Cubs Finish First Half on a High Note

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.

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July 6 – 8; Cubs @ Mets – Series Preview

New York Mets Logo - Mets scripted in blue with an orange outline

The Cubs close out the first half of the 2012 season in New York against the Mets this weekend.  This should be a pretty good series as both clubs are playing pretty good baseball right now.  The Cubs, in probably their best stretch of the season, have gone 7-3 in their last ten games, while the wild card leading (Tied with the Giants) Mets are 6-4 in their last ten.  The Cubs got the best of the Mets at the end of June in Chicago when they took two out of three.  However, I’m sure the Cubs haven’t forgotten the one game they lost in that series, by the score of 17-1.  The Mets are a well-rounded squad as they are 3rd in the NL in runs scored, and 7th in ERA.  Not too many ways to beat this team at the moment, if the Cubs want to be successful they have to get into the Mets bullpen which is the worst in the National League with a 5.07 ERA.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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Cubs Bid For Sweep Ends In Disaster

Certain games you just forget and move on, I think losing 17-1 would be one of those games.  Nothing went right for the Cubs as the Mets turned a 1-1 game into a laugher in just a matter of three innings.  Entering the fourth inning the game was tied at one, then the Mets went on an offensive binge, scoring three in the 4th, six in the 5th, and six in the 6th, and just like that it was 16-1, yikes.  Jeff Samardzija was god awful, and Casey Coleman was probably worse.  Samardzija gave up nine runs on six hits in 4.1 innings while walking four and striking out one.  Talk of a possible all-star appearance has officially been thrown out the window as Samardzija falls to 5-7 on the year with a 5.05 ERA.  Coleman came in to put out the fire, instead he doused it with gasoline.  He lasted only 1.2 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits while walking two and striking out one. 

The Cubs were not much better at the plate as they only managed nine hits and one run against Jonathan Niese and the Mets pen.  Anthony Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a double, nice to see him swing the bat well against a lefty as that was his big stumbling block last year.  Darwin Barney also had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with a run scored.  These games happen, the good news is that it only counts as one loss.  Still a good series for the Cubs, taking two out of three from a solid team is definitely a positive.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 27, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Mets

The Cubs go for the sweep this afternoon as they send Jeff Samardzija to the hill.  Shark has struggled recently with his command, and has not been able to go deep in games because of it.  Day two of the Anthony Rizzo era is here, the Cubs will line up as follows.

1. Mather – CF
2. Castro – SS
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Baker – RF
6. Soto – C
7. Barney – 2B
8. Valbuena – 3B
9. Samardzija – P

Ugh, I would rather see Samardzija hit 5th than Jeff Baker.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

June 25 – 27; vs. Mets – Series Preview

New York Mets Logo - Modernized Mr. Met logo

It seems like the most interesting news surrounding the Cubs is what is happening off the field than on, that’s probably true.  This is what most Cubs fans have waited for all year, the arrival of Anthony Rizzo.  Rizzo will not be a savior, and he might struggle, but if most Cubs fans are like me, just seeing Rizzo play is a welcome departure from watching a lifeless team go through the motions game after game.  Nothing is official yet, but it sounds like Anthony Rizzo could be in the Cubs lineup as early as Tuesday night.  The team he and the Cubs will be facing is one of the early season surprises, the New York Mets.  The Mets are currently five games over .500 and are in second place in the East, just 3.5 games behind the Nationals.  The Cubs will get a look at a big reason Monday night as they face a rejuvenated Johan Santana, but they will avoid knuckleball sensation R.A. Dickey.  The Cubs, per usual, are struggling, they can’t score runs, a big reason is a dreadful stretch with guys in scoring position (3-25 over the weekend in Arizona).  Maybe a Rizzo promotion will help in that department, stay tuned.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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