Two Out Magic Propels Cubs to Another Win

Cubs Final 4-28

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The Cubs have all of a sudden found some clutch hitting, and that is leading to some exciting baseball, and wins on the Northside.  One night after scoring four times with two outs, the Cubs pushed six across after two outs for good measure.  Going back to Sunday the Cubs have had thirteen two out RBI’s, THIRTEEN.  So it really is not a surprise that the Cubs have won four straight games, clutch is good, clutch is productive.  Travis Wood didn’t need much help in this one as he picked up his second win of the season, he was stellar over seven innings.  The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow night against Pittsburgh’s ace, Gerrit Cole.

At the Plate:

  • Dexter Fowler is scorching hot right now, he went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s, and a stolen base.
  • Kris Bryant came up with another big hit tonight, he was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI.
  • Starlin Castro, have a night, he was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
  • Junior Lake made a splash (heh) in his return, he was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Welington Castillo, Chris Coghlan, and Addison Russell all had one hit in the win.  Russell added an RBI, a walk, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Travis Wood got the start, and picked up his second win of the year.  Wood worked seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking none, and striking out nine.
  • Zac Rosscup and Jason Motte each worked a scoreless inning to secure the win.

Fun fact, the Cubs had five stolen bases on the night, they now have twenty-five on the year, that leads all of baseball.

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“The Future” Pushes Arrieta to a Victory

Cubs Final 4-20

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It was a rough start for the Cubs tonight as Jake Arrieta got knocked around in the first, but escaped only giving up one run, then he shut it down.  Arrieta retired the next sixteen hitters on his way to a stellar seven inning performance to pick up his second win of the season.  He doesn’t get that win without the exploits of the Cubs future, and well, present, in the middle of the order.  After a double by Soler, and a walk by Rizzo, Kris Bryant crushed a two-run double, and ended up scoring on the same play to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-2 victory.

Note:  A fan was hit in the back of the head by a Starlin Castro‘s line drive foul ball.  She was behind the protective screen, but was resting on the screen and the ball really smoked her.  The result was a 23 minute on field delay, the update is that she was conscious and thanking the people helping here into the ambulance.  Hopefully she’s okay.

Kris Bryant‘s Little League Homer.

Kris Bryant RBI single.

At the Plate:

  • Hip hip, Jorge!  Soler was a beast in this one, he went 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Anthony Rizzo was all over the bases, per usual.  Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Kris Bryant had a rough debut, he’s been everything advertised since, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Starlin Castro is getting lost in the hype train, but he is having an outstanding 2015, he was 2-for-4 in this one, and his now hitting .327 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta with some more hot fire tonight, he worked seven strong innings, he gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven.
  • Pedro Strop was spotless as usual, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out two.
  • Rosscup came on to protect a four run lead, something the Cubs couldn’t do on Saturday, and he did just fine.  He worked an inning, giving up one run on one hit while striking out one.

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One Bad Inning Does in Cubs

Cubs Final 4-14

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Jake Arrieta had his typical no hit stuff against the Reds once again, at least until the fourth inning.  The Reds scored three times on five singles in the fourth inning en route to a 3-2 victory to even up the three game series.  The Cubs didn’t exactly go quietly, that seems to be their thing this year.  Welington Castillo smacked a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to bring the Cubs to within one, but they couldn’t get any closer.  The Cubs had two more guys on base in the eighth and the ninth, but couldn’t come up with a big hit, this time.  Being able to come back in games is a nice thing to be able to do, you just don’t want to be doing it every night.

At the Plate:

  • Welington Castillo didn’t start but probably had the best game, he was 1-for-1 with a pinch hit dinger, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Matt Szczur, also coming off the bench, had two plate appearances, and walked each time.
  • Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Starlin Castro had the other hits, one each.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta got the start, and was just fine except for that fateful fourth inning, he worked 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Zac Rosscup made his 2015 debut, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out two.
  • Pedro Strop worked a scoreless inning to give the Cubs a chance in the ninth, he struck out one in the process.

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Riding the Bus: April 12, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

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SUNDAY • APRIL 12, 2015

South Bend 4-12 Final

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An odd scheduling quirk as the SB Cubs open a series with Dayton on a Sunday, minor league baseball at it’s finest.  The Cubs jumped out to a quick three run lead in the third, and by the time the inning was over the game was tied at three.  The SB Cubs pitching held Dayton down the rest of the game allowing the bats to wake up and score five times en route to a 8-3 win.

