the second straight day he delivered a pinch hit home run. Today it was a two-run shot that brought the Cubs within one run, unfortunately that’s as close as they would get despite a wonderful opportunity. That was the story of the day for the Cubs, wasted opportunities, they had multiple chances to drive runs in while making outs, whether it be a ground ball or a sac fly, and the Cubs couldn’t do either, which isn’t that surprising. Welington Castillo had two great opportunities and failed both times. The latest was a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the eighth inning, he swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning ending double play.
At The Plate – Alfonso Soriano finally showed some signs of life at the plate today going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. Alberto Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Dioner Navarro, who will probably get the start tomorrow, was 1-for-1 off the bench with a two-run homer, yesterday he did it from the left side today from the right.
On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija turned in another solid outing and walks away with another loss. Samardzija went six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. He falls to 0-2 on the season with a sparkling 2.75 ERA. Michael Bowden came on in relief and gave up one run in one inning of work on two hits. Both Carlos Marmol and James Russell tossed scoreless innings to keep it close late.
Up Next – Game four of the series as the Cubs will try to salvage a split when it all honesty they could be going for a sweep. Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Cubs, he will oppose Tim Lincecum at 1:20 PM CST. Much warmer temperatures tomorrow, so there’s that.
Check back later, FOX is horrible.
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Ah, Spring in Chicago, either it’s great or horrible, usually no in between. Hopefully the weather cooperates today, and all weekend as the Cubs welcome the defending champion San Francisco Giants to town for a four game set. Should be some great baseball on display this weekend, hopefully for both teams. As usual the Giants boast of formidable pitching staff that will most definitely pose a challenge for the Cubs anemic offense.
The Cubs split the two game series with the Brewers as the final game was rained out.
The Giants swept the Rockies in a three game series at home.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 13, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on FOX
- Sunday, April 14, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71)
– Career vs. Giants (4 appearances, 2 GS) (0-3, 5.54)
Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35)
– Career vs. Giants (13 appearances, 1 GS) (2-1, 4.15)
Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.63)
– Career vs. Giants (6 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.53)
Game Four – Edwin Jackson (0-2, 5.73)
– Career vs. Giants (5 appearances, 4 GS) (2-2, 4.73)
Game One – Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44)
– Career vs. Cubs (15 appearances, 9 GS) (4-5, 5.73)
Game Two – Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38)
– Career vs. Cubs (13 GS) (6-2, 2.45)
Game Three – Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.79)
Game Four – Tim Lincecum (1-0, 4.91)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (4-4, 3.43)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
Something happened in the Brewers series, the Cubs found some offense, not only offense, but clutch offense. In both games the Cubs mounted comebacks, one successful, and one not so successful. Regardless, it was good to see guys having good at bats and driving the ball when they needed to. Welington Castillo has been a consistent threat at the plate since day one for the Cubs, he’s hitting .381 on the season with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s. Nate Schierholtz is also swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .304 on the season, and sports an impressive .385 OBP. Alfonso Soriano is scuffling, he’s back to missing his pitch and then getting himself out on the pitchers pitch. He’s hitting .194 on the season and has no extra base hits, or RBI’s. The Cubs pitching is starting to show some dents, but for the most part the starters have been great. Hector Rondon has been very good out of the pen, while Shawn Camp has struggled of late.
It’s a former Cub that is leading the offensive attack for the Giants, Angel Pagan is hitting .361 in the early going. Pablo Sandoval is also swinging a hot bat hitting .345 on the season with two home runs and six RBI’s, and has only struck out once in 29 at bats. Brandon Belt is struggling at the plate as he is only hitting .148 with only two extra base hits and no RBI’s. The Cubs won’t see Barry Zito in this series, usually that’s a bad thing, but not this year, Zito started on his comeback trail last year, and has continued it this year as he hasn’t given up a run so far this year in two starts over fourteen innings. Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain have been knocked around a bit as Vogelsong has a 8.44 ERA, and Cain has a 8.38 ERA, when was the last time you saw that?
The Cubs usually play up to their competition, at home at least, I think they play well enough to split this four game series. If they get a surprisingly solid performance from Feldman and Villanueva they might take three of four.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
More of the same from the Cubs offense tonight in Atlanta as they could only manage five hits and one run in a 4-1 loss. Sure Mike Minor was pounding the zone, but Cubs hitters made things way too easy on Braves pitching by having way too many aggressive at bats. The Cubs have two losses now, both with the “lefty lineup” on display, meaning DeJesus and Schierholtz on the bench. Not saying that they would have made a difference, but the Cubs always seem to struggle against lefties. Scott Feldman was all over the place, but battled, the result was being over 100 pitches and out the game before the end of the fifth inning. It’s not the end of the World, the Cubs are 2-2 which is probably a fair record at this point, if not better than it should be given the offensive struggles.
At The Plate – Another night, another low number in the hit column for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Welington Castillo, and Alberto Gonzalez were all 1-for-3. Hairston provided the only offense of the night with a solo home run in the fifth inning off of Minor.
On The Mound – Scott Feldman made his Cubs debut and really never settled into a groove. For the most part he was able to pitch around trouble but couldn’t get out of the 5th. Feldman went 4.2 innings giving up four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one. The bright spot was the bullpen, Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon shut the door over the last 2.1 innings but it was to no avail.
Up Next – Carlos Villanueva will make his Cubs debut opposite Julio Teheran at 6:00 PM CST. The Cubs will have their hands full again as Teheran is a high-class talent that will give them fits if they aren’t patient.
Stat Of The Night – The Cubs have 16 hits in the first four games of the season.
Thanks for reading,