June 2012

Road and Offensive Woes Continue for Cubs

Over the course of a season certain games stand out, whether it be bad or good, for some reason you remember them, tonight was one of those games.  It all started before the game even got underway when D-Backs starter Joe Saunders couldn’t get loose warming up in the bullpen and had to be scratched from his start, so Josh Collmenter was forced into duty.  Now Joe Saunders is a left-handed pitcher so Dale Sveum went with his super sweet, and really awesome, and special “left-handed-pitcher” lineup, which featured Reed Johnson leading off, and Jeff Baker hitting fourth.  This really neat approach has been used all season long, to the tune of a 3-14 record against left-handed pitchers, so it’s obviously working.  Dale Sveum had the opportunity to change his lineup before first pitch, because Josh Collmenter is right-handed, Sveum declined, and the Cubs lost 6-1.

Things started well enough as Geovany Soto hit a 450′ bomb to center field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.  Jeff Samardzija has been perplexing as of late, breezing through the early innings, then struggling to the point of having to come out in the 5th or 6th because of pitch count.  Samardzija was great in the first three innings tonight then his command went out the window as did the Cubs lead.  Samardzija gave up two runs in the 4th, one in the 5th, and two more in the 6th en route to his 6th loss of the season.  Geovany Soto who looks like a new man since coming off the DL had another solid night at the plate going 2-for-4 with his 5th home run of the season.  The Cubs couldn’t come through with the big hit all night, as they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base, including the bases-loaded two different times.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 22, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs D- Backs

Not a fan of this lineup but maybe it will surprise me.  Hopefully Jeff Samardzija has his “A” game as I don’t think the Cubs will be scoring many runs.  Here is how they line up behind Shark.

1. Johnson – RF
2. Castro – SS
3. Soriano – LF
4. Baker!? – 1B
5. Soto – C
6. Barney – 2B
7. Mather – CF
8. Valbuena – 3B
9. Samardzija – P

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

6/21: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Around the minor leagues on Thursday, June 21.

FULL BOX SCORE

Boise won  a thriller walking off in the bottom of the ninth.  The game was tied 3-3 going to the ninth when Eugene score one, but Boise came back and scored two to win the game 5-4.  With one out Gioskar Amaya tripled.  Jeimer Candelario tied the game with a single to right field.  After moving to third on a basehit by Wilson Contreras  up stepped Rock Shoulders.  Shoulders delivered a game winning single to left field and Boised got their second win of the season.  The Hawks belted out 13 hits on Thursday.  Amaya, Contreras, Xavier Batista all had two hits on the night.  Candelario had the best night offensively as he went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI’s.  The Hawks also got a great pitching performance from Hayden Simpson who pitched four innings and giving up one unearned run on only one hit.  He also struck out seven in his first win at Boise this year.

****

FULL BOX SCORE 

Daytona got a great pitching performance from Austin Kirk as the Cubs won 3-0.  Kirk pitched seven spectacular innings allowing zero runs and yielding only four hits.  He also struck out three and walked two.  Rebel Ridling had three hits including a double and a run scored.  Ronald Torreyes had an outstanding day at the plate going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run.  He also scored two runs and drove in one.  Greg Rohan and Rubi Silva also drove in a run a piece.  Ryan Searle and Jeffrey Lorick each pitched a scoreless inning as well as striking out two each.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Nicholas Struck pitched brilliantly on Thursday helping Tennessee win 3-1.  Struck gave up one run on two hits in six innings.  He also struck out seven batters as he improved his recored to 8-6.  Ty’relle Harris and Marcus Hatley each pitched well in relief.  Junior Lake was the offensive star on Thursday going 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored.  His average now stands at .318.  Justin Bour went 3-for-5 with an RBI.  Logan Watkins and Matthew Cerda added two hits and scored a run each.  Nelson Perez who was promoted had the other RBI on Thursday.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Not much good happened for Iowa today as they lost 6-2.  Brett Jackson, Ty Wright, and Josh Vitters had the only hits for the Cubs.  Vitters hit his 11th home run of the year.  Frankie De La Cruz pitched only 4.2 innings giving up five runs, only two of which were earned on eight hits.  Mike MacDougal gave up another run and three hits in his one inning of work.  Jeff Beliveau pitched a scoreless inning in relief.  Iowa’s record now stands at 31-43.

