Minor Matters – June 4, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 6-4 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – After four innings the Cubs didn’t have much going, then they erupted for ten runs over the final four innings en route to a 10-2 victory.  Logan Watkins had an outstanding game at the top of the order going 3-for-5 with three singles and two runs scored.  Brian Bogusevic continues to pad his stats as he was 2-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season, a walk, three RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Steve Clevenger is on the comeback trail, he was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, he’s hitting .429 since returning from that horrible oblique injury.  Brad Nelson had a productive day going 2-for-4 with his eighth home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Ian Stewart is still alive, and was decent in this one going 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.

On The MoundBrooks Raley got the start, and I’m not 100% certain but I think Raley had to leave early in this one as he only threw fifty-one pitches.  Raley worked 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.  Casey Coleman continues to do tremendous work out of the pen; he worked 3.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two to earn his first win of the season.  Marcus Hatley scuffled a bit, and has since his promotion to Iowa; he worked one inning giving up one run on two hits.  Alex Burnett, who cleared waivers and was optioned to Iowa got some work in today, he went one scoreless inning giving up one hit.

Daytona 6-4 line

Full Box Score

At the Plate – Not a lot of offense in this one from the D-Cubs but it was enough as they squeaked out a 1-0 victory over Bradenton.  John Andreoli was 2-for-4 with two singles, and his sixteenth stolen base of the season.  Tim Saunders was 2-for-4; he also had two singles, but had a caught stealing in this one.  The only RBI of the game came from Jorge Soler; he finished the day 0-for-2 with said RBI on a sacrifice fly.

On The MoundBen Wells was outstanding to start things off for Daytona; he improved his record to 4-4 on the season with the win.  Wells worked five scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking three and striking out four.  Frank Del Valle was just as good out of the pen and earned the rare four inning save in a one run game.  Del Valle worked four scoreless innings giving up four hits while striking out four.

Smokies 6-4 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies looked like they had control of this one with an early 4-1 lead but had to battle back from a 6-4 deficit which they did; as they scored four runs unanswered to beat Jackson 8-6.  The Smokies were dangerous all night as they pounded out fifteen hits while scoring eight runs; they were 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position.  Matt Szczur is red hot, he was 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI’s, a stolen base, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .292 on the season.  Ronald Torreyes was 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Arismendy Alcantara was 3-for-5 with two doubles, and an RBI, he’s now hitting .290 on the season.  Ty Wright also had a solid game going 2-for-5 with his third home run of the season, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Chad Noble had a monster game going 4-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.

On The MoundYeiper Castillo was roughed up in this one but was still able to give the Smokies some valuable innings.  Castillo worked six innings giving up six runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four.  Hunter Cervenka was outstanding out of the pen, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two, he picked up his first AA win of the season.  Frank Batista was solid as usual in picking up his eighth save of the season.  Batista worked 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit; he lowered his ERA to 1.78 on the season.

George header

Series Preview – Cubs @ Nationals; May 10 – May 12, 2013

Nats preview

The stretch of facing contenders continues for the Cubs this weekend in Washington as they take on the exciting Nationals.  The Cubs last trip to Washington didn’t go so well as they were swept in a four game series, well swept is to kind of a word, they were embarrassed in a four game series.  There was also a bench clearing incident between the two clubs which centered around Steve Clevenger and at the time third base coach of the Nats Bo Porter, Harper previewneither will be in Washington this weekend.  Here’s a fun fact that you probably were not aware of, the Cubs have actually scored more runs this year than the Nationals.  That’s right, the Cubs have scored 128 runs, and the Nats have scored 121, both teams are near the bottom of baseball in that category, however the Nats are above .500 and the Cubs, well, aren’t.  The Nationals get it done with pitching, but still are not that much better than the Cubs.  The Nats have a team ERA of 3.47 which is good for seventh in the Majors while the Cubs sit at thirteenth with a 3.77 ERA.  The difference is the Nationals bullpen more times than not gets the job done, they have a team ERA of 3.57 which is fifteenth best in baseball while the Cubs are twenty-fifth best with a 4.57 bullpen ERA.  Too many game this year have been lost by the Cubs pen, a failing bullpen will not be good enough against good teams, as evidenced by the Reds, and Cardinals series.  Should be a fun weekend, and hopefully we see a better showing than last year, nothing could be worse really.

