Villanueva makes case for spot in the pen as Rockies rout Cubs

Cubs 5-14 line

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  Carlos Villanueva was so very good for parts of this season, but the last few times out have not gone so well.  With the recent struggles it wouldn’t be surprising to see Villanueva head to the bullpen when Matt Garza returns.  I know who he can replace, Shawn Camp , more on him later, he didn’t help his or the Cubs cause tonight.  The Cubs were never in this one and it was over before it started it seemed as the Rockies jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the third inning.  Things got worse in the fifth as the Rockies added two more to take a 7-0 lead, that’s when the Cubs woke up, with some help from the Rockies.  The Cubs scored once in the fifth, and twice in the eighth to Helton 5-14make it 7-3 but they wouldn’t get any closer.  The Rockies tacked on two more runs in the ninth thanks to Carlos Gonzalez putting an exclamation point on his night with his second home run, he ended is evening 5-for-5 with two home runs, and three RBI’s.  Seems about right when it comes to Car-Go and the Cubs.  Two games in this series and two blow outs, one each way, wonder what tomorrow will bring.

At The Plate – The Cubs could only manage seven hits in this one, but they had their chances to score more than the four runs they did.  The Cubs were only 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position in this one, and they left seven men on.  David DeJesus was 2-for-5 with a run scored as he raised his average to .281 on the season.  Darwin Barney found some magic in this one, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI’s, that performance raised his average to .186, going to need a few more of those from Darwin.

On The Mound – Carlos Villanueva was hit hard all night, even the outs were loud outs.  Villanueva worked five innings giving up seven runs on twelve hits while striking out one, the loss dropped his record to 1-3 on the season.  Hector Rondon continues to prove he belongs out of the pen as he worked a scoreless inning while walking one and striking out one to lower his ERA to 3.68 on the season.  Michael Bowden also seems to be finding a comfort zone out of the pen, he worked two scoreless inning giving up two hits while striking out one.  The only thing comfortable about Shawn Camp is how opposing hitters feel in the box against him.  Camp is getting really close to be designated for assignment, he worked one inning tonight giving up two runs on three hits while striking out one, his ERA climbed to a robust 7.31 for the season.

Up Next – The rubber match of the series as Jeff Samardzija looks for his second win of the season.  He will be opposed by a familiar face, Jon Garland, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM CST.

Cubs 5-14 box

 

Game Highlights:

Thank you, Rockies
Barney goes deep, imagine that

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Cubs throttle Rockies for third straight win

Cubs 5-13 lineFull Box Score

  As I mentioned in the series preview the Cubs look to be finding a groove and riding the momentum of some nice wins lately.  Tonight was pure domination from beginning to end as the Cubs had a 5-0 lead after two innings en route to a 9-1 victory, their third straight win.  These wins are coming against good teams as well, and they held their own in their most recent losses against the Reds, and Cardinals.  I’m not saying the Cubs are going to be contenders Wood 5-13next week, but they are playing some of the best baseball they have played in the last three years.  Okay, I know, that really doesn’t take much, but watching this team every night I can see the change. Lost in the offensive awesomeness, say that five times fast, was the performance of Travis Wood.  He was brilliant again, and is pitching like a true number one, this is the Travis Wood the Cubs’ brass was hoping they got when they traded Sean Marshall to the Reds.  Actually this is probably more than what they expected this soon, just outstanding.

At The Plate –  The best offensive night for the Cubs this year, they pounded out fourteen hits and scored nine runs.  They were an impressive 6-for-18 with runners in scoring position and had eight extra base hits, six doubles, a triple, and a home run.  David DeJesus was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Starlin Castro was on base all night going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano padded his slugging numbers in this one going 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, a double, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a triple, and two RBI’s, he is now hitting .299 on the season.  Welington Castillo and Travis Wood also had two hits in the victory, both of Castillo’s hits were doubles, what else is new, the Cubs lead the Majors in doubles.

