Cubs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

Cubs 5-2 line

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  Just when you think that the Cubs have lost every way possible they go and gives us another disaster.  At this point it seems as though the only thing that is holding the Cubs back, is the Cubs themselves.  Travis Wood was outstanding in this one, as he has been so often this year, and yet again, somehow, the Cubs found a way to lose.  After taking a wood 5-2late 2-0 lead on a clutch Scott Hairston home run the wheels fell of in the eighth.  With two outs and two guys on it looked like the Cubs were going to get out of it, then the wind took over.  Yonder Alonso, who had the day off until the eighth inning, hit a fly ball to right field, it turned into more of a pop up in short right field because of the wind.  Julio Borbon, who made a spectacular catch to retire the previous batter charged in and called off Barney, then flat-out missed the ball, that allowed the Padres to score and make it 2-1, and extended the inning.  That marked the end of the day for Wood, but not the end of the misery.  Shawn Camp came in and Welington Castillo completed boxed the first pitch from Camp to allow the game tying run to score, not only was it a passed ball on Castillo, but he completely dogged it while “chasing” the ball down.  The Padres runner didn’t break right away, and if Castillo hustles they have a great chance to get him at the plate, he didn’t, and when the dust finally settled the Padres led 4-2 and the Cubs were done.  Yet again, a series the Cubs should have won, ends in a split, so very frustrating.

Borbon 5-2

At The Plate – The familiar issues were there once again for the Cubs as they tallied nine hits in this one but could only score twice as they were o-for-7 with runners in scoring position.  Scott Hairston had the big blow for the Cubs, a two run homer in the seventh that looked like it would be the difference.  Hairston finished the day going 1-for-3 with two RBI’s, said home run, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo at least had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with a run scored.

On The Mound – For the second straight game the Cubs starting pitching was the story, or should have been the story as Travis Wood was brilliant.  Wood carried a perfect game through four and two-thirds, giving up a hit to Kyle Blanks with two outs in the fifth.  Wood ended up going 7.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three, and was tagged with the loss, mind numbing.  Shawn Camp was charged with an earned run, and didn’t retire anyone as he walked the only batter he faced.  James Russell didn’t have it today either as he gave up the difference making hit in two-thirds of an inning.  Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth inning, he hit a batter, and gave up a hit, but kept the Padres off the scoreboard.

Up Next – The Cubs welcome the Reds to Wrigley for a three game weekend set.  Carlos Villanueva will get the ball for the Cubs in game one and the Reds will counter with Mike Leake, first pitch scheduled at 1:20 PM CST, weather permitting.

Cubs 5-2 box

Game Highlights:

Hairston’s two run homer
Castro’s slick play
Barney turns a line out into a double play
Borbon’s great catch
Full video recap
Castillo’s error’s

Thanks for reading,
– George

Clutch Hitting, Pitching, and Defense Lead Cubs to Third Straight Win

Cubs april 27 line

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As far as team wins go this one might be at the top of the list.  For really the first time all year the Cubs put everything together for a solid victory that included clutch hits, outstanding pitching, and a handful of tremendous defensive plays.  Yes, this is the 2013 Cubs we are talking about here, and it was a pleasure to watch.  The Cubs jumped in front early again in this one taking a 1-0 lead in the first and a 2-1 lead in the second, both times they allowed the Marlins to tie it up.  The game stayed tied at two into the seventh inning and that’s where the Cubs came up clutch.  The Marlins went to Mike Dunn, a lefty specialist to take care of Julio Borbon, Borbon drew a walk, then Dunn DeJesus 4-27was tasked with retiring DeJesus, he couldn’t do that either.  With Castillo at second DeJesus smacked a ground ball base hit back up the middle to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.  The Cubs pen did the job the rest of the way to secure their third straight win, with a whole bunch of help from Starlin Castro and his glove.

At The Plate – The Cubs finally found some clutch hitting in this one as they were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo was also right in the middle of the action going 2-for-4, and scored the game winning run.  Luis Valbuena has been in a good stretch as well, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory.  Loved the Cubs approach tonight as they walked four times and struck out only five times.

On The Mound – Travis Wood was outstanding once again in this one as he earned his second win of the season.  Wood went six innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking one and striking out five, he is now 2-1 on the season with a 2.25 ERA.  The bullpen then took over as they shut down the Marlins over the last three innings to preserve the win.  Kameron Loe worked a scoreless inning giving up a hit while walking one.  James Russell and Carlos Marmol teamed up to work a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering one hit and one walk.  Kevin Gregg once again pitched a flawless ninth inning for his third save of the season.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their fourth straight win and a series sweep of the Marlins tomorrow afternoon.  Carlos Villanueva will take the mound for the Cubs opposite Ricky Nolasco at 12:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-27 box

Game Highlights:

Luis Valbuena RBI single
Schierholtz with a spectacular catch
DeJesus’ game winning single
Castro’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George

