Castillo and Coleman Headed to Chicago… and now Cardenas

Welington Castillo and Casey Coleman will be on their way to Chicago to replace Geovany Soto and Paul Maholm on the roster.  The interesting part is we don’t know who is going to take the spot of Reed Johnson.  According to many sources it is not Brett Jackson and per Dave Sappelt’s twitter it won’t be him.  So who will it be?  More to come I’m sure.

UPDATE:  Adrian Cardenas will be the third player coming up for the Cubs.  Hope he gets some more AB’s wherever that may be.

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A Look at What the Cubs Got Back on Monday Night

So we know the Cubs have traded away Geovany Soto to the Rangers and packaged Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Braves, but what did we get back.  The Cub got back three pitchers, which we knew they wanted to get deeper at as an organization.  Here is a quick look at the pitchers we go back.

Starting with the Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Braves deal.

Arodys Vizcaino
Vizcaino is 21-year old right-handed pitcher who has missed the entire season due to Tommy-John surgery was ranked #3 in the Braves system and #54 prospect in baseball according to Jonathan Mayo.  Last year Vizcaino was said to be one of the four untouchable arms in the Braves system.  The Cubs are taking a big gamble that he will come back healthy and be durable, but for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm it is a great chance to take in my opinion.  His fastball sits in the low to mid 90’s with a plus changeup and good curve ball.  Hope he comes back healthy and at 21, he should have a great chance to.  Until he does the Cubs will hope he can be a starter, but time will tell.

Jaye Chapman
Chapman is a 25-year old RH relief pitcher who is currently in Triple-A.  He is 3-6 with 7 saves and a 3.52 ERA this season.  He also has 60 strikeouts in 29 walks in 53.2 innings.  He is not a huge prospect, but hope he can be a quality arm at sometime out of the pen.  I like that he is averaging over a strikeout an inning.  We will see, he obviously wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal with the Braves, but to get some quality out of the pen would be nice.

Now to the Soto deal.

Jacob Brigham
Brigham is a 24-year old RH starting pitcher who is currently pitching in Double-A.  He is currently 5-5 with 4.28 ERA.  He has started all 21 games he has pitched in striking out 116 in 124 innings.  His last two outing have been really good and the Cubs obviously see something there.  He hasn’t had great numbers yet, but we will see what happens.  As we know the pitching depth is not great for the Cubs so getting a pitcher for Soto, who has been a disappointment the last couple years is a fine return in my mind.

The Cubs needed to get more pitching depth and they did that with these deals.  They didn’t move any of their big names, although Maholm has been pitching really good and it seems they got decent return, especially with Vizcaino coming over even though it’s after Tommy-John.  When you work with prospects you never know if it was a good return or not for a few years.  I’m sure there will be more coming tonight or tomorrow, so we will as always keep you updated.

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Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson Traded

Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson have been traded to the Atlanta Braves.  No word yet on who the Cubs are getting back in return.  Check back for updates.

Update:  Wow, the Cubs were able to get back two pitchers, Arodys Vizcaino plus Jaye Chapman from the Atlanta Braves.  Vizcaino is really nice piece with a lot of upside.  He missed the year due to Tommy-John Surgery, but was the Braves #3 pitching prospect coming into the year.

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Reed Johnson Removed from Game, Probably Traded

Reed Johnson was removed from the game before his AB in the fifth inning and is shaking hands with teammates so it appears he has been traded.  Still waiting for confirmation and players involved.  Reed will be a really nice pickup for a team as 4-5 outfielder and a good bat off the bench, plus he is a great teammate.  We will keep you updated as information comes in.

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Rizzo Clutch Again as Cubs Hang On

Okay, so I guess the Cubs can handle top of the rotation lefty’s, and have troubles with the mediocre ones.  It sure does seem that way as the Cubs have been horrible against left-handed pitchers all year, but have now beaten Johan Santana for the second time in just under two weeks.  Tonight was much different from the first game against Santana as the Cubs hit Santana all over the field.  Things got started just a couple of pitches into the game

with Reed Johnson launching a lead-off home run that went a long way to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  The Mets bounced right back, scoring a single run in the 2nd and 3rd to take a 2-1 lead.  The Cubs were able to tie the game in the fourth inning and then blew the game wide open.  The first two guys reached in the 5th inning setting the stage for Anthony Rizzo, and he delivered.  Santana threw a get me over slider and Rizzo made him pay, crushing the ball over the right center field fence to give the Cubs a 5-2 lead.  Another huge clutch hit from Rizzo, it’s awesome to see him make such an impact so quickly.

It looked like the Cubs would run away with this one, but you can never assume that when Carlos Marmol is on your roster.  Leading 8-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth Carlos Marmol entered the game, and Cubs fans everywhere didn’t breathe for about twenty minutes.  Marmol got the first out easy enough, then gave up a solo home run and things got worse from there.  Three straight walks and a single later and the Mets closed the gap to one with runners on first and second and only one out with Lucas Duda coming up.  Just when it looked like all hope was lost for Marmol and the Cubs they got a break.  Duda hit a soft liner back to the mound and Marmol snagged  it and easily doubled the runner off of first to end the game, Cubs win 8-7, exhale.  Anthony Rizzo and Reed Johnson were the stars at the plate as the Cubs had a few of them as they pounded out 18 hits.  Rizzo finished 4-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season and three RBI’s.  Reed Johnson just missed the cycle, falling a triple short, he finished 4-for-6 in the win.  Lost in all the offense was Travis Wood, who won his fourth straight decision.  Wood went six innings allowing three runs, two earned while walking four and striking out three.  Wood improved to 4-3 on the season, full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Garza’s Road Struggles Continue as Braves Pound Cubs