Last Series:

The Cubs split a two game series with the Cardinals at Wrigley.

The Nats swept a two game series at home against Detroit, they have won four straight heading into tonights game.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, May 10, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013 – 3:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Sunday May 12, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on WGN TV

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:


Game One – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.09)
– Career vs. Nationals (9 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 1.48)

Game Two – Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39)
– Career vs. Nationals (2 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 1.13)

Game Three – Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70)
– Career vs. Nationals (First appearance)


Game One – Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (2-1, 2.60)

Game Two – Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 1.29)

Game Three – Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.97)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (1-1, 5.74)

Bold Prediction:

The Nationals have gotten hot recently, winning four straight games heading into this series.  The Cubs will need to play error free baseball and get improved performances from their bullpen if they want to compete in this series.  I still think the Nationals will take two out of three this weekend.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Struggle to Find Runs In Castro’s Return

The Cubs lost to the Rockies 2-0 yesterday, that’s alright, because the bigger news was that Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked no worse for wear.

Full Box Score

At the plate:

Darwin Barney had a solid day going 2-for-3, Brett Jackson, Steve Clevenger, and Starlin Castro were all 1-for-1, and Scott Hariston tallied the only other hit for the Cubs.  They only managed six all day, and all of them were singles.

On the mound:

Edwin Jackson was stellar, going five innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.  Kyuji Fujikawa had a rare sub par outing as he struggled with command giving up one run in one inning of work on one hit, while walking two and striking out two.  Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol, and Jensen Lewis all tossed scoreless, uneventful innings in the loss.

Spring Record: (7-11)

Up Next:

Cubs face the Dodgers, and Chris Rusin gets the ball, Rusin has been pretty darn good so far this Spring, and is slated to join the Iowa rotation this year.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Late Cubs Rally Falls Short

Cactus League Header

Cubs-Giants Line Score 3-2-13

Full Box Score

  Every time the Cubs fought back in this one the Giants would tack on a couple of insurance runs to keep the Cubs at bay, the Cubs final push came in the ninth inning as they scored twice, but ran MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giantsout of outs as they fell to the Giants 9-7.  Carlos Villanueva made his second appearance of the Spring, and had a much better performance.  Villanueva was able to make it through three innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out two.  It was nice to see Villanueva find the strike zone repeatedly in this one, I’ll take giving up hits over walks any day, and he was able to work around the hits for the most part.  Barret Loux came on in relief and didn’t have it today, he tossed two innings, giving up four runs, all earned on three hits while walking one and striking out one, Loux was hung with the loss.  Jaye Chapman also struggled today as he surrendered two runs on two hits in his inning of work.  After having a rough Spring debut, Robert Whitenack bounced back nicely today as he pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.

  The Cubs were once again productive at the plate as they scored seven runs while pounding out ten hits.  Brian Bogusevic got the start in right field today and was stellar at the plate going 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk, and two runs scored.  Dioner Navarro only had one hit but he had a productive day, he ended the day 1-for-3 with a walk, and two RBI’s.  Steve Clevenger got the start at first base today, yes first base, and he did his best Anthony Rizzo impersonation going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s, Clevenger is having a solid Spring at the plate, hitting .500 (4-for-8) in the early going.  Brett Jackson didn’t start, but had an eventful day nonetheless going 1-for-1 with a double, and a stolen base.  Jackson is having a resurgent Spring, and a lot of that can be contributed to a new swing, and new-found confidence, he his slated to start 2013 in Iowa, but is doing everything he can to make that decision anything but a given, he’s hitting .375 (3-for-8) with two triples, and a double this Spring.