Valbuena’s Blast Propels Cubs to Victory

Cubs Line 4-25

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How was that for exciting, for the second time in the last week Luis Valbuena belted a clutch home run to put the Cubs up late, this time they actually won the game.  Things weren’t looking so good early on as Edwin Jackson was struggling with his command and the Marlins jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning.  Usually that spells the end of the game for the Cubs given their offensive woes, but not tonight.  The Cubs scored once in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, and then tied it in the sixth on a home run by you guessed it, Schierholtz again.  Jackson settled in, and the Cubs pen did a great job to get the game Valbuena 4-25tied at three and then Valbuena delivered the game winning shot in the top of the ninth.  Carlos Marmol came on to get the save, and of course made it very interesting for everyone involved by putting the first two men on before escaping the jam, Cubs win!

At The Plate – The Cubs were only able to manage six hits in this one, but they made them count as they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored from the lead-off spot.  Starlin Castro got the Cubs on the board early with an RBI single, he finished the day 1-for-4.  Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Luis Valbuena, the hero on this night went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.

On The Mound – It didn’t look like Edwin Jackson was going to make it through four innings in this one but he battled his way to a quality start.  Jackson went six innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four.  The Cubs pen shined in this one as Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol all tossed scoreless innings in the victory.  Impressive job by Marmol after it looked like things were going to unravel, he walked the first guy, gave up a hit to the next guy then settled in as he struck out the Marlins best hitter Giancarlo Stanton with the tying run in scoring position to end this one.

Up Next – Game two of the series as Scott Feldman looks for his first win of the season against Wade LeBlanc at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-25 box

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s game winner
Great defensive play in the ninth
Marmol gets the save
Schierholtz ties it with a home run
Castro’s RBI single
Great catch by Barney
Castillo’s RBI double
Slick play by Barney and Castro

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find a Way to Win Despite Another Blown Save

Cubs April 23 line

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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 Castillo 4-23 winperformance 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.

Cubs 4-23 box 1

Cubs 4-23 box 2

Game Highlights:

Cody Ransom goes deep in debut
Big double play
Darwin Barney’s game winning blast
Sappelt’s RBI single
Slick play here from Cody Ransom

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

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This is starting to get out of hand, maybe it already is out of hand, but the way the Cubs are losing games is almost hard to believe, even for the Cubs.  The latest chapter in this horrific story of a season took place tonight in Cincinnati where the Cubs seemingly did everything to win.  They received a tremendous performance from starter Travis Wood, jumped out to an early lead, had a strong performance from the bullpen for the most part, and yet still lost.  Such is life as a Cubs fan and Cubs team at this point, every game this year has been decided by four runs or less, think about that, all of them.  You know what decides close games in the majors?  Bullpen and clutch hitting, Travis  Wood 4-22usually with runners in scoring position, two things the Cubs have been terrible at.  Luis Valbuena hit a monster two-run shot in the top of the thirteenth to give the Cubs a two run lead, nothing could go wrong, until it did.  Before anyone could even savor that two-run homer, Michael Bowden, who didn’t get much help from Sappelt in right field, gave up three runs and the game was over, ho-hum, another mind numbing loss.

At The Plate – David DeJesus got things going right away in this one as he led the game off with a home run, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a home run, two walks, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz was solid as well going 3-for-6, but also had three strikeouts.  Luis Valbuena had the big hit for the Cubs, that two-run homer that I mentioned, and finished the day 2-for-6 with two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Darwin Barney was 2-for-6 with a run scored, the Cubs left 12 men on base in this one, that didn’t help either.

On The Mound – Travis Wood was great again, against a tough lineup, and once again had nothing to show for it.  He went 6.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out five.  Shawn Camp worked a third of an inning, but balked in the tying run, yes, again.  James Russell, Carlos Marmol, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances out of the pen.  Marmol was particularly strong going two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two.  Michael Bowden was good, then really bad, he took the loss going 1.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits. 

Up Next – Carlos Villanueva looks to play stopper tomorrow night against Tony Cingrani, the Reds highly touted prospect.  First pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-22 box 1

Cubs 4-22 box 2

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s two-run homer
Castro RBI single
DeJesus lead-off homer

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Use Extra Base Hits to Pound Rangers

Cubs April 18 line

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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 Anthony Rizzocrew 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.

Cubs April 18 box

Cubs April 18 Box 1

Game Highlights:

Soriano goes deep
Rizzo hits a monster a shot, really far
Valbuena’s single puts the Cubs on top
Castro and Barney turn two
Valnbuena’s RBI double
Villanueva’s slick double play

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Waste Opportunities in Loss to Giants

Cubs 4-13 line

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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, Navarro 4-13wasted 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.

Cubs April 13 box

 

Cubs April 13 box 1

 

Game Highlights:

Check back later, FOX is horrible.

Thanks for reading,
– George