At the Plate:

  • Gleyber Torres is hitting his stride, he went 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBI’s, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Jason Volser was all over the place, he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, and a stolen base.
  • Rashad Crawford had a solid game from the nine spot, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, three RBI’s, and three runs scored.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges got the start and picked up the win, he worked five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Jasvir Rakkar was good once again, he worked two scoreless innings, surrendering zero hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • James Norwood was outstanding as well, he worked a scoreless inning, giving up two hits while striking out two.
  • Tommy Thorpe closed things out, he worked a scoreless inning, surrendering zero hits, while walking one, and striking out one.

Myrtle Beach 4-12 Final

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One night after a thrilling comeback win, the Pelicans couldn’t find any offense as they could only muster three hits in a shutout loss.  The Pelican pitching was solid, but that doesn’t mean much if you can’t score.

At the Plate:

  • Chris Denorfia, who is rehabbing from an injury, went 1-for-2 with a double.
  • Mark Zagunis was out in right field today, he went 1-for-4 in the loss.
  • Jeimer Candelario was 1-for-3 tonight, he’s now hitting .250 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Tyler Skulina got the start, and was outstanding, he worked five innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking three, and striking out five.
  • James Pugliese had a rough go of it, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out one.
  • Matt Brazis had a similar effort, he worked two innings, giving up two run on three hits while walking one, and striking out three.

Tennessee Smokies 4-12 Final

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The Smokies made some noise early on, then couldn’t push anymore runs across the plate the rest of the game.  By the second inning it was 6-1 Smokies then that was it as far as scoring runs goes.  The Braves were able to score once in the 4th, and once in the 9th to make it close but they still fell to the Smokies 6-3.

At the Plate:

  • Elliot Soto got things done at the top of the order tonight, he was 2-for-6 with a run scored.
  • Albert Almora had another solid game, he was 2-for-5 with a walk, a double, and two runs scored.
  • Christian Villanueva had a productive day, he was 2-for-5 with three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach continued his hot start today, he went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Rob Zastryzny got the start, he worked 3.1 innings giving up two runs, one earned on three hits while walking three, and striking out five.  Unfortunately he was hit by a batted ball in the foot and had to leave the game.
  • Stephen Perakslis was outstanding, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking one.
  • Michael Jensen was solid today, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and sriking out one.
  • Hunter Cervenka struggled in this one, he worked 1.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Andres Santiago earned the save by retiring one hitter, he worked a third of an inning, while walking one.

Iowa Cubs 4-12 Final

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Another outstanding effort from the Iowa Cubs today as they pounded Memphis 7-2 to earn a series split.  The long ball was on display all day as Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Mota all went deep, dingers!  The Cubs pitching held their own and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

At the Plate:

  • John Andreoli did his job at the top of the order today, he went 1-for-3 with two walks, a double, and a run scored.
  • Addison Russell is on fire right now, he hit 3-for-5 with a dinger, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  He’s now hitting .389 on the season.
  • Kris Bryant did it again, he was 1-for-4 with his second homer in as many days, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Jonathan Mota had a huge day, he went 3-for-4 with a homer, an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • Adron Chambers had another solid game, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a double.

On the Mound:

  • Barret Loux got the start for Iowa and was erratic for the most part, he worked 3.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking three, and striking out three.
  • Drake Britton was brilliant today, and picked up the win, he worked 2.1 scoreless innings, surrendering zero hits while walking one.
  • Zac Rosscup, Armando Rivero, and Blake Parker all worked a scoreless inning in relief to close out the Redbirds.

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Riding the Bus: April 10, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

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FRIDAY APRIL 10, 2015

South Bend 4-10 Final

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The South Bend Cubs moved to 2-0 on the young season tonight as 2014 15th round draft pick Jeremy Null was brilliant.  Null got the start and worked five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits while striking out seven, not a single walk.  That was more than enough for the SB Cubs offense as they pounded out ten hits en route to a 7-4 victory over Bowling Green.

At the Plate:

  • Trey Martin provided the production from the top of the order in this one, he was 1-for-5 with three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Chesny Young has had a good start to the season, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory.
  • Jeffrey Baez was solid yet again tonight, he went 2-for-4, and is now hitting .375 on the season.
  • Jesse Hodges and the bottom of the order were noticeable in this one, Hodges went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.
  • Charcer Burks, and Rashad Crawford each had a hit, and a walk in the eight and ninth spots respectively.

On the Mound:

  • The pen didn’t fair as well as Null in this one, Jasvir Rakkar worked two innings, giving up two runs, one earned on five hits while striking out one.
  • Tommy Thorpe closed things down, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one, and striking out three.

Myrtle Beach 4-10 Final

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Not a whole lot went right for the Pelicans tonight as they fell behind Wilmington 6-0 in the fourth on their way to an 8-3 loss.  If was a rough night on the mound for Pelicans starter Daury Torrez, he could only get through 4.2 innings as he picked up his first loss of the season.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann is doing good things early on, he was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base.
  • Ben Carhart had a solid 2015 debut, he went 1-for-3 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Mark Zagunis has been impressive, he was solid in the loss tonight, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, and a stolen base.

