Cubs Send Pirates Further Into Downward Spiral

The Cubs are enjoying the role of spoiler right now as they have won six out of their last seven, four of those being against the wild card contending Pirates.  The Pirates have not only lost fours games recently to the Cubs but they have lost seven straight and are on the verge to falling back to five hundred for the first time in forever.  Chris Rusin got the ball for the Cubs today and earned his first major league victory behind five strong innings.  Rusin gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six.  After the Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead the Pirates made things a little uncomfortable for Rusin and company by scoring once in the sixth and twice in the seventh to make it a one run game.  Starlin Castro who had a big day at the plate opened the gap up again in the bottom of the seventh with his 13th home run of the season, a three run job to put the Cubs up 7-4.  The Pirates would get one run closer in the eighth but that is as close as they would come as Carlos Marmol closed the door for his 20th save of the season, his 19th straight.  We all remember how horrible Marmol was at the beginning of the year but he deserves major credit for his turnaround.  In his last 19 save opportunities (since May 2) Marmol is 19-for-19 with a 0.49 ERA (1 ER/18.1 IP), wow, that is elite right there.


Rusin’s Postgame

Sveum’s Postgame

Game Highlights:
Rusin’s First Major League Win
Full Video Recap
Castro’s Huge Three-Run Homer
Rizzo’s Two-Run Double

Thanks for reading,
– George


September 14 – 17, 2012; vs. Pirates – Series Preview

The Pirates comes to town looking very much like the 2011 version of the club that collapsed down the stretch and finished with a below five hundred record yet again, and nothing like the surging contender earlier in the year.   The Pirates sit just two games over five hundred now and are losers of six straight games, three of those against the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week.  The Cubs on the other hand are playing solid baseball, winning five out of their last six games, all on the road which is really saying something given how bad they have been away from Wrigley this year.  Solid starting pitching and the long ball have paced the Cubs in September as they have ten home runs, 5th most in the National League this month.  No one has contributed more to that total than Alfonso Soriano as he has five home runs in just 12 games this month.  After being pulled in the third inning two nights ago, and missing yesterday’s game it sounds like Anthony Rizzo will be back in the Cubs lineup tomorrow, that collision could have been much worse.

Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.

Friday September  14, 2012
Pittsburgh: James McDonald (12-7, 3.93 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Rusin (0-2, 5.73 ERA)

Saturday September 15, 2012
Pittsburgh: Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.11 ERA)
Cubs: Jason Berken (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Sunday September 16, 2012
Pittsburgh: Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.72 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 5.99 ERA)

Monday September 17, 2012
Pittsburgh: Kevin Correia (10-9, 4.29 ERA)
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-11, 4.23 ERA)

Season Series:  Series Tied 6-6

Prediction:  Cubs win series 3-1

Thanks for reading,
– George

Soriano Powers Cubs to Series Win

There is no slowing down for Alfonso Soriano, sure he would like to see his average a little higher but the aging slugger is putting up some eye-popping numbers this year.  With his huge performance last night, which led the Cubs to a 5-1 victory, he is now hitting .260 on the year with 29 home runs and 96 RBI’s, he’s actually within striking distance on the National League lead in RBI’s (102 – Headley).  Travis Wood also turned in an outstanding performance to register his 6th win of the season against eleven losses.  Wood tossed 7.2 strong innings giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out six.  Soriano wasn’t the only Cub with a great day at the plate, Dave Sappelt continued his hot play of late.  Sappelt was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored, he is now hitting .350 in limited duty since his call up.  Last night was the 20th straight day with a game for the Cubs, they have today off before welcoming the Pirates to town this weekend.  It was also the last time the Cubs will visit Houston while they are in the National League as they move over to the American League next year.  Hitters are probably not too thrilled with the move, but I’m sure some of the pitchers are just fine with it.


Scary Moment for Storey


Game Highlights:
Soriano’s 29th Home Run
Wood’s Great Outing
Recker’s RBI Double
Soriano Doubles
Castillo’s RBI Single

Thanks for reading,

Cubs Use Long Ball to Sweep Away Pirates

Wins at this point of the year don’t mean much for the Cubs, sure they might be able to avoid 100 losses, but that’s about it.  Across the field in the other dugout these wins mean everything, which renders this weekend as a complete disaster for the Pirates as they walk away from this series without a single win.  Today it was a combination of solid starting pitching from Chris Rusin, and the long ball as the Cubs blasted three home runs in the 4-2 victory.  Rusin was solid on the mound for the Cubs as he tossed five strong innings giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out three.  Unfortunately the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hang on to a one run lead late so Rusin had to settle for a no decision.  After the Pirates tied the game in the seventh on a  James Russell balk, Alfonso Soriano continued is ridiculous 2012 by blasting his 28th home run of the season in the eighth to put the Cubs up for good 4-2.  Soriano finished the day 1-for-4 with a home run, and two RBI’s, he’s now has 94 RBI’s on the season to go with his 28 home runs.  Josh Vitters and Anthony Recker had the other two home runs for the Cubs today, it was Recker’s first major league home run.  Carlos Marmol had an uneasy ninth inning but was able to nail down his 18th save of the season and lowered his ERA  to under four, which was something that no one thought he would do this year back in May.


