At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t do much at the plate in this one, but didn’t need to, as the two runs they got in the first were plenty on their way to a 5-o victory. Logan Watkins had a solid day at the top of the lineup going 2-for-5 with a run scored. Ian Stewart, who is trying to make his way back to the big club was 0-for-2 but did draw two walks and scored a run. Brian Bogusevic was 1-for-2 with two walks, a double and a run scored in the win.
On The Mound – Barret Loux was outstanding in this one as he earned his second win of the season. Loux went five scoreless innings giving up three hits while walking one and striking out six. Casey Coleman, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis, and Blake Parker all worked scoreless innings to close the door on Nashville.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs never really had a chance in this one as they fell behind 6-0 in the first and could never catch up. Jorge Soler had another solid game going 1-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .414 on the season. Dustin Geiger continues to pad his stats going 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, he now has fifteen RBI’s in just fourteen games. Chad Noble was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the loss.
On The Mound – Zach Cates didn’t have it tonight, and that might be putting it nicely. He could only last two-thirds of an inning giving up six runs on three hits while walking three and striking out one. Hunter Cervenka did a solid job out of the pen going two scoreless innings, he did walk three and struck out one, and didn’t give up any hits. Luis Liria was good as well going 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out five. Frank Del Valle was effective as he usually is but didn’t have command at all, he worked 2.2 innings giving up one run on three hits while walking five(!) and striking out three. In all D-Cubs pitchers walked twelve men in the loss.
At The Plate – Matt Szczur has had a solid start to the 2013 season and it continues last night as he was 2-for-5 with a triple, and two runs scored, he’s hitting .288 and has a .348 on base percentage. Ronald Torreyes as been a house on fire since his return, he was 1-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored, he’s hitting .353 on the season. Arismendy Alcantara continues to impress everyone associated with the Cubs, even their fans, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI’s, and a stolen base, his sixth in the last three games. Christian Villanueva was 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, and two runs scored, his average is only at .204 on the season but he already has twelve RBI’s.
On The Mound – Matt Loosen got the start and didn’t get the win but did some solid work, he just couldn’t get through five innings. He went four scoreless innings giving up four hits while walking two and striking out eight. A.J. Morris came on in relief to record the win as he went three innings giving up one run on three hits while walking two and striking out two. Brian Schlitter shut things down over the last two innings, as he didn’t give up a run, he gave up three hits and struck out three. I would also like to thank Born on Third friend Celeste Whiteside @aspenthisyear for sending along the following picture of Trey McNutt from last night, thanks so much Celeste!
NOTES: Kane County doesn’t play games anymore, they were rained out, again.
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The Cubs look much different heading into this Rangers series than they did during the off day yesterday, as they announced a flurry of moves. I mentioned on Sunday that the Cubs signed Kevin Gregg and claimed Kameron Loe from the Mariners, well both pitchers have been added to the major league roster. Also being added to the major league roster is Darwin Barney who is coming off the DL tonight. That wasn’t the only addition, the Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom, with all the players being added to the active roster, a few had to go, and that’s what happened. The Cubs DFA’d Brent Lillibridge, and Hisanori Takahashi, and optioned Rafael Dolis back to Iowa. The Cubs will have ten days to trade, waive or release Lillibridge and Takahashi. My guess is that Lillibridge will end up in Iowa as long as he isn’t claimed by another team, and Takahashi will no longer be a member of the Cubs. Busy day for the Cubs and the game hasn’t even started yet, such is life with an under-performing club. Barney, Gregg, and Loe are on the roster for tonight’s game, Ransom will most likely be ready to go tomorrow.
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At The Plate – The Iowa Cubs are scuffling, with the latest loss they fall to 0-6 on the season. Brett Jackson had a solid game going 2-for-4 with a triple, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .280 on the season. Darnell McDonald was 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run, an RBI, and a run scored. Ty Wright was 2-for-4 with two singles in the loss.
On The Mound – Chris Rusin was roughed up early then settled in but couldn’t escape the loss. Rusin went six innings giving up four runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out two. Zach Putnam and Rafael Dolis both tossed scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the loss.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs spent the whole night fighting back, but in the end couldn’t catch the Threshers. Zeke DeVoss showed some power from the lead-off spot going 1-for-5 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored. Javier Baez was 1-for-5 with a triple, and a run scored. Jorge Soler continues his torrid start to the season going 2-for-4 with a walk, and an RBI. The D-Cubs made four errors, that most definitely cost them in this one.