On the Mound:

  • Daury Torrez got knocked around in this one, he worked 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • I’m excited about Josh Conway, he just didn’t have it tonight, he went 1.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Gerardo Concepcion is on the comeback trail, he was great tonight, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Tayler Scott finished this one off, he worked one scoreless inning, giving up one hit while striking out two.

Tennessee Smokies 4-10 Final

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 A weird one in Mississippi as the Smokies jumped out to a 5-0 lead only to see it vanish in an 8-7 loss.  The Smokies attempted to mount a comeback in the 8th, but could only close the gap to one run.  A tough night for the Smokies pitchers as the Braves worked six walks, and registered nine hits.

At the Plate:

  • Pin-Chieh Chen provided some production at the top, he was 1-for-4 with a walk, and two RBI’s.
  • Bijan Rademacher is red-hot, he went 3-for-5 with a double, and three RBI’s.
  • Dan Vogelbach had a solid game, he finished the night 1-for-3 with two walks.
  • Willson Contreras smacked the ball all over tonight, he was 3-for-5 in the loss.
  • Stephen Bruno came off the bench to have a good game, he went 2-for-2 with a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Ivan Pineyro got the start and struggled with command, he worked four innings, giving up three runs on three hits while walking three, and striking out four.
  • Andres Santiago wasn’t much better, and was hung with the loss, he worked just two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Michael Jensen was the lone bright spot tonight, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, surrendering no hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Fernando Cruz was roughed up as well, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out three.

Iowa Cubs 4-10 Final

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It hasn’t been the start that the Iowa Cubs, and Cubs fans were expecting.  For the second straight night the Memphis Redbirds took it to Iowa, it was especially bad tonight as Iowa trailed 7-0 after two.  Some of the big league club’s struggles are rubbing off on Iowa as they can’t seem to find any offense yet.

At the Plate:

  • Junior Lake is displaying his new approach, he was 1-for-3 with a walk in the loss.
  • Addison Russell is one guy that is swinging it well, he went 1-for-4 with a double, he’s hitting .375 so far this season.
  • Chris Valaika, Mike Baxter, and Jonathan Mota were the only other I-Cubs to register a base hit, one each.

On the Mound:

  • Carlos Pimentel didn’t have it tonight, he worked 3.2 innings, giving up seven runs, five earned while walking four, and striking out five.
  • Jeffry Antigua was okay out of the pen, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Zac Rosscup, and Blake Parker were able to stop the bleeding as each guy worked a scoreless inning.

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Opening Night Roster Taking Shape

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The Cubs have been busy so far today, mostly off the field.  The club has announced that Brian Schlitter, Junior Lake, and Zac Rosscup have all been optioned to Iowa.  The news was expected for the most part as all three guys have options left, but there was an outside chance that Lake would make the team.  What this does mean is that Matt Szczur is all but a lock for the opening night roster, as Cubs beat writers pointed out on twitter, it’s down to three guys for two spots (Szczur, Sweeney, and Herrera).  I think Szczur and Jonathan Herrera have the edge right now, Szczur can play all over the outfield with a tremendous glove, and Hererra would be only the second guy off the bench that can play the infield.  This leaves Sweeney as the odd man out, the only thing that he really brings to the table is the left handed bat, but I don’t think that is enough to keep him around.  The Cubs also made it clear today that they will be starting the season with three catchers, so Miguel Montero, David Ross, and Welington Castillo will all be in Chicago.

The bullpen is also starting to come together, but the question of what do with Edwin Jackson remains.  Jackson will not be a member of the five man staff, and will not act in some sort of piggyback role with Travis Wood, so what to do?  The Cubs have already made a huge financial commitment to Jackson so cutting him doesn’t seem to be an option, but the Cubs could admit the mistake and move on.  If I had to guess, I think that Drake Britton will be waived, and the bullpen will have Jackson as a long guy which means the Cubs will carry only one left-handed arm in the pen, Phil Coke.  Still a lot to figure out as we are now only four days from the start of the season.

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Hammel Leads Cubs Back Into Win Column

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Jason Hammel cemented his status as the Cubs number three starter this afternoon by baffling the defending AL Champ Royals in a 4-3 win.  Hammel was brilliant going four scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three, the outing lowered his spring ERA to six, it’s been rough.  Phil Coke, Zac Rosscup, and Stephen Perakslis all had scoreless outings with Perakslis nailed down the save.  Anthony Rizzo who has struggled in finding his timing this spring had a solid game, he went 2-for-2 with an RBI, his second of the spring.  Junior Lake, Starlin Castro, and Jonathan Herrera all chipped in with one RBI each in the win.

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