The Cubs come into this series playing well, okay, play well for most of the game I guess. The Cubs could have very easily taken three out of four from the Padres, or two out of three from the Reds last month, but they just can’t get out of their own way. Today the Cubs welcome those Reds to Wrigley Field for a three game weekend set, and hopefully some revenge as well. The Reds took two out of three from the Cubs in Cincinnati the last time these two teams met. It was a great series, and the Cubs pitchers shut down the Reds vaunted lineup, but couldn’t find a big hit the whole series, or a closer the whole series and ended up losing two out of three. It will be another challenge this weekend for the Cubs pitchers as the Reds continue to hit and score runs, they have scored 128 runs, good enough for sixth in baseball compared to the 100 runs the Cubs have scored which is 26th in baseball. The Reds team ERA is also impressive, currently they sit fourth in the Majors with a 3.32 ERA, the Cubs are not too far behind though, they have a team ERA of 3.72, that’s good for twelfth in the Majors. This should be a good series, hopefully the results are better this time around.
The Cubs split a four game series with the Padres at Wrigley.
The Reds lost two out of three to the Cardinals in St. Louis
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Friday, May 3, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Saturday, May 4, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Sunday, May 5, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 2.29)
– Career vs. Reds (21 appearances, 6 GS) (2-2, 3.72)
Game Two – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.35)
– Career vs. Reds (17 appearances, 3 GS) (1-2, 4.09)
Game Three – Edwin Jackson (0-4, 6.27)
– Career vs. Reds (3 GS) (1-0, 2.57)
Game One – Mike Leake (1-1, 4.34)
– Career vs. Cubs (11 GS) (4-2, 3.46)
Game Two – Tony Cingrani (2-0, 1.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 2.57)
Game Three – Mat Latos (2-0, 1.83)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.58)
The Cubs are playing better baseball, but it’s still not good enough to win games consistently at the Major League level. I think too many mistakes pop up again this weekend and the Cubs lose two out of three to the Reds. Prove me wrong….please?
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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 late 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.
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.
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The Cubs held early leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but couldn’t hang on as the Marlins scored four times in the final three innings en route to a 6-4 victory. Giancarlo Stanton finally broke out, a day too soon for the Cubs as he blasted two home runs and drove in four of the six runs the Marlins scored. The one guy that can’t beat you in this lineup is Stanton, and he beat the Cubs today. Winning three out of four is good, especially on the road, but a sweep would have been nice. The Cubs couldn’t take advantage of a couple of opportunities they had in this one as they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Today marked the first game all year that Carlos Villanueva gave up more than two runs, not a bad run at all.
At The Plate – A number of guys had solid days, unfortunately the guys that struggled did so with guys on base. David DeJesus was 1-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored. Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a double, and two RBI’s. Anthony Rizzo stayed hot going 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI. Dioner Navarro was 1-for-4 with his third home run of the season leading off the ninth inning, but the Cubs couldn’t mount a rally after that.
On The Mound – Carlos Villanueva has been great all year, and until the sixth inning he was outstanding again. Villanueva was hung with the loss, going six innings giving up four runs on four hits while walking three and striking out eight. Kameron Loe was also roughed up out of the pen going two innings giving up two runs on three hits
Up Next – The Cubs return home to face the Padres, another four game series, and a chance for the Cubs to continue playing solid baseball and get some wins. Jeff Samardzija will get the ball in game one, he will be opposed by Clayton Richard at 7:05 PM CST.
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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 was 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.
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Well, based on the records, this could be an ugly series as the Cubs come in at 6-14 with the Marlins sporting a 5-16 record, that’s a lot of losses. As one could imagine, it hasn’t gone well of late for either team as the Cubs are 2-8 ion their last ten games, of course at least half of those losses could be wins, and the Marlins are 3-7 in their last ten. The Marlins struggles are similar to the that of the Cubs, they can’t score runs. The Marlins have the worst team batting average in all of baseball (.221), the Cubs aren’t much better at .229 (26th in MLB). The Marlins are also dead last in runs scored with 54, eleven fewer than the Cubs on the season. The Cubs also hold the edge in the pitching department as they sport a 3.44 team ERA which is 9th best in all of baseball, think about that for a second, the Cubs have the 9th best ERA yet sit eight games under .500 this year. The Marlins team ERA is a full run worse than that of the Cubs, they sit 26th in the Majors at 4.50. All signs point to a successful weekend in Miami for the Cubs, but they still have to go out there and perform.
The Cubs left Cincinnati wanting more, they lost two of three and could have easily won two of three.
The Marlins split a rain shortened series in Minnesota.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WCIU
- Friday, April 25, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
- Saturday, April 26, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Sunday, April 27, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.84)
– Career vs. Marlins (8 appearances, 7 GS) (1-6, 6.69)
Game Two – Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50)
– Career vs. Marlins (First appearance)
Game Three – Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08)
– Career vs. Marlins (2 GS) (0-2, 16.88)
Game Four – Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53)
– Career vs. Marlins (10 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 5.79)
Game One – Kevin Slowey (0-2, 1.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (1-0, 4.50)
Game Two – Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-0, 2.08)
Game Three – Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 3.18)
Game Three – Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 7 GS) (4-2, 2.85)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
The Cubs have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, even more troubling is their inability to get runners in from third base and less than two outs. That is a situation where contact needs to be made and the run needs to score. So far this season the Cubs have had twenty-three at bats with a runner at third with less than two outs, they only have two hits, that’s a .077 average. They have only scored eleven times in those twenty-three chances, for one, they need more chances, and two they need to capitalize starting yesterday. Anthony Rizzo is having better at bats as of late unfortunately that is not yielding better results. Over his last six games Rizzo is hitting .185 (5-for-27), he does have three home runs and five RBI’s during that stretch. Darwin Barney has struggled mightily at the plate since returning from the DL, he is hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his last six games, but does have a game winning homer. David DeJesus has been lighting it up of late, he is hitting .368 (7-for-19) over the last six games with a double, a triple, two home runs, three RBI’s, and four walks. On the mound, Carlos Villanueva has been outstanding in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA only giving up seven hits in 15.1 innings.
The Marlins glaring issues are scoring runs, and then preventing them once the bullpen comes into the game, sounds familiar, eh? I mentioned the Marlins offensive woes above, but their bullpen ERA is just as bad. The Marlins sit 28th in the Majors in bullpen ERA with a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than the Cubs if you can believe that. Get ready for a lot of names that you probably don’t know, starting now. Not much has gone right at the plate for the Marlins, but Rob Brantly has been a bright spot lately. Over the last five games Brantly is hitting .313 (5-for16) with three doubles, four RBI’s, and two walks. Justin Ruggiano on the other hand has been awful in the last seven games hitting .207 (6-for-29), of those six hits two have left the park. Ryan Webb has been one of the few bright spots out of the Marlins pen of late as he has tossed six innings over the last seven days giving up only one run. Jon Rauch has been stupid bad in his last two appearances, giving up five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.
These close games are bound to start going in the favor of the Cubs, and I think that starts now. The way the Cubs staff has been throwing the ball I like their chances against a weak Marlins line up. I also think the Cubs will start getting some timely hits and take three out of four this weekend….please??
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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 performance 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.
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