On The Mound – Zach Cates made the start and as I just mentioned didn’t get much help from the guys behind him. Cates went 3.2 innings giving up three runs, one earned, on six hits while walking none and striking out seven. Eduardo Figueroa went 2.2 innings out of the pen giving up two runs on one hits while walking two and striking out three. Sheldon McDonald was solid going 2.2 innings giving up no runs on two hits while walking two and striking out one.
At The Plate – The Cougars smacked the ball all over the place in this one as six different guys had multi-hit games. Daniel Vogelbach was 3-for-5 bring his season average up to .310, all three hits were singles. Rock Shoulders might be the hottest hitter in the Cubs system, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s hitting .480 (12-for-25) on the season. Gioskar Amaya, Jeimer Candelario, Marco Hernandez, and Bijan Rademacher all had two hits.
On The Mound – Pierce Johnson had a rough start to this one as he gave up two runs in the first as he struggled with command, but he found it quickly. Johnson went five innings giving up two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four. Jeffry Antigua was solid out of the pen going three innings giving up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out one. Eduardo Orozco had some tough luck in blowing the save, but ended up getting the win. Orozco gave up two runs, both unearned on NO hits, and one walk in one inning.
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At The Plate – The Iowa Cubs scattered nine hits in the loss, and were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in suffering their third straight loss. Newly acquired Ryan Sweeney got things going right away as he was 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. Brad Nelson was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Brooks Raley got the start and was rough up in four innings of work. He gave up four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out three, he was tagged with the loss. Yoanner Negrin was solid out of the pen going two scoreless innings giving up no hits while walking one and striking out three. Zach Putnam and Rafael Dolis were both touched up as they gave up a combined four runs over the last two innings.
At The Plate – You wouldn’t know it by the score, this was a pitchers duel up until the top of the 12th when the Smokies scored 8 times to win this one. Matt Szczur was terrific from the lead-off spot again going 2-for-7 with three RBI’s, and a run scored. Jae-Hoon Ha continued his hot start going 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, a stolen base, and a run scored.
On The Mound – The Smokies had to use five pitchers to get through this one and all were effective as they totaled 15 strikeouts in twelve innings. Eric Jokisch got the start and was solid going six innings giving up one run on three hits while walking two and striking out seven. Kevin Rhoderick, Marcus Hatley, Frank Batista, and Brian Schlitter all had scoreless appearances with Batista getting the win.
At The Plate – It was the Jorge Soler show in this one as he went 2-for-3 with a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored. Timothy Saunders also had a solid night going 3-for-4. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-3 with a run scored, Javier Baez had a rough night going 0-for-4 with an error.
On The Mound – The trio of Austin Kirk, Yao-Lin Wang, and Frank Del Valle shut down the Manatees. Kirk got the start and went three innings giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits while walking two and striking out two. Yao-Lin Wang was awesome going three innings only giving up a single, while walking one and striking out four. Frank Del Valle was even better going three innings only allowing one hit while walking one and striking out six to earn the save.
At The Plate – Fireworks everywhere as the Cougars trailed 7-0 and 8-1 before tying it at ten in the ninth before falling 13-10 in eleven innings. The Cougars pounded out 19 hits with seven guys having multi-hit nights. Daniel Vogelbach was 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI. Rock Shoulders had a huge game going 4-for-6 with two RBI’s and a run scored. Oliver Zapata was outstanding going 3-for-6 with a triple, a home run, five RBI’s, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Obviously not much good here. Cougars pitchers gave up 17 hits in the loss. Jose Arias got the start and got the brunt of the River Bandits attack. Arias only went 1.2 innings giving up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits while walking none and struck out two. Nathan Dorris was the most effective Cougar going 2.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while walking two and striking out three. Ian Dickson was solid but had no command, he went five innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four.
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Welcome to Minor Matters, here’s a quick introduction… You want to know how the Cubs’ minor league teams did? Then this is the post you want to read, it will be a daily post and will recap EVERY minor league game that day. Usually this post will be published the night of the games, sometimes, especially once Boise starts, the post might not appear until the next morning. Enjoy!.
At The Plate – Iowa pounded out eleven hits on the night, but could only push across three runs in the defeat. Brian Bogusevic led the way going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, all three hits were singles. Ty Wright went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and J.C. Boscan also went 2-for-4. All eleven Cubs hits were singles.
On The Mound – It was a rough start for Chris Rusin as he gave up three in the first but he settled down to make it through five innings. Rusin gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits while walking two and striking out four. Jensen Lewis got lit up and was slapped with the loss as he gave up five runs, three earned (defense was an issue) on four hits in a third of an inning. Zach Putnam didn’t fair much better has he gave up two runs all earned on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. Both Casey Coleman and Rafael Dolis had scoreless appearances.
