Just when you think that the Cubs have lost every way possible they go and gives us another disaster. At this point it seems as though the only thing that is holding the Cubs back, is the Cubs themselves. Travis Wood was outstanding in this one, as he has been so often this year, and yet again, somehow, the Cubs found a way to lose. After taking a late 2-0 lead on a clutch Scott Hairston home run the wheels fell of in the eighth. With two outs and two guys on it looked like the Cubs were going to get out of it, then the wind took over. Yonder Alonso, who had the day off until the eighth inning, hit a fly ball to right field, it turned into more of a pop up in short right field because of the wind. Julio Borbon, who made a spectacular catch to retire the previous batter charged in and called off Barney, then flat-out missed the ball, that allowed the Padres to score and make it 2-1, and extended the inning. That marked the end of the day for Wood, but not the end of the misery. Shawn Camp came in and Welington Castillo completed boxed the first pitch from Camp to allow the game tying run to score, not only was it a passed ball on Castillo, but he completely dogged it while “chasing” the ball down. The Padres runner didn’t break right away, and if Castillo hustles they have a great chance to get him at the plate, he didn’t, and when the dust finally settled the Padres led 4-2 and the Cubs were done. Yet again, a series the Cubs should have won, ends in a split, so very frustrating.
At The Plate – The familiar issues were there once again for the Cubs as they tallied nine hits in this one but could only score twice as they were o-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Scott Hairston had the big blow for the Cubs, a two run homer in the seventh that looked like it would be the difference. Hairston finished the day going 1-for-3 with two RBI’s, said home run, and a run scored. Welington Castillo at least had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
On The Mound – For the second straight game the Cubs starting pitching was the story, or should have been the story as Travis Wood was brilliant. Wood carried a perfect game through four and two-thirds, giving up a hit to Kyle Blanks with two outs in the fifth. Wood ended up going 7.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three, and was tagged with the loss, mind numbing. Shawn Camp was charged with an earned run, and didn’t retire anyone as he walked the only batter he faced. James Russell didn’t have it today either as he gave up the difference making hit in two-thirds of an inning. Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth inning, he hit a batter, and gave up a hit, but kept the Padres off the scoreboard.
Up Next – The Cubs welcome the Reds to Wrigley for a three game weekend set. Carlos Villanueva will get the ball for the Cubs in game one and the Reds will counter with Mike Leake, first pitch scheduled at 1:20 PM CST, weather permitting.
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No rest for the weary as the Cubs stumble into San Diego for a three game series starting tonight on the heels of being swept by the Dodgers. The Cubs have lost five straight games as they are now fully immersed in the rebuilding process. Despite the losses the Cubs are becoming a lot more fun to watch as the lineup moving forward will feature Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, and Starlin Castro, all of these guys figure to be around when the Cubs are ready to contend on a yearly basis. That’s a little ways down the road right now, the task at hand will be trying to solve the Padres who red-hot at Petco Park, winning seven of their last nine games in their spacious home field. The Padres are winning most games with pitching, as expected in that pitchers paradise, but they do have some hot bats as well. Yonder Alonso is hitting near .400 in his last seven games, if the Cubs want to be in this series they are going to have to contain Alonso and find a way to generate runs. The latter might be a little easier as the Cubs reworked lineup yielded some solid results on Sunday in LA, hopefully they can build on that and not only win a series but put an end to their five game losing streak before it gets really out of hand, again.
August 6, 2012 – August 8, 2012; Petco Park, San Diego, CA
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Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series, at the time of this preview the Cubs have yet to name a Tuesday Night starter as Matt Garza will not make the start as he has been placed on the DL.
Monday August 6, 2012
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90 ERA)
San Diego: Eric Stults (1-2, 3.19 ERA)
I really like this matchup for Travis Wood, a big ballpark should suit him well. The key for Travis Wood will be to throw strikes, no brainer right? The reason I mention it is that he can use the ballpark to his advantage by letting the Padres elevate without the concern of the ball leaving the yard. If Wood can stay ahead of hitters he should be able to make his pitches to get outs. Eric Stults profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, however the Cubs have destroyed Stults in his career. Stults is 0-3 vs the Cubs in three career starts with a 7.24 ERA, that bodes well.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
Chicago: Some Guy (?-?, ?.?? ERA)
San Diego: Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA)
I really don’t like the chances of Some Guy vs the Padres on Tuesday night. All kidding aside usually when a team is forced to use a starter that might not be ready for the Majors it doesn’t work out well. That could be the case on Tuesday as the Cubs still have not announced a starter, mainly because the candidates for that start all pitched this past weekend in Iowa. The bright side here is that the Cubs face Ohlendorf who has been awful this year, so I’m saying there’s a chance.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Chicago: Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37 ERA)
San Diego: Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01 ERA)
Game three sets up to be the best of the bunch as Samardzija battles Richard. Samardzija faced San Diego earlier this year and went seven strong innings in picking up a win at Wrigley Field. I expect much of the same from Shark on Wednesday as he looks to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season last time out. The Cubs haven’t seen much of Richard as they have only faced him one time in the last three years, and Richard got the best of the Cubs that day. I expect this one to be the lowest scoring game of the series.
Season Series: Cubs lead 3-0
Prediction: Cubs win series, 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!