Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

Full Box Score

This is starting to get out of hand, maybe it already is out of hand, but the way the Cubs are losing games is almost hard to believe, even for the Cubs.  The latest chapter in this horrific story of a season took place tonight in Cincinnati where the Cubs seemingly did everything to win.  They received a tremendous performance from starter Travis Wood, jumped out to an early lead, had a strong performance from the bullpen for the most part, and yet still lost.  Such is life as a Cubs fan and Cubs team at this point, every game this year has been decided by four runs or less, think about that, all of them.  You know what decides close games in the majors?  Bullpen and clutch hitting, Travis  Wood 4-22usually with runners in scoring position, two things the Cubs have been terrible at.  Luis Valbuena hit a monster two-run shot in the top of the thirteenth to give the Cubs a two run lead, nothing could go wrong, until it did.  Before anyone could even savor that two-run homer, Michael Bowden, who didn’t get much help from Sappelt in right field, gave up three runs and the game was over, ho-hum, another mind numbing loss.

At The Plate – David DeJesus got things going right away in this one as he led the game off with a home run, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a home run, two walks, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz was solid as well going 3-for-6, but also had three strikeouts.  Luis Valbuena had the big hit for the Cubs, that two-run homer that I mentioned, and finished the day 2-for-6 with two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Darwin Barney was 2-for-6 with a run scored, the Cubs left 12 men on base in this one, that didn’t help either.

On The Mound – Travis Wood was great again, against a tough lineup, and once again had nothing to show for it.  He went 6.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out five.  Shawn Camp worked a third of an inning, but balked in the tying run, yes, again.  James Russell, Carlos Marmol, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances out of the pen.  Marmol was particularly strong going two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two.  Michael Bowden was good, then really bad, he took the loss going 1.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits. 

Up Next – Carlos Villanueva looks to play stopper tomorrow night against Tony Cingrani, the Reds highly touted prospect.  First pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-22 box 1

Cubs 4-22 box 2

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s two-run homer
Castro RBI single
DeJesus lead-off homer

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Roster Move Extravaganza (Barney, Ransom, Gregg, Loe, Lillibridge, Takahashi, Dolis, oh my)

The Cubs look much different heading into this Rangers series than they did during the off day yesterday, as they announced a flurry of moves.  I mentioned on Sunday that the Cubs signed Kevin Gregg and claimed Kameron Loe from the Mariners, well both pitchers have been added to the major league roster.  Also being Barney backadded to the major league roster is Darwin Barney who is coming off the DL tonight.  That wasn’t the only addition, the Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom, with all the players being added to the active roster, a few had to go, and that’s what happened.  The Cubs DFA’d Brent Lillibridge, and Hisanori Takahashi, and optioned Rafael Dolis back to Iowa.  The Cubs will have ten days to trade, waive or release Lillibridge and Takahashi.  My guess is that Lillibridge will end up in Iowa as long as he isn’t claimed by another team, and Takahashi will no longer be a member of the Cubs.  Busy day for the Cubs and the game hasn’t even started yet, such is life with an under-performing club.  Barney, Gregg, and Loe are on the roster for tonight’s game, Ransom will most likely be ready to go tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 15, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Cubs built an early lead but once again had trouble holding it as they dropped to 3-9 on the season.  Darwin Barney had a huge game in his last rehab appearance, he was 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.  Ryan Sweeney continues to mash the ball, he went 2-for-4 with a home run (3), three RBI’s and a run scored.  Brett Jackson was 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.

On The Mound –  The Cubs were beat up from start to finish in this one.  Drew Carpenter got the start, he went 4.1 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out one.  Emailin Caridad went 1.2 innings out of the pen giving up one run on three hits while striking out three.  Both Jensen Lewis and Jaye Chapman continued their horrendous 2013 as Lewis gave up two runs, and Chapman gave up three.

Smokies 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate Jae-Hoon Ha continued his red-hot start going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva has been the hottest hitter in the Smokies lineup, he was 3-for-4 with a home run (2), four RBI’s, a double, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .394 on the season.  Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 in the loss.

On The MoundDallas Beeler put together a quality start and was in line for the win before the bullpen lost it.  Beeler went six innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four.  Tony Zych went 1.1 innings out of the pen giving up two runs on two hits while walking one.  Trey McNutt had a rough go of it as he not only blew the save but got the loss, he went 1.1 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two.

Daytona 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The D-Cubs continued to pound the ball in a 8-1 victory over Clearwater to move one game above .500 on the season.  Zeke DeVoss was very productive from the lead-off spot going 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, and three RBI’s.  John Andreoli was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, he’s now hitting .341 on the season.  Ben Carhart went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) and David Bote (2-for-3) each had two hits in the win as Daytona pounded out thirteen total.