****

Thanks for Reading,
Mark

June 22 – 24; @ Diamondbacks – Series Preview

Arizona Diamondbacks Logo - Turquoise, purple and copper A above Diamond Backs in purple and copper

Finally a new team!  The Cubs head to Arizona to take on the D-Backs over the weekend, and the Cubs are riding high coming off of a series win at US Cellular Field over the White Sox.  Sure it’s just a series win, but considering it happened on the road it’s a big deal as the Cubs have a lot of trouble away from Wrigley.  The Cubs will battle a D-Backs team that is trying to find their way after being a pleasant surprise last season.  The D-Backs currently sit one game below .500 and in third place in the West, 7.5 games behind the Dodgers.  The normally potent Arizona lineup is good but it usually is so much better, a down season so far from Justin Upton, an injury plagued year from Chris Young, and a missing (injured) Stephen Drew all contributed to the less than stellar numbers, up until the last series.  The Cubs need to hit to stay in these games, the last two games against the Sox won’t be good enough in Arizona because I have a feeling they are about to explode, check that, continue their recent pace, as they scored 30 runs in a three game series against the Mariners.  Maybe the addition of one Anthony Rizzo might help, rumor has it that June 23rd is the day Rizzo could be called up and not lose a year of eligibility, nothing confirmed obviously, but stay tuned.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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6/21: Around the Cubs Minor League System

Still not a full slate of Minor League action because of all-star breaks, here is a recap from last night, June 20th.

FULL BOX SCORE

The home opener for Boise didn’t go as planned as the Eugene Emeralds spoiled the fun with a late rally to beat the Hawks 7-4.  The Boise pitching, especially out of the bullpen as been ugly, last night was no different.  Jose Arias made his second start of the season as was good again going three innings giving up two runs, one earned on six hits while walking none and striking out one.  Amaury Paulino and Pete Levitt really struggled out of the pen, giving up a combined five runs on ten hits.  Boise had one of it’s better offensive games of the early season, pounding out ten hits but only scoring four runs.  Shawon Dunston Jr. was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double.  Jeimer Candelario continued his strong start to the season going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s and two runs scored.

****

FULL BOX SCORE

From the looks of the line score the D-Cubs probably should have been blown out, but that’s not what happened as D-Cubs pitchers pitched in and out of trouble en route to a 3-2 victory over Tampa.  P.J. Francescon was terrific again for the D-Cubs.  PJ went six strong innings giving up two runs, one earned on nine hits while walking two and striking out five.  Both runs were given up in the first inning, PJ settled down after that.  Brian Schlitter and A.J. Morris shut to door the rest of the way for the D-Cubs.  Daytona only managed four hits, but made them count.  Arismendy Alcantara hasn’t slowed down all year, he was 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored, he is now hitting .299 on the season.  The hero was Rubi Silva, not only did Rubi hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth he also threw out Tampa’s Kyle Roller at the plate. 

****

FULL BOX SCORE

Brooks Raley had his best outing of the year for the I-Cubs as he went seven excellent innings giving up one unearned run on two hits while walking one and striking out seven.  The outcome was very much in doubt until the I-Cubs put up a three spot in the seventh to take a 4-1 lead and that is how it would end.  Raley ended up getting his third win of the season and Rafael Dolis earned his second save for Iowa.  It was the bottom of the order getting the job done for Iowa as Ty Wright was 1-for-3 with a walk, and his 5th home run of the season.  Blake Lalli had the big hit for the I-Cubs, a two run single in the seventh inning, Lalli finished 2-for-4 with two RBI’s.  Anthony Rizzo finished 0-for-3 in what might be one of his last games at Iowa, stay tuned. 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Fall Short of Sweep, Settle For Two out of Three

 

Sure two out of three against any team on the road is considered a success, but a sweep is what the Cubs really wanted.  It was hard to tell Wednesday night however based on the Cubs performance.  We’ve seen it too often this year, games practically over before they start because the Cubs have no approach at the plate and it happened again last night.  The Cubs were shut out once again, this time on four measly hits, and least two of the four were of the extra base variety.  The Sox found their bats after being shut down for two nights in a row.  They pounded out 10 hits on their way to scoring seven runs in the rout.

Randy Wells was, well, Randy Wells.  Wells only lasted 3.2 innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking FOUR with no strike outs.  It’s a shame how far Wells has fallen after a promising debut season with the Cubs, his command and confidence have gone out the window.  As I mentioned the Cubs were no better at the plate against Gaving Floyd and company, the same Gaving Floyd that has an ERA north of five.  The only offensive highlights were a double by David DeJesus and another triple by Starlin Castro.  The Cubs are off today before they start a weekend series in Arizona.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 20, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox

The Cubs go for the sweep tonight behind Randy Wells.  Would be really nice if the Cubs could get a little payback against the Sox for what the Sox did to them at Wrigley last month.  Ryan Dempster was placed on the DL early this week so Randy Wells will be taking his spot tonight, fingers crossed, here is how the Cubs will line up, go Cubs!