Cubs-Giants box Score 3-2-13

Cubs-Giants Pitching Box Score 3-2-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

61-101; The 2012 Cubs Season is Over; a Recap, Kinda

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…

Chris Volstad
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.

Rafael Dolis
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.

Ian Stewart
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.

Anthony Rizzo
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.

Alfonso Soriano
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.

Starlin Castro
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!

– George

Cubs Lose Control, and Winning Streak

Nothing more aggravating then watching pitchers walk the ballpark, and that’s exactly what the Cubs did tonight.  The Cubs walked nine guys over eight innings pitched, that signaled the end of the Cubs four game winning streak as they fell to the Braves 10-3.  Things got off to a much better start as Volstad looked shaky but serviceable in the early innings.  The Cubs trailed 1-0 when the Braves defense started to unravel and the Cubs took advantage.  Dan Uggla showed why he is known as a hitter only as he threw a potential inning ending double play ball into left field which allowed DeJesus to score from first to tie the game at one.  Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger followed with two out RBI singles to put the Cubs up 3-1 in the top of the 3rd.  For a second it looked like Chris Volstad was going to break through and get his first win in over a calendar year, but then he remembered that he always has one bad inning, and he had it in the 5th.  Four hits, one walk, and five runs later the Braves had a 6-3 lead and Volstad was out of the game.  The air was taken out of the Cubs in the “Volstad Inning” as they didn’t really threaten the rest of the way, but the Cubs pitchers did nothing to help the cause as they couldn’t find the plate.  Every Cubs hitter in the starting lineup had at least one hit except Luis Valbuena, LaHair and DeJesus each had two.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

Continue reading “Cubs Lose Control, and Winning Streak”

Rizzo Leads Cubs to Win in Debut

Surely Anthony Rizzo couldn’t live up to all the hype surrounding his much-anticipated Cubs debut, but he did his best to try.  Rizzo was 2-for-4 in his first game with the Cubs, including the game winning single, that turned into a double with two outs in the fourth inning.  Rizzo also singled in his first at bat, which was originally scored an error, it was changed a couple of minutes later, and rightfully so, who gives him an error at home?  While Rizzo was making his debut Randy Wells might have been throwing his last pitch as a member of the Chicago Cubs.  Randy Wells has lost it, all of it, he could only last three innings, giving up three runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three.  Thanks to Wells the Cubs got down 2-0 early before Rizzo and company charged back to take a 3-2 lead in the third inning.  The Mets tied the game up in the fourth before Rizzo put the Cubs up for good in the bottom half.  A huge effort from the Cubs bullpen today as Scott Maine, James Russell, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol shut down the Mets the rest of the way.  The game ended with Carlos Marmol earning his 100th career save, and one of his easier ones two.  Five different Cubs had two hits in the win, Rizzo, David DeJesus, Luis Valbuena, Darwin Barney, and Steve Clevenger.  While Anthony Rizzo won’t be a savior for the 2012 Cubs season, he might have made this one the most enjoyable games to watch all year, the Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

Continue reading “Rizzo Leads Cubs to Win in Debut”

Dempster Shuts Down Red Sox Amid Trade Rumors

Ryan Dempster is a pro, but pitching amid trade rumors swirling can’t be easy, you wouldn’t know it by watching Dempster pitch today.  Dempster was stellar, really never tempting fate in any of the seven brilliant innings he went.  The Cubs jumped on Daisuke Matsuzaka early plating three runs in the first two innings, and that was it, for both teams.  As I mentioned, Dempster went seven strong innings giving no runs on four hits, walking only two and striking out three.  Dempster has been great all year, and because of that he is becoming the number one target during this years trade season for teams wanting a starting pitcher.  If I had to guess, Dempster will be traded very soon, if the Cubs want to wait closer to the deadline I wouldn’t blame them.  Given the addition of wild card playoff spots, and so few teams selling, the Cubs might have the best chance of anyone to add to an already tremendously improved farm system via trade(s).

