Now these are the games that I think a lot of Cubs fans can get used to. Thirteen hits, and six runs, not just thirteen hits but nine extra base hits and many of them very loud. Maybe they just sounded loud because there were only 217 people at today’s game, but they were squared up for sure. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning amid the rain drops and this time they were able to keep their opponent at bay behind some solid pitching and defense. I’m not sure what was the bigger victory today, the Cubs win, or the fact that the game was actually played. Most of Chicago and the suburbs are under water, me included, so great job by the Wrigley grounds crew to get the field in the best shape possible.
At The Plate – Maybe the best day at the plate all year for the Cubs, big days all around. David DeJesus went 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a triple, a double, a walk and a run scored. Starlin Castro was solid as well as he went 1-for-3 with two walks, his first two of the year, a double, and a stolen base. Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, and the longest in the Majors this year, a 475 foot blast. His day could have been better two as it included two line outs, good to see solid contact from Rizzo. Alfonso Soriano also found some production, he went 1-for-5 with his first home run and first RBI of the season. Welington Castillo continued his red-hot start to the season going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s.
On The Mound – The Cubs pitching was just as good as the hitting in this one. Carlos Villanueva was finally rewarded for a solid outing, he earned his first win of the season going seven innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six. James Russell and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning to close this one out. Carlos Marmol was particularly good in this one as he didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
Up Next – The Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a three game series with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will get things going for the Cubs against Marco Estrada at 7:10 PM CST. I guarantee there will be no rain outs this weekend.
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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 held 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.
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Every game seems winnable with this team, more often than not, it still ends up as a loss. Heading into today it looked like a solid pitching match up on paper, and both guys delivered for the most part as Samardzija battled Bumgarner through six innings. The Giants built a 3-0 lead after six and a half innings and for the fifth straight game the Cubs wouldn’t go quietly. Dioner Navarro has a flare for dramatics it seems as for the second straight day he delivered a pinch hit home run. Today it was a two-run shot that brought the Cubs within one run, unfortunately that’s as close as they would get despite a wonderful opportunity. That was the story of the day for the Cubs, wasted opportunities, they had multiple chances to drive runs in while making outs, whether it be a ground ball or a sac fly, and the Cubs couldn’t do either, which isn’t that surprising. Welington Castillo had two great opportunities and failed both times. The latest was a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the eighth inning, he swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning ending double play.
At The Plate – Alfonso Soriano finally showed some signs of life at the plate today going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. Alberto Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Dioner Navarro, who will probably get the start tomorrow, was 1-for-1 off the bench with a two-run homer, yesterday he did it from the left side today from the right.
On The Mound – Jeff Samardzija turned in another solid outing and walks away with another loss. Samardzija went six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. He falls to 0-2 on the season with a sparkling 2.75 ERA. Michael Bowden came on in relief and gave up one run in one inning of work on two hits. Both Carlos Marmol and James Russell tossed scoreless innings to keep it close late.
Up Next – Game four of the series as the Cubs will try to salvage a split when it all honesty they could be going for a sweep. Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Cubs, he will oppose Tim Lincecum at 1:20 PM CST. Much warmer temperatures tomorrow, so there’s that.
Check back later, FOX is horrible.
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Baseball is a funny game, it’s also infuriating and thrilling, today had a little bit of everything. Carlos Villanueva battled Matt Cain today, and got the best of him as he was brilliant all afternoon. Villanueva left in the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead, things looked great! Then the ninth inning rolled around, and that clearly has been a problem this year, and it’s not just Marmol either. Kyuji Fujikawa struggled with his command and got hit pretty hard as he gave up three runs to blow the save and put himself and the Cubs in line for the loss. That’s when for the fourth straight game the Cubs showed some fight. Dioner Navarro tied the game at three with a pinch hit home run off Sergio Romo, David DeJesus came up with a two-out single then Starlin Castro played hero. Castro drove a 2-1 pitch off the center field wall for a walk-off double, just like that the Cubs were winners, as I said infuriating and thrilling all in one game, gotta love baseball. My head hurts.
At The Plate – Top of the order magic again for the Cubs. David DeJesus was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. Starlin Castro was the hero, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored. Welington Castillo continued his torrid start to the season going 2-for-4. Dioner Navarro came up large off the bench in the ninth delivering a game-tying solo home run, he finished 1-for-1.
On The Mound – What can be said about Carlos Villanueva? He was absolutely outstanding today, and unfortunately for the second straight game he had to settle for a no decision. Villanueva tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, he gave up three hits while walking one and striking out three. James Russell worked tow-thirds of an inning and only allowed one hit. Kyuji Fujikawa really struggled, he worked one inning giving up three runs on three hits, he earned the blown save, and the win, go figure.
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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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