1. DeJesus – CF
2. Castro – SS
3. LaHair – 1B
4. Soriano – DH
5. Clevenger – C
6. Barney – 2B
7. Valbuena – 3B
8. Johnson – RF
9. Campana – LF

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Sign Matt Iannazzo; Undrafted Pitcher

Matt Iannazzo has inked a deal with the Chicago Cubs.  Iannazzo, a lefty out of the University of Pittsburgh went undrafted in this years first year player draft.  He was awfully good at Pittsburgh during his time there, he had a career ERA of 3.95 in just over 100 innings.  Command seems to be Iannazzo’s strength as he struck out 76 while only walking 22 during his career.  The 22 year-old lefty has reported to Arizona to start working out with the Cubs Arizona league team, expect him to be pushed to Boise soon I would think.  Can never have too many arms, especially left-handed ones, good luck to Matt.

Quotes from Matt,  via Brett at Bleacher Nation.

“It’s kind of a surreal feeling. I don’t think I’ll understand or grasp what I’ve done until after I’m done playing,” Iannazzo told the Stamford Advocate yesterday. “It was a dream come true just to see the contract, let alone to sign my name on it …. I feel blessed in order to accomplish this. At the same time, I was disappointed I didn’t get drafted in the First-Year Player Draft and I have a chip on my shoulder from that.”

Thanks for reading,
– George

Tennessee Smokies First Half Recap

The only team that might be hotter than the Peoria Chiefs is the Tennessee Smokies.  The Smokies won 10 of their last 11 leading up to the all-star break.  The torrid stretch was good enough to bring the Smokies all the way back to .500 after a very slow start to the season.  Let’s take a look at how the first half played out.

First Half Standings:

First Half Stats:

Much like the Chiefs, the Smokies took off once they got a highly touted prospect back in the lineup.  Junior Lake‘s return sparked the Smokies and it’s easy to see why.  The all world talent hit .301 in 35 games for the Smokies adding four home runs and 10 RBI’s.  Lake might have re-energized the Smokies ballclub but James Aducci kept them above water before Lake could get back.  Aducci was outstanding, he hit .314 in the first half for the Smokies with five home runs and 25 RBI’s.  Aducci puts the bat on the ball, and has a good eye at the plate, he only struck out 38 times while walking 27 times.  Jonathan Mota, Nate Samson, and Justin Bour all had a productive first half with the bat.

The Smokies pitching staff has really kicked it into high gear lately.  Eric Jokisch is leading the way as he finished the first half 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in five starts.  Kevin Rhoderick has been out of this world good out of the bullpen for the Smokies.  Rhoderick, who we featured here, finished the first half with a 1-2 record and a 1.35 ERA with seven saves.  Frank Batista, TyRelle Harris, Alberto Cabrera, and Marcus Hatley were all outstanding on the mound for the Smokies in the first half.  The numbers might not be eye-popping but Dallas Beeler and Trey McNutt, two excellent Cubs pitching prospects, had steady first half performances.  I expect both these guys to turn it up a notch in the second half.

2012 All-Stars!
OF – James Aducci (2-for-2, 2B, RBI)
DH – Justin Bour (1-for-3, BB)
RHP – Frank Batista (0.2 IP, scoreless)
RHP – Kevin Rhoderick ((1.0 IP, scoreless)

Not a bad showing from the Smokies all-stars at all.

Thanks for reading, go Smokies!
– George

6/19: Around the Cubs Minor League System

A look at the minor leagues on June 19.

FULL BOX SCORE

After getting their first win of the season Boise dropped the game on Tuesday 4-1.  Offensively the Hawks had eight hits, but could only plate one run.  Marco Hernandez, Wilson Contreras, and Dong-Yub Kim all had two hits.  Contreras drove in the only Hawks run on the day.  Gioskar Amaya and Brian Inoa also had hits on Tuesday.  Wellington Cruz got the start and was pretty good in his five innings of work.  He allowed one unearned run on only three hits and struck out six.  Felix Pena got the loss as he allowed three runs only one of which was earned in three innings.

****

FULL BOX SCORE 

Matt Loosen has been good this year, but he took the loss on Tuesday dropping his record to 5-2.  He pitched six innings allowing four runs, three earned on seven hits, while he striking out five.  Joseph Zeller, Jeffrey Lorick, and Scott Weismann all pitched well in relief as they combined to pitch three innings of perfect baseball while striking out five.  From an offensive standpoint Arismendy Alcantara went 3-for-4 with a double.  Taylor Davis went 2-for-3 with an RBI.  Rubi Silva drove in the other Cubs run on Tuesday as he also had a double.  Alcantara also stole his 20th bag of the season.

****

FULL BOX SCORE 

Iowa had 13 hits, but could only score three runs as they lost to Round Rock 6-3.  Alfredo Amezaga and Blake Lalli each had three hits and Lalli drove in a run.  Dave Sappelt and Ty Wright had two hits a piece and Wright drove a run in.  Josh Vitters hit his 10th home run of the season.  Rodrigo Lopez took the loss Tuesday giving up six runs in five innings of work.  Esmalin Caridad and Rafael Dolis each pitched well in relief.

Thanks for Reading,
Mark

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