September 2012

Cubs Finally Win Out West

It took all year, but the Cubs finally managed to register a victory on the road against a National League West opponent, yikes.  For five innings today it was much of the same for the Cubs as they trailed 2-1 and couldn’t get anything going offensively.  That changed in the sixth as the Cubs found some clutch hits, but received a whole lot of help from the D-backs as they committed three errors in the game.  The Cubs scored four times in the sixth to take a 5-2 lead and never looked back, taking this one 7-2 to win their final road game of the season.  Chris Rusin made his final start of 2012 and it was a solid one.  Rusin went five strong innings giving up two runs, only one earned, on three hits while walking two and striking out four to earn his second career victory.  The Cubs bullpen was lights out over the final four innings to preserve the victory.  Anthony Rizzo, who hasn’t that great of a road trip had a solid day at the plate going 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.  Starlin Castro joined the fun as well going 2-for-4 at the plate as he continues his strong finish to the season.  The Cubs return home to finally put the 2012 season out of its misery and need a sweep of the Astros to avoid the dreaded 100 loss mark.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
LaHair’s Two-Run Single
Rusin’s Solid Outing
DeJesus Goes Deep
Sappelt’s Great Hustle

Thanks for reading,
– George

Watkins and Struck Named Minor League Players of the Year

Congrats to both Logan Watkins and Nicholas Struck as they have been named Minor League Players of the Year for the Cubs organization.  Logan is the actual “player” of the year, and Struck is the pitcher of the year, both guys had great seasons, and did so rather quietly.  They should be known by now as they have some hardware backing their name now, he is more on their season via Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com.

Infielder Logan Watkins and right-handed pitcher Nick Struck were named the Cubs’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The two will be honored Monday at Wrigley Field. Watkins, 23, hit .281 with 93 runs scored, 20 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 52 RBIs in 133 games for Double-A Tennessee. He led the Southern League in runs scored, was second in triples and walks (76) and was fourth in on-base percentage (.383). Originally selected in the 21st round of the 2008 Draft, Watkins owns a .285 batting average in 475 career Minor League games.

Struck, 22, went 14-10 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) for Tennessee. He led the Southern League in victories, ranked third with 155 2/3 innings pitched and fourth in ERA. He led the club with 123 strikeouts, walked 44, and limited opposing hitters to a .238 batting average. From May 29 through the end of the season, Struck went 10-5 with a 2.29 ERA in 18 games (16 starts). All told, Struck allowed three or fewer earned runs in 20 of his 26 starts while he issued two or fewer walks in 21 starts. Chicago’s 39th round selection in the 2009 Draft, Struck is 32-27 with a 3.50 ERA in 84 career Minor League games, including 73 starts. He has struck out 330 batters while walking 134, and has surrendered 28 home runs in 431 2/3 innings pitched

I just completed Logan Watkins’ player card, just after he won the award, so I guess I will have to edit that.  Nicholas Struck should be up soon, congrats to both guys, great season!

Thanks for reading,
– George

Western Road Woes Continue For Cubs

After falling behind by two runs early the Cubs were able to tie things up at two in the fifth inning.  But, the Cubs couldn’t get a shutdown inning in the bottom half as the Diamondbacks pushed across three runs to take a 5-2 lead and they never looked back on their way to a 8-3 victory.  Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and didn’t have his best stuff as he could only last five innings giving up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two.  The Cubs wasted a really good opportunity as well as Ian Kennedy clearly had less than his best as he walked six guys and couldn’t make it through the sixth.  Dave Sappelt was the majority of the Cubs offense in this one as he finished the night 1-for-5 with his second home run of the season, he is now hitting .288 since his September call up.  Starlin Castro continued his strong finish to the season as well as he had three hits in the loss, including his 27th double of the season.    I guess the big news of the night was the error-less streak of Darwin Barney coming to an end.  Barney’s streak ends at 141 games which ties the Major League record (Placido Polanco), and falls one inning short of holding it by himself.  If that doesn’t sum up this season I don’t know what does, nice streak Darwin.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Full Video Recap
Barney Makes an Error
Nice Catch by Sappelt
Castro’s RBI Double
Sappelt’s Two-Run Homer

