Every game seems winnable with this team, more often than not, it still ends up as a loss. Heading into today it looked like a solid pitching match up on paper, and both guys delivered for the most part as Samardzija battled Bumgarner through six innings. The Giants built a 3-0 lead after six and a half innings and for the fifth straight game the Cubs wouldn’t go quietly. Dioner Navarro has a flare for dramatics it seems as for the second straight day he delivered a pinch hit home run. Today it was a two-run shot that brought the Cubs within one run, unfortunately that’s as close as they would get despite a wonderful opportunity. That was the story of the day for the Cubs, wasted opportunities, they had multiple chances to drive runs in while making outs, whether it be a ground ball or a sac fly, and the Cubs couldn’t do either, which isn’t that surprising. Welington Castillo had two great opportunities and failed both times. The latest was a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the eighth inning, he swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning ending double play.
At The Plate – Alfonso Soriano finally showed some signs of life at the plate today going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. Alberto Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Dioner Navarro, who will probably get the start tomorrow, was 1-for-1 off the bench with a two-run homer, yesterday he did it from the left side today from the right.
On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija turned in another solid outing and walks away with another loss. Samardzija went six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. He falls to 0-2 on the season with a sparkling 2.75 ERA. Michael Bowden came on in relief and gave up one run in one inning of work on two hits. Both Carlos Marmol and James Russell tossed scoreless innings to keep it close late.
Up Next – Game four of the series as the Cubs will try to salvage a split when it all honesty they could be going for a sweep. Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Cubs, he will oppose Tim Lincecum at 1:20 PM CST. Much warmer temperatures tomorrow, so there’s that.
Check back later, FOX is horrible.
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Baseball is a funny game, it’s also infuriating and thrilling, today had a little bit of everything. Carlos Villanueva battled Matt Cain today, and got the best of him as he was brilliant all afternoon. Villanueva left in the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead, things looked great! Then the ninth inning rolled around, and that clearly has been a problem this year, and it’s not just Marmol either. Kyuji Fujikawa struggled with his command and got hit pretty hard as he gave up three runs to blow the save and put himself and the Cubs in line for the loss. That’s when for the fourth straight game the Cubs showed some fight. Dioner Navarro tied the game at three with a pinch hit home run off Sergio Romo, David DeJesus came up with a two-out single then Starlin Castro played hero. Castro drove a 2-1 pitch off the center field wall for a walk-off double, just like that the Cubs were winners, as I said infuriating and thrilling all in one game, gotta love baseball. My head hurts.
At The Plate – Top of the order magic again for the Cubs. David DeJesus was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. Starlin Castro was the hero, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored. Welington Castillo continued his torrid start to the season going 2-for-4. Dioner Navarro came up large off the bench in the ninth delivering a game-tying solo home run, he finished 1-for-1.
On The Mound – What can be said about Carlos Villanueva? He was absolutely outstanding today, and unfortunately for the second straight game he had to settle for a no decision. Villanueva tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, he gave up three hits while walking one and striking out three. James Russell worked tow-thirds of an inning and only allowed one hit. Kyuji Fujikawa really struggled, he worked one inning giving up three runs on three hits, he earned the blown save, and the win, go figure.
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Ah, Spring in Chicago, either it’s great or horrible, usually no in between. Hopefully the weather cooperates today, and all weekend as the Cubs welcome the defending champion San Francisco Giants to town for a four game set. Should be some great baseball on display this weekend, hopefully for both teams. As usual the Giants boast of formidable pitching staff that will most definitely pose a challenge for the Cubs anemic offense.
The Cubs split the two game series with the Brewers as the final game was rained out.
