Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up, after imploding in the ninth yesterday, the Cubs have place Kyji Fujikawa on the 15 day DL due to right forearm tightness. Rafael Dolis, who has been better of late in Iowa gets the call to replace Fujikawa in the bullpen, but not take over the closer role. Carlos Marmol will not be put back into the closer’s role right now, and has been demoted to low-level match ups instead. Per Sveum the Cubs will not necessarily use a committee but they will use a committee, huh? Well, Dale prefers the verbiage we will treat save situations independently based on match ups, which could be viewed as a committee. James Russell and Shawn Camp will get the first opportunities should a save opportunity arise.
Also on the injury front, Scott Feldman has back tightness and will miss the Rangers series, odds are this is just the Cubs taking advantage of an off day on Monday, and skipping Feldman in the Rangers series.
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I suppose this one sums up the Cubs season to this point, some good, some bad, some really bad, and a loss. The Cubs looked like they were going to cruise in this one as they built a 5-0 lead in the third inning, but as quickly as they built it, they lost it. The turning point seemed to be the 4th and 5th innings. Scott Feldman was working a lot of deep counts so he wasn’t exactly cruising, but he was effective. One the ropes again in the fifth Feldman looked to get an inning ending ground out but Castro booted it which allowed a run to score and the inning to continue. Angel Pagan followed with a ground ball to the right side which should have been the end of the inning but a combo of Feldman getting over to first slowly and Brent Lillibridge being Brent Lillibridge resulted in no out and the inning continued, again. When it was all said and done it was a 5-4 Cubs lead heading to the 5th, that’s where the wheels came off again. The Giants plated three runs in the 5th to take a 7-5 lead, the Cubs crept closer in the eighth and threatened in the ninth only to come up short in another mind numbing loss that was seemingly there for the taking.
At The Plate – Early on it seemed like the Cubs were going to break out in a big way as they scored five times through three innings, but as it happens so often, the offense stopped, and could only score one more time over the last six innings. All eight position players had at least one hit in the Cubs lineup, with three guys having multi-hit games. Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, he’s now hitting .275 on the season. Nate Schierholtz tried his best to make his former employer regret letting him go as he was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Welington Castillo continued to destroy the ball as he was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Brent Lillibridge and Anthony Rizzo each had two RBI’s, with Rizzo’s coming on a two-run home run in the third.
On The Mound – Scott Feldman was good and average I would say in this one. He had solid command of his two-seam fastball, but after getting ahead early in counts he couldn’t put anyone away, the defense behind him didn’t help either. Feldman could only last 4.1 innings giving up six runs, two earned, on seven hits while walking three and striking out three to fall to 0-2 on the season. The turning point in my opinion was the ineffectiveness of Hisanori Takahashi out of the pen. Takahashi went 1.2 innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two, and striking out two. One of those walks was to opposing pitcher Ryan Vogelsong with the bases loaded to tie the game at five. Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, and James Russell all had scoreless appearances.
Up Next – The weather might be slightly better tomorrow, meaning that thing they call the sun might actually show its face, yes the sun has a face. But temps are only supposed to be in the low 40’s again and there is a chance for afternoon showers. Once things get started it will be Carlos Villanueva against Matt Cain.
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Ah, Spring in Chicago, either it’s great or horrible, usually no in between. Hopefully the weather cooperates today, and all weekend as the Cubs welcome the defending champion San Francisco Giants to town for a four game set. Should be some great baseball on display this weekend, hopefully for both teams. As usual the Giants boast of formidable pitching staff that will most definitely pose a challenge for the Cubs anemic offense.
The Cubs split the two game series with the Brewers as the final game was rained out.
The Giants swept the Rockies in a three game series at home.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 13, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on FOX
- Sunday, April 14, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71)
– Career vs. Giants (4 appearances, 2 GS) (0-3, 5.54)
Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35)
– Career vs. Giants (13 appearances, 1 GS) (2-1, 4.15)
Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.63)
– Career vs. Giants (6 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.53)
Game Four – Edwin Jackson (0-2, 5.73)
– Career vs. Giants (5 appearances, 4 GS) (2-2, 4.73)
Game One – Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44)
– Career vs. Cubs (15 appearances, 9 GS) (4-5, 5.73)
Game Two – Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38)
– Career vs. Cubs (13 GS) (6-2, 2.45)
Game Three – Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.79)
Game Four – Tim Lincecum (1-0, 4.91)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (4-4, 3.43)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
Something happened in the Brewers series, the Cubs found some offense, not only offense, but clutch offense. In both games the Cubs mounted comebacks, one successful, and one not so successful. Regardless, it was good to see guys having good at bats and driving the ball when they needed to. Welington Castillo has been a consistent threat at the plate since day one for the Cubs, he’s hitting .381 on the season with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s. Nate Schierholtz is also swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .304 on the season, and sports an impressive .385 OBP. Alfonso Soriano is scuffling, he’s back to missing his pitch and then getting himself out on the pitchers pitch. He’s hitting .194 on the season and has no extra base hits, or RBI’s. The Cubs pitching is starting to show some dents, but for the most part the starters have been great. Hector Rondon has been very good out of the pen, while Shawn Camp has struggled of late.