Thanks for reading,
– George

September 28 – 30; @ Diamondbacks – Series Preview

After getting swept by the Rockies, the Cubs will now travel to Arizona to finish up the road part of their schedule.  The Cubs went into the Colorado series looking to put themselves in a good position to lose less than 100 games, unfortunately after the sweep it is starting to look very bleak.  The Cubs will attempt to not only win their first road series against a western division team, but unbelievably their first road win against the division.  They are currently 0-16 and according to Stats Inc no team has ever gone winless against one division on the road in a single season.  It will be tough for the Cubs as we have seen there is basically no pitching left and the offense has been rather quiet, even after going to Colorado.  Hope we see the Cubs play hard these last six games and maybe, just maybe win the last two series of the season.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Record:  78-78 (Home 38-37); 3rd in West
Runs Scored:  705 (5th NL)
Team ERA:  3.98 (10th NL)
Last 10:  6-4
Last Series:  Lost two of three to the Giants

Chicago Cubs
Record:  59-97 (Road 22-56); 5th in Central
Runs Scored:  596 (14th NL)
Team ERA:  4.92 (14th NL)
Last 10:  1-9
Last Series:  Swept by the Rockies

Broadcast Information
Friday, September 28 – 8:40 PM CST – CSN
Saturday, September 29 – 7:10 PM CST – WGN
Sunday, September 30 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN

Pitching Matchups for the weekend.

Friday, September 28
Cubs:  Travis Wood (6-12, 4.23 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Ian Kennedy (14-11, 4.14 ERA)

Saturday, September 29
Cubs:  Justin Germano (2-9, 5.65 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Trevor Cahill (12-12, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday, September 30
Cubs:  Chris Rusin (1-3, 7.30 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Josh Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA)

Prediction:  Cubs lose series 2-1

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

Cubs Swept as Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short

The Cubs seem to spring to life in the ninth inning today, unfortunately poor at bats from Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters brought a would be rally to a grinding halt.  Trailing 7-3 heading into the ninth inning the Cubs strung together four straight hits which resulted in two quick runs but that’s as far as it would get.  With runners at second and third, trailing by two with nobody out, Castro and Vitters both struck out and looked bad in doing so, and the Cubs inched closer to the 100 loss mark.  Chris Volstad was Chris Volstad bad today as he could only last for three innings giving up seven runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out none, with the loss he falls to 3-11 on the season.  The Cubs were actually uncharacteristically clutch, I mean not counting the ninth inning.  The Cubs pounded out 13 hits, and were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but still managed to leave 11 guys on base.  Anthony Rizzo snapped out of a mini funk by going 3-for-3 with his 15th home run of the season, two RBI’s, two walks, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano added to his career high RBI total in this one as well, registering an RBI double in the ninth inning to give him 106 for the season.  The Cubs now head to Arizona where they will meet the Diamondbacks and possibly 100 losses.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Full Video Recap
Soriano’s RBI Double
Rizzo’s RBI Single
LaHair’s RBI Single
Rizzo Goes Deep
Jackson’s RBI Single

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Pull Off Nearly The Impossible In Loss

That’s right, the Cubs not only lost last night in Colorado, but they were shut out in the process, that’s not easy to do.  The Cubs, like their fans seem ready for the season to end given their effort the last couple of nights.  Last night was a sleepwalk effort if I have ever seen one as they could only muster five hits in the loss.  I can’t really blame them as these games really don’t matter, but I still would like to see a better effort and of course a better result.