At The Plate – The top of the order for the Smokies was outstanding, unfortunately there wasn’t much after that. Matt Szczur was tremendous in the lead-off spot going 3-for-4 with a run scored, all three hits were singles. Number two hitter Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-3 with a run scored, a home run, and three RBI’s. Johermyn Chavez was the only other Smokies player to record a hit, a single.
On The Mound – Dallas Beeler got knocked around in his first start of 2013, but had decent command. Beeler worked 5.1 innings, he gave up four runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. A.J. Morris tossed 1.2 innings giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out two. Tony Zych couldn’t keep it close late as he gave up two runs (both unearned) in his one inning of work while walking one and striking out one.
At The Plate – Kane County couldn’t really get anything going at the plate as they were only able to register five hits in the loss. Dan Vogelbach has a solid night going 2-for-4 with two singles. Jemier Candelario and Willson Contreras each had one hit, and Rock Shoulders was 1-for-4 with a run scored, a home run, and two RBI’s.
On The Mound – Pierce Johnson got the start and got beat up. Johnson gave up five runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five in 2.1 innings. Justin Amlung worked 2.1 innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two and striking out two. Brian Smith tossed two innings giving up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out four. Steve Perakslis and Eduardo Orozco each had a scoreless appearance.
At The Plate – A quiet night at the plate for the D-Cubs as they could only manage three runs on six hits, but they did walk five times which is a plus. Jorge Soler got his first full professional season off to a great start going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Zeke DeVoss was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored out of the lead-off spot. Timothy Saunders was 1-for-4 with a run scored, and an RBI double. Stephen Bruno was 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI double. Javier Baez rounded out the scoring with a sac-fly, he finished the night 0-for-3.
On The Mound – Ben Wells was knocked around early but managed to battle his way through four innings. Wells gave up two runs on seven hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out four to earn a no decision. Sheldon McDonald was hung with the loss as he went 2.2 innings giving up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out three. Eduardo Figueroa was solid out of the pen giving up no runs on two hits while striking out two in 2.1 innings of work.
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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. Obviously 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.
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Seems like just yesterday we here at Born on Third were getting ready to cover Opening Day, and just like that it’s over. Crazy how time flies, and I didn’t expect it to go so fast given how bad the Cubs were this year. I was expecting just the opposite, for it to drag on and on, and I guess it did towards the end there but the reality of no Cubs baseball for four months is starting to sink in. Let’s take a look back at some of the surprises and disappointments that we all barely lived through, this season.
Let’s start with the disappointments, there were plenty of them, I mean the team lost 101 games, you know how hard it was to write about 101 losses!? Sure the record was disappointing, but one could argue that it was expected, maybe 101 losses wasn’t expected, but the Cubs were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, we knew that. Let’s dig a little deeper into that futility, we should probably put on a Haz-Mat suit before doing so. The one thing we heard all offseason was this new “Cubs Way” – well that was thrown out there to mean a lot of things, one being patience, no not by the fans (we do need that though), but by the Cubs as a whole at the plate. So how did that go, you ask? Not very good, the Cubs drew 447 walks this season, that comes out to less than three a game, and was good for the fourth fewest in all of baseball. You could probably guess that the Cubs OBP was terrible as well, it was, the Cubs as a team had a .302 OBP this year, 2nd worst in baseball. This is something that has to change, and it will on Theo’s watch, I believe that it will. It’s hard to see that vision come to fruition however when the team on the field in “year one” was so terribly bad at it, or just refused to do it.
Let’s take a look at some poor individual performances…
Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade was a disaster, I can’t even say that he showed flashes of brilliance, maybe a flash, but not flashes. Volstad finished the season 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA, I can’t even spin that into anything positive. Volstad had a huge opportunity this year and took a step back, but all is not lost on the gigantic right hander. He will have every opportunity to pitch for this team next year, that is squarely on his shoulders, his huge shoulders, seriously, look at a picture of the guy pitching, it’s cartoonish.
For the first month or so of the season it looked as if Dolis’ name was going to end up on the surprise portion of the year-end recap, then things went bad. Dolis lost the strike zone, in doing so his confidence disappeared and his ERA sky rocketed. Dolis went from being the closer of the Cubs after taking over for Carlos Marmol to pitching and struggling at Triple-A. Dolis was called back up to finish off the season but the numbers were not good. He finished the year 2-4 with a 6.39 ERA and four saves. He does have one thing the Cubs need in the pen, a power arm, so he will have a shot to pitch for this team next year at 25 years old. If he wants to do so he has to clean up the walks, as he issued 23 in just 38 innings at the big league level this year.