Game Highlights:
Soriano’s Game Winning Home Run
Marmol Escapes with the Save
Sappelt’s Nice Grab
Recker’s First Career Homer
Josh Vittes Goes Deep

Thanks for reading,
– George

Nats Pound Cubs Into Submission

No doubt about this one, as the Nationals pounded out 19 hits, six of which were home runs, and 11 runs en route to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs.  This one was ugly from the get go as Chris Rusin couldn’t command anything and was awesome at finding the barrel of the Nationals bats.  Rusin only lasted an inning plus giving up five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out one.  The Cubs used seven pitchers in this one, and everyone one of them gave up at least two hits except for Jaye Chapman who pitched a hitless, scoreless inning in his major league debut.  This one was basically a spring training game, Sveum threw out almost every pitcher possible to see what they had, most of them didn’t have much.  Offensively it was a weird night for the Cubs, hitters two through five were 8-14 with a triple, a home run, two walks, five RBI’s and five runs scored.  The rest of the Cubs were 0-for-19 with two walks, yikes.  Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo, Alfsonso Soriano, and Starlin Castro all had two hits in the loss.  Soriano had a great night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple, and three RBI’s.  The Cubs set a franchise record tonight by playing their 51st player of the year, not really sure if that’s something to be happy about, probably not.


Game Highlights:
DeJesus Makes a Great Catch
Soriano’s 26th Home Run
Castro With a Leaping Catch
Castro’s RBI Single
Chapman’s First Career K

Thanks for reading,
– George

Bizarro World: Volstad Wins Second Straight

Maybe Chris Volstad has found something.  Volstad went without a win in 24 straight starts, over a full calendar year, he has two wins in his last two starts.  Volstad was good today, on a day when the conditions favored anyone with a bat in their hands.  He found the zone early and then pitched to his strengths after that, he finished his day after 5.2 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two.  Coming into this one I don’t think many people gave the Cubs a chance, not only are the Giants much better, but the Cubs were facing all world lefty Madison Bumgarner.  As they say, that’s why they play the games.

The Cubs jumped Bumgarner early, as they scored once in the first and piled on four more in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.  The Giants tried to make it a game late as they pulled within two in the 8th but Carlos Marmol came on to shut the door in the ninth, again, he’s been outstanding as of late.  Anthony Rizzo hit his first home run since August 5, no one believed it so they actually had to review it to make sure.  Okay, that’s not really why, it was ruled a triple but replays showed it was gone, it was Rizzo’s 10th home run of the season, he finished the day 2-for-4 with an RBI, and two runs scored.  Alfonso Soriano also had a big day at the plate, basically rubbing it in the Giants face, “you’ll never get this, you’ll never get this” Soriano was overheard as he rounded the bases on his 24th home run of the season.  Soriano of course has said that he would prefer to not play in San Francisco if the Giants tried to trade for him, Soriano finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI’s.


Volstad Presser

Sveum Presser

Game Highlights
Soriano’s Two-Run Bomb
Full Video Recap
Rizzo’s ….. Home Run
Castillo’s RBI Double

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Win Wild One at Wrigley

I mentioned while watching the end of the game, it really doesn’t matter what the Cubs record is, seeing them win a game like that is fun and gets you pumped for what this team could be one day.  What a crazy day at Wrigley, haven’t seen one of these summer day games in a while.  This one started out well enough as the Cubs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead behind a Starlin Castro triple and Anthony Rizzo double, then things got familiar.  By familiar I mean bad, as in the Brewers started beating the crap out of Cubs pitching, again.  The Brewers scored five times in the 3rd, and two more times in the fourth to take a 7-3 lead.  They weren’t done there as they plated two more in the 6th to make it 9-3 and all but assured themselves of a four game sweep.  Not so fast, the Cubs came roaring back in the bottom of the sixth inning, they scored six times on four hits to even the game at nine.  It didn’t take long for the Brewers to grab the lead back as they scored once in the 7th and once in the 8th to build an 11-9 lead heading to the ninth.  That’s when the Cubs of 2012 turned into the Cubs of 2015, okay I’m getting ahead of myself, but the Cubs ninth inning is exactly what everyone is hoping to see on a daily basis on the Northside of Chicago.  Each guy worked the count and made sure that the pitcher was the one in trouble, the end result was a thrilling 12-11 walk off victory, the 50th of the season.  The Cubs walked 11 times this afternoon, that is outstanding, a number of guys had tremendous days, too many to mention here, the box score can do the talking.  I will say this, Starlin Castro had an outstanding day at the plate, not just because of the results, but because he worked every at bat especially in the ninth when he got down 0-2 before working the count to 3-2 and singling up the middle.  Great win!


Sveum Postgame

Game Highlights:
Full Video Recap
Rizzo’s Game Tying Double
Castro’s Big Hit in the Ninth
Cubs Six Run Sixth
Jackson’s Big Double
Rizzo Just Misses a HR
Castro Legs Out a Triple

Thanks for reading,
– George