At The Plate – Not a lot went right for Iowa in this one as they only managed one run on seven hits en route to a 5-1 loss. Brett Jackson had a successful return to the lineup going 2-for-4 with two singles. Brad Nelson was 2-for-4 with a double, he’s now hitting .270 on the season. Alberto Gonzalez had a his second solid game in a row going 2-for-3 with a walk. The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base, and they lost to Chris Volstad, so there’s that too.
On The Mound – Drew Carpenter got the start and was decent going five innings giving up three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out six. Casey Coleman wasn’t much better out of the bullpen working one inning giving up two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two. Zach Putnam was solid going two scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out one.
At The Plate – The Smokies did plenty offensively but could hold down the Barons in a wild 9-7 loss. The Smokies entered the ninth tied at seven and the Barons managed to push two runs across the plate to take the lead and get the win. The Smokies missed a bunch of opportunities as they were 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Rubi Silva was 1-for-5 with a triple, an RBI, two stolen bases, and a run scored. Rafael Lopez was 1-for-4 with a walk, his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, and two runs scored. Jonathan Mota was 1-for-3 with a walk, his second home run of the season, and a run scored. Tim Torres had his second straight solid game going 3-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored.
On The Mound – Alberto Cabrera was roughed up, that usually doesn’t happen, especially like this. Cabrera worked 4.1 innings giving up six runs on thirteen(!) hits while walking three and striking out five. Kevin Rhoderick was decent out of the pen but struggled with his command again, he worked three innings giving up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two. Trey McNutt took the loss, working 1.2 inning giving up two runs, one earned, on one hit while walking two and striking out one.
At The Plate – Solid win for Daytona against a very good opponent. Daytona pounded out ten hits in the victory, after letting a 3-1 lead get away the D-Cubs jumped back on top for good in the sixth inning. Javier Baez padded his slugging stats in this one going 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, he also made his fourteenth error of the season. Jorge Soler was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, he is now hitting .290 on the season after struggling and seeing his average drop into the .260’s. John Andreoli continues to hit, he was 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .333 on the season. Dustin Geiger had another solid game going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the victory.
On The Mound – P.J. Francescon was pretty good in this one going five innings giving up three runs, two earned, on eight hits while striking out four. Jeffrey Lorick worked a scoreless out of the pen to earn the victory. Austin Reed, and Hunter Cervenka each had scoreless appearances out of the pen to close this one out. Cervenka worked two innings giving up one hit while striking out one to earn his third save of the season.
Thanks for reading,
Seems like just yesterday we here at Born on Third were getting ready to cover Opening Day, and just like that it’s over. Crazy how time flies, and I didn’t expect it to go so fast given how bad the Cubs were this year. I was expecting just the opposite, for it to drag on and on, and I guess it did towards the end there but the reality of no Cubs baseball for four months is starting to sink in. Let’s take a look back at some of the surprises and disappointments that we all barely lived through, this season.
Let’s start with the disappointments, there were plenty of them, I mean the team lost 101 games, you know how hard it was to write about 101 losses!? Sure the record was disappointing, but one could argue that it was expected, maybe 101 losses wasn’t expected, but the Cubs were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, we knew that. Let’s dig a little deeper into that futility, we should probably put on a Haz-Mat suit before doing so. The one thing we heard all offseason was this new “Cubs Way” – well that was thrown out there to mean a lot of things, one being patience, no not by the fans (we do need that though), but by the Cubs as a whole at the plate. So how did that go, you ask? Not very good, the Cubs drew 447 walks this season, that comes out to less than three a game, and was good for the fourth fewest in all of baseball. You could probably guess that the Cubs OBP was terrible as well, it was, the Cubs as a team had a .302 OBP this year, 2nd worst in baseball. This is something that has to change, and it will on Theo’s watch, I believe that it will. It’s hard to see that vision come to fruition however when the team on the field in “year one” was so terribly bad at it, or just refused to do it.
Let’s take a look at some poor individual performances…
Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade was a disaster, I can’t even say that he showed flashes of brilliance, maybe a flash, but not flashes. Volstad finished the season 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA, I can’t even spin that into anything positive. Volstad had a huge opportunity this year and took a step back, but all is not lost on the gigantic right hander. He will have every opportunity to pitch for this team next year, that is squarely on his shoulders, his huge shoulders, seriously, look at a picture of the guy pitching, it’s cartoonish.
