June 2012

Cubs Knock Sox Into Second Place, Close in on Sweep

I said it yesterday and will say it again today, nothing is better than beating the Sox, especially when you knock them out of first place in doing so.  Not to mention how much fun it is to watch Jake Peavy throw tantrums on the mound and AJ Pierzynski act like a five-year old in the box on their way to a gracious defeat.  This one was much different from last nights game as pitching took center stage.  Both Travis Wood and Jake Peavy were superb with Peavy pitching a complete game but getting a loss for his efforts.  Wood was outstanding for the Cubs going six strong innings giving up one run on four hits while waking four and striking out five.  Wood earned his first victory of the 2012 season, and his first victory as a member of the Chicago Cubs, he lowered his ERA to a very respectable 4.14.  David DeJesus was the hero for the Cubs as he laced a two run single in the third inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead which is how this one ended.  DeJesus was 2-for-4 on the night with a triple, and two RBI’s, nice to see DeJesus have a good night after struggling recently.  Tony Campana also had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-3, Campana is a real weapon when he hits ninth, gives the Cubs two lead-off hitters.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Cubs bullpen tonight, they did an outstanding job closing this game out after Wood departed after the sixth.  Rubber arm Sean Camp, James Russell and Carlos Marmol shut the door on the Sox, yes Carlos Marmol.  Marmol is now 2-for-2 in save opportunities since regaining “control” of the closer role.  The Cubs go for the sweep and a little revenge tomorrow night.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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June 19, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox

The Cubs go for two in a row over the White Sox behind Travis Wood tonight.  he weather is much like it was yesterday, which could spell trouble for Wood.  He has to limit the walks tonight because the ball will be jumping once again.  Here is how the Cubs will line up, LaHair in right again as Rizzo prep continues.

DeJesus CF
Castro SS
LaHair RF
Soriano DH
Clevenger 1B
Barney 2B
Valbuena 3B
Soto C
Campana LF

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

6/18: Around the Cubs Minor League System

A look at the minor leagues on Monday.

FULL BOX SCORE 

 Boise got their first win of the season on Monday winning 6-4 in 11 innings.  Rafael Diplin got the win as he pitched 3.1 innings scoreless innings in relief.  Bryce Shafer closed out the game striking one batter in perfect inning of work.  The offense was powered by the bottom of the order as Jeimer Candelario went 2-for-5 and catcher Justin Marra went 3-for-5.  Dong-Yub Kim launched his first home run of the year as well.  The Hawks got a bunch of help from the Volcanos defense as Boise got both there runs on errors in the 11th inning.  Rock Shoulders scored the winning run after he walked for the third time.

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FULL BOX SCORE 

Daytona was back in action on Monday losing 6-3.  Robert Whitenack to the loss pitching three innings and giving up four runs.  Eduardo Figuerora, Ryan Searle, and AJ Morris all threw well out of the bullpen.  From an offense standpoint Greg Rohan had a hit and two RBI’s bringing his season total to 57.  Ronald Torreyes had one hit, scored two runs, and drove one in.  John Andreoli and Taylor Davis each had two hits on the day.  This was not the way the Cubs wanted to start the second half, but they will be back at it tomorrow.

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 Tennessee and Peoria are at there All Star break while Iowa had the day off.

Thanks for Reading,
Mark

 

Cubs Play Long Ball, Destroy White Sox

Regardless of where the teams are in the standings it is always fun to beat the White Sox, especially the way the Cubs did tonight.  For the first time in what seems like forever the Cubs were on the right side of a blow out as the Cubs pounded out five home runs en route to a 12-3 victory.  The Cubs jumped on Zach Stewart early as they got two runs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead.  It didn’t stop there, for once, as the Cubs scored three more in the fifth to make it 5-o.  As it always is with this team you never when you can relax, as illustrated by the Sox mini rally.  The Sox got one back in the bottom of the 5th to make it 5-1 and plated two more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-3.  That’s as close as the Sox would get as the Cubs would have a huge seventh inning as they scored six times on five hits including a three run shot from Luis Valbuena to make it 12-3 and that’s how it would end.

