It wasn’t the desired result for the Cubs but there were plenty of things to like in the Cubs spring training opener today against the Brewers. Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks, Clayton Richard, Rex Brothers, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Spencer Patton combined to four hit the Brewers while walking one, and striking out thirteen. The bats were slow to get going in this one as the Cubs group of hitters could only push across one run on seven hits. Javier Baez got the start in center today, and struggled in the early going. He played an out (maybe a double) into a triple right off the bat, then one hitter later he dropped a fly ball, it’ll get better.
Some of today’s standouts:
The Cubs are playing better baseball of late, and they were finally rewarded with a few wins in Miami as they took three out of four. The Cubs starting pitching really didn’t miss a beat this past weekend as they continued to turn in quality start after quality start. The pitching has been better than anyone could have imagined up to this point in the season. Currently the Cubs team ERA is 3.42 that is ninth best in all of baseball. Breaking that down even further, just looking at the starters the Cubs ERA is 3.14 which is good for fifth in the Majors, impressive. The Cubs staff should have continues success this week against the Padres as they are twenty-sixth in all of baseball in runs scored, part of that has to do with where they play their home games, the other part has to do with their sub par lineup that has been slow to get going. The Padres pitching hasn’t taken advantage of the comfortable surroundings of Petco Park however, as they have a team ERA of 4.39 which is “good” enough for twenty-sixth in baseball. All signs point to a successful series for the Cubs, but they still have to execute, if they do they should be able to win this series.
The Cubs won three out of four in Miami over the Marlins
The Padres swept a three game series from the Giants in San Diego
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Monday, April 29, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Tuesday, April 30, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WCIU, MLBN
- Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Thursday, May 2, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.03)
– Career vs. Padres (4 appearances, 2 GS) (2-1, 2.20)
Game Two – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.76)
– Career vs. Padres (8 appearances, 6 GS) (0-3, 4.32)
Game Three – Scott Feldman (1-3, 3.92)
– Career vs. Padres (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-1, 5.40)
Game Four – Travis Wood (2-1, 2.25)
– Career vs. Padres (5 appearances, 4 GS) (0-1, 4.21)
Game One – Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.94)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 GS) (2-0, 0.57)
Game Two – Edinson Volquez (1-3, 6.39)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (4-0, 2.21)
Game Three – Andrew Cashner (1-1, 3.26)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances) (0-0, 9.00)
Game Three – Eric Stults (2-2, 5.67)
– Career vs. Cubs (4 GS) (1-3, 5.21)
I like the direction of the Cubs right now, I know it’s hard to say that with a straight face, but this team could easily be contending in the Central without bullpen blow ups. I think the good vibes continue in this series and the Cubs take three out of four again. Committed is the Cubs slogan, maybe I should be with all my positive thoughts, go Cubs!
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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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Just ugly, no other way to really put it at this point. Jeff Samardzija did all he could today to give his team a chance to win, but for the third straight day the Cubs could only manage five hits on their way to being shut out, and their 8th straight loss. It boggles my mind that a team can have the best record over a month’s time in the Majors, but also lose 12 games in a row early in the season, and now 8 in a row and counting. Sure, they are young and there will be ups and downs but I didn’t expect such extremes. Back to Samardzija, he was outstanding going seven strong innings giving up only one run on four hits while walking two and striking out six. The frustration is starting to show for Samardzija who snapped his bat over his knee like a twig after a strike out late in the game. At least he showed some fire I guess, something that this team has lacked this entire road trip as they closed it out 0-6. What’s worse is the Cubs were 0-for the West Coast as they did not win one game in San Diego, San Francisco, or Los Angeles this year. As I mentioned the Cubs only managed five hits all day once again, one of those hits was from Starlin Castro who snapped an 0-for-21 stretch, maybe that will be something to build on. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Brett Jackson gets the day off as he has struggled since his call up, I wouldn’t really call it struggling but he is striking out a lot and Sveum is probably just giving him a mental health day. Another change is Soriano is back in the lineup today, which is a good thing for the Cubs and possibly Soriano who still has a chance to be traded to a contender. Here is how the Cubs will line up as they look to end their seven game losing streak.
1. DeJesus – CF
2. Barney – 2B
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Castro – SS
6. Castillo – C
7. Vitters – 3B
8. Mather – RF
9. Samardzija – P
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No rest for the weary as the Cubs stumble into San Diego for a three game series starting tonight on the heels of being swept by the Dodgers. The Cubs have lost five straight games as they are now fully immersed in the rebuilding process. Despite the losses the Cubs are becoming a lot more fun to watch as the lineup moving forward will feature Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, and Starlin Castro, all of these guys figure to be around when the Cubs are ready to contend on a yearly basis. That’s a little ways down the road right now, the task at hand will be trying to solve the Padres who red-hot at Petco Park, winning seven of their last nine games in their spacious home field. The Padres are winning most games with pitching, as expected in that pitchers paradise, but they do have some hot bats as well. Yonder Alonso is hitting near .400 in his last seven games, if the Cubs want to be in this series they are going to have to contain Alonso and find a way to generate runs. The latter might be a little easier as the Cubs reworked lineup yielded some solid results on Sunday in LA, hopefully they can build on that and not only win a series but put an end to their five game losing streak before it gets really out of hand, again.
August 6, 2012 – August 8, 2012; Petco Park, San Diego, CA
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Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series, at the time of this preview the Cubs have yet to name a Tuesday Night starter as Matt Garza will not make the start as he has been placed on the DL.
Monday August 6, 2012
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90 ERA)
San Diego: Eric Stults (1-2, 3.19 ERA)
I really like this matchup for Travis Wood, a big ballpark should suit him well. The key for Travis Wood will be to throw strikes, no brainer right? The reason I mention it is that he can use the ballpark to his advantage by letting the Padres elevate without the concern of the ball leaving the yard. If Wood can stay ahead of hitters he should be able to make his pitches to get outs. Eric Stults profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, however the Cubs have destroyed Stults in his career. Stults is 0-3 vs the Cubs in three career starts with a 7.24 ERA, that bodes well.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
Chicago: Some Guy (?-?, ?.?? ERA)
San Diego: Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA)
I really don’t like the chances of Some Guy vs the Padres on Tuesday night. All kidding aside usually when a team is forced to use a starter that might not be ready for the Majors it doesn’t work out well. That could be the case on Tuesday as the Cubs still have not announced a starter, mainly because the candidates for that start all pitched this past weekend in Iowa. The bright side here is that the Cubs face Ohlendorf who has been awful this year, so I’m saying there’s a chance.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Chicago: Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37 ERA)
San Diego: Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01 ERA)
Game three sets up to be the best of the bunch as Samardzija battles Richard. Samardzija faced San Diego earlier this year and went seven strong innings in picking up a win at Wrigley Field. I expect much of the same from Shark on Wednesday as he looks to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season last time out. The Cubs haven’t seen much of Richard as they have only faced him one time in the last three years, and Richard got the best of the Cubs that day. I expect this one to be the lowest scoring game of the series.
Season Series: Cubs lead 3-0
Prediction: Cubs win series, 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!