It’s only May 6th, feeling okay? This series has been a roller coaster of emotions, and tonight we can all breathe a little easier as the Cubs just barely hung on to beat the Cardinals 6-5. Both teams scored in alternating innings until the eighth when they both pushed across a run. Jon Lester didn’t do himself any favors as he made an error which led to an unearned run, which was not the only unearned run of the night. The Cardinals got two more after a two out error by Addison Russell, but Lester battled all night. The newest ace of the Cubs was able to work through seven strong innings before watching the bullpen shut the door, I wouldn’t say they slammed it, they shut it quietly. Nice to be out from under that losing streak, and the Cubs can now go for the split tomorrow afternoon.
At the Plate:
- Chris Coghlan was plugged into the two hole tonight, he did his job by getting on base, he didn’t have any hits but he walked twice.
- Anthony Rizzo is hunting down the MVP, he was 2-for-4 with his fifth dinger of the year, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant continues to produce, he was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.
- Jorge Soler seems to be coming out of his slump, he was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the win.
- Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro, David Ross, and Addison Russell all chipped in with a hit.
On the Mound:
- Jon Lester was gritty tonight, he worked seven innings, giving up four runs, one earned, on seven hits while walking two, and striking out six.
- Pedro Strop had another shaky outing, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking one.
- Hector Rondon walked the tightrope as well, he worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the year. He surrendered one hit while walking one, and getting one huge strikeout.
How about those Cubs? I’m not going to lie, I’m excited, sure it’s only April, I don’t care, first place. Jon Lester was off again tonight, but the bullpen picked him up and gave the club a chance to comeback. That’s exactly what the Cubs did, they came back from two separate three run deficits to win 7-6 thanks for a walk-off single by Arismendy Alcantara. The game doesn’t get there without Jorge Soler who jacked a pair of two-run homers, what a thrilling night.
At the Plate:
- Anthony Rizzo was locked in tonight, he was 2-for-3 with two walks, and two runs scored.
- Jorge Soler was outstanding tonight, he went 3-for-5 with two dingers, four RBI’s, and three runs scored. He also had a tasty outfield assist.
- Chris Coghlan continued his torrid start to the season, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.
On the Mound:
- Jon Lester got the start and struggled, he worked six innings, giving up six runs on ten hits while striking out four.
- Brian Schlitter, Jason Motte, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon all tossed scoreless innings with Rondon picking up the win.
Alcantara wins it!
Soler with an unreal throw.
Soler ties it in the 8th with a bomb!
Soler’s first two-run shot.
Another lefty on the mound and another loss for the Cubs in what is shaping up to be a historically bad season. The Cubs record against left-handed pitchers dropped to 3-16 on the season after Wade Miley shut the door in a 5-1 victory for the Diamondbacks. The Cubs did nothing all day, which is a shame because Matt Garza had one of, if not his best road outing of the season. Garza went seven strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. The loss drops Garza to 3-6 on the season with a 4.06 ERA. As I said, the Cubs did nothing at the plate, Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th home run of the season in the seventh inning to bring the Cubs to within one run. That was as close as they would get as the Diamondbacks tacked on one in seventh and two more in the eighth to make it 5-1. The Cubs did threaten however in the 8th inning, and just missed tying the game on a Darwin Barney double that hit the yellow line at the top of the left field wall. With 2nd and 3rd and nobody out, and down 3-1, Joe Mather stuck out, Luis Valbuena lined out to short, and David DeJesus grounded back to Miley to end the threat with no runs scoring. Soriano and Darwin Barney were the only Cubs with hits, each getting two in the defeat. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Over the course of a season certain games stand out, whether it be bad or good, for some reason you remember them, tonight was one of those games. It all started before the game even got underway when D-Backs starter Joe Saunders couldn’t get loose warming up in the bullpen and had to be scratched from his start, so Josh Collmenter was forced into duty. Now Joe Saunders is a left-handed pitcher so Dale Sveum went with his super sweet, and really awesome, and special “left-handed-pitcher” lineup, which featured Reed Johnson leading off, and Jeff Baker hitting fourth. This really neat approach has been used all season long, to the tune of a 3-14 record against left-handed pitchers, so it’s obviously working. Dale Sveum had the opportunity to change his lineup before first pitch, because Josh Collmenter is right-handed, Sveum declined, and the Cubs lost 6-1.