Matt Garza didn’t need too much help as he pitched very well on a tough night to do so.  It was a very hot and windy night which made the Cell play smaller than it actually is, but Garza limited the damage.  Garza went six strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six.  Every Cubs player had at least one hit in the blow out win.  Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena each had three hits on the night, with Castro belting a two run homer and Valbuena hitting a three run shot for good measure.  Bryan LaHair, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto all had two hits, and all three guys hit home runs as well.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Cubs Roster Move Madness; Dempster, Soto, Szczur

Most of the day has been quiet, but within the last hour thing went a little nuts.

*** Geovany Soto has been activated from the DL, and is in the starting lineup tonight.

***  Matt Szczur has been activated from the DL by the Daytona Cubs, this is great news, expect him to be back in the lineup this week, possibly tonight.

***  Ryan Dempster has been placed on the DL, this will not affect his trade value so we are told.  Lat tightness is why Dempster is hitting the DL. Randy Wells is expected to take Dempster’s start against the Sox.

***  Scott Maine has been re-called from Iowa

I think that’s enough for now.

Thanks for reading,
– George

June 18, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox

Matt Garza has been awful on the road and great at home, so I expect something in between tonight as the game is on the road but Garza is still pitching in Chicago.  Here is how the Cubs will attack Zach Stewart and the White Sox.  A very different lineup for sure, DeJesus in CF, LaHair in RF, Campana in LF, Clevenger at 1B, and Geovany Soto is back in the lineup.

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

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

June 18 – 20; @ White Sox – Series Preview

 Chicago White Sox Logo - Blue baseball player icon above Sox in blue and script in red

It’s still odd to me that the Cubs and White Sox face off on a Monday, usually it’s a series reserved for a weekend in June, but not this year.  The Cubs are looking avenge a sweep by the White Sox earlier this year at Wrigley which marked the beginning of the end of the 2012 season for the Cubs.  The Cubs have been playing decent baseball of that but it’s not resulting in wins, and ultimately that’s what matters the most.  Just ask the White Sox, who are getting their fair share of wins lately as they sit atop the AL Central.  No one expected the White Sox to be where they are right now, but thanks to the Tigers struggling out of the gate that’s where they sit.  The Sox sit near the middle of the pack in runs scored and ERA in the American League, they are 6th in runs scored, and 8th in ERA.  The Cubs have not had any success at US Cellular Field, losing nine of their last twelve games there.  Full preview and breakdown after the jump.

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Daytona Cubs First Half Recap

 

The Daytona Cubs resume play tonight after four days off for the all-star break.  The D-Cubs had an up and down first half, let’s take a look at what transpired over the first two and half months of the season.

Final Standings:

First Half Stats:

The D-Cubs swung the bats very well during the first half of the season.  Leading the way was 24 year-old right fielder Nelson Perez.  Perez played 60 games in the first half, he hit .298 with 11 home runs, and 42 RBI’s, and he finished with an impressive .927 OPS.  Perez wasn’t the only one hitting for the D-Cubs as four different guys had a .288 average or higher.  Greg Rohan was one of those guys as he hit .295 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI’s, finishing the first half with .883 OPS.  Arismendy Alcantara, John Andreoli, and Rubi Silva all had above average first half performances. 

A bright spot for the D-Cubs and the Chicago Cubs was the performance of Matthew Szczur.  Szczur started the season in an awful slump, but over the last month or so he has really turned it on.  He finished the first half hitting .267 with 1 home run, and 13 RBI’s out of the lead-off spot for Daytona.  Szczur only struck out 32 times while drawing 24 walks, he added 19 stolen bases for good measure.  Szczur is currently on the DL with a knee issue, hopefully that isn’t serious and he will be back out there soon. 

Austin Kirk led the Daytona pitching attack, in doing so he earned himself a spot on the All-Star team, and was named the starting pitcher for the FSL North team.  Kirk was outstanding during the first half, he finished 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts).  Eric Jokisch was another bright spot on the mound for Daytona.  Jokisch finished the fist half 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA while averaging almost one strikeout per inning.

2012 All-Stars!
LHP – Austin Kirk (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO)
INF – Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-1)
OF – Nelson Perez (1-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB)
OF – Matt Szczur (DNP – Injured)
DH – Greg Rohan (0-for-4)

Thanks for reading, go D-Cubs!
– George

Peoria Chiefs First Half Recap

Peoria Chiefs Logo -

The Peoria Chiefs first half came to an end on Sunday with Chiefs falling short of a playoff spot by four games.  First here’s a rundown of how the Midwest League playoffs work…

First Half Qualifiers (4)

  • 1. Team finishing in first place in the Western Division (“Western First Half Champion”)
  • 2. Team finishing in first place in the Eastern Division (“Eastern First Half Champion”)
  • 3. Team finishing in second place in the Western Division (“Western First Half Wild Card”)
  • 4. Team finishing in second place in the Eastern Division (“Eastern First Half Wild Card”)

Each half determines playoff teams, so the Chiefs just missed being the wild card team for the first half.  The fact that the Chiefs finished so close to a playoff spot is amazing given their start to the season.  The Chiefs went 11-3 in June to close the gap on second place Beloit but they came up just short, here’s a recap of the first half.

Final Standings:

First Half Stats:

 

 The addition of 2011 first round draft pick Javier Baez was a big reason for the Chiefs resurgence.  Baez appeared in 18 games and hit .317 with 4 HR’s, and 11 RBI’s, he also had 7 stolen bases in 7 attempts.  Midwest League pitchers had a hard time keeping Baez off base as he finished the first half with a .419 OBP, and a .975 OPS.  Dustin Geiger, and Anthony Giansanti were also late additions to the Chiefs team that had big impacts.

There were a number of standouts on the mound for the Peoria Chiefs as the entire pitching staff seemed to find a groove down the stretch.  PJ Franceson who has since been promoted to double A was outstanding early on the help the Chiefs stay afloat amid a rough start.  Franceson was 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA in nine starts before his promotion.  Another pitcher who paced the Chiefs wasn’t even a pitcher for his entire career.  Kyler Burke was an outfielder before making the change to become a pitcher, so far that decision seems to be the right one.  Burke finished the first half 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 15 appearances (10 starts).  Jeffrey Lorick, Hunter Cervenka, Sheldon McDonald, Luis Lira, and Michael Jensen all had great first half performances on the mound.

I’m expecting a big second half for the Peoria Chiefs.  Continued progression from Baez, Geiger, Giansanti and an already talented pitching staff should only mean good things for Peoria.  Not to mention the possible influx in talent from any 2012 draft picks that might be making the jump towards the end of the season.  Add this all up and the future of the Peoria Chiefs and Chicago Cubs for that matter is very bright.

2012 All-Stars!
1B – Paul Hoilman
INF – Zeke DeVoss
LHP – Kyler Burke

Thanks for reading, go Chiefs!
– George

Cubs Falter Late, Again

 

It’s been a common theme throughout the 2012 season, a competitive game ends with the Cubs losing control in the late innings on their way to a hard-fought loss.  That’s exactly what happened Sunday Night as the Cubs and Red Sox went back and forth for six innings with the Cubs coming back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to tie the game at three in the sixth.  The Cubs pen entered in the seventh and with that out went any hope of winning the game and the series from the Red Sox.  The Sox pushed three runs across in the 7th and one more for good measure in the 8th to make it 7-3.  The Cubs tried to make things exciting in the ninth inning by loading the bases with no outs, but could only manage a run to make the final 7-4.

Paul Maholm couldn’t keep the ball down for the first few innings and he paid for it by surrendering two runs in the first.  Maholm battled though, making it through six innings only allowing three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out six.  Maholm walked away with a no decision for his efforts.  The Cubs had their chances but swung and missed too often and they couldn’t get a clutch hit.  Ten strikeouts, and 2-for-12 with guys in scoring position were big reasons for the loss.  Starlin Castro had a good night at the plate going 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI’s, but had a rough one with the glove making his 12th error of the season.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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