How was that for exciting, for the second time in the last week Luis Valbuena belted a clutch home run to put the Cubs up late, this time they actually won the game. Things weren’t looking so good early on as Edwin Jackson was struggling with his command and the Marlins jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning. Usually that spells the end of the game for the Cubs given their offensive woes, but not tonight. The Cubs scored once in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, and then tied it in the sixth on a home run by you guessed it, Schierholtz again. Jackson settled in, and the Cubs pen did a great job to get the game tied at three and then Valbuena delivered the game winning shot in the top of the ninth. Carlos Marmol came on to get the save, and of course made it very interesting for everyone involved by putting the first two men on before escaping the jam, Cubs win!
At The Plate – The Cubs were only able to manage six hits in this one, but they made them count as they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position. David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored from the lead-off spot. Starlin Castro got the Cubs on the board early with an RBI single, he finished the day 1-for-4. Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored. Luis Valbuena, the hero on this night went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.
On The Mound – It didn’t look like Edwin Jackson was going to make it through four innings in this one but he battled his way to a quality start. Jackson went six innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four. The Cubs pen shined in this one as Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol all tossed scoreless innings in the victory. Impressive job by Marmol after it looked like things were going to unravel, he walked the first guy, gave up a hit to the next guy then settled in as he struck out the Marlins best hitter Giancarlo Stanton with the tying run in scoring position to end this one.
Valbuena’s game winner
Great defensive play in the ninth
Marmol gets the save
Schierholtz ties it with a home run
Castro’s RBI single
Great catch by Barney
Castillo’s RBI double
Slick play by Barney and Castro
Thanks for reading,
Well, based on the records, this could be an ugly series as the Cubs come in at 6-14 with the Marlins sporting a 5-16 record, that’s a lot of losses. As one could imagine, it hasn’t gone well of late for either team as the Cubs are 2-8 ion their last ten games, of course at least half of those losses could be wins, and the Marlins are 3-7 in their last ten. The Marlins struggles are similar to the that of the Cubs, they can’t score runs. The Marlins have the worst team batting average in all of baseball (.221), the Cubs aren’t much better at .229 (26th in MLB). The Marlins are also dead last in runs scored with 54, eleven fewer than the Cubs on the season. The Cubs also hold the edge in the pitching department as they sport a 3.44 team ERA which is 9th best in all of baseball, think about that for a second, the Cubs have the 9th best ERA yet sit eight games under .500 this year. The Marlins team ERA is a full run worse than that of the Cubs, they sit 26th in the Majors at 4.50. All signs point to a successful weekend in Miami for the Cubs, but they still have to go out there and perform.
The Cubs left Cincinnati wanting more, they lost two of three and could have easily won two of three.
The Marlins split a rain shortened series in Minnesota.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WCIU
- Friday, April 25, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
- Saturday, April 26, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Sunday, April 27, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.84)
– Career vs. Marlins (8 appearances, 7 GS) (1-6, 6.69)
Game Two – Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50)
– Career vs. Marlins (First appearance)
Game Three – Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08)
– Career vs. Marlins (2 GS) (0-2, 16.88)
Game Four – Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53)
– Career vs. Marlins (10 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 5.79)
Game One – Kevin Slowey (0-2, 1.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (1-0, 4.50)
Game Two – Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-0, 2.08)
Game Three – Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 3.18)
Game Three – Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 7 GS) (4-2, 2.85)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
The Cubs have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, even more troubling is their inability to get runners in from third base and less than two outs. That is a situation where contact needs to be made and the run needs to score. So far this season the Cubs have had twenty-three at bats with a runner at third with less than two outs, they only have two hits, that’s a .077 average. They have only scored eleven times in those twenty-three chances, for one, they need more chances, and two they need to capitalize starting yesterday. Anthony Rizzo is having better at bats as of late unfortunately that is not yielding better results. Over his last six games Rizzo is hitting .185 (5-for-27), he does have three home runs and five RBI’s during that stretch. Darwin Barney has struggled mightily at the plate since returning from the DL, he is hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his last six games, but does have a game winning homer. David DeJesus has been lighting it up of late, he is hitting .368 (7-for-19) over the last six games with a double, a triple, two home runs, three RBI’s, and four walks. On the mound, Carlos Villanueva has been outstanding in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA only giving up seven hits in 15.1 innings.