On The MoundBen Wells was outstanding as he found his command in this one.  Wells went six scoreless innings to earn his first win, he gave up five hits while walking one and striking out four.  Yeiper Castillo went two scoreless innings out of the pen, he gave up one hit while striking out two.  Sheldon McDonald worked the ninth inning, he gave up one run on three hits while striking out one.

NOTES:  Kane County was snowed/rained out….again, shocking.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Rangers @ Cubs; April 16 – April 18, 2013

The Cubs welcome another tough opponent to Wrigley, quite the back-to-back series as the Cubs, who are coming off a series with Giants now entertain the Texas Rangers.  As bad as the weather was this past weekend it might be even worse this week.  Tomorrow’s game looks okay, but Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be wet, very wet, 70% chance of rain each day.  Obviously with this being an inter-league series they will do everything they can to get these games in.  Darwin Barney is scheduled to make his return to the Cubs lineup tomorrow, and he has been missed greatly in the defensive lineup.  One could say the Cubs have had some bad luck in the early going this year, but they have made most of that luck, if they just convert their save opportunities this team could be no worse than .500, just have to keep fighting.

Last Series:

The Cubs lost three out of four to the Giants at home.

The Rangers split a four game series with the Mariners in Seattle.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV. MLBN

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64)
– Career vs. Rangers (8 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 3.16)

Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Rangers:

Game One – Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS)  (0-0, 3.00)

Game Two – Justin Grimm (0-1, 4.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three – Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

Let’s start with “not” for the Cubs.  The bullpen, and defense, both have been a disaster lately, and for the most part of the year.  The pen has been bad at the worst time too, in the seventh inning or later the Cubs have a bullpen ERA of 5.67 Castro previewwhich is 29th in the Majors.  That number alone says a lot as the Cubs have had a chance to win pretty much every game they have played so far this year, maddening.  Carlos Villanueva has been a big part of getting the ball to the seventh inning this year as he has been outstanding, unfortunately he has nothing to show for it except a sparkling 0.64 ERA.  Starlin Castro has basically made up for his slow start in the last seven days as he is hitting .379 over that period of time.  The only guy hotter is David DeJesus who is hitting .381 over that same period of time.  Another big reason for the Cubs early season struggles has been their success or lack thereof with runners in scoring position, they are hitting a paltry .141, 29th in the Majors.

The Rangers look rather different this year, but still come into this series with an 8-5 record.  Gone are Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, but the Rangers have persevered early in the season.  A big reason is the play of two newcomers, Lance Berkman, and everyones favorite catcher, A.J. Pierzynski.  Berkman is hitting .389 in the early going, and Pierzynski is hitting .342 so far.  Ian Kinsler has found some power in the early going and has stayed healthy, he’s Rangershitting .292 with four home runs and nine RBI’s.  David Murphy is struggling mightily, he is hitting .160 on the season, that’s with fifty at bats too (8-for-50).   Yu Darvish is the high-profile name on the Rangers staff, but the guy that is pitching like a number one is Alexi Ogando, and the Cubs will see the latter in this series.  Ogando has been outstanding, he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, and opponents are hitting only .194 against him this season.  The Rangers also boast the fourth best bullpen in all of baseball with a 2.06 ERA from their relief pitchers.  Moral of the story, get to their starters early.

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs win the two out of three if all games get played.  A few breaks have to start going the Cubs way soon….right….Go Cubs!

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 14, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – Two wins in a row for Iowa, that says a lot considering they only have three total this year.  Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a caught stealing and a run scored.  Darwin Barney showed great patience in his second rehab start, he was 0-for-1 with three walks, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Luis Flores was 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.  Brad Nelson had the big hit in this one, a two run single that gave the Cubs some breathing room, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s on the day.

On The Mound – After some rocky starts to start the season, Chris Rusin bounced back with a stellar performance.  Rusin went seven innings giving up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out four to earn the win.  Zach Putnam worked two scoreless innings to earn his first save of the year, he walked one and struck out three.

Smokies 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies busted this one open in the seventh inning scoring four times to take a 7-1 lead on their way to a 7-3 win.  Ronald Torreyes had his second straight solid game going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  Jae-Hoon Ha was outstanding going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva (2-for-4) and Jonathan Mota (2-for-4) each had two hits in the victory, and Matt Szczur recorded his 5th stolen base of the season.

On The Mound –  Couldn’t get much better than Dae-Eun Rhee as he went six scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three to earn his first win of the season.  Zach Rosscup and Kevin Rhoderick each had a rough go out of it in the seventh and eighth inning with Rosscup giving up one run and Rhoderick giving up two.  Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory.

Daytona 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The D-Cubs were able to get back to .500 with a solid victory of the Tampa Yankees.  Javier Baez seems to be coming around at the plate, he was 1-for-4 with a double, he has hits in his last three games.  Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a run scored, he is now hitting .385 on the season.  Dustin Geiger was 2-for-4 with a run scored, after his slow start he is now hitting .286 on the season.  Micah Gibbs was 2-for-4 with a double, and an RBI in the victory.