Things started well enough as Geovany Soto hit a 450′ bomb to center field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Samardzija has been perplexing as of late, breezing through the early innings, then struggling to the point of having to come out in the 5th or 6th because of pitch count. Samardzija was great in the first three innings tonight then his command went out the window as did the Cubs lead. Samardzija gave up two runs in the 4th, one in the 5th, and two more in the 6th en route to his 6th loss of the season. Geovany Soto who looks like a new man since coming off the DL had another solid night at the plate going 2-for-4 with his 5th home run of the season. The Cubs couldn’t come through with the big hit all night, as they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base, including the bases-loaded two different times. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Sure two out of three against any team on the road is considered a success, but a sweep is what the Cubs really wanted. It was hard to tell Wednesday night however based on the Cubs performance. We’ve seen it too often this year, games practically over before they start because the Cubs have no approach at the plate and it happened again last night. The Cubs were shut out once again, this time on four measly hits, and least two of the four were of the extra base variety. The Sox found their bats after being shut down for two nights in a row. They pounded out 10 hits on their way to scoring seven runs in the rout.
Randy Wells was, well, Randy Wells. Wells only lasted 3.2 innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking FOUR with no strike outs. It’s a shame how far Wells has fallen after a promising debut season with the Cubs, his command and confidence have gone out the window. As I mentioned the Cubs were no better at the plate against Gaving Floyd and company, the same Gaving Floyd that has an ERA north of five. The only offensive highlights were a double by David DeJesus and another triple by Starlin Castro. The Cubs are off today before they start a weekend series in Arizona. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Sometimes teams just beat you, sometimes a pitcher is just better than you, and that is exactly what happened today. The Tigers and Justin Verlander were just better than the Cubs and Travis Wood today. I’m okay with that, today was a baseball game and the Cubs came up a little short. After falling behind 2-0 early on runs in the first and second by Detroit the Cubs bounced right back with two in the bottom half of the second inning to tie things at two. The game would stay that way into the 7th inning as Verlander and Wood were dueling. Wood however was working much harder than Verlander as he worked himself into and out of jams for the majority of the day. It finally caught up to him in the seventh as Detroit pushed across a run to take a 3-2 lead. The normally reliable, and overworked Shawn Camp surrendered two runs in the top of the 9th to give the Tigers an insurmountable 5-2 lead. The Cubs tried to make it interesting in the ninth with a lead-off double by they were only able to scratch across one run to make it 5-3 and that’s how it would end.
As I mentioned already Travis Wood worked himself into a lot of jams. The Tigers put the lead-off man on base in every inning that Wood pitched, all seven of them featured a runner on base with no outs. Pretty amazing that Wood was able to last that long given that stat. Wood finished his day after 6.2 innings allowing three runs on eight hits, he walked two and struck out three. With the loss Travis Wood falls to 0-3 on the season, while his ERA sits at 4.58. The Cubs could have been better at the plate in regards to working the count later in the game, but for the most part they put up a good fight against Verlander. Darwin Barney had another solid day at the plate as he was 2-for-3 with his 15th double of the season, he is now hitting .279. Another monster weekend ahead as the Boston Red Sox, and their fans, invade Wrigley Field. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
For awhile there it looked like the Cubs were well on their way to their third victory in a row, and second straight over the Tigers. Then the wheels fell off. After falling behind 1-0 early, the Cubs bounced right back getting two runs in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead. They added on two more in the fifth inning to make it 4-1, with the way Garza was pitching it looked like the Cubs might run away with this one, then the top of the sixth happened. The Tigers rallied with four hits, and the Cubs made one costly error in a four run inning for the Tigers that put them up 5-4 and they never looked back. The error by Joe Mather really hurt because at worst the Cubs would have been out of the inning leading 4-3. All the Tigers needed was some confidence apparently as they scored three more times over the next two innings to take an 8-4 lead and that’s how it would end.
As I mentioned Matt Garza was cruising, then he gave up a lead off single, then an error was committed behind him and things unraveled, quickly. Garza was finished after six innings, he gave up five runs, three of them earned, on seven hits, while not walking anyone and striking out seven. With the loss Garza falls to 2-5 on the season with a 4.04 ERA, it was Garza’s first loss at Wrigley this year, and he hasn’t won since April. For the second straight night the Cubs were very good at the plate as they pounded out 11 hits, but could only manage four runs. Alfonso Soriano had another good night as he was 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI double, and a run scored, his 1,000th of his career. Steve Clevenger and Darwin Barney were each 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored in the loss. Full box score and highlights after the jump.