Cubs chase Chapman, but fall just short

Cubs May 3 line

Full Box Score

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

Ransom, Bullpen Lead Cubs to Victory

Cubs April 29 line

Full Box Score

The Cubs fight finally paid off in this one, so often this year the Cubs have had the will to win….see what I did there?  But they have all too often come up short, but not tonight as they beat the Padres 5-3 to open the four game set.  Jeff Samardzija struggled with command in the early going which resulted in an earlier than normal exit.  That’s when the bullpen took over as they walked a fine line over the last four innings but shut the Padres down.  With Ransom 4-29the game tied in the sixth Cody Ransom and Darwin Barney came up huge with two outs to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead and they never looked back.  That’s four wins in their last five games for the Cubs, I think we can all get used to this.

At The Plate – The Cubs pounded out ten hits en route to scoring five runs in this one, and probably could have had more as they were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.  Alfonso Soriano broke out of his slump, at least for tonight as he went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.  Cody Ransom was a hero for the Cubs with the bat and glove as he made a game saving play in the seventh.  Ransom was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s, and two runs scored against his former team.  Darwin Barney also found some rare success as he was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI’s, and a walk in the victory.

On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija battled, but he didn’t have his best command, the result was an elevated pitch count by the fifth inning.  Shark worked five innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out eight, he did not factor into the decision.  Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, James Russell, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless outings out of the pen to nail this one down.  Bowden earned the win as he worked an inning while striking out one.  Camp and Russell each had some trouble, but were able to work out of it with the help of one another and Kevin Gregg.  Gregg worked his third perfect ninth for his fourth save of the year already with the Cubs.  Overall Gregg worked 1.1 scoreless innings while striking out two.

Up Next – Game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05 PM CST, should be a great night for baseball as temperatures are supposed to soar into the 80’s.  Edwin Jackson gets the ball for the Cubs, he will be opposed by Edinson Volquez who always seems to have the Cubs number.

Cubs 4-29 box

Game Highlights:

Scott Hairston solo blast
Ransom goes back to back with Hairston
Barney with his first RBI double
Ransom with a huge RBI single
Barney’s second RBI double of the night

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

Full Box Score

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

Cubs Waste Opportunities in Loss to Giants

Cubs 4-13 line

Full Box Score

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, Navarro 4-13wasted 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.

Cubs April 13 box

 

Cubs April 13 box 1

 

Game Highlights:

Check back later, FOX is horrible.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way in Loss to Giants

Cubs April 11 line

Full Box Score

  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 Rizzo 4-11combo 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.

Cubs April 11 box

Cubs April 11 box 1

Game Highlights:

Anthony Rizzo’s two-run homer
Lillibridge’s two-run single

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Still Searching for Offense in Loss to Braves

april 5 line score

More of the same from the Cubs offense tonight in Atlanta as they could only manage five hits and one run in a 4-1 loss.  Sure Mike Minor was pounding the zone, but Cubs hitters made things way too easy on Braves pitching by Rizzo 4-5having way too many aggressive at bats.  The Cubs have two losses now, both with the “lefty lineup” on display, meaning DeJesus and Schierholtz on the bench.  Not saying that they would have made a difference, but the Cubs always seem to struggle against lefties.  Scott Feldman was all over the place, but battled, the result was being over 100 pitches and out the game before the end of the fifth inning.  It’s not the end of the World, the Cubs are 2-2 which is probably a fair record at this point, if not better than it should be given the offensive struggles.

At The Plate – Another night, another low number in the hit column for the Cubs.  Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Welington Castillo, and Alberto Gonzalez were all 1-for-3.  Hairston provided the only offense of the night with a solo home run in the fifth inning off of Minor.

On The Mound – Scott Feldman made his Cubs debut and really never settled into a groove.  For the most part he was able to pitch around trouble but couldn’t get out of the 5th.  Feldman went 4.2 innings giving up four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one.  The bright spot was the bullpen, Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon shut the door over the last 2.1 innings but it was to no avail.

Up Next – Carlos Villanueva will make his Cubs debut opposite Julio Teheran at 6:00 PM CST.  The Cubs will have their hands full again as Teheran is a high-class talent that will give them fits if they aren’t patient.

Stat Of The Night – The Cubs have 16 hits in the first four games of the season.

April 5 box score

 

April 5 box score 1

 

Game Highlights:

Scott Hairston goes deep

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Bats as Cold as the Weather in Loss to Pirates

April 3 line score

Full Box Score

It was rather obvious early, the Cubs offense was awfully disinterested in this one.  Wandy Rodriguez and the cold temperatures combined to keep the Cubs at bay as they could only manage two Edwin Jackson 4-3hits all night.  The Cubs opportunity came in the seventh inning when they put the first two on, and then loaded the bases with one out only to come up empty.  It really was a story of one inning both ways tonight for the Cubs as Edwin Jackson was decent except for the fourth inning.  Jackson struggled with his command in the fourth and gave up two runs in the frame which was more than enough for the Pirates in this one.

At The Plate – How many ways can I say bad?  I guess I’ll just leave it at that, the Cubs approach and the subsequent results or lack there of left a lot to be desired.  Alfonso Soriano and Alberto Gonzalez were the only Cubs to register hits in this one, both singles.

On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was really good early, then got into deep count after deep count and had to exit after five innings of work.  Jackson gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out five in his Cubs debut.  Hector Rondon made his Major League debut, tossing a scoreless inning while walking two, and striking out two.  Michael Bowden gave up one run in his inning of work on two hits.  Shawn Camp and Hasanori Takahashi each had scoreless outings.

Up Next – The rubber game of the series.  Travis Wood will take on James McDonald at 11:35 AM CST, love morning baseball!  Look for the normal Cubs lineup sans Welington Castillo tomorrow.

Stat Of The Night – Here I will feature a stat, either from the game, or a trend, could be good, or bad, or alarming.  Tonight it’s alarming, the Cubs are 0-for-13 as a team with RISP, yikes.

April 3 box score 1

April 3 box score 2

Game Highlights:

The Cubs had two hits, there are no highlights worth watching, I promise.

Thanks for reading,
– George