The Cubs didn’t knock around Dice-K, as they only managed four hits during his six innings, but it was enough.  Steve Clevenger had a the big blow with a two out two run double in the first inning on his was to a 1-for-3 day.  Ryan Dempster was the other star at the plate, yes you heard right, Dempster was 2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored.  David DeJesus had the only other hit for the Cubs and it was a big one, a two out single to put the Cubs up 3-0.  Carlos Marmol was thrust back into the closer role today, and of course things got a little dicey.  The final out of the game was a Dustin Pedroia ground out with the bases-loaded.  It would be great if Marmol could recapture the closing magic, because he really doesn’t do any good to the Cubs if he can’t get something back in a trade.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

Continue reading “Dempster Shuts Down Red Sox Amid Trade Rumors”

5/26: Around the Cubs Minor League System


Gerardo Comcepcion record dropped to 1-4 as he struggled once again allowing 8 runs, 5 of which were earned on 12 hits in just 4.2 innings.  That was plenty for Wisconsin as they added more runs to beat the Peoria 11-3.  The Cubs lone bright spot came from SS Marco Hernandez who went 2-3 including a home run and a triple.  Jake Devoss also added two hits and an RBI in the game.



Daytona got a great pitching performance from Matt Loosen as he improved his record to 2-1 on the season.  He gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven in six innings of work.  Daytona got the scroring started in the third with a two RBI single by Nelson Perez.  Rubi Silva who went 2-4 with a triple scored the second run on an RBI ground out by Elieser Boone.  After Clearwater cut the lead in half in the fifth with a solo homerun, Daytona scored in the seventh when Matt Szczur drove in John Andreoli who went 2-3 with two runs scored.  That was plenty for the Cubs as the newly promoted Jeff Lorick pitched two scoreless innings while only giving up one hit and striking one out.  Scott Weismann struck out two in the ninth to record his second save of the season.



The Smokies got some pretty good pitching, but the offense never got going as Tennessee lost 3-0.  Trey McNutt’s record dropped to 2-4 when he took the tough luck loss on Saturday.  McNutt only went four innings giving up two earned runs on five hits.  Ty’Relle Harris pitched two scoreless innings while striking out two and walking one.  Mobile added a run in the eighth of of Marcus Hatley who also pitched two innings.  There really was not much excitement from the offense, but Michael Burgess had two hits.



The Cubs hit four solo home runs  two power past Memphis 6-4.  Steve Clevenger, who ended the day 3-3 got the scoring started in the first with a home run.  After Memphis tied the game in the second Brett Jackson gave Iowa the lead back in the fourth when he hit his fifth home run of the season.  Memphis would score three in the fifth to take the lead 4-2.  Iowa tied the game in the sixth when Jackson stepped back to the plate and lined an RBI triple and would later score on a base hit by Ty Wright.  The Cubs took a lead in the eight when Anthony Rizzo connected on his league leading 17th home run of the season.  Josh Vitters hit a homer in the ninth to give the Cubs a little breathing room.  Mike MacDougal finished the game in the ninth recording his first save of the season.

Thanks for Reading,

Marmol, Clevenger in Iowa For Rehab

Steve Clevenger and Carlos Marmol join the Iowa Cubs on rehab assignments from Chicago.

No, not THAT kind of rehab, a rehab assignment of course.  This is good news for sure, I know Marmol has struggled but he needs to be on the mound to be any good to the Cubs, and yes I’m talking about trade value and team success.  Steve Clevenger can’t get healthy soon enough for the banged up catchers crew of the Cubs.  Welington Castillo is dinged up, Geovany Soto is out for four weeks most likely, and Koyie Hill is Koyie Hill.

The playing schedule for Clevenger and Marmol is determined by the Chicago Cubs, not the Iowa Cubs.  Another oddity of minor league baseball, hopefully Marmol and Clevenger help get a couple wins for Iowa then are back up in Chicago shortly.

Thanks for reading,
– George