Soriano 5-13

On The Mound – Travis Wood was brilliant, what else can be said, he has been all year.  Wood worked seven scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking three and striking out two.  This was his eighth straight quality start to begin the season, he improved his record to 4-2, and lowered his ERA to 2.03 as well.  Kyuji Fujikawa had another solid performance out of the pen tossing a scoreless inning while striking out two.  Carlos Marmol worked the ninth inning giving up one run on one hit while striking out three.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their fourth straight win as Carlos Villanueva looks to get things back on track.  The Rockies counter with Jeff Francis, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM CST, and the weather is supposed to be very summer like.

Cubs 5-13 box

Game Highlights:

Wood’s scoreless outing
DeJesus two-run single
Schierholtz two-run triple
Cubs turn two to end the fifth
Castro turns two
Castro’s two run double
Travis Wood helps himself with a double
Alfonso Soriano launches one out onto Waveland

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Cubs make Nats pay for mistakes

Cubs 5-11 line

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  Edwin Jackson match all everything Stephen Strasburg pitch for pitch for the first four innings, then the Cubs got a gift.  With two outs and nobody on in the top of the 5th Welington Castillo hit what looked like an inning ending ground out to Ryan Zimmerman.  Then Zimmerman’s horrible mechanics took over and he made an awful throw to keep the Cubs alive in the inning.  The next five Cubs hitters reached base, and when it was all said Jackson 5-11and done the Cubs led 4-0, with all four runs being unearned.  Not only did they take the lead but they knocked Strasburg out of the game after five then added on in the sixth.  Leading 4-1 the Cubs scored four more times in the sixth to take an 8-1 lead en route to an 8-2 victory.  Edwin Jackson earned his first win of the season, and the Cubs were outstanding with runners in scoring position, bizarro world, but I’ll take it.

At The Plate – The Cubs did get some help from Ryan Zimmerman and his awkwardness in the field, but they also took advantage.  The Cubs pounded out twelve hits and scored eight runs, six of those twelve hits were doubles, that gives the Cubs thirteen doubles in the last two games.    If that wasn’t enough, the Cubs were also 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position, that usually bodes well.  David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.  Anthony Rizzo has found his 2012 form, he was 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .288 on the season, he was hitting .173 on April 26th, think about that.  Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-5 with two doubles, and a run score in the victory.  One of the biggest hits came off the bat of Edwin Jackson, he laced a two-out, two-run double off of Strasburg to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the fifth.

Rizzo 5-11

On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was much better in this one, he worked 5.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three to earn his first win as a member of the Cubs.  The bullpen was solid as well as they worked the final 3.2 innings to close this one out.  Shawn Camp went 1.2 scoreless innings giving up two hits while striking out two.  Hector Rondon continues to impress as he went two scoreless innings while striking out two.

Up Next – The rubber game of the series on Mother’s Day as Scott Feldman looks to keep things rolling and get a series win for the Cubs.  He will be opposed by left hander Gio Gonzalez, who has uncharacteristically struggled in the early going.  First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 PM CST on WGN TV.

Cubs 5-11 box

Game Highlights:

Edwin Jackson’s big two-run double
Rizzo makes an amazing bobbling catch
Rizzo’s big two-run single
DeJesus with a two-run single

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Feldman goes the distance to get Cubs back in win column

Cubs 5-1 line

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Well, how about that?  Scott Feldman was brilliant right from the start and all night long as he tossed his first career complete game and had plenty of support from his offense.  The Cubs had Andrew Cashner on the ropes right off the bat as they scored in each of the first four innings to take a 5-0 lead.  That was all she wrote for Cashner who was already up to 96 pitches after four innings, that’s what you like to see from the offensive side of things.  Feldman 5-1The Cubs were only able to manage one more run over the final four innings but they didn’t need it as Feldman was throwing darts all night long.  With a win tomorrow the Cubs could take three out of four in their second straight series, I don’t care who the opponent is, that’s a huge step in the right direction.

