Ransom, Bullpen Lead Cubs to Victory

Cubs April 29 line

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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 Win Second Straight Behind Rizzo’s Monster Shots

Cubs April 26 line

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If you are going to break out of a slump, do it in impressive fashion.  That’s exactly what Anthony Rizzo did tonight as he blasted two monster home runs, each two run shots and that’s all the Cubs would need.  Scott Feldman and company made those four runs hold up the rest of the way for the Cubs second win in as many games, the first time they have done that all year.  Scott Feldman worked out of a couple jams thanks to some slick defense, the Rizzo 4-26biggest play might have been Darwin Barney saving a throwing error and turning into a double play in the third inning.  Shawn Camp also faced some trouble in his inning of work but once again was able to wiggle off the hook.  Heading to the ninth with a two run lead Dale Sveum turned to Kevin Gregg and he delivered, pitching a spotless ninth for the save.

At The Plate – The Cubs scattered ten hits in this one while scoring four times.  The offense really only came from three guys in this one, Dave Sappelt, Anthony Rizzo, and Darwin Barney.  Rizzo had the huge game going 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, a stolen base and two runs scored.  Dave Sappelt getting the start for DeJesus filled in admirably going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  Barney was 3-for-3 with three singles in the victory.

On The Mound – Scott Feldman finally got that elusive first win tonight as he worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two.  With first and second and nobody out in the third Feldman almost threw it all away, literally.  Feldman grabbed a ball hit back to him and threw to second to start a big double play but the throw was high and if not for some defensive heroics from Darwin Barney this game might have ended differently.  Shawn Camp and James Russell each had scoreless appearances to get the game to the ninth.  Kevin Gregg took it from there as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save of the year.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their first three game winning streak of the year tomorrow night with Travis Wood taking the mound.  Wood will oppose Alex Sanabia at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-26 box

Game Highlights:

Anthony Rizzo’s first home run of the night
Rizzo goes deep into the upper deck
Barney’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George

Valbuena’s Blast Propels Cubs to Victory

Cubs Line 4-25

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How was that for exciting, for the second time in the last week Luis Valbuena belted a clutch home run to put the Cubs up late, this time they actually won the game.  Things weren’t looking so good early on as Edwin Jackson was struggling with his command and the Marlins jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning.  Usually that spells the end of the game for the Cubs given their offensive woes, but not tonight.  The Cubs scored once in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, and then tied it in the sixth on a home run by you guessed it, Schierholtz again.  Jackson settled in, and the Cubs pen did a great job to get the game Valbuena 4-25tied at three and then Valbuena delivered the game winning shot in the top of the ninth.  Carlos Marmol came on to get the save, and of course made it very interesting for everyone involved by putting the first two men on before escaping the jam, Cubs win!

At The Plate – The Cubs were only able to manage six hits in this one, but they made them count as they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored from the lead-off spot.  Starlin Castro got the Cubs on the board early with an RBI single, he finished the day 1-for-4.  Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Luis Valbuena, the hero on this night went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.

On The Mound – It didn’t look like Edwin Jackson was going to make it through four innings in this one but he battled his way to a quality start.  Jackson went six innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four.  The Cubs pen shined in this one as Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol all tossed scoreless innings in the victory.  Impressive job by Marmol after it looked like things were going to unravel, he walked the first guy, gave up a hit to the next guy then settled in as he struck out the Marlins best hitter Giancarlo Stanton with the tying run in scoring position to end this one.

Up Next – Game two of the series as Scott Feldman looks for his first win of the season against Wade LeBlanc at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-25 box

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s game winner
Great defensive play in the ninth
Marmol gets the save
Schierholtz ties it with a home run
Castro’s RBI single
Great catch by Barney
Castillo’s RBI double
Slick play by Barney and Castro

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Baffled by Latos in Loss

Cubs 4-24 line

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If you like a good old fashion pitchers duel, then this one was for you.  Jeff Samardzija and Mat Latos went toe-to-toe in this one, and it almost didn’t even happen.  Both pitchers received visits from the trainer in the first inning, Latos after being hit with a hard ground ball off the bat of Julio Borbon, and Samardzija ripped up the nail of his index finger on his pitching hand while trying to knock down a ground ball.  Both pitchers stayed in the game, Samardzija Shark 4-24with blood dripping from his hand and both were outstanding.  Todd Frazier was the only player to make an impact on offense for either team as he connected on an estimated 480 foot home run in the sixth inning, and that was enough for Latos and the Reds.  The Cubs threatened in the eighth but once again couldn’t make contact to score a run.  Alfonso Soriano pinch hit in the eighth and struck out with runners at second and third with only one out.  Then DeJesus was robbed by Zack Cozart on a ground ball back up the middle, if it gets through the Cubs lead 2-1, it didn’t, Cubs lose.

At The Plate – As I mentioned, the Cubs really didn’t get much going off of Latos, Broxton, and Chapman in this one.  Julio Borbon had a solid day as he made good contact a few times, he went 1-for-3 with a double.  Both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were 1-for-4 in the loss, Castro was also caught stealing.  Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom were the only other Cubs that registered his in the loss.