Matt Garza really can’t figure out this pitching on the road thing.  Garza fell to 2-6 on the road as the Braves knocked around the Cubs starter en route to a 7-3 victory to finish the four game series with a split.  Things were really over before they started tonight as the Braves made Garza throw 44 pitches in an exhausting first inning.  A pair of two-run homers did the trick for Atlanta, one by Jason Heyward, and one by Brian McCann to put the Braves up 4-0 at the end of one.  The Cubs got their first hit and their first run of the game in the fifth when Geovany Soto hit his 6th home run of the season to make it 5-1 Atlanta.  The Braves got that run right back in the bottom half of the fifth to make it 6-1, but the Cubs weren’t dead yet.  A Reed Johnson pinch hit RBI single, and a throwing error by Heyward in the 6th brought the Cubs back within three but that’s as close as they would get.  Garza finished the night only making it through four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three of which were home runs while walking three and striking out six.  Mike Minor had his way with the Cubs lineup, as most lefties do, as the Cubs only managed five hits on the night.  Anthony Rizzo extended his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4 with a single.  The Cubs will finish off the first half in New York against the Mets this weekend, full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Bats Come to Life as Cubs Salvage Finale Against Twins

The Cubs scored eight runs and Ryan Dempster was pitching, it’s okay to be shocked because that hasn’t happened all too often this year.  In fact that might have been the first time all year that Dempster received some real run support.  Thing is, Dempster didn’t need it as he was outstanding on the mound to earn his second win of the season.  Dempster tossed eight scoreless innings giving up only four hits while walking one and striking out six.  The Cubs brought their bats this afternoon and it was great to see, much better than watching zero after zero go up on the board.  For awhile it looked like the same old game as the Cubs held onto a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning.  The Cubs made sure to keep the bullpen out of it by scoring seven runs over the last four innings to win 8-2.

The top of the Cubs order did a lot of damage as Reed Johnson, leading off again, was 2-for-3 with two walks, and three runs scored.  Starlin Castro, who has been slumping at the plate a bit bounced back with a great game.  Castro was 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and three runs scored.  The Cubs didn’t leave the yard but managed to put together nine hits in scoring eight runs.  David DeJesus only managed one hit but had a very productive day with a double while driving in three runs.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Cubs Swept in Houston

Another day, another loss for the Cubs who got swept in Houston Wednesday night.  However the Cubs did hold the lead for a short period of time in the series finale against the Houston Astros.  The Cubs got the scoring started in the first when Reed Johnson hit a homerun just inside the left field foul pole to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  Samardzija and the Cubs would hold the lead until the bottom of the fourth when with two outs and runners on 1st and 3rd JD Martinez blooped a ball into right field.  DeJesus came racing in while Barney went back and just when it looked like DeJesus made the catch, Barney knocked it out of his glove and both runs scored on a triple by Martinez.

As you guessed the Cubs offense couldn’t get anything else going and when they did they once again couldn’t come up with a big hit.  The Astros added three runs in the eighth off of Rafael Dolis, who was brought in to get some work in.  He was not sharp in 2/3 innings, but it is hard to stay sharp as a closer when your team loses nine games in a row.  Brett Myers came in and the Cubs went down quietly in the ninth losing 5-1.  The good news is the Cubs will not lose their 10th straight tomorrow as they have a day off, before starting a three game series in Pittsburgh starting Friday.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Late Offensive Binge Propels Cubs

The Cubs have had their issues scoring runs, which is what makes what they did today that much more surprising.  In another close game it looked the Cubs were going to follow the same script they have so many times this year.  Play a competitive game then for whatever reason have the wheels fall off in the late innings, today they returned the favor to the Brewers.  A pair of solo home runs got the Cubs on the board in the 5th and sixth inning by Ian Stewart and Reed Johnson.  Heading to the 7th inning the game was tied and two and that’s when the Cubs offense kicked it into high gear.  One run in the 7th, two runs in the 8th, and three runs in the 9th resulted in the Cubs avoiding the sweep with a 8-2 victory.  The top of the order had a lot to do with the Cubs success today as the one, two, and three hitters combined to go 7-for-15, anytime that happens runs are usually in abundance.  Jeff Samardzija might not have had his best stuff but he was able to get through five solid innings to end up with a no decision.  Russell, Wood, and Bowden each worked a scoreless inning down the stretch to close out the Brewers.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Bullpen Let’s Cubs Down Once Again

It’s only two games, but it’s certainly a disturbing trend.  For the second straight game the Cubs played great baseball through 7 innings, and seemed to be on their way to a victory.  Instead of being 2-0, they are now 0-2 after Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol both were terrible for the second straight afternoon. Heading to the 8th inning the Cubs led 4-2 with Kerry Wood taking the mound.  Things went well enough early as Wood set down the first two Nationals hitters that he faced, then things got ugly, really fast.  Danny Espinosa got the rally started launching a solo shot to the left center bleachers to make it a 4-3 game.  No harm done, solo home runs will happen, especially with the wind blowing out, but Wood unraveled.  Wood gave up a broken bat single to Ryan Zimmerman, then another base hit to Adam Laroche, and just like that his day was over.  Sveum decided to go back to Marmol to try to get out of the inning, but that only threw gasoline on the fire.  Marmol started his effort with a walk to Jayson Werth, he then gave up a two run single to Chad Tracy, and ended his day with by giving up a double to Bernadina and just like that it was 6-4 Nats, and the game was all but lost.

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