— Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL —
Friday, April 4, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: MLBN, WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Saturday, April 5, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: CSN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
Sunday, April 6, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV: WGN) (RADIO: WGN 720)
— Series Vitals —
— Pitching Matchups —
Hernandez (Career vs. Cubs) (4 – 0; 1.95 ERA, 7 appearance, 7 starts)
Wood (Career vs. Phillies) (0 – 0; 2.11 ERA, 3 appearances, 3 starts)
Lee (Career vs. Cubs) (6 – 2; 3.19 ERA, 10 appearances, 10 starts)
Samardzija (Career vs. Phillies) (1 – 3; 10.80 ERA, 9 appearances, 3 starts)
Burnett (Career vs. Cubs) (7 – 2; 2.99 ERA, 11 appearances, 11 starts)
Villanueva (Career vs. Phillies) (2 – 0; 1.71 ERA, 14 appearances, 1 start)
Let’s go Cubs!
Welcome to “Riding the Bus” — How about that graphic, eh?? We’re excited, as usual, to bring you recaps of every Cubs minor league game, every night. Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy it.
At The Plate:
The Cougars brought their bats with them in the opener as they pounded Quad Cities pitching to the tune of eight runs on eleven hits. Jake Hannemann did a nice job out of the lead-off spot tonight, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored. DH for the evening, Ben Carhart was all over the base paths, Carhart was 1-for-2 with three walks (CUBS WAY!), an RBI, and three runs scored. Dr. Doubles, I mean, Yasiel Balaguert was locked in tonight, he went 4-for-4 with three doubles, and two RBI’s. The ninth spot in the order also got a spark tonight, Carlos Penalver went 3-for-3 with a walk, two stolen bases, and a run scored.
On The Mound:
All in all, a pretty solid effort from the Kane County staff tonight. 2012 first round draft pick Paul Blackburn made his single A debut tonight, and it was hit and miss. Blackburn worked four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits (not so good), while walking none (good), and striking out three. The pen was tremendous, Nathan Dorris, James Pugliese, and Jose Arias all had scoreless appearances. Dorris got the win, as he worked two innings giving up one hit, while walking one and striking out three.
At The Plate:
The Daytona Cubs mirrored the Major League club in this one as they dropped a tough 1-0 game to the Manatees. The D-Cubs could only manage five hits while getting shut out by a quartet of Brevard County pitchers. Dan Vogelbach was one of the few Cubs to register a hit, he was 1-for-3 in the loss. Jeimer Candelario, and Marco Hernandez also finished the night going 1-for-3 with a single. Gioskar Amaya was seeing the ball the best as he went 2-for-2 with a stolen base, and a walk.
On The Mound:
Nothing but good things from the Daytona staff in this one, unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. Felix Pena got the opening day start and was great, he worked six innings giving up one run on three hits, while walking one and striking out three. Zach Cates, and Arodys Vizcaino each worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
At The Plate:
Grumble, grumble, grumble. A tough opening day loss for the Smokies as they built a 5-0 lead early, then lost it late. Zeke DeVoss, a personal favorite, went 2-for-5 out of the lead-off spot with a triple, and an RBI. Kris Bryant! Bryant, making his AA debut tonight went 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a walk, an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Fun fact here, Bryant went deep off Reds starter Mat Latos who was making a rehab start, then Bryant swung at a 3-0 pitch later in the game, then Latos hit him, sucks getting torched in AA doesn’t it, Mat? Jorge Soler was 1-for-1 with a double in this one, he left early, and I think that was the plan ahead of time as he is coming back from a couple of injuries.
On The Mound:
Tough go of it for the Smokies pitching in this one as they seemed to lose their command as a group. Dae-Eun Rhee got the start and was solid early, then the plate started jumping around on him. Rhee worked four innings giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while walking four, and striking out four. Ryan Searle took over and was actually pretty good, he worked three innings giving up one run on one hit, while walking three, and striking out five. Tony Zych took the loss in this one as he worked one inning, giving up two runs on five hits, he didn’t walk or strikeout anyone.
At The Plate:
Not a lot went right tonight for the Iowa Cubs as they had trouble scoring, and keeping Memphis from scoring. Javier Baez made his triple A debut tonight, going 0-for-3 with a walk, and an error. A rededicated Josh Vitters has a solid night, he went 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored. Christian Villanueva, the new Iowa third baseman went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored in the loss.
On The Mound:
Not so good. Chris Rusin, who just lost out to Carlos Villanueva for the number five start spot in Chicago, struggled. Rusin worked 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while walking four, and striking out two. Yoanner Negrin was lights out tonight, he worked 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, walking none, and striking out four, stellar. Casey Coleman, yes, he’s still here, wasn’t sharp, he worked one inning, giving up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two, and striking out one. Mop up duty belonged to Marcus Hatley, and he did a fine job, working one scoreless innings while striking out two.
Thanks for reading!
The Cubs did some good things today, getting hits with runners in scoring position was not one of them. But about those good things, the Cubs pitching was stellar, and their defense was just as good. Jeff Samardzija loves facing the Pirates, especially in Pittsburgh, one year after going eight scoreless against the Buccos, he went seven scoreless but settled for a no decision. Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, and James Russell all did their job out of the bullpen, Carlos Villanueva, not so much. Villanueva faced one batter, and that was it, Neil Walker blasted a walk-off home run to move the Cubs to 0-1 on the young season.