The Marlins glaring issues are scoring runs, and then preventing them once the bullpen comes into the game, sounds familiar, eh? I mentioned the Marlins offensive woes above, but their bullpen ERA is just as bad. The Marlins sit 28th in the Majors in bullpen ERA with a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than the Cubs if you can believe that. Get ready for a lot of names that you probably don’t know, starting now. Not much has gone right at the plate for the Marlins, but Rob Brantly has been a bright spot lately. Over the last five games Brantly is hitting .313 (5-for16) with three doubles, four RBI’s, and two walks. Justin Ruggiano on the other hand has been awful in the last seven games hitting .207 (6-for-29), of those six hits two have left the park. Ryan Webb has been one of the few bright spots out of the Marlins pen of late as he has tossed six innings over the last seven days giving up only one run. Jon Rauch has been stupid bad in his last two appearances, giving up five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.
These close games are bound to start going in the favor of the Cubs, and I think that starts now. The way the Cubs staff has been throwing the ball I like their chances against a weak Marlins line up. I also think the Cubs will start getting some timely hits and take three out of four this weekend….please??
Thanks for reading,
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, usually 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.
Thanks for reading,
I understand that the Cubs won’t be competitive this year, maybe competitive in games, but not to the point of winning anything substantial, but the one thing I expect to see at least is strong fundamental play. When the roster is hollowed, which it is, one would expect to see the little things done right, and players paying attention. We are only sixteen games into this season and it is clear that in some games the Cubs just aren’t mentally there. I suppose I shouldn’t be as upset about it because this kind of stuff happens on bad teams, and for the most part the Cubs have fought in games but today just got to me. It also is starting to get to Dale Sveum, “”This is obviously getting old…we’re making mistakes that rookie ball people make.” The Cubs only had four chances with runners in scoring position, they did convert once, but it wasn’t enough as four unearned runs did in the Cubs and Edwin Jackson, just frustrating.
At The Plate – The Cubs managed to out-hit the Brewers in this one 7-6, but the Brewers didn’t make any errors and thus they won. Of the seven Cubs hits only two were of the extra-base variety. David DeJesus was 1-for-3, as was Luis Valbuena. Alfonso Soriano was the only Cubs player to register an RBI, he was 1-for-4, and also made an error. Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 and he also made an error, the other error was made by Edwin Jackson. Nate Schierholtz, and Dave Sappelt were the only Cubs with extra base hits, both doubles.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson had a “quality” start by definition of the rule book as he went six innings giving up five runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out four. Hector Rondon, and Kameron Loe both worked scoreless innings in relief but by then the game was decided.
Thanks for reading,
Once again the Cubs put up a fight, and once again the Cubs lose a close game. The damage was done early as Samardzija and the Cubs gave up four runs, I said “and the Cubs” because they contributed to the runs just as much as Shark did. The game started with a Rizzo error, a soft single, a home run, a bloop double, a triple, and just like that it was 4-0. The Cubs came right back using the long ball to make it 4-3 in the third inning, but could never even the score despite many opportunities. The Cubs put the lead-off man on in almost every inning tonight and couldn’t do anything with it, this one was as frustrating as they come. Full credit to Samardzija for battling in this one, he could have folded in the first but didn’t and saved the pen. Dale Sveum was ejected in this one, and I was 110% happy with it, after a non strike three call with Braun at the plate (the same pitch Shark was called out on with the bases loaded) Samardzija was visibly upset, said something and got back on the mound, the umpire showed him up by taking his mask off and stared down Samardzija, first Castillo got in his face then Sveum did, well done Dale.
At The Plate – The Cubs issues with runners in scoring position reared its ugly head again in this one as the Cubs pounded out ten hits, but went 0-for-7 when it mattered with runners in scoring position. David DeJesus had a good night from the lead-off spot going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo continues to make his hits count, he was 1-for-4 with a home run, his 5th of the season, an RBI, and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 1-for-3 with his 2nd home run of the season. Unfortunately only one of those blasts came with a guy on base, and not getting guys in from second with less than two outs continues to drag this team down. Newcomer Julio Borbon made a perfect Cubs debut by getting thrown out stealing second to end the game, he slid to soon, it was reminiscent of Willie Mays Hayes from “Major League.” Ah, Cubs baseball, never a dull moment.
On The Mound – I mentioned it above, but Jeff Samardzija really showed a lot tonight as he could have very easily packed it in tonight after a rough first inning that really wasn’t all his fault. After giving up four runs in the first he settled down and gave the Cubs all he could going 7+ innings giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits while walking one and striking out four. The two pitches he probably wants back is the 0-2 pitch to Braun that ended up being a three run shot, and the first pitch to Gomez in the eighth that left the park. Kevin Gregg made his 2013 Cubs debut, it looked a lot like 2009 efforts, he gave up a hit and walked a batter, then he was removed. Camp came in and got out of a jam thanks to the base running exploits by the Brewers, specifically Jean Segura who stole second and got caught stealing second in the same inning, I really don’t want to explain it, I will post the video if it’s available.
Jean Segura ladies and gentlemen
Up Next – Another thrilling Cubs game for sure, as this team doesn’t know any other way to play, no matter what it’s going to be close. Edwin Jackson gets the start for the Cubs and he will take on Hiram Burgos who will be making his MLB debut, game starts at 6:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago.
Thanks for reading,
Julio Borbon was designated for assignment by the Rangers last week, they were unable to work out a trade so he was placed on waivers on Wednesday. The Cubs claimed Borbon today, intriguing move considering they already signed Ryan Sweeney, a left-handed hitting outfielder, which is what Borbon is, and now a spot on the 40 man roster needs to be cleared to make room for him. Borbon has also produced, he’s a career .283 hitter having 685 at bats in the Majors, and a career .324 on base percentage. All of these numbers coming at the age of twenty-three to twenty-five, then didn’t play last year, one would think he would be a candidate to be on the active roster given the fact that he is out of minor league options. This also could be the start of something else that is going on, I don’t want to speculate too much but there are simply too many players right now that are on the 40 man roster that are similar to Borbon. The Cubs have Brett Jackson at Iowa, Ryan Sweeney at Iowa, Brian Bogusevic at Iowa, Dave Sappelt in Chicago, and David DeJesus in Chicago. My guess is that he will replace Sappelt on the active roster and Sappelt will hit waivers but that’s just an educated guess at this point.
(UPDATE) Alberto Gonzalez has been DFA’d in a corresponding move to make room for Borbon.
Thanks for reading,
Now these are the games that I think a lot of Cubs fans can get used to. Thirteen hits, and six runs, not just thirteen hits but nine extra base hits and many of them very loud. Maybe they just sounded loud because there were only 217 people at today’s game, but they were squared up for sure. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning amid the rain drops and this time they were able to keep their opponent at bay behind some solid pitching and defense. I’m not sure what was the bigger victory today, the Cubs win, or the fact that the game was actually played. Most of Chicago and the suburbs are under water, me included, so great job by the Wrigley grounds crew to get the field in the best shape possible.
At The Plate – Maybe the best day at the plate all year for the Cubs, big days all around. David DeJesus went 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a triple, a double, a walk and a run scored. Starlin Castro was solid as well as he went 1-for-3 with two walks, his first two of the year, a double, and a stolen base. Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, and the longest in the Majors this year, a 475 foot blast. His day could have been better two as it included two line outs, good to see solid contact from Rizzo. Alfonso Soriano also found some production, he went 1-for-5 with his first home run and first RBI of the season. Welington Castillo continued his red-hot start to the season going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s.
On The Mound – The Cubs pitching was just as good as the hitting in this one. Carlos Villanueva was finally rewarded for a solid outing, he earned his first win of the season going seven innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six. James Russell and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning to close this one out. Carlos Marmol was particularly good in this one as he didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
Up Next – The Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a three game series with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will get things going for the Cubs against Marco Estrada at 7:10 PM CST. I guarantee there will be no rain outs this weekend.
Thanks for reading,