Jason Berken got the start for the Cubs, and struggled through his Coors Field debut, as many pitchers usually do.  Berken only lasted four innings giving up six runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out two, the loss dropped Berken to 0-2 with the Cubs.  As I mentioned the Cubs offense left a lot to be desired but they did have their chances as they earned five walks on the night.  Unfortunately the Cubs couldn’t get a hit when they needed it as they were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight guys on base in the loss.  Dave Sappelt got a chance to lead off again, and for the second straight night was productive as he went 2-for-4 with a double.  Sappelt is making a very strong case to be a fourth outfielder on the Cubs 2013 roster with his September performance.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Soriano Makes a Nice Play
Vitters’ Great Play

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Squander Early Lead

Dave Sappelt and the Cubs offense got going early, but the pitching staff could not hold the lead and the Cubs dropped game one to the Rockies 10-5 in a rain-shortened game.  Dave Sappelt led the game off with a towering home run to left and before the inning was over the Cubs would add two more runs, including an RBI double from Welington Castillo.  After Chris Rusin shut down the Rockies in the first, things did not go so well the rest of the way for him or the Cubs bullpen as Colorado would score in each of the next five innings.  Chris Rusin took the loss lasting only 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits.  Rafael Dolis continued to struggle, giving up three runs in just one 1.1 innings of relief and Manuel Corpas allowed one run in his inning of work.  Starlin Castro connected on his 14th home run of the season and Darwin Barney added an RBI in the loss.  After dealing with the rain for most of the game it was eventually called after a 48-minute rain delay following the top of the seventh.  Despite the cold and the rain the ball was really jumping out of Coors Field on Tuesday and the Cubs hope to take advantage of that on Wednesday and keep the Rockies at bay in doing so.

FULL BOX SCORE

  Game Highlights:
Dave Sappelt’s first career Home Run
Castillo RBI double
Castro Home Run
Barney RBI single

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

September 26, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Rockies

The Cubs look to play a full nine innings tonight, and even up the Series against the Rockies.  Jason Berken will get the ball for the Cubs tonight as he continues to vie for a spot on the 2013 roster.  Here’s how the Cubs will line up.

1. Sappelt – RF
2. Barney – 2B
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Castro – SS
6. Castillo – C
7. Vitters – 3B
8. Mather – CF
9. Berken – P

Go Cubs!
– George

September 25, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs. Rockies

Chris Rusin gets the ball tonight against the Rockies.  Here is what the rest of the Cubs lineup looks like against Jorge De La Rosa.  The game is set to start at 7:40 on WGN.

Sapplet – RF
Barney – 2B
Rizzo – 1B
Soriano – LF
Castro – SS
Castillo – C
Vitters – 3B
Mather – CF
Rusin – P

Go Cubs!!
-Mark

September 25 – 27, 2012; @ Rockies – Series Preview

It’s a battle for second worst!  Okay, that doesn’t sound so great but this series will go a long way in determining who gets the number two pick in the draft next year behind the Astros.  Coming into this series the teams are deadlocked at 59-94, and the winner of this series has a great shot at losing out on the second pick.  I for one would prefer to play as hard as you can and if you lose, you lose, no tanking it here.  The Cubs, to their credit, have done just that as many players and front office staff have made it quite clear that they do not want to lose 100 games.  It’s nice to have goals, but as a team you really never want to say that your goal is to stay under 100 losses, but it is what it is right now.  The Cubs tend to struggle in Colorado regardless of the record of the Rockies, and this series might be more of the same as the Cubs don’t exactly have a lights out staff, but you never know.  Of course the Rockies can score runs in this park, the Cubs will have to keep up if they want to win this series, I’m expecting a lot of offense over these three games.

Here are the pitching matchups for this week.

Tuesday September 25, 2012
Cubs:  Chris Rusin (1-2, 6.00 ERA)
Colorado:  Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 12.27 ERA)

Wednesday September 26, 2012
Cubs:  Jason Berken (0-1, 1.80 ERA)
Colorado:  Drew Pomeranz (1-9, 5.30 ERA)

Thursday September 27, 2012
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.22 ERA)
Colorado: Jhoulys Chacin (2-5, 4.73 ERA)

Season Series:  Cubs lead 2-1

Prediction:  Rockies win series, 2-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

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