Cubs go quietly as Reds take the series

We’ve seen this way too many times over the last 12 games, a decent pitching performance from the Cubs wasted as the offensive attack was anything but.  It happened again today as Brooks Raley did everything he could to get the Cubs a win but they fell short for the 11th time in their last 12 games.  Raley was much better in his second major league start as he went six strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out two.  It was a pitchers duel all day as Raley was perfect through four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth where he surrendered three straight hits, and two runs to basically put this one out of reach.  Things were never really in doubt this afternoon as the Cubs could only manage four hits against Johnny Cueto who tossed eight scoreless innings for his 15th win of the season.  After winning the first game of this series the Cubs put on a crap show the rest of the weekend.  This weekend will be best remembered for the lackadaisical effort put forth by the Cubs, that includes a five error “effort” on Friday and multiple mental mistakes, not just from players named Castro.

FULL BOX SCORE

 

Game Highlights:
DeJesus Makes a Nice Catch
Barney with the Bare Hand

Thanks for reading,
– George

August 12, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Reds

The Cubs look to finish the series with a split today after letting a late lead slip away yesterday.  Brooks Raley will make his second Major League start and he has quite the opponent, 14 game winner Johnny Cueto.  Here is how the Cubs will line up behind Raley.

DeJesus – RF
Barney -2B
Rizzo – 1B
Soriano – LF
Castro – SS
Valbuena – 3B
Jackson – CF
Clevenger – C
Raley – P

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!!
– George

August 9 – 12, 2012; vs. Reds – Series Preview

Talk about a weird schedule, the Cubs and Reds will play each other a total of 17 times during the 2012 season.  They have played each other only five times this year (one rain out) so far, and haven’t seen each other since May 3rd, a full three months ago.  Since then the Reds have taken off and the Cubs have sunk to the bottom of the Central division, which was somewhat expected.  The Reds have been rolling as they sit atop the Central division with a 2.5 game lead over the Pirates.  July was rather spectacular for the Reds as they had 19 wins, a Major League best (tied with Oakland).  They have leveled off here in August going 4-4 so far as they have lost their last four games, but they are doing this without their best player Joey Votto, quite the void to fill.  To be fair the Reds have beat up on lesser opponents while Votto has been out, and it continues in Chicago this weekend.  I hate saying that but it’s true, the Cubs are 0-for August, no wins in seven games and have lost eight straight.  The Cubs offensive woes might get even worse as they face a Reds team that is third in the National League in ERA at 3.38. 

SERIES VITALS

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Thursday August 9, 2012
Cincinnati: Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA)
Chicago: Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22ERA)

Mike Leake has been beat up a little bit over his last three starts, but has turned in a decent season for the Reds up to this point.  Leake has started against the Cubs 8 times in his career and he has been good.  In those 8 starts Leake is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP.  Volstad on the other hand has been very bad, for a while.  His numbers against the Reds in his career don’t exactly give me a lot of confidence that Volstad will record his first win in over a year.  In four career starts against the Reds, Volstad is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA, and a 1.479 WHIP, at least he has a win.

Friday August 10, 2012
Cincinnati: Homer Bailey (9-7, 3.98 ERA)
Chicago:  Justin Germano (1-1, 3.38ERA)

Justin Germano has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubs this season after being acquired mid-season from the Red Sox.  Germano has been versatile for the Cubs, pitching out of the pen and the rotation.  He is not going to light up the radar gun but he knows how to pitch, and pitchers have a chance against the Reds as opposed to throwers.  Likewise, Homer Bailey has also been a nice surprise this season for the Reds as he is starting to fulfill some of that potential that everyone was so excited about.  In his career, Bailey has been roughed up by the Cubs.  In 8 career starts, Bailey is 3-2 with a 5.60 ERA, and 1.667 WHIP.

Saturday August 11, 2012
Cincinnati: Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 4.05 ERA)
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-8, 4.77 ERA)

Travis Wood should have some extra incentive going into this one as the Reds are the only other team he has pitched for in his career.  After struggling a bit in July, Wood has been pretty good the last two times out, however he has no wins to show for it.  Bronson Arroyo profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, changes speeds, more slow than hard and the Cubs refuse to be patient.  The numbers back this up, in 26 games (24 starts) against the Cubs in his career he is 9-9 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP.  If the Cubs want success against Arroyo they need to take pitches and force him to elevate.

Sunday August 12, 2012
Cincinnati: Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.58 ERA)
Chicago: Brooks Raley (0-1, 15.75ERA)

Talk about being thrown into the fire, Brook Raley will make his second career start against a first place team and a 14 game winner.  Raley was the victim of some bad luck in his major league debut where balls were just finding holes.  He was unable to work out of jams after those dink and dunk hits and that’s what hurt him.  I’m sure nerves will be an issue once again for Raley as he will be making his Wrigley Field debut.  Johnny Cueto is having an outstanding season for the Reds, he has been just okay against the Cubs however.  In 15 career starts, Cueto is 5-6 with a 3.55 ERA with a 1.320 WHIP.