For the first month or so of the season it looked as if Dolis’ name was going to end up on the surprise portion of the year-end recap, then things went bad. Dolis lost the strike zone, in doing so his confidence disappeared and his ERA sky rocketed. Dolis went from being the closer of the Cubs after taking over for Carlos Marmol to pitching and struggling at Triple-A. Dolis was called back up to finish off the season but the numbers were not good. He finished the year 2-4 with a 6.39 ERA and four saves. He does have one thing the Cubs need in the pen, a power arm, so he will have a shot to pitch for this team next year at 25 years old. If he wants to do so he has to clean up the walks, as he issued 23 in just 38 innings at the big league level this year.
I debated singling him out here, only because he was clearly hurt since last year in Colorado so I’m not sure how much we can really take from his season. But a lot more was expected from Ian Stewart, on the plus side he did play above average defense at third base. His season was shortened by much-needed wrist surgery, he finished the year hitting 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He did show the ability to work the count and take a walk, but at third base he was and will be expected to be a source of production. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will keep Stewart in their plans moving forward, I would like to see what a healthy Ian Stewart could do.
Other guys that I would say had disappointing years would be Darwin Barney’s bat, a sub .300 OBP from him is not acceptable. Lendy Castillo had a 7+ ERA, but Castillo is so young and could be a huge part of this teams bullpen when they are contending. Steve Clevenger took a nose dive after a very strong start, Starlin Castro’s mental lapses and subsequent errors. I think Castro improved greatly defensively, I think the errors were a result of focus or lack thereof. Should I mention the 12 game losing streak? I just did.
Now onto the positives, sure there were some.
He lived up to the hype, and there was plenty of it heading into the season and that hype only grew as he tore the cover off the ball in Iowa. He finally was called up to the Cubs on 6/26/2012, he had two hits in that game and never really looked back. Rizzo finished the campaign hitting .285 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI’s in 87 games, so just over half a Major League season. The biggest thing here is that Rizzo showed the ability to adjust to major league pitchers. I’m not just talking about rebounding from last years dud with the Padres, this year he had a few skids but came out of those before they became too overwhelming. He is the Cubs 2013 starting first baseman, and will be for many years to come.
Wow. There really is no other word to describe his 2012 season, I guess shocked would apply to me. I was just that, shocked at what Soriano was able to accomplish not only with the bat, but with the glove. Soriano made one error all season, think about that for a second. This is the same guy that made 11 in 2009, 7 in 2010, and 7 in 2011, he worked his butt off and showed real improvement. Offensively he set a career high in RBI’s with 108, folks the Cubs only scored 613 runs as a team this season. Soriano also found the long ball again hitting 32 home runs, the most in one season since he hit 33 in 2007. There’s no telling he has earned the right to be back here next year, and that is somewhat up to him, but we will see how the Cubs deal with him in the coming months.
I really don’t care what other people think of him, but Starlin Castro had a fantastic year, and a couple of mental lapses got in the way of making it something really special. Castro became the first Cubs shortstop to play in all 162 games, ever. That shows me that he wants to be out there, mental errors can come with that kind of workload, he probably needed a day off here or there to avoid some of that but he just kept going out there. Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs (a career high), and 78 RBI’s (a career high), he also had 29 doubles and 12 triples for good measure. Castro inked a 7 year extension during the season, he will be a Cub for a long time, and that is a good thing.
There are a number of other guys that deserve to be mentioned as bright spots this year. Darwin Barney’s glove, Barney tied a major league record for consecutive error-less games at 141, and got to everything on the infield it seemed. Carlos Marmol’s second half, after a terrible first half Marmol finished the season strong and looked to be back to his un-hittable self late in the year. Travis Wood stepped into the rotation and did an adequate job for this team, if he can replicate those numbers or even improve upon them he can be a serviceable back of the rotation guy for the Cubs. Bryan LaHair’s first half was fun while it lasted, and earned him a trip to the all-star game, no reason to ignore that. Welington Castillo played his way into the 2013 starting lineup behind the plate as
It was a trying year for many, Dale Sveum included, and as I said around the all-star break I think Dale Sveum gets an incomplete for this season. There was not enough talent on this team to win baseball games, not matter how he managed them. What I did like seeing was the compete level of this team on most nights, sure over the course of a 162 game season there are going to be lackluster efforts. For the most part this team really never gave up, I will be interested to see how Sveum does when he starts getting pieces he can use to compete in games on a consistent basis, that’s when he can accurately be judged as a manager. I could have written about so much more but I think that sums up enough of what happened this season without going on forever, I’m really excited about the direction of this team, most of that excitement stems from the minor league system which we will continue to profile all offseason. Patience is still something fans will have to have as the Cubs are not going to have a team ready to be a contender next year. Sure, they should improve, and that’s what we need to look for, and it’s important we see that, one step at a time, thankfully for all of us I think the worst part just ended.