It’s a former Cub that is leading the offensive attack for the Giants, Angel Pagan is hitting .361 in the early going. Pablo Sandoval is also swinging a hot bat hitting .345 on the season with two home runs and six RBI’s, and has only struck out once in 29 at bats. Brandon Belt is struggling at the plate as he is only hitting .148 with only two extra base hits and no RBI’s. The Cubs won’t see Barry Zito in this series, usually that’s a bad thing, but not this year, Zito started on his comeback trail last year, and has continued it this year as he hasn’t given up a run so far this year in two starts over fourteen innings. Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain have been knocked around a bit as Vogelsong has a 8.44 ERA, and Cain has a 8.38 ERA, when was the last time you saw that?
The Cubs usually play up to their competition, at home at least, I think they play well enough to split this four game series. If they get a surprisingly solid performance from Feldman and Villanueva they might take three of four.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
For most of this home opener it was the same old story for the Cubs, well, at least offensively. Marco Estrada shut the Cubs down on a really tough day to pitch, winds were at 25 MPH gusting to 45 MPH blowing straight out for the majority of the game, pay attention to the majority part. After getting behind 5-0 early and 7-2 late the Cubs mounted a furious rally in the ninth inning, but all to often the Cubs get just close enough to tease us that a comeback is possible only to lose, and that’s exactly what happened. Trailing 7-4 with the bases loaded Starlin Castro flew out to the right field warning track with the wind howling in….wait, what? That’s right, the wind shifted in the late innings and was blowing straight in, if Castro hits that ball earlier in the game it’s a grand slam, amazing.
At The Plate – Starlin Castro ended the game at the plate, but was locked in today, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a double and a triple. Welington Castillo continued his strong start to the season going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s and a run scored. Nate Schierholtz also stayed hot going 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Tough day to pitch, well for anyone other than Marco Estrada. Edwin Jackson got the start and couldn’t find the plate early, when he did he found too much of it. To Jackson’s credit he settled down after giving up four runs in the first inning, he ended up going six innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking five and striking out six. Shawn Camp couldn’t keep things close as he gave up two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two in an inning of work. Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless inning, but it wasn’t without the usual theatrics, he gave up one it, while walking one, throwing a wild pitch, and struck out two.
Stat Of The Night – The Cubs struggles with runners in scoring position continued today as they were 2-for-12 in the loss.
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Marmol coaster! It’s too early in the year for this kind of drama. The Cubs once again couldn’t find much offense, but managed just enough to get the win with Nate Scheirhioltz providing the big blow, a two-run homer in the ninth inning which the Cubs ended up needing. Travis Wood was outstanding in his first start of 2013 but had to sit on the edge of his seat with the rest of us as Carlos Marmol came within a small unit of measurement of blowing it. After allowing the Pirates to score twice in the ninth, Marmol got Alvarez to strikeout, and Walker to hit into a double play, never a doubt, Cubs win three to two…… Nice series win for the Cubs to start the season.
At The Plate – The Cubs only had two hits last night, today they had three, at least the result was different. Starling Castro was 1-for-4 with an RBI on the day and has the honor of being the first Cubs player to get a hit with a runner in scoring position this year, yep. Nate Schierholtz was the offensive hero going 1-for-3 with a walk, a run, and two RBI’s which came on a huge two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Cubs a three run cushion.
On The Mound – Travis Wood was outstanding this morning/afternoon, Wood went six scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two and striking out four to earn his first win of the season, barely. Shawn Camp, James Russell, and Kyuji Fujikawa were very good out of the bullpen as they tossed a combined two scoreless innings, giving up no hits, no walks, and struck out three. Cue the circus music… enter Carlos Marmol. Marmol wasn’t very good, again, as he gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out one, but battled and ended up “earning” his first save of the season.
Stat Of The Night – The Cubs team ERA is 2.08, Carlos Marmol’s ERA is 20.25
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It was rather obvious early, the Cubs offense was awfully disinterested in this one. Wandy Rodriguez and the cold temperatures combined to keep the Cubs at bay as they could only manage two hits all night. The Cubs opportunity came in the seventh inning when they put the first two on, and then loaded the bases with one out only to come up empty. It really was a story of one inning both ways tonight for the Cubs as Edwin Jackson was decent except for the fourth inning. Jackson struggled with his command in the fourth and gave up two runs in the frame which was more than enough for the Pirates in this one.
At The Plate – How many ways can I say bad? I guess I’ll just leave it at that, the Cubs approach and the subsequent results or lack there of left a lot to be desired. Alfonso Soriano and Alberto Gonzalez were the only Cubs to register hits in this one, both singles.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was really good early, then got into deep count after deep count and had to exit after five innings of work. Jackson gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out five in his Cubs debut. Hector Rondon made his Major League debut, tossing a scoreless inning while walking two, and striking out two. Michael Bowden gave up one run in his inning of work on two hits. Shawn Camp and Hasanori Takahashi each had scoreless outings.
Stat Of The Night – Here I will feature a stat, either from the game, or a trend, could be good, or bad, or alarming. Tonight it’s alarming, the Cubs are 0-for-13 as a team with RISP, yikes.
The Cubs had two hits, there are no highlights worth watching, I promise.
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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.
Thanks for reading,