Season Series:  Reds lead 3-2

Prediction:  Reds win series, 3-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

8/2: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Nightly minor league recap for August 2, 2012.

FULL BOX SCORE

The AZL Cubs let things get interesting in the ninth, but they held on to win 6-5.  It was a good night for the highly touted prospects of the Cubs.  Albert Almora was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.  Jorge Soler also had a double and drove in two runs on Thursday.  Shawon Dunston and Jacob Rogers each had two hits with Dunston driving one run in.  Anthony Prieto started and pitched two scoreless innings.  He was relieved by 2012 3rd round pick Ryan McNeil who got his first professional win.  McNeil struck out two in two innings of work.  Jin-Young Kim came in to close things down recording the final two outs of the game and earning his second save.  As much as it got close it was still good to see the Cubs get the win.

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FULL BOX SCORE

As good as Boise has been lately Thursday was not there night losing 15-1.  In a game like that there just aren’t too many highlights, but we will try to find a couple.  Marco Hernandez and Daniel Vogelbach each had two hits, which those four were the only hits the Hawks had all night.  Vogelbach drove in his sixth run since being landing in Boise.  James Pugliese got the start and took the loss, but all five runs he gave up were unearned in his five innings of work.  Michael Heesch, Rafael Diplan, and Lance Rymel all struggled  in relief.  hopefully the Hawks can forget about this one and get back on track tomorrow.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Peoria just didn’t have enough to get the win tonight dropping Thursday’s game to Quad Cities 6-4.  Starling Peralta started and took the loss in this one going five innings giving up three runs on three hits, while walking three and striking out six.  The game took a turn for the worse when Justin Berg entered and he gave up three runs, unfortunately for him all were unearned in his two innings of work.  Sheldon McDonald threw a scoreless ninth striking out one.  After an eight RBI two home run performance how could Dustin Geiger do anything close.  Well, he went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run staying red-hot.  Bijan Rademacher and Pin-Chieh Chen each had two hits, with Chen driving in two.  Oliver Zapata had a hit and an RBI and Wes Darvill hit a triple.  Javier Baez had a rare rough day going 0-for-4.  Peoria will look back to getting on track tomorrow.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Daytona stayed hot and won another one Thursday defeating Fort Myers 8-2.  The story of the night came from newly acquired Christian Villanueva who came over in the Ryan Dempster deal.  In his first two at bats in the Cubs organization he hit two home runs.  He ended the night going 2-for-3 with two home runs, two runs scored, and two RBIs.  Ronald Torreyes continues to just hit going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.  John Andreoli, Rafael Lopez, and Timothy Saunders all had two hits a piece with Lopez driving in one.  Robert Whitenack started, but didn’t last long enough to get the win, as he only allowed one run, but struggled with his control walking four.  Ryan Searle got the win in relief, his fifth of the season.  He struck out five in 3.1 innings allowing only one run on two hits.  AJ Morris threw the last two inning allowing no runs and striking out one.  Daytona is trying to make a push here as they are really playing well as of late.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Not much good came out of this one as Tennessee lost to Pensacola 6-1.  Tennessee was only able to muster up two hits, both coming off the bat of Logan Watkins.  Watkins ended the game 2-for-4 with a home run.  In his first appearance in the Cubs organization Jacob Brigham only lasted three innings allowing three runs, two earned on five hits.  He also walked three and struck out two.  Zach Rosscup pitched five innings in relief allowing one run and striking out four and Tony Zych struggled in his one inning of relief.  Tomorrow is a new day.

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FULL BOX SCORE 

Iowa lost another losing to Colorodo Springs 7-4 on Thursday.  Brooks Raley took the loss giving up six runs on 10 hits in six innings.  Marcus Hatley pitched two really nice innings striking out three and not allowing a base runner.  Josh Vitters and Dave Sappelt each got back on track as they both went 3-for-5.  Greg Rohan followed his big day yesterday with another two hit, two RBI performance tonight.  James Adduci had two more hits and drove in one run.  Brett Jackson had one hit and stole his 26th base of the season.  There isn’t much more that can be said for Iowa that hasn’t been said already.

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Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

7/28: Around the Cubs Minor League System

The nightly minor league recaps.

