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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Cubs usually have a rough go of it against Matt Cain, and it doesn’t bode well that Cain was lit up last time out, rarely will that happen twice in a row. However that’s why they play the game, Carlos Villanueva will oppose Cain and look to build off his outstanding first start of the season. As far as the weather goes, it will be cloudy and windy, but the rain won’t move in until late this afternoon so this one should get in. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 PM on CSN Chicago.
Thanks for reading, GO CUBS!
I suppose this one sums up the Cubs season to this point, some good, some bad, some really bad, and a loss. The Cubs looked like they were going to cruise in this one as they built a 5-0 lead in the third inning, but as quickly as they built it, they lost it. The turning point seemed to be the 4th and 5th innings. Scott Feldman was working a lot of deep counts so he wasn’t exactly cruising, but he was effective. One the ropes again in the fifth Feldman looked to get an inning ending ground out but Castro booted it which allowed a run to score and the inning to continue. Angel Pagan followed with a ground ball to the right side which should have been the end of the inning but a combo of Feldman getting over to first slowly and Brent Lillibridge being Brent Lillibridge resulted in no out and the inning continued, again. When it was all said and done it was a 5-4 Cubs lead heading to the 5th, that’s where the wheels came off again. The Giants plated three runs in the 5th to take a 7-5 lead, the Cubs crept closer in the eighth and threatened in the ninth only to come up short in another mind numbing loss that was seemingly there for the taking.
At The Plate – Early on it seemed like the Cubs were going to break out in a big way as they scored five times through three innings, but as it happens so often, the offense stopped, and could only score one more time over the last six innings. All eight position players had at least one hit in the Cubs lineup, with three guys having multi-hit games. Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, he’s now hitting .275 on the season. Nate Schierholtz tried his best to make his former employer regret letting him go as he was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Welington Castillo continued to destroy the ball as he was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Brent Lillibridge and Anthony Rizzo each had two RBI’s, with Rizzo’s coming on a two-run home run in the third.
On The Mound – Scott Feldman was good and average I would say in this one. He had solid command of his two-seam fastball, but after getting ahead early in counts he couldn’t put anyone away, the defense behind him didn’t help either. Feldman could only last 4.1 innings giving up six runs, two earned, on seven hits while walking three and striking out three to fall to 0-2 on the season. The turning point in my opinion was the ineffectiveness of Hisanori Takahashi out of the pen. Takahashi went 1.2 innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two, and striking out two. One of those walks was to opposing pitcher Ryan Vogelsong with the bases loaded to tie the game at five. Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, and James Russell all had scoreless appearances.
Up Next – The weather might be slightly better tomorrow, meaning that thing they call the sun might actually show its face, yes the sun has a face. But temps are only supposed to be in the low 40’s again and there is a chance for afternoon showers. Once things get started it will be Carlos Villanueva against Matt Cain.
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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!
The Cubs exploded for four runs (all unearned) off of Giants ace, well one of them, Matt Cain, in the first inning and that was all they would need as they took care of the Giants 4-3 in their Spring home opener. The Cubs loaded the bases quickly in the first inning on a base hit by Castro, Rizzo reached on an error, and Soriano registered a base hit that almost took Matt Cain’s leg off. Cain was hobbled after he was nailed by Soriano’s line drive, he stayed in the game and proceeded to give up a three-run bomb to Cubs newcomer Dioner Navarro. The Cubs pitching staff made those four runs hold up as they shut down the Giants most of the day only allowing three runs on six hits. Jeff Samardzija got the start for the Cubs and tossed two strong innings, giving up three hits, one run, and struck out two without walking anyone. Kyuji Fujikawa made his Cubs debut, and it was impressive, he went one inning giving up one hit and stuck out two.
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Solid pitching matchup today, Jeff Samardzija vs. Matt Cain, here is how the Cubs will lineup to start this one out.
1. DeJesus CF
2. Castro SS
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. Schierholtz RF
6. Navarro C
7. Bogusevic DH
8. Barney 2B
9. Villanueva 3B
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Travis Wood will get the start today against Matt Cain and the first place Giants. The game is set to start at 1:20 on WGN. Here is a look at the Cubs lineup for today.
DeJesus – RF
Valbuena – 3B
Rizzo – 1B
Soriano – LF
Castro – SS
Clevenger – C
Jackson – CF
Barney – 2B
Wood – P