Cubs chase Chapman, but fall just short

Cubs May 3 line

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Well, how should we look at this loss?  Be thrilled that the Cubs fought back against arguably the best closer in the game only to fall just one run short.  Or say that this was the typical Cubs “fake rally” where they get just close enough to give us fans some hope, then fizzle out.  Maybe a little of both I guess, fact remains the Cubs left way too many guys on base in this one and that was the difference.  The Cubs trailed 4-0 in the sixth before getting two runs in the bottom half to pull within two.  Unfortunately the Cubs pen couldn’t keep the Reds in check over the next two innings as they built their lead back up to four runs heading to the ninth.  The Cubs, somewhat miraculously Soriano 5-3touched up the untouchable Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, scoring three runs off the flamethrower.  Unfortunately, with the bases loaded and trailing 6-5 Darwin Barney struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat and the game, not a game to remember from Darwin Barney, more on that later.  So close, so frustrating, so encouraging, so many things pulling us in different directions, welcome to the 2013 Cubs.

At The Plate – The Cubs had a solid game at the plate, but on one hand they could have been so much better.  They scored five times on fifteen hits, that’s hard to do, too many opportunities wasted in this one.  Anthony Rizzo is now far removed from his early season struggles as he was 3-for-5 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .243 on the season.  Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored but it was the at bats he had where he didn’t get a hit that hurt the most.  The Cubs four hitter was 0-for-2 with zero RBI’s in this game with the bases loaded, both at bats came with less than two outs, unacceptable.  Nate Schierholtz had another good day going 2-for-4 with an RBI, but he also left five guys on base.  Luis Valbuena continues to string together good games here and there he was 3-for-4 in the loss.  Really rough game for Darwin Barney, he was 0-for-5, he left eight men on base, eight, by himself, including striking out with the bases loaded to end the game.  Tomorrow is another day, Darwin, go get em.

On The Mound – Carlos Villanueva didn’t have his best stuff in this one, but he did all he could to get deep into the game.  Villanueva went 5.2 innings giving up four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four.  Michael Bowden really struggled out of the pen, and it was his own doing as he worked 1.1 innings giving up one run on three walks, ugh.  Kameron Loe wasn’t much better has he work one inning giving up one run on two hits while walking one.  Kevin Gregg had another solid outing as he worked a scoreless ninth inning while walking one and striking out one.

Up Next – Game two of the series as the Cubs trying to even it up.  Jeff Samardzija looks to get a little deeper in the game as lately his pitch counts have been elevated too early, it would be nice to see him get some run support as well.  That won’t exactly be easy as the Reds will counter with Tony Cingrani who has been really good in the first few starts of his career.

Cubs 5-3 box

Game Highlights:

Castillo’s two run single
Barney turns a DP
Schierholtz RBI single
Soriano’s RBI Double
Castro makes a nice play

Thanks for reading,
– George

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

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

Valbuena’s Blast Propels Cubs to Victory

Cubs Line 4-25

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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 Valbuena 4-25tied 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.

Up Next – Game two of the series as Scott Feldman looks for his first win of the season against Wade LeBlanc at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-25 box

Game Highlights:

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,
– George

Cubs Baffled by Latos in Loss

Cubs 4-24 line

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If you like a good old fashion pitchers duel, then this one was for you.  Jeff Samardzija and Mat Latos went toe-to-toe in this one, and it almost didn’t even happen.  Both pitchers received visits from the trainer in the first inning, Latos after being hit with a hard ground ball off the bat of Julio Borbon, and Samardzija ripped up the nail of his index finger on his pitching hand while trying to knock down a ground ball.  Both pitchers stayed in the game, Samardzija Shark 4-24with blood dripping from his hand and both were outstanding.  Todd Frazier was the only player to make an impact on offense for either team as he connected on an estimated 480 foot home run in the sixth inning, and that was enough for Latos and the Reds.  The Cubs threatened in the eighth but once again couldn’t make contact to score a run.  Alfonso Soriano pinch hit in the eighth and struck out with runners at second and third with only one out.  Then DeJesus was robbed by Zack Cozart on a ground ball back up the middle, if it gets through the Cubs lead 2-1, it didn’t, Cubs lose.

At The Plate – As I mentioned, the Cubs really didn’t get much going off of Latos, Broxton, and Chapman in this one.  Julio Borbon had a solid day as he made good contact a few times, he went 1-for-3 with a double.  Both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were 1-for-4 in the loss, Castro was also caught stealing.  Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom were the only other Cubs that registered his in the loss.

On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija was solid again, this time while battling an injury, and still ended up with a loss, his fourth of the season despite an ERA of 3.03, sounds like much of the Cubs staff.  Samardzija went six innings giving up one run on seven hits while walking three and striking out eight.  Shawn Camp and James Russell gave the Cubs a shot late as they each tossed a scoreless inning out of the pen.

Up Next – The Cubs travel to Miami to take on the Marlins in a four game weekend set.  Edwin Jackson will start things off against Kevin Slowey at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-24 box

Game Highlights:

Samardzija’s gutsy outing
Samardzija get’s nicked up
Navarro guns down Votto
DeJesus with a diving grab

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

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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, Travis  Wood 4-22usually 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. 

Up Next – Carlos Villanueva looks to play stopper tomorrow night against Tony Cingrani, the Reds highly touted prospect.  First pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-22 box 1

Cubs 4-22 box 2

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s two-run homer
Castro RBI single
DeJesus lead-off homer

Thanks for reading,
– George