Thanks for reading all season long, we don’t take breaks so we will have great Cubs coverage all offseason for you. Go Cubs!
For the first time in 50 years two 100 loss teams will be facing each other in a Major League Baseball game, that’s depressing. Here is how the Cubs will line up today as we are only two games away from ending the 2012 season.
1. DeJesus RF
2. Barney 2B
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. Castro SS
6. Valbuena 3B
7. Castillo C,
8. Jackson CF
9. Volstad P
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
The Cubs seem to spring to life in the ninth inning today, unfortunately poor at bats from Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters brought a would be rally to a grinding halt. Trailing 7-3 heading into the ninth inning the Cubs strung together four straight hits which resulted in two quick runs but that’s as far as it would get. With runners at second and third, trailing by two with nobody out, Castro and Vitters both struck out and looked bad in doing so, and the Cubs inched closer to the 100 loss mark. Chris Volstad was Chris Volstad bad today as he could only last for three innings giving up seven runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out none, with the loss he falls to 3-11 on the season. The Cubs were actually uncharacteristically clutch, I mean not counting the ninth inning. The Cubs pounded out 13 hits, and were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but still managed to leave 11 guys on base. Anthony Rizzo snapped out of a mini funk by going 3-for-3 with his 15th home run of the season, two RBI’s, two walks, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano added to his career high RBI total in this one as well, registering an RBI double in the ninth inning to give him 106 for the season. The Cubs now head to Arizona where they will meet the Diamondbacks and possibly 100 losses.
Thanks for reading,
It’s a battle for second worst! Okay, that doesn’t sound so great but this series will go a long way in determining who gets the number two pick in the draft next year behind the Astros. Coming into this series the teams are deadlocked at 59-94, and the winner of this series has a great shot at losing out on the second pick. I for one would prefer to play as hard as you can and if you lose, you lose, no tanking it here. The Cubs, to their credit, have done just that as many players and front office staff have made it quite clear that they do not want to lose 100 games. It’s nice to have goals, but as a team you really never want to say that your goal is to stay under 100 losses, but it is what it is right now. The Cubs tend to struggle in Colorado regardless of the record of the Rockies, and this series might be more of the same as the Cubs don’t exactly have a lights out staff, but you never know. Of course the Rockies can score runs in this park, the Cubs will have to keep up if they want to win this series, I’m expecting a lot of offense over these three games.
Here are the pitching matchups for this week.
Thursday September 27, 2012
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.22 ERA)
Colorado: Jhoulys Chacin (2-5, 4.73 ERA)
Season Series: Cubs lead 2-1
Prediction: Rockies win series, 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
The Cubs look to spoil Chris Carpenter’s 2012 debut at 1:20 PM CST at Wrigley today. Chris Volstad will be tasked with shutting down the Cards potent offense, here is the lineup that will back him.
1. DeJesus – CF
2. Barney – 2B
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Castro – SS
6. Valbuena – 3B
7. Castillo – C
8. Sappelt – RF
9. Volstad – P
Another series, and another contender heads into Wrigley Field as the Cubs look to finish their 2012 season strong and play spoiler. The Cardinals are hitting their stride once again as they have won four straight and currently hold a 2.5 game lead over Milwaukee for the final wild card spot in the National League. It also sounds like they will be getting a boost to their rotation as Chris Carpenter is slated to make his 2012 debut against the Cubs in game one of the series. Up until the last series against the Reds the Cubs were playing pretty solid baseball, but the bats have gone cold, and the pitching has followed. It should be a good atmosphere at Wrigley all weekend as these games are usually close regardless of the record, and these games mean everything to the Cardinals. I’m expecting an awful lot of Cardinals fans at Wrigley, hopefully the Cubs can keep Wrigley quiet, wait, that doesn’t sound right at all.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series.
Friday September 21, 2012
St. Louis: Chris Carpenter (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26)
Saturday September 22, 2012
St. Louis: Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97 ERA)
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25 ERA)
Sunday September 23, 2012
St. Louis: Kyle Lohse (15-3, 2.71 ERA)
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-8, 6.17 ERA)
Season Series: Cardinals lead series 8-6
Prediction: Cubs win series 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!