I debated singling him out here, only because he was clearly hurt since last year in Colorado so I’m not sure how much we can really take from his season. But a lot more was expected from Ian Stewart, on the plus side he did play above average defense at third base. His season was shortened by much-needed wrist surgery, he finished the year hitting 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He did show the ability to work the count and take a walk, but at third base he was and will be expected to be a source of production. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will keep Stewart in their plans moving forward, I would like to see what a healthy Ian Stewart could do.
Other guys that I would say had disappointing years would be Darwin Barney’s bat, a sub .300 OBP from him is not acceptable. Lendy Castillo had a 7+ ERA, but Castillo is so young and could be a huge part of this teams bullpen when they are contending. Steve Clevenger took a nose dive after a very strong start, Starlin Castro’s mental lapses and subsequent errors. I think Castro improved greatly defensively, I think the errors were a result of focus or lack thereof. Should I mention the 12 game losing streak? I just did.
Now onto the positives, sure there were some.
He lived up to the hype, and there was plenty of it heading into the season and that hype only grew as he tore the cover off the ball in Iowa. He finally was called up to the Cubs on 6/26/2012, he had two hits in that game and never really looked back. Rizzo finished the campaign hitting .285 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI’s in 87 games, so just over half a Major League season. The biggest thing here is that Rizzo showed the ability to adjust to major league pitchers. I’m not just talking about rebounding from last years dud with the Padres, this year he had a few skids but came out of those before they became too overwhelming. He is the Cubs 2013 starting first baseman, and will be for many years to come.
Wow. There really is no other word to describe his 2012 season, I guess shocked would apply to me. I was just that, shocked at what Soriano was able to accomplish not only with the bat, but with the glove. Soriano made one error all season, think about that for a second. This is the same guy that made 11 in 2009, 7 in 2010, and 7 in 2011, he worked his butt off and showed real improvement. Offensively he set a career high in RBI’s with 108, folks the Cubs only scored 613 runs as a team this season. Soriano also found the long ball again hitting 32 home runs, the most in one season since he hit 33 in 2007. There’s no telling he has earned the right to be back here next year, and that is somewhat up to him, but we will see how the Cubs deal with him in the coming months.
I really don’t care what other people think of him, but Starlin Castro had a fantastic year, and a couple of mental lapses got in the way of making it something really special. Castro became the first Cubs shortstop to play in all 162 games, ever. That shows me that he wants to be out there, mental errors can come with that kind of workload, he probably needed a day off here or there to avoid some of that but he just kept going out there. Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs (a career high), and 78 RBI’s (a career high), he also had 29 doubles and 12 triples for good measure. Castro inked a 7 year extension during the season, he will be a Cub for a long time, and that is a good thing.
There are a number of other guys that deserve to be mentioned as bright spots this year. Darwin Barney’s glove, Barney tied a major league record for consecutive error-less games at 141, and got to everything on the infield it seemed. Carlos Marmol’s second half, after a terrible first half Marmol finished the season strong and looked to be back to his un-hittable self late in the year. Travis Wood stepped into the rotation and did an adequate job for this team, if he can replicate those numbers or even improve upon them he can be a serviceable back of the rotation guy for the Cubs. Bryan LaHair’s first half was fun while it lasted, and earned him a trip to the all-star game, no reason to ignore that. Welington Castillo played his way into the 2013 starting lineup behind the plate as
It was a trying year for many, Dale Sveum included, and as I said around the all-star break I think Dale Sveum gets an incomplete for this season. There was not enough talent on this team to win baseball games, not matter how he managed them. What I did like seeing was the compete level of this team on most nights, sure over the course of a 162 game season there are going to be lackluster efforts. For the most part this team really never gave up, I will be interested to see how Sveum does when he starts getting pieces he can use to compete in games on a consistent basis, that’s when he can accurately be judged as a manager. I could have written about so much more but I think that sums up enough of what happened this season without going on forever, I’m really excited about the direction of this team, most of that excitement stems from the minor league system which we will continue to profile all offseason. Patience is still something fans will have to have as the Cubs are not going to have a team ready to be a contender next year. Sure, they should improve, and that’s what we need to look for, and it’s important we see that, one step at a time, thankfully for all of us I think the worst part just ended.
Thanks for reading all season long, we don’t take breaks so we will have great Cubs coverage all offseason for you. Go Cubs!