September 2012

September 14 – 17, 2012; vs. Pirates – Series Preview

The Pirates comes to town looking very much like the 2011 version of the club that collapsed down the stretch and finished with a below five hundred record yet again, and nothing like the surging contender earlier in the year.   The Pirates sit just two games over five hundred now and are losers of six straight games, three of those against the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week.  The Cubs on the other hand are playing solid baseball, winning five out of their last six games, all on the road which is really saying something given how bad they have been away from Wrigley this year.  Solid starting pitching and the long ball have paced the Cubs in September as they have ten home runs, 5th most in the National League this month.  No one has contributed more to that total than Alfonso Soriano as he has five home runs in just 12 games this month.  After being pulled in the third inning two nights ago, and missing yesterday’s game it sounds like Anthony Rizzo will be back in the Cubs lineup tomorrow, that collision could have been much worse.

Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.

Friday September  14, 2012
Pittsburgh: James McDonald (12-7, 3.93 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Rusin (0-2, 5.73 ERA)

Saturday September 15, 2012
Pittsburgh: Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.11 ERA)
Cubs: Jason Berken (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Sunday September 16, 2012
Pittsburgh: Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.72 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 5.99 ERA)

Monday September 17, 2012
Pittsburgh: Kevin Correia (10-9, 4.29 ERA)
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-11, 4.23 ERA)

Season Series:  Series Tied 6-6

Prediction:  Cubs win series 3-1

Thanks for reading,
– George

Soriano Powers Cubs to Series Win

There is no slowing down for Alfonso Soriano, sure he would like to see his average a little higher but the aging slugger is putting up some eye-popping numbers this year.  With his huge performance last night, which led the Cubs to a 5-1 victory, he is now hitting .260 on the year with 29 home runs and 96 RBI’s, he’s actually within striking distance on the National League lead in RBI’s (102 – Headley).  Travis Wood also turned in an outstanding performance to register his 6th win of the season against eleven losses.  Wood tossed 7.2 strong innings giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out six.  Soriano wasn’t the only Cub with a great day at the plate, Dave Sappelt continued his hot play of late.  Sappelt was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored, he is now hitting .350 in limited duty since his call up.  Last night was the 20th straight day with a game for the Cubs, they have today off before welcoming the Pirates to town this weekend.  It was also the last time the Cubs will visit Houston while they are in the National League as they move over to the American League next year.  Hitters are probably not too thrilled with the move, but I’m sure some of the pitchers are just fine with it.

FULL BOX SCORE

Scary Moment for Storey

 

Game Highlights:
Soriano’s 29th Home Run
Wood’s Great Outing
Recker’s RBI Double
Soriano Doubles
Castillo’s RBI Single

Thanks for reading,
-George

September 12, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs Astros

Let’s hope this one comes in under four hours tonight, that’s all I ask.  The last two nights have been terrible, I guess the Astros figure the longer the game goes the better chance they have to win.  Travis Wood takes the ball tonight and will be backed by a very different lineup as Anthony Rizzo is out of the lineup after last nights collision.  From all accounts he is okay, just sore and in need of a day off.

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

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

2013 Chicago Cubs Schedule

Not too early to start thinking about next year!  The 2013 Cubs schedule was released today, and it is very different from what you are used to seeing.  I’ve created the graphics below to follow it a little better than scrolling through mlb.com’s calendar, hope it helps.

 

Hope you enjoy having the schedule all in one place so you don’t have to click through Months.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

Mental and Physical Errors Cost Cubs

The Cubs quest for a five game winning streak fell short last night thanks in large part to the Cubs not being able to get out of their own way.  Justin Germano got the ball for the Cubs and turned in one of his best outings of the year.  Germano lasted five innings giving up one run, unearned, on three hits while walking two and striking out eight.  Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough for a victory, not even a no decision as the Cubs couldn’t push a run across all night.  It’s not like the Cubs didn’t have their chances as they were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base in the loss.  They had a wonderful opportunity to tie the game in the 6th inning with runners on second and third with only one out.  Darwin Barney hit was seemed to be a sacrifice fly to center, inexplicably Dave Sappelt tried to tag up from second and make it to third.  In true Cubs fashion Sappelt was thrown out at third before Castro could cross the plate meaning the run doesn’t count.  There was no reason for Sappelt to tag, I like being aggressive but there was no reason for it, he was already in scoring position and the important run was Castro.  As I mentioned the Cubs had their chances but they weren’t really generating any offense, they only had six hits.  The Astros did all they could to give this one to the Cubs by committing four errors and walking two.  This loss could have been even more costly as Anthony Rizzo had to leave the game in the third inning after a violent collision at first base with Brett Wallace.  All reports after the game seemed to indicate that Rizzo was going to be fine and was just sore, let’s hope so.

FULL BOX SCORE 

Five First Responders Throw Out First Pitch

Rizzo’s Scary Collision

Game Highlights:
Cubs Cost Themselves a Run
Germano’s Solid Outing

Thanks for reading,
– George

Anthony Rizzo Hurt in Scary Collision (VIDEO)

Yikes, looks like it could be a leg injury, and a head injury.  By the way he was walking off the field with assistance I’m guessing he got his bell rung pretty bad, also had a welt on his head.  Let’s hope he’s alright and this doesn’t turn into a concussion issue.

Here is the video

[UPDATE] Len Kasper and various Cubs beat writers are reporting that Rizzo is very sore but otherwise okay, expect him to be out the next couple days, but so far that is great news.

Thanks for reading, crap.
– George

September 11, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs Astros

The Cubs look for their fifth straight victory tonight in Houston as they continue their late season surge to distance themselves from the number one pick.  I’m just kidding, the Cubs are playing better as of late and it’s always nice to see winning baseball.  The result however is they will not get the number one pick, that belongs to Houston, they deserve it, yikes.  Justin Germano takes the ball tonight, here is how the Cubs will line up behind him.

1. DeJesus – CF
2. Valbuena – 3B
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Castro – SS
6. Clevenger – C
7. LaHair – RF
8. Cardenas – 2B
9. Germano – P

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

9/11/01 – I’ll Never Forget

A lot of people have been sharing their stories from that fateful day in September, eleven years ago.  I think it hit me more than usual this year because of the similarities between the two days.  9/11/01 was a Tuesday, an unseasonably warm Tuesday, it was a gorgeous day, much like today 9/11/12.  It’s hard to forget the memories that are etched into my brain from that day.  I was in College, it was the beginning of my second year at Harper College in Palatine, IL.  I remember what I was wearing, a quiksilver sweatshirt, I thought to myself that it was going to be way too warm to wear a sweatshirt but I did anyway as it was a quick day at school and I could change when I got home.  I was also overly concerned about the Cubs game later that day.  The 2001 version of the Chicago Cubs was a contending one, and leading up to the game on 9/11/01 the Cubs had lost six of seven and were in the midst of blowing a wild card lead.  I was anxious, nervous, and very worried, that was before a plane hit a