The Cubs go for two in a row over the White Sox behind Travis Wood tonight. he weather is much like it was yesterday, which could spell trouble for Wood. He has to limit the walks tonight because the ball will be jumping once again. Here is how the Cubs will line up, LaHair in right again as Rizzo prep continues.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
Regardless of where the teams are in the standings it is always fun to beat the White Sox, especially the way the Cubs did tonight. For the first time in what seems like forever the Cubs were on the right side of a blow out as the Cubs pounded out five home runs en route to a 12-3 victory. The Cubs jumped on Zach Stewart early as they got two runs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. It didn’t stop there, for once, as the Cubs scored three more in the fifth to make it 5-o. As it always is with this team you never when you can relax, as illustrated by the Sox mini rally. The Sox got one back in the bottom of the 5th to make it 5-1 and plated two more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-3. That’s as close as the Sox would get as the Cubs would have a huge seventh inning as they scored six times on five hits including a three run shot from Luis Valbuena to make it 12-3 and that’s how it would end.
Matt Garza didn’t need too much help as he pitched very well on a tough night to do so. It was a very hot and windy night which made the Cell play smaller than it actually is, but Garza limited the damage. Garza went six strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six. Every Cubs player had at least one hit in the blow out win. Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena each had three hits on the night, with Castro belting a two run homer and Valbuena hitting a three run shot for good measure. Bryan LaHair, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto all had two hits, and all three guys hit home runs as well. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
The madness continued this afternoon for the Cubs as they lost their 11th straight one-run game. Think about that for a second, the last 11 games decided by one run have been losses. That is hard to do, but I guess when a team can’t get clutch hits, and when they finally do the bullpen can’t hold the lead then that’s what happens. Today was a perfect illustration of how the Cubs somehow find a way to lose a one run game. Trailing 2-1 in the top of the 8th with two-out Dale Sveum turned to Bryan LaHair off the bench and he delivered. LaHair launched a long two-run home run to right centerfield to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead and probably showed the most emotion he has all year rounding the bases. That’s not a knock on LaHair but he’s pretty reserved, he we definitely jacked up when that one left the yard. Unfortunately, like so many times this year when the Cubs take a lead late in the game they usually give it right back, and that’s exactly what happened. The Cubs allowed the Brewers to tie it in the bottom of the 8th inning and Casey Coleman gave up a walk off home run to Aoki, his second of the game, in the bottom of the 10th to lose the game and series.
Matt Garza had one of his best road outings on the season as he went six strong innings allowing two runs on four hits. His command was much better than it has been on the road as he only walked one guy and struck out six in the no decision. Not much going for the Cubs at the plate as Randy Wolf completely shut them down. Joe Mather was 2-for-4 at the plate and Bryan LaHair did more than anyone in just one at bat going 1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI’s… off to Minnesota. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Seems like these kind of games are happening every other night, the Cubs play a hard-fought game only to see the bullpen come in and look more like a little league bullpen than a major league baseball one. It started with Shawn Camp in the 8th inning, and to be fair Camp has been a pleasant surprise thus far. But he hung a slider to Carlos Ruiz in a 2-2 game and Ruiz promptly untied it with a solo home run to left field. Things like that happen, but what gets me is the Cubs pen handing runs to the opponent. This time it was Scott Maine who couldn’t get the ball over the plate when the Phillies were trying to get a bunt down in the 9th inning. Maine, who was called up to replace Lendy Castillo who has a groin issue, couldn’t get anyone out in the 9th inning before leaving the game with the bases loaded and nobody out with the Cubs trailing 3-2, still a manageable deficit. In came Michael Bowden and out went any chance for the Cubs to win the game as Bowden gave up a two run single to Ty Wiggington and a grand slam to Hector Luna, yeah, Hector Luna hit a grand slam. That was all she wrote for the Cubs as they fell 9-2 after entering the 8th inning tied at two. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Saying it’s getting old might be a little bit of an understatement for this Cubs team. Yet another scrappy effort, and a late inning lead fall by the wayside as the cubs bullpen can’t hold a lead once again. Same crap, different day for Kerry Wood as he was the culprit once again. Wood started the 7th inning by walking Furcal on four straight pitches, none of which were close. As is the case so often lead off walks in the late innings usually come back to haunt you, and it did, as the Cardinals put together a rally to tie the game at five. A Matt Carpenter home run in the 8th inning off of James Russell looked like the final nail in the Cubs coffin.
Alfonso Soriano said not so fast as he launched an 0-1 fastball from Jason Motte over the right centerfield wall for his first home run of the season to tie the game at six. The excitement was short-lived however as the Cardinals were able to push across a run in the bottom of the ninth of Dolis to win the game 7-6. The Cubs, specifically Ian Stewart didn’t make it easy on the Cardinals as he flashed some major leather in the 9th in an effort to extend the game, unfortunately Yadier Molina had the last laugh. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Another one of those weird games in St. Louis that featured the Cubs pounding out 14 hits, blowing a four run lead and then winning the game 6-4. The Cubs were spraying hits all over the field in the early innings but couldn’t get anything across the plate as they left seven guys on base through four innings. Ryan Dempster was strong once again going six innings and giving up four runs, all in the 6th after the Cardinals got a break on a David Freese check swing that wasn’t ruled as such. Shawn Camp got the win out of the bullpen and he deserved is after going two stellar innings, only surrendering one hit.
The Cubs were clicking at the plate as five different guys had multi-hit games. Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a miserably failed sac bunt attempt late in the game, the Cubs won so I won’t go on about this. Bryan LaHair seems to be getting out of his funk as he went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI’s. The big hit of the night came from Alfonso Soriano who looped a base-hit into left field with two outs in the 8th to score the eventual winning run in Tony Campana. The Cubs go for the abbreviated sweep this afternoon. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Now that’s a baseball game right there, I hope you didn’t blink at all because if you did you probably missed another stellar Cubs victory. Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson were both at the top of their game this afternoon and the result was a 1-0 Cubs victory in just two hours and five minutes. After six straight shut down innings the door was open for the Cubs and they busted through. David DeJesus led the 7th off with a base hit, Campana sacrficed him to second, and Castro grounded out to the right side to move him to third with two outs. Then Bryan LaHair came up with a ginormous hit to put the Cubs on top 1-0 which was all they needed.
Cubs starters have been dominant, especially in this series, and Maholm was no different today. Maholm worked seven spotless innings only allowing three hits while earning not only his fourth win of the season but his fourth straight victory. A 4-2 home stand is good, it’s great considering the opponents. The Cubs won four of six from two of the best teams in the National League, they are showing just how good they can be, and it’s a treat to watch. Full box score and highlights after the jump.