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.
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.
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.
For the fourth straight game the Cubs hitters managed greater than 13 hits as they belted out 15 Wednesday afternoon against the Royals. The real story of the day however was Samardzija who was dominant over his three innings of work. He came in with a pitch count of 35, and used them wisely, making it through three strong innings yielding a single base hit. As mentioned before on this blog, command is the key for Samardzija, and he had it going all day. In fact he has had it going all Spring, that has Sveum excited, and has Samardzija poised to make Sveum’s rotation decision awfully difficult.
Throughout the season we will have features that we run each day of the week, one of them will be Media Monday. We hope to bring you all the best pictures, audio, and video (where allowed by MLB) from the past week. Obviously everyone is very excited about Spring training getting underway, please enjoy the content below.
After an off season full of excitement, and building, the 2012 Cubs baseball season is kicking off today in Mesa Arizona. Pitchers and catchers are due to report today, and many have showed up early. On Friday, Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez each threw off the mound, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo worked with some players in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were among those practicing on the half field. The most telling quotes coming out of Mesa might have been from Marlon Byrd via (Carrie Muskat)