On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija was solid again, this time while battling an injury, and still ended up with a loss, his fourth of the season despite an ERA of 3.03, sounds like much of the Cubs staff.  Samardzija went six innings giving up one run on seven hits while walking three and striking out eight.  Shawn Camp and James Russell gave the Cubs a shot late as they each tossed a scoreless inning out of the pen.

Up Next – The Cubs travel to Miami to take on the Marlins in a four game weekend set.  Edwin Jackson will start things off against Kevin Slowey at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-24 box

Game Highlights:

Samardzija’s gutsy outing
Samardzija get’s nicked up
Navarro guns down Votto
DeJesus with a diving grab

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

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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

Sloppy First Dooms Cubs

Cubs April 19 lineFull Box Score

Once again the Cubs put up a fight, and once again the Cubs lose a close game.  The damage was done early as Samardzija and the Cubs gave up four runs, I said “and the Cubs” because they contributed to the runs just as much as Shark did.  The game started with a Rizzo error, a soft single, a home run, a bloop double, a triple, and just like that it was 4-0.  The Cubs came right back using the long ball to make it 4-3 in the third inning, but could never even the score despite many Castro 4-19opportunities.  The Cubs put the lead-off man on in almost every inning tonight and couldn’t do anything with it, this one was as frustrating as they come.  Full credit to Samardzija for battling in this one, he could have folded in the first but didn’t and saved the pen.  Dale Sveum was ejected in this one, and I was 110% happy with it, after a non strike three call with Braun at the plate (the same pitch Shark was called out on with the bases loaded) Samardzija was visibly upset, said something and got back on the mound, the umpire showed him up by taking his mask off and stared down Samardzija, first Castillo got in his face then Sveum did, well done Dale.

At The Plate – The Cubs issues with runners in scoring position reared its ugly head again in this one as the Cubs pounded out ten hits, but went 0-for-7 when it mattered with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus had a good night from the lead-off spot going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Anthony Rizzo continues to make his hits count, he was 1-for-4 with a home run, his 5th of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Luis Valbuena was 1-for-3 with his 2nd home run of the season.  Unfortunately only one of those blasts came with a guy on base, and not getting guys in from second with less than two outs continues to drag this team down.  Newcomer Julio Borbon made a perfect Cubs debut by getting thrown out stealing second to end the game, he slid to soon, it was reminiscent of Willie Mays Hayes from “Major League.”  Ah, Cubs baseball, never a dull moment.

Enjoy..

On The Mound – I mentioned it above, but Jeff Samardzija really showed a lot tonight as he could have very easily packed it in tonight after a rough first inning that really wasn’t all his fault.  After giving up four runs in the first he settled down and gave the Cubs all he could going 7+ innings giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits while walking one and striking out four.  The two pitches he probably wants back is the 0-2 pitch to Braun that ended up being a three run shot, and the first pitch to Gomez in the eighth that left the park.  Kevin Gregg made his 2013 Cubs debut, it looked a lot like 2009 efforts, he gave up a hit and walked a batter, then he was removed.  Camp came in and got out of a jam thanks to the base running exploits by the Brewers, specifically Jean Segura who stole second and got caught stealing second in the same inning, I really don’t want to explain it, I will post the video if it’s available.

Jean Segura ladies and gentlemen

Up Next – Another thrilling Cubs game for sure, as this team doesn’t know any other way to play, no matter what it’s going to be close.  Edwin Jackson gets the start for the Cubs and he will take on Hiram Burgos who will be making his MLB debut, game starts at 6:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago.

Cubs April 19 box 1

Cubs April 19 box 2

Game Highlights:

DeJesus’ two-run homer
Valbuena goes deep
Check back later for more

Thanks for reading,
– George

Bats Wake Up Too Late in Loss to Rangers

Cubs 4-16 lineFull Box Score

The Cubs do have a flair for the dramatic, but as we have seen so often this season it usually ends with Cubs fans disappointed and another loss.  Hey!  That’s what happened tonight.  Through seven innings it was the Derek Holland and Travis Wood show as the Rangers Barney 4-16held a slim 1-0 lead.  The Rangers were able to tack on some insurance runs in the eighth which they ended up needing.  Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth the Cubs once again fought back and were one swing away from grabbing a victory but ended up falling short after scoring twice to make it 4-2.

At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t do much all night, but at least they were able to snap the 0-for-24 with RISP slump by going 2-for-4 tonight. Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-4 with a double and has his average all the way up to .275 for the season.  Nate Schierholtz continued his hot hitting, this time off the bench going 1-for-1 with a two-run double.  Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Welington Castillo each had one hit in the loss.

On The Mound – Travis Wood continued his strong start to the 2013 season, he went 7.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three and was hung with the loss.  Shawn Camp is clearly not the Shawn Camp of 2012 just yet as he gave up two runs on two hits in just one-third of an inning.  James Russell and newcomer Kameron Loe had scoreless appearances.

Up Next – Game two of the series will feature Carlos Villanueva against Justin Grimm as long as they can get it in, the weather is not going to be very helpful.  The Chicago area is supposed to get hammered with rain on Wednesday and Thursday so we’ll see.

Cubs 4-16 box

Cubs 4-16 box 1

Game Highlights:

Gonzalez’s diving catch
Rizzo with a great throw to cut down the run
Schierholtz two-run double
Sappelt’s sliding catch

Thanks for reading,
– George