The Giants swept the Rockies in a three game series at home.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 13, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on FOX
- Sunday, April 14, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71)
– Career vs. Giants (4 appearances, 2 GS) (0-3, 5.54)
Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35)
– Career vs. Giants (13 appearances, 1 GS) (2-1, 4.15)
Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.63)
– Career vs. Giants (6 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.53)
Game Four – Edwin Jackson (0-2, 5.73)
– Career vs. Giants (5 appearances, 4 GS) (2-2, 4.73)
Game One – Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44)
– Career vs. Cubs (15 appearances, 9 GS) (4-5, 5.73)
Game Two – Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38)
– Career vs. Cubs (13 GS) (6-2, 2.45)
Game Three – Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.79)
Game Four – Tim Lincecum (1-0, 4.91)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (4-4, 3.43)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
Something happened in the Brewers series, the Cubs found some offense, not only offense, but clutch offense. In both games the Cubs mounted comebacks, one successful, and one not so successful. Regardless, it was good to see guys having good at bats and driving the ball when they needed to. Welington Castillo has been a consistent threat at the plate since day one for the Cubs, he’s hitting .381 on the season with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s. Nate Schierholtz is also swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .304 on the season, and sports an impressive .385 OBP. Alfonso Soriano is scuffling, he’s back to missing his pitch and then getting himself out on the pitchers pitch. He’s hitting .194 on the season and has no extra base hits, or RBI’s. The Cubs pitching is starting to show some dents, but for the most part the starters have been great. Hector Rondon has been very good out of the pen, while Shawn Camp has struggled of late.
It’s a former Cub that is leading the offensive attack for the Giants, Angel Pagan is hitting .361 in the early going. Pablo Sandoval is also swinging a hot bat hitting .345 on the season with two home runs and six RBI’s, and has only struck out once in 29 at bats. Brandon Belt is struggling at the plate as he is only hitting .148 with only two extra base hits and no RBI’s. The Cubs won’t see Barry Zito in this series, usually that’s a bad thing, but not this year, Zito started on his comeback trail last year, and has continued it this year as he hasn’t given up a run so far this year in two starts over fourteen innings. Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain have been knocked around a bit as Vogelsong has a 8.44 ERA, and Cain has a 8.38 ERA, when was the last time you saw that?
The Cubs usually play up to their competition, at home at least, I think they play well enough to split this four game series. If they get a surprisingly solid performance from Feldman and Villanueva they might take three of four.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
Maybe Chris Volstad has found something. Volstad went without a win in 24 straight starts, over a full calendar year, he has two wins in his last two starts. Volstad was good today, on a day when the conditions favored anyone with a bat in their hands. He found the zone early and then pitched to his strengths after that, he finished his day after 5.2 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two. Coming into this one I don’t think many people gave the Cubs a chance, not only are the Giants much better, but the Cubs were facing all world lefty Madison Bumgarner. As they say, that’s why they play the games.
The Cubs jumped Bumgarner early, as they scored once in the first and piled on four more in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead. The Giants tried to make it a game late as they pulled within two in the 8th but Carlos Marmol came on to shut the door in the ninth, again, he’s been outstanding as of late. Anthony Rizzo hit his first home run since August 5, no one believed it so they actually had to review it to make sure. Okay, that’s not really why, it was ruled a triple but replays showed it was gone, it was Rizzo’s 10th home run of the season, he finished the day 2-for-4 with an RBI, and two runs scored. Alfonso Soriano also had a big day at the plate, basically rubbing it in the Giants face, “you’ll never get this, you’ll never get this” Soriano was overheard as he rounded the bases on his 24th home run of the season. Soriano of course has said that he would prefer to not play in San Francisco if the Giants tried to trade for him, Soriano finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI’s.
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Big time contenders invade Wrigley today as Madison Bumgarner and the Giants look to keep their quest for a NL West crown rolling. Chris Volstad looks to build off his last start which his best start of 2012, by far, because he won. It was his first win in over a calendar year, he will try to get his second win in the last two weeks today. Here is how the Cubs will line up.
1. Mather RF
2. Vitters 3B
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. Castro SS
6. Castillo C
7. Jackson CF
8. Barney 2B
9. Volstad P
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Time to play spoiler as the West Division leading Giants roll into town for a weekend series. Ever since the Giants got the news that Melky Cabrera was going to be suspended they have taken off, and now hold a four game lead over the Dodgers in a race for the Western Division crown. The Giants are getting it done with a balanced attack as they are right in the middle of the pack in runs scored and ERA in the National League. The Cubs are going to need to have a solid offensive approach against the Giants if they want to take this series. The Giants are a baseball team in every sense of the word, they play, and win as a team. If the Cubs can do the same thing, and have an approach like they did in the series finale against the Brewers they might be able to play spoiler. The team could look rather different come Saturday as the rosters will expand, Sveum has cautioned that there might only be six or so call ups, we’ll see, and of course keep you updated.
August 31, 2012 – September 2, 2012; Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Here are this weekends pitching matchups.
Season Series: Giants lead series 4-0
Prediction: Giants sweep series 3-0
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