The Cubs struggles were front and center at the plate as they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, yikes. They also struck out a lot, eleven times to be exact as they were baffled by Francisco Liriano all day long. I did like the Cubs approach today though, as they worked deep counts and were able to get to the Pirates pen by the 7th inning, it just didn’t work out. Emilio Bonifacio had a big day at the plate in his debut as he went 4-for-5 with a double, the Cubs as a whole only had six hits in the loss.
* Photo credit: GENE PUSKAR/AP
Carlos Villanueva made his return to the rotation this afternoon and was good but was on a pitch limit, so the Cubs needed a real big effort from their pitchers, and they got it. Villanueva and Hector Rondon each gave up a run today, but other than that the Cubs pitchers were spotless, all seven of them. Oh, except for Kevin Gregg, leading 3-2 in the ninth the Pirates were down to their last strike when Starling Marte launched a game tying solo shot, gut punch. Matt Guerrier came on in relief and gave the Cubs a chance to win and the Cubs did just that. After loading the bases with nobody out Dioner Navarro hit a game winning sacrifice fly to right field, and just like that the Cubs had a series win, their fourth in their last five. Sure this season is lost, but it is nice to see some positive results on the North Side, finally.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Carlos Villanueva gets the start today for the Cubs as they try to take the series from the Pirates this afternoon in the rubber game. The Pirates will counter with A.J. Burnett who has been outstanding against the Cubs this year. Villanueva was really good as a starter earlier this year but was relegated to bullpen duties when Matt Garza returned to the rotation, now that Feldman is gone his spot in the rotation is Villanueva’s.
Yet another outstanding effort from a Cubs starting pitcher ends up in a Cubs loss, as it has so often in 2013. It was Jeff Samardzija‘s turn to get screwed over as he was dominant all night only to see his record get worse as the Cubs couldn’t push a single run across the plate. Sure, Francisco Liriano was solid, but the vaunted “righty lineup” did what it usually does, come up empty, often. The turning point in this one took place in the third inning when the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out with the top of the order coming up. The Cubs couldn’t score in that situation, it wasn’t the first time this year, and it won’t be the last, and a team that can’t score in that situation doesn’t deserve to win the game. It wouldn’t be a Cubs loss without another fake rally in the ninth inning and that’s exactly what happened as the Cubs had runners on first and second with only one out and came away empty-handed yet again. If it’s not the bullpen blowing a game, it’s the offense not helping out a starter after he has done way more than enough to win, these losses are really starting to get on everyone’s nerves.
At The Plate – The Cubs could only manage four hits in the loss, they walked only once, and struck out eleven times. Here are a couple more depressing stats, they were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left eight guys on base. Julio Borbon, and Cody Ransom each had a hit in the loss while Welington Castillo had two singles.
On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija did everything he could to get the win tonight, I guess he was supposed to hit a home run as well, unfortunately he didn’t. Shark worked seven innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out eight. The loss drops his record to 2-6 on the season as he lowered his ERA to 3.25 for the year, amazing. Carlos Villanueva was available tonight, guess he wasn’t available twenty-four hours ago, he worked a scoreless inning while walking one.
Up Next – Game three of the series, hopefully the Cubs can find a way to salvage one game of this series. Edwin Jackson gets the start for the Cubs, he will be opposed by Jeanmar Gomez at 11:35 AM CST tomorrow morning.
Check back later, MLB.com has no Cubs highlights yet, oh right, they probably won’t.
Carlos Villanueva was so very good for parts of this season, but the last few times out have not gone so well. With the recent struggles it wouldn’t be surprising to see Villanueva head to the bullpen when Matt Garza returns. I know who he can replace, Shawn Camp , more on him later, he didn’t help his or the Cubs cause tonight. The Cubs were never in this one and it was over before it started it seemed as the Rockies jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the third inning. Things got worse in the fifth as the Rockies added two more to take a 7-0 lead, that’s when the Cubs woke up, with some help from the Rockies. The Cubs scored once in the fifth, and twice in the eighth to make it 7-3 but they wouldn’t get any closer. The Rockies tacked on two more runs in the ninth thanks to Carlos Gonzalez putting an exclamation point on his night with his second home run, he ended is evening 5-for-5 with two home runs, and three RBI’s. Seems about right when it comes to Car-Go and the Cubs. Two games in this series and two blow outs, one each way, wonder what tomorrow will bring.
At The Plate – The Cubs could only manage seven hits in this one, but they had their chances to score more than the four runs they did. The Cubs were only 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position in this one, and they left seven men on. David DeJesus was 2-for-5 with a run scored as he raised his average to .281 on the season. Darwin Barney found some magic in this one, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI’s, that performance raised his average to .186, going to need a few more of those from Darwin.
On The Mound – Carlos Villanueva was hit hard all night, even the outs were loud outs. Villanueva worked five innings giving up seven runs on twelve hits while striking out one, the loss dropped his record to 1-3 on the season. Hector Rondon continues to prove he belongs out of the pen as he worked a scoreless inning while walking one and striking out one to lower his ERA to 3.68 on the season. Michael Bowden also seems to be finding a comfort zone out of the pen, he worked two scoreless inning giving up two hits while striking out one. The only thing comfortable about Shawn Camp is how opposing hitters feel in the box against him. Camp is getting really close to be designated for assignment, he worked one inning tonight giving up two runs on three hits while striking out one, his ERA climbed to a robust 7.31 for the season.