On The MoundZach Cates was outstanding in this one going six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking thee and striking out four.  Austin Reed was just as good out of the bullpen going two innings giving up no runs on three hits while striking out two.  Frank Del Valle continues his awesome start to the season as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save.  He didn’t give up any hits or walks, and struck out the side.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 13, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

iOWA 4-13 LINEFull Box Score

At The Plate Logan Watkins showed off his tremendous skill set once again last night.  Watkins was 1-for-3 with two walks, a home runs, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Watkins now had ten walks in ten games so far this season.  Darwin Barney made his first rehab start and looked decent at the plate going 1-for-4 with a run scored, and two strikeouts.  Brad Nelson was 2-for-4 with an RBI, J.C. Boscan also went 2-for-4 in the loss, he had an RBI and a run scored as well.

On The MoundBarret Loux got the start and was much better this time out.  Loux went five innings giving up one run on six hits while walking two and striking out five to earn his first win of the season.  Yoanner Negrin has been outstanding once again as he went three innings only allowing two hits while striking out eight, eight!  Blake Parker tossed a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.

Smokies 4-13 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies jumped out to an 8-1 lead and just barely held on for an 8-6 victory.  Ronald Torreyes made his return to the lineup, his first appearance of 2013 and was solid going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored from the lead-off spot.  Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI’s and two runs scored.  Rubi Silva also had a breakout game going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .320 on the year.  Justin Bour only had one hit, but was productive, he finished the day 1-for-4 with three RBI’s.

On The Mound – The Smokies were good, and not so good late.  Kyle Hendricks got the start and the win, he went six innings giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking three and striking out one.  A.J. Morris struggled out of the pen going 1.1 innings giving up five runs on three hits while walking two hits while striking out one.  Frank Batista settled things down to earn the save, he went 1.2 innings giving up no runs on one hit while striking out one.

Daytona 4-13 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The D-Cubs fell behind early and just couldn’t generate enough offense to get back into this one.  Javier Baez is starting to show signs of breaking out as he was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two runs scored.  John Andreoli was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, he’s now hitting .364 on the season.  Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s and a run scored.  Dustin Geiger was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s in the loss.

On The Mound – A rare bad outing from P.J. Francescon, he got the loss going five innings giving up six runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out five.  Eduardo  Figueroa didn’t get much help from his defense as he worked three innings giving up three runs, all unearned, on two hits while walking four and striking out none.

Kane count 4-13 line 1

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Cougars built a 4-0 lead by the top of the third, by the bottom of the fourth it was gone.  The Cougars mounted a late comeback, but they ran out of time in game one.  Daniel Vogelbach continued his hot start to the season going 1-for-2 with two walks, his first home run, an RBI and two runs scored.  Rock Shoulders is even hotter at the plate right now going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .455 on the season.  Jeimer Candelario finally had a solid game going 1-for-2 with two walks, a double, and a run scored.

On The MoundIan Dickson hasn’t had the best start to the 2013 season, that continued in this one.  Dickson went five innings giving up seven runs on eights hits while walking none and striking out three.  Brian Smith tossed a scoreless inning in relief only giving up one hit.

Kane County 4-13 line 2

Full Box Score

At The Plate – It took eleven innings but the Cougars were able to split the double-header with the Timer Rattlers.  Jeimer Candelario had a solid second game as well going 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.  Willson Contreras was great coming off the bench and ended up with the game winning home run, he was 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Wes Darvill was 2-for-4 with a caught stealing, and an error, so a good and bad day for him.

On The MoundFelix Pena was outstanding in this one going six innings giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking one and striking out three.  Justin Amlung, who has been roughed up in the early going had an outstanding outing yesterday.  Amlung went four scoreless innings out of the pen giving up only two hits while walking one and striking out one.  Eduardo Orozco earned his first save of the season tossing a scoreless inning giving up one hit and striking out one.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Struggle to Find Runs In Castro’s Return

The Cubs lost to the Rockies 2-0 yesterday, that’s alright, because the bigger news was that Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked no worse for wear.

Full Box Score

At the plate:

Darwin Barney had a solid day going 2-for-3, Brett Jackson, Steve Clevenger, and Starlin Castro were all 1-for-1, and Scott Hariston tallied the only other hit for the Cubs.  They only managed six all day, and all of them were singles.

On the mound:

Edwin Jackson was stellar, going five innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.  Kyuji Fujikawa had a rare sub par outing as he struggled with command giving up one run in one inning of work on one hit, while walking two and striking out two.  Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol, and Jensen Lewis all tossed scoreless, uneventful innings in the loss.

Spring Record: (7-11)

Up Next:

Cubs face the Dodgers, and Chris Rusin gets the ball, Rusin has been pretty darn good so far this Spring, and is slated to join the Iowa rotation this year.

Thanks for reading,
– George