At The Plate – Awesome job by the Cubs at the plate tonight as the pounded out nine hits, and six runs, while walking five times.  They probably could have and should have had more, but beggars can’t be choosers I guess.  David DeJesus continues to hit as he was 2-for-5 from the lead-off spot.  Starlin Castro, getting a chance in the fifth spot today was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and two runs scored.  Julio Borbon had another solid game going 1-for-4 with a walk, and two runs scored.  Dioner Navarro had two RBI’s, Nate Schierholtz had one RBI, and Luis Valbuena has one RBI in the win.

On The Mound – It was the Scott Feldman show, as he was brilliant.  Feldman went the distance for his first career complete game giving up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out twelve(!).  The twelve strikeouts were also a career high, quite the night for Feldman as he improved his record to 2-3 and watched his ERA improve to 3.34 on the season.

Up Next – The Cubs go for the series win tomorrow afternoon at 1:20 PM CST.  Travis Wood looks to continue his strong start to 2013 as he will face off against Eric Stults who has been roughed up in the early going this year.

Cubs 5-1 box

Game Highlights:

Castro’s RBI single
Feldman’s RBI double, he does it all
Navarro’s two run double
Schierholtz RBI double

Thanks for reading,
– George

Edwin Jackson still searching for a win, pounded by Padres

Cubs april 30 line

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The first twenty-five games of the Cubs season featured a fun fact, every game has been decided by four runs or less, that streak came to a crashing halt tonight in game twenty-six.  Edwin Jackson was hit hard and often in the early going as the Padres built an 8-0 lead in the fifth inning.  As the Cubs have done all year they fought right back and scored four times in the bottom half of the fifth to make it a game.  Unfortunately the rest of the Castro 4-30Cubs staff couldn’t miss any bats either as the Padres scored in the next three innings, five runs in total, to take a 13-5 lead in the eighth inning.  The Cubs staged a minor rally in the ninth inning to make the score look somewhat presentable but they really never had a chance in this one, and that can be attributed to Edwin Jackson’s continued struggles.

At The Plate – Nice to see the Cubs really pound the ball in this one, too bad it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Padres.  The Cubs scored seven times on eleven hits, and were uncharacteristically good with runners in scoring position (3-for-9).  Starlin Castro had a big game going 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Anthony Rizzo is locked in at the plate, and now the results are starting to come, he was 3-for-4 tonight with two doubles, a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base.  Luis Valbuena, David DeJesus, and Cody Ransom all hit home runs in this one, Valbuena’s home run was a two-run shot, while DeJesus and Ransom each had solo homers.

On The Mound – Not a lot of success on the mound in this one and it started with Edwin Jackson who was torched.  Jackson went 4.2 innings giving up eight runs on eleven hits while walking two and striking out six, his ERA ballooned to 6.27 for the season.  Kameron Loe was okay in relief going 1.1 innings giving up one run on two hits while striking out two.  Hector Rondon didn’t fare too well out of the pen going two innings giving up four runs on four hits while walking one.  Shawn Camp was the only pitcher to escape unscathed in this one as he worked a scoreless inning.

Up Next – Game three of the series, and the Cubs will face a familiar face in Andrew Cashner.  The Cubs will counter with Scott Feldman at 7:05 PM CST.  Editors note:  Congrats Blackhawks on winning game one!  Go Chicago sports.

Cubs 4-30 box

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s two-run homer
Castro’s two-run shot
David DeJesus’ reviewed home run

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Fall Short of Sweep in Miami

Cubs April 28 Line

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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.  DeJesus 4-28The 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.

Cubs April 28 box

Game Highlights:

Rizzo’s RBI double
Castro’s great diving stop
Castro’s two-run double
Navarro goes deep in the ninth

Thanks for reading,
– George

Clutch Hitting, Pitching, and Defense Lead Cubs to Third Straight Win

Cubs april 27 line

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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 DeJesus 4-27was 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.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their fourth straight win and a series sweep of the Marlins tomorrow afternoon.  Carlos Villanueva will take the mound for the Cubs opposite Ricky Nolasco at 12:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-27 box

Game Highlights:

Luis Valbuena RBI single
Schierholtz with a spectacular catch
DeJesus’ game winning single
Castro’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George