The AZL Cubs were postponed.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Boise won in a pitchers dual 1-0.  Taylor Scott got the start and got the win pitching five innings allowing four hits, three walks, and striking out four.  Hayden Simpson threw an impressive three innings and Eduardo Orozco closed out the game earning his first save of the season.  Jeimer Candelario was 1-for-3 driving in the only Hawks run of the game.  Carlos Escobar had two hits, including a double and a run scored.  Boise has won two games in a row and look to keep that going.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Beloit took care of Peoria quite easily win 10-4.  Starling Peralta started and took the loss giving up five runs, four earned in five innings.  Jeffry Antigua pitched very good in relief striking out two in two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.73.  Offensively there wasn’t much exciting to report.  Sergio Burruel was the only Chief player with a multi-hit game going 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Paul Hoilman, Bijan Rademacher, and Yaniel Cabezas all had one hit.  Hoilman had an RBI as did Pin-Chieh Chen.  Peoria looks to get back on track.

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FULL BOX SCORE

A for run sixth wasn’t enough losing to Bradenton 9-7.  Kyler Burke struggled giving up seven runs, five earned on eight hits in five innings.  Burke struck out six in the loss.  Hunter Cervenka threw two scoreless innings in relief striking out three.  Ronald Torreyes had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-5 with home run, a double, and three RBIs.  Timothy Saunders added two hits and drove one in.  The Cubs got single RBIs from Taylor Davis, Matt Cerda, and Rubi Silva as well.  John Andreoli led off and had a hit and a walk and scored two runs.  Rebel Ridling and Rafael Lopez each contributed a hit to the effort and Lopez scored two runs.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Tennessee couldn’t hold Jacksonville down losing 8-5.  Nicholas Struck struggled in a losing effort giving up four runs in four innings pitched.  In a tough sign for Cub fans, Trey McNutt struggled in relief again and his ERA is now at 4.91.  Frank Batista continued his strong season pitching a scoreless eighth and striking out two lowering his ERA to 1.22.  Justin Bour had a night to remember at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs.  Matt Szczur led off in his second game with the Smokis, he went 1-for-4 with a run scored.  Logan Watkins was 1-for-4 with a run scored as was Chad NobleMichael Burgess had a double and Dustin Harrington added a hit and a run scored as well.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Iowa gave up one in the fifth to give them the lead.  The 2-1 lead held up and Iowa lost another one run game.  Brooks Raley was the hard luck loser pitching six innings allowing tow runs on six hits and striking out eight.  Marcus Hatley pitched well in relief striking out four in two innings.  The offense didn’t do much, Brett Jackson connected on his 15th home run of the season, ending the game 1-for-3 with a walk.  Adrian Cardenas and Josh Vitters each added ahit as did Blake Lalli.  After a nice win yesterday, the Cubs weren’t able to keep it going losing a close, low scoring game.

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Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

7/23: Around the Minor League System

Our nightly trip through the minors on July 23, 2012.  Tennessee had the night off and Daytona was postponed.

FULL BOX SCORE

AZL Cubs got back on track beating AZL Brewers 7-3.  First rund draft pick Albert Almora stole the show hitting his first professional home run.  A two-run bomb to left.  Ben Carhart had another nice night at the dish going 4-for-5 with a run scored.  Shawon Dunston Jr. and Trevor Gretzky, who replaced Almora each had two hits.  Dunston scored two runs and Gretzky drove one in.  Neftali Rosario added a hit and an RBI and Dan Vogelbach hit his 12th double of the season.  After the game Vogelbach tweeted that he was headed to Boise, so best of luck to him.  Arturo Maltos-Garcia  gave up two runs, but got the win in relief.  Steve Perakslis recorded his first save, striking out three in 2.2 innings.  Jorge Soler was hitless on Monday, going 0-for-5.  It was nice to see the Cubs get back on track Monday.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Boise won 3-0 behind the arm of Tayler Scott.  Scott earned his second win of the season, pitching six scoreless innings.  He surrendered only three hits, walked a batter and struck out four, his ERA now stands at 1.95.  Hayden Simpson pitched two scoreless innings and Matt Iannazzo pitched a scoreless ninth to record his first save.  The offense had a few bright spots.  Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  Gioskar Amaya had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-4 with a run scored, and a run batted in.  Marco Hernandez and Trey Martin each scored a run for Boise as well.  The Hawks haven’t enough nights like this, but maybe things will be turning around for them.

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FULL BOX SCORE

It was a great pitchers dual until Peoria gave up two runs in the eighth, eventually losing to South Bend 2-0.   Yao-Lin Wang started and struck out five in only 3.2 innings of work.  Jeffry Antigua pitched well again, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out three.  He dropped his ERA to 0.87.  Luis Liria took the loss, his fourth on the year.  Offensively there wasn’t too much happening as the Chiefs only were able to muster up two hits.  Chadd Krist and Yaniel Cabezas each had a double on Monday night.  Krist is now hitting .424 since his promotion from the Boise.  A nice pitched game, but a tough loss nonetheless.

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Daytona’s game on Monday was postponed.

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FULL BOX SCORE

The Iowa staff pitched pretty good on Monday, but it wasn’t good enough dropping the game to Albuquerque 3-1.  Brooks Raley got the start and took the loss.  He pitched five innings surrendering three runs, two earned on eight hits.  He also had an impressive eight strikeouts to go along with zero walks.  Esmailin Caridad and Michael Bowden combined to pitch the last three scoreless innings with Caridad striking out two.  At the dish Brian Esposito was the only Cub to have a multi-hit game going 2-for-3 and was the only Cub to drive in a run.  Adrian Cardenas and Josh Vitters each added a hit with Vitters hitting his 30th double of the season.  Iowa’s record now stands at 41-62.

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

 

7/18: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Minor league recap for July 18th, 2012.

Tennessee Smokies were off.

FULL BOX SCORE

For most of the year the hitting in Arizona has been the highlight on Wednesday the pitching took center stage defeating the AZL Dodgers 4-0.  The Cubs used four pitchers to complete the three hit shutout.  Anthony Prieto started and pitched two innings striking out two while not allowing a baserunner.  Arutro Maltos-Garcia pitched two scorelss innings and Loiger Padron struck out three in his three innings of work.  Padron was awarded the win, his second of the season.  Alvido Jimenez pitched the last two innings preserving the shutout for the Cubs.  Offensively the Cubs did not do as much as we have come to expect, but there were still some highlights.  Ben Carhart was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.  Daniel Lockhart had a hit and drove in two runs.  Neftali Rosario was 2-for-3 and scored two runs on Wednesday night.  A great performance by the staff on Wednesday led to this win.

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FULL BOX SCORE

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Boise’s two game winning streak came to an end dropping Wednesday’s game to Yakima 8-4.  Tayler Scott got the start giving up four runs in 4.2 innings.  He did not factor in the decision though as he left with the game tied.  Hayden Simpson took the loss giving up four runs in 2.1 innings.  The Cubs offense came off the bats of only a few players.  Five different players had two hits, but every other player was hitless.  Gioskar Amaya hit his fourth home run of the season and Trey Martin drove in a run with his two hits.  Jeimer Candelario had two hits and drove in two runs on Wednesday.  Stephen Bruno and Xavier Batista also had two hits a piece and scored a run.  Let’s see if the Hawks can get back on track on Thursday.

FULL BOX SCORE

It was an exciting game between Peoria and West Michigan, but the Chiefs did not come out on top.  Losing by two entering the eighth, Peoria tied the game and sent it to extra innings.  Peoria scored one in the tenth, but then gave up two in the bottom half to lose 9-8.  On the offensive side of things every Chiefs player had a hit.  Chadd Krist was 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.  Pin-Chieh Chen and Zeke DeVoss also had two hits and drove in two on the night.  Javier Baez continued his hot stretch adding two more hits, bringing his average to .333.  Bijan Rademacher and Oliver Zapata each drove in a run for Peoria.  The pitching was up and down on Wednesday Jose Rosario and Sheldon McDonald were not very good responsible for the first seven runs West Michigan gave up on Wednesday.  Luis Liria and Austin Reed each pitched two scoreless innings to put Peoria in line for the win.  Larry Suarez gave up two unearned runs in the tenth to take the loss.  This is a tough one to swallow as Peoria came back, took the lead, and then blew it in the end.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Two first inning runs turned out to be all Charlotte would need beating Daytona 3-1 on Wednesday.  PJ Francescon got the start and took the loss allowing three runs on seven hits and walking four in 5.1 innings.  The bullpen did all they could to keep the game close as Eduardo Figueroa, Ryan Searle, and Brian Schlitter combined to pitch 3.2 innings allowing no runs on only two hits.  The Daytona bats never really got going, only having five hits.  Taylor Davis was 1-for-2 including his second home run of the season.  The Cubs also got single hits from Matt Szczur, Matt Cerda, John Andreoli, and Elliot Soto.

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FULL BOX SCORE

Iowa took advantage of a lot of New Orleans mistakes to win 2-1 in 11 innings.  The Cubs won when James Adduci scored on a throwing error by New Orleans pitcher Gary Glover.  Brooks Raley pitched seven good innings allowing no runs on five hits.  he also walked four and struck four out, leaving with a chance to get the win.  Jay Jackson, however gave up a run in his one inning of work.  Michael Bowden pitched two scoreless innings and Jeff Beliveau struck out the side in his one inning of work earning his fourth win of the season.  Dave Sappelt was the only Cubs player to have more than one hit, he had two, including a double.  Brett Jackson hit his 20th double of the season and Welington Castillo also had a hit.  A nice win for Iowa on Wednesday night.

Thanks for reading,