Cubs Continue to Beat Themselves

Cubs April 20 lineFull Box Score

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 Alfonso Sorianobecause 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 ValbuenaAlfonso 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. 

Up Next – The Cubs will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon as Scott Feldman battles Wily Peralta at 1:10 PM CST.

Cubs April 20 box

Cubs April 20 box 1

Game Highlights:

Soriano’s impressive RBI single….sigh
Castro’s Error, sums it up

Thanks for reading,
– George

Sloppy First Dooms Cubs

Cubs April 19 lineFull Box Score

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 Castro 4-19opportunities.  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.

Enjoy..

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.

Cubs April 19 box 1

Cubs April 19 box 2

Game Highlights:

DeJesus’ two-run homer
Valbuena goes deep
Check back later for more

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Use Extra Base Hits to Pound Rangers

Cubs April 18 line

Full Box Score

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 Anthony Rizzocrew 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.

Cubs April 18 box

Cubs April 18 Box 1

Game Highlights:

Soriano goes deep
Rizzo hits a monster a shot, really far
Valbuena’s single puts the Cubs on top
Castro and Barney turn two
Valnbuena’s RBI double
Villanueva’s slick double play

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Marmol Coaster Comes Off Tracks in Loss to Braves

April 6 line score

Full Box Score

Over the course of 162 games there will be losses that are harder to take than others, this is one of those losses, in fact this might be the toughest one of the season.  After an outstanding performance from Carlos Villanueva the Cubs held a 5-1 Braves Walk off 4-6lead in the 8th inning.  A poor outing from Kyuji Fujikawa made the game close and another Carlos Marmol meltdown gave the Braves a walk-off victory.  All of this could have been avoided if the Cubs capitalized on a golden opportunity in the top of the 8th.  The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and failed to push across a run, that usually comes back to haunt you, and tonight is definitely did.

At The Plate – The Cubs finally found some offense, unfortunately it was the failed opportunities that will be remembered in this one.  The Cubs pounded out thirteen hits, a season high by far, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough.  Every Cubs hitter in the starting lineup registered at least one hit, even starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva.  Anthony Rizzo got things going as he was 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz had another solid game going 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo and Luis Valbuena also had two hits with Valbuena hitting his first home run of the season.

On The Mound – A tale of two games for sure, Carlos Villanueva got the start and was outstanding.  Villanueva went 6.2 innings giving up one run on six hits while walking two and striking out six.  Kyuji Fujikawa had a rough inning as he could only throw his fastball for strikes.  Fujikawa gave up three runs in one inning of work on four hits while walking one and striking out one.  Carlos Marmol was a disaster, he entered the ninth with a lead and could only record one out before the game was over.  Marmol gave up two runs, on two hits, a solo home run to B.J. Upton and a solo home run to Justin Upton.  Look for Marmol to be officially removed from the closer roll as early as before first pitch tomorrow.

Up Next – Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the Cubs in the series finale against Tim Hudson at 12:35 PM CST.  Samardzija looks to build off his dominant performance in the season opener.

Stat Of The Night – Coming into the night the Cubs had 16 hits on the season, they registered 13 tonight.

April 6 box score

 

April 6 box score 1

 

Game Highlights:

Schierholtz RBI Single
Luis Valbuena goes deep
Rizzo’s two-run shot

Thanks for reading,
– George

Rusin Shuts Down Dodgers in Win

Cubs-Dodgers 3-14-13 Header

Full Box Score

  Chris Rusin was outstanding Thursday afternoon, which is nothing new this Spring as he has been nothing short of brilliant.  The lefty is slated to start the 2013 season in the Iowa rotation, and if he has continued success like this don’t be surprised if he is back at Wrigley sooner than later, either starting or coming out of the pen.

Box Score At The Plate

Brent Lillibridge made a triumphant return to the lineup going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.  Welington Castillo got the start behind the plate and was 1-for-2 with a triple, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Luis Valbuena (1), Brian Bogusevic (2), Dave Sappelt (1), and Darnell McDonald (1) had the rest of the runs knocked in.

Box Score On The Mound

As I mentioned, Chris Rusin was awesome.  Rusin tossed five nearly perfect innings, giving up no runs on one hit while walking one, and striking out one.  Raley improved to 2-0 on the Spring with a 0.69 ERA, he has worked thirteen innings this spring and has given up one run.  Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, and Blake Parker all had scoreless appearances in the victory.

Box Score Up Next

Split squad action tomorrow as half the team will face the White Sox on the road, and the other half will face off against Team Japan.  Travis Wood will make the start against Team Japan, and Scott Feldman will work against the White Sox.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Walk This Way; Cubs Hand Game to D-Backs Behind Eight Walks

Cactus League Header

Cubs-Dbacks Line Score 3-1-13

Full Box Score

  On the surface it looks as though the Cubs staff struggled as a whole today, but that really wasn’t the case.  Jeff Samardzija got the start and turned in the longest outing of any Cubs pitcher so far, tossing three innings giving up one run on one hit, while walking three and striking out one.  It could have been much worse but Shark wiggled off the hook in the second after loading the bases with no outs.  MLB: Spring Training-Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago CubsObviously he didn’t have his best command as illustrated by the three walks, but he battled, and he wasn’t the only one that struggled with command today.  Michael Bowden walked two in his inning of work, and Rafael Dolis imploded, walking three in a third of an inning while giving up four runs, three earned, on just one hit.  Cory Wade, Blake Parker, James Russell, Casey Coleman, and Shawn Camp all had scoreless appearances.

  The Cubs were able to plate two runs in the first inning off of Trevor Cahill, but that is all they would get in this one.  Anthony Rizzo continued his strong spring going 2-for-3 with a double, and an RBI, he’s now hitting .364 (4-for-11) in the Cactus League.  Luis Valbuena continues to make a strong case to be the starting third baseman going 1-for-2 with a run scored, he’s hitting a robust .571 (4-for-7) this Spring.  Jorge Soler had a solid day at the plate going 1-for-2 with a triple, it’s impressive to see a guy that big run that well.

Cubs-Dbacks Box Score 3-1-13

Cubs-Dbacks Pitching Box Score 3-1-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Non-Tender Ian Stewart, Among Others

Some Cubs roster moves today, figured this was coming based on the comments from Jed Hoyer earlier in the day.

via Bleacher Nation

“According to Paul Sullivan, Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Miles on Twitter, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said a couple interesting things this afternoon:

(1) He expects the Cubs’ 40-man roster to be under 40 by tonight (it currently stands at 40); and

(2) The Cubs are “very likely” (per Sullivan) to have a couple of non-tenders (Muskat used the words “may have a couple non-tendered”).”

This led to some speculation that there would be an unexpected non-tender as the five arbitration eligible players were Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Luis Valbuena, and Ian Stewart.  ian-stewart-10Not the case, and I think there was some confusion in the reporting process of Hoyer’s comments, so moving onto the news of the day.

The Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart, Zach Putnam, and Jaye Chapman today, essentially making them free agents immediately.  All three players drop off the 40 man roster, leaving the 40 man roster at 37 currently.  I said essentially free agents because teams sometimes do this to save money on arbitration eligible players.  If the Cubs think that they can still sign all three players but at a lesser cost, it makes sense to non-tender them and then sign them on the open market.  With that said, all three players are now in the FA pool and any team can sign them.

The did tender Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Luis Valbuena.  All four of those players remain under Cubs control for 2013, and will go through the arbitration process early next year unless contract extensions can be worked out.

Thanks for reading,
– George