After falling behind by two runs early the Cubs were able to tie things up at two in the fifth inning. But, the Cubs couldn’t get a shutdown inning in the bottom half as the Diamondbacks pushed across three runs to take a 5-2 lead and they never looked back on their way to a 8-3 victory. Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and didn’t have his best stuff as he could only last five innings giving up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two. The Cubs wasted a really good opportunity as well as Ian Kennedy clearly had less than his best as he walked six guys and couldn’t make it through the sixth. Dave Sappelt was the majority of the Cubs offense in this one as he finished the night 1-for-5 with his second home run of the season, he is now hitting .288 since his September call up. Starlin Castro continued his strong finish to the season as well as he had three hits in the loss, including his 27th double of the season. I guess the big news of the night was the error-less streak of Darwin Barney coming to an end. Barney’s streak ends at 141 games which ties the Major League record (Placido Polanco), and falls one inning short of holding it by himself. If that doesn’t sum up this season I don’t know what does, nice streak Darwin.
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After getting swept by the Rockies, the Cubs will now travel to Arizona to finish up the road part of their schedule. The Cubs went into the Colorado series looking to put themselves in a good position to lose less than 100 games, unfortunately after the sweep it is starting to look very bleak. The Cubs will attempt to not only win their first road series against a western division team, but unbelievably their first road win against the division. They are currently 0-16 and according to Stats Inc no team has ever gone winless against one division on the road in a single season. It will be tough for the Cubs as we have seen there is basically no pitching left and the offense has been rather quiet, even after going to Colorado. Hope we see the Cubs play hard these last six games and maybe, just maybe win the last two series of the season.
Record: 78-78 (Home 38-37); 3rd in West
Runs Scored: 705 (5th NL)
Team ERA: 3.98 (10th NL)
Last 10: 6-4
Last Series: Lost two of three to the Giants
Record: 59-97 (Road 22-56); 5th in Central
Runs Scored: 596 (14th NL)
Team ERA: 4.92 (14th NL)
Last 10: 1-9
Last Series: Swept by the Rockies
Friday, September 28 – 8:40 PM CST – CSN
Saturday, September 29 – 7:10 PM CST – WGN
Sunday, September 30 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN
Pitching Matchups for the weekend.
Friday, September 28
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-12, 4.23 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy (14-11, 4.14 ERA)
Saturday, September 29
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-9, 5.65 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Trevor Cahill (12-12, 3.86 ERA)
Sunday, September 30
Cubs: Chris Rusin (1-3, 7.30 ERA)
Diamondbacks: Josh Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA)
Prediction: Cubs lose series 2-1
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Judging by today’s performance I’m going out on a limb and saying the four-day all-star break was the most beneficial for Alfonso Soriano. Soriano led the charge for the Cubs as they opened the second half much like they finished the first half, blowing out an opponent. The Diamondbacks jumped on top of the Cubs in the first inning after a three-hour and forty minute rain delay, plating a single run on two hits off of Maholm, that was the only run Maholm would surrender as he was stellar again. After the Cubs tied the game at one in the second they went off against starter Ian Kennedy while dodging rain drops. The Cubs scored in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh inning on their way to an 8-1 blow out. As I mentioned, Soriano led the way, he finished the day 4-for-4 with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI’s and three runs scored, probably Soriano’s best game since the 2007-2008 seasons. He wasn’t alone in his destruction of D-Backs pitching as Anthony Rizzo also had a good day finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored. The offense didn’t need eight runs, though it was nice to see, because Maholm was on top of his game. Maholm secured his seventh victory of the season by going seven strong innings giving up one run on six hits while walking one and striking out five. After today’s effort Maholm’s ERA dropped to 4.33 on the season. The Cubs are putting it all together right now, they are 7-3 in their last ten, and have raised their home record to .500 on the season. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Finally Cubs baseball is back on Friday, and with the way the Cubs have been playing that is actually a good thing. The Cubs are red-hot, winning nine of their last fourteen games which has moved them out of last place in the Central Division. The Diamondbacks have taken a step back this season after being one of the surprise teams last year. Sub par years from Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy have contributed to that fall from the top of the West. Mediocre is a word that should be used in describing the D-Backs season to this point, they are 6th in runs scored, and 10th in ERA in the National League respectively. The Cubs still sit near the bottom of the league in both runs scored and ERA but this has been a different team since Anthony Rizzo got the call near the end of June. In order for the Cubs to be successful this weekend they are going to have to get a lead early against the D-Backs starters as they rank near the bottom of the NL, 14th to be exact, in starter ERA with a 4.26. While the pen for Arizona is 6th best in the National League, full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Finally a new team! The Cubs head to Arizona to take on the D-Backs over the weekend, and the Cubs are riding high coming off of a series win at US Cellular Field over the White Sox. Sure it’s just a series win, but considering it happened on the road it’s a big deal as the Cubs have a lot of trouble away from Wrigley. The Cubs will battle a D-Backs team that is trying to find their way after being a pleasant surprise last season. The D-Backs currently sit one game below .500 and in third place in the West, 7.5 games behind the Dodgers. The normally potent Arizona lineup is good but it usually is so much better, a down season so far from Justin Upton, an injury plagued year from Chris Young, and a missing (injured) Stephen Drew all contributed to the less than stellar numbers, up until the last series. The Cubs need to hit to stay in these games, the last two games against the Sox won’t be good enough in Arizona because I have a feeling they are about to explode, check that, continue their recent pace, as they scored 30 runs in a three game series against the Mariners. Maybe the addition of one Anthony Rizzo might help, rumor has it that June 23rd is the day Rizzo could be called up and not lose a year of eligibility, nothing confirmed obviously, but stay tuned. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.