Jeff Baker has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named later.
After scoring 14 runs in the series opener and rolling over the Pirates the Cubs offense disappeared over the last two games. Last night they just barely avoided being no-hit, and today they were shut down for eight innings by Jeff Karstens before rallying in the ninth only to fall short and drop the rubber game to the Pirates 8-4. Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and was much better than his last few starts, hard to be much worse I guess, but still. Wood worked five innings giving up two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out six. The game stayed close into the eighth, that’s where Shawn Camp’s arm fell off. Okay, he’s not hurt, but he finally had a bad outing, I guess he was due because that never happens. Camp didn’t retire a batter and gave up five runs on seven hits, if you’re going to be bad, be epic bad, it happens. The bright spot in the mess of an eight inning was Alberto Cabrera who was called up today and made his major league debut. Cabrera was electric, working one inning and striking out two hitters, it’s only one outing but it’s a glimpse into the future as Cabrera sets up to be a serviceable major league bullpen arm. Starlin Castro was the lone offense early as he blasted his 11th home run of the season in the first inning, a career high, he finished the day 2-for-5 at the plate. Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and Bryan LaHair all had two hits in the loss, unfortunately the Cubs couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it early in the game. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
It was one of those nights where you would expect to see a shoot-out, and that’s what happened tonight at Wrigley. Couple Travis Wood’s poor command with the 100 degree heat index and it was a recipe for disaster. The Marlins scored three runs in the fourth and five runs in the fifth to take an 8-0 lead. Wood ended his night after 4.2 innings giving up eight runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out six. The Cubs tried to get back in the game by getting single runs in the 5th and 6th to make it 8-2. With the game seemingly over in the 8th, the Cubs tried to mount a rally. The tying run was on deck when Anthony Rizzo grounded into an inning ending double play and that is as close as the Cubs would get in a 9-5 loss. David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Luis Valbuena, and Jeff Baker who wasn’t even starting the game, all came through with two hits in the loss. It’s not like the Cubs didn’t have their chances in this one. They scored five runs in the loss but finished the night 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 guys on base. I guess the Cubs were bound to have a bad one here as they have been so good as of late, and it was probably time to get Dolis and Asencio into a game, so forget this one and move on. Full box score, and highlights after the jump.
It’s almost a shame that the all-star break is upon us as the Cubs are paying their best baseball of the 2012 season. With the win the Cubs won the series from the Mets, and finished their last road trip of the first half with a winning record (4-3). The Cubs put this one away early as they pounded out five hits and four runs in the first inning off of Mets starter Jonathan Niese who had been lights out in his last seven starts. The four runs must have felt like 10 for Ryan Dempster who was making his return from the disabled list, as Dempster has been the recipient of horrible run support all year. Dempster was on a pitch/inning limit today so he only pitched five scoreless innings on four hits while walking none and striking out four. Dempster extended his scoreless innings streak to 27, thus possibly increasing his trade value, the Cubs will most likely cash in on Dempster’s great season before the trade deadline passes. With the Cubs leading 4-0 in the seventh Starlin Castro finished off his first half with an exclamation point as he absolutely crushed a three-run homer to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead and that’s how it would end. Castro finished the day 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI’s and a run scored. Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson also chipped in with two hits in the victory, the Cubs finished the first half winning nine of their last fourteen. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Okay, so I guess the Cubs can handle top of the rotation lefty’s, and have troubles with the mediocre ones. It sure does seem that way as the Cubs have been horrible against left-handed pitchers all year, but have now beaten Johan Santana for the second time in just under two weeks. Tonight was much different from the first game against Santana as the Cubs hit Santana all over the field. Things got started just a couple of pitches into the game
with Reed Johnson launching a lead-off home run that went a long way to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The Mets bounced right back, scoring a single run in the 2nd and 3rd to take a 2-1 lead. The Cubs were able to tie the game in the fourth inning and then blew the game wide open. The first two guys reached in the 5th inning setting the stage for Anthony Rizzo, and he delivered. Santana threw a get me over slider and Rizzo made him pay, crushing the ball over the right center field fence to give the Cubs a 5-2 lead. Another huge clutch hit from Rizzo, it’s awesome to see him make such an impact so quickly.
It looked like the Cubs would run away with this one, but you can never assume that when Carlos Marmol is on your roster. Leading 8-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth Carlos Marmol entered the game, and Cubs fans everywhere didn’t breathe for about twenty minutes. Marmol got the first out easy enough, then gave up a solo home run and things got worse from there. Three straight walks and a single later and the Mets closed the gap to one with runners on first and second and only one out with Lucas Duda coming up. Just when it looked like all hope was lost for Marmol and the Cubs they got a break. Duda hit a soft liner back to the mound and Marmol snagged it and easily doubled the runner off of first to end the game, Cubs win 8-7, exhale. Anthony Rizzo and Reed Johnson were the stars at the plate as the Cubs had a few of them as they pounded out 18 hits. Rizzo finished 4-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season and three RBI’s. Reed Johnson just missed the cycle, falling a triple short, he finished 4-for-6 in the win. Lost in all the offense was Travis Wood, who won his fourth straight decision. Wood went six innings allowing three runs, two earned while walking four and striking out three. Wood improved to 4-3 on the season, full box score and highlights after the jump.
Break out the brooms, thanks to an outstanding effort from Travis Wood, and timely hitting, again, from Anthony Rizzo the Cubs swept away the Astros on Sunday, it was the Cubs fifth win in their last six games. After just under an hour rain delay both offenses seemed less than ready to swing the bats as both pitchers were breezing through the early innings. The Cubs staged a rally in the 6th, Starlin Castro was intentionally walked with Travis Wood at third and one out bring Anthony Rizzo to the plate in a big spot. Rizzo wasted no time, lacing an RBI single through the right side on a first pitch curve ball to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead, it turned out to be the game winning hit, Rizzo’s third in five games already. Jeff Baker followed with a double down the left field line that scored Castro and Rizzo all the way from first. That was more than enough for Travis Wood as he shut out the Astros over 7.2 innings only allowing three hits, while walking none and struck out four. Wood improved to 3-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.05. Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 8th save of the season, the third straight in this series. Full box score and highlights after the jump.