June 15 – 17; vs. Red Sox – Series Preview

Boston Red Sox Logo - A pair of red socks hanging

Both teams come into this series not living up to 2012 expectations, the Red Sox more than the Cubs.  In an odd year in the East, meaning the Yankees and Red Sox are not one, two in the standings in June, the Red Sox sit fourth in the all of a sudden competitive division.  The Sox have struggled in Bobby Valentine’s first season at the helm, and it starts and ends on the mound, of course the laundry list of injuries doesn’t help either.  The Red Sox are scoring runs with the best of them as they sit 2nd in the AL in runs scored, but they can’t stop teams from scoring as their ERA is “good” for 12th in the AL.  The Cubs are coming off a series loss to the Tigers, but they played pretty well in doing so.  The Cubs are going to have to continue to be patient at the plate and knock around the Red Sox pitching, because the Sox are going to hit, the Cubs have to keep up.  It’s going to be scorching all weekend, 90 degrees everyday, the ball will be jumping at Wrigley.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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Cubs Finally Win a One-Run Game, Thanks to Tigers Defense

The last 12 one-run games have ended with the Cubs coming up short, not tonight as the Cubs rallied in the 8th inning to break a 3-3 tie and beat the Tigers 4-3.  The Cubs held the Tigers down for most of the game and built a 3-0 lead by the 7th inning but once again the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hold it.  The Tigers strung together hits for the first time all game and managed to plate three runs in the top of the 7th inning to tie the game at three.  The tie didn’t last long as the Cubs were able to push across a run in the bottom of the 8th inning, with help from the Tigers.  Two different times the Tigers looked like they got out of the inning but both times Jhonny Peralta made terrible throws to pull guys off the bag.  Upon further review, it actually looked like both plays could have gone the other way as they were very, very close, but I’m not going to apologize, it’s about time the Cubs got some breaks.  In both instances speed is what caused Peralta to rush his throws, both times it was Tony Campana causing havoc.

Paul Maholm didn’t get the win tonight but he was tremendous on the mound going six innings, allowing two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out seven.  Tony Campana was 2-for-5 at the plate, but it was his speed that was the killer.  As I mentioned it was Campana’s speed that caused the Peralta throwing errors, he also stole three more bases giving him 21 on the season.  Darwin Barney had a productive day at the plate going 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI’s.  That’s two wins in a row, doesn’t seem like much, but the Cubs only have 21 on the season, okay, it’s really not a lot, here’s to three in a row tomorrow.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 12, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Tigers

Paul Maholm takes the mound for the Cubs as they welcome the scuffling Tigers to Wrigley Field.  This will be the first game since hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was fired, because that just happened.  So I expect at least 7 runs, okay not really, I will be happy if the strike outs are under 15 against Max Scherzer.  Here is how the Cubs line up.

1. Tony Campana – CF
2. Starlin Castro – SS
3. David DeJesus – RF
4. Alfonso Soriano – LF
5. Bryan LaHair – 1B
6. Steve Clevenger – C
7. Darwin Barney – 2B
8. Ian Stewart – 3B
9. Paul Maholm

Thanks, go Cubs!
– George

June 12 – 14; vs. Tigers – Series Preview

Detroit Tigers Logo - Orange tiger walking through calligraphic D in navy

Coming into the season the Detroit Tigers were one of the favorites to not only come out of the Central but maybe represent the AL in the World Series, that was on paper of course.  Things haven’t gone as planned so far for the Tigers as they currently sit in 3rd place in the Central five full games behind the White Sox.  Given the expectations, this year has been a disaster for the Tigers, and a big reason has been the pitching staff as they sit near the bottom of the American League in ERA.  Enough about the Tigers problems as the Cubs have plenty of their own.  The Cubs are coming off a road trip that was ugly, and they currently sit 20 games under .500 as their “record-breaking” season continues.  There should at least be a buzz at Wrigley, not only because the Tigers are in town for the first time since 2006, but the this will be the first game after the Cubs signed Jorge Soler.  Obviously Soler is nowhere near ready for the Major League level, but it is something Cubs fans should be excited about.  Full preview and breakdown after the jump.

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Roles Reversed as Cubs Get Blown Out

 

Back to reality for the Cubs as one day removed from a 10-0 victory they were blasted by the Brewers 8-0.  I guess this was expected as Zack Greinke just doesn’t lose in Milwaukee, really he doesn’t, he’s 15-0 at Miller Park.  It looked like the Cubs knew that heading in and expected to lose.  These are the games that infuriate a fan base, three hits, no patience at plate, etc.  I’m not ignoring Greinke’s effort, sometimes pitchers shut down the opponent, I just wish the Cubs approach was a lot better. 

Paul Maholm wasn’t very good as he only made it through four innings giving up four runs on six hits en route to his 5th loss of the season.  Manny Corpas made his Cubs debut, and it was great as he worked a scoreless inning, striking out two including Ryan BraunCarlos Marmol continued to throw gasoline on his career and trade-ability by imploding on the mound in one inning of work by giving up three runs on three hits, at least he didn’t walk anyone.  Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro, and Ian Stewart had the hits for the Cubs as they never really threatened the entire game.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 6, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Brewers

The Cubs go for their second straight win, and even more crazy, their second straight road win against the Brewers tonight.  Coming off a 10 run outburst Dale Sveum has elected to go with the same lineup as last night behind Paul Maholm.  Go Cubs!

Campana CF
Castro SS
DeJesus RF
Soriano LF
LaHair 1B,
Clevenger C
Barney 2B
Stewart 3B
Maholm P

Thanks,
– George

Too Little Too Late For Cubs

For the first eight innings against Madison Bumgarner the Cubs looked very much like the team that lost 12 games in a row, in the ninth inning the Cubs looked more like the team that just swept the Padres.  Bumgarner breezed through the first 8 innings, throwing just over 90 pitches and looked like he was on his way to his first career complete game, and shut-out.  The Cubs said not so fast as Starlin Castro and Joe Mather each singled with spelled the end of Bumgarner’s night.  Santiago Casilla, who is the new closer for the Giants with Brian Wilson out for the year, entered the game and promptly gave up a three-run home run to Alfonso Soriano and just like that it was 4-3 Giants.  After Reed Johnson finished his horrendous night with a ground out Bryan LaHair roped a double to left field, and was pinch ran for by Ian Stewart.  Darwin Barney followed with a swinging bunt base-hit but Ian Stewart could not advance to third, and he should have, and that was huge.  After a Steve Clevenger ground out that moved runners-up to second and third pinch hitter David DeJesus flied out to center field ending the game.  Paul Maholm was not very good as he could not locate a fastball to save his life.  He lasted five and a-third giving up four runs, all earned, on eight hits, the loss drops him to 4-4 on the season.  Darwin Barney stayed red-hot at the plate going 3-for-4 and Starlin Castro finished the night 2-for-4, he is now hitting .321 on the season.  Another game where the Cubs refused to take a pitch for eight innings then rally just enough to make you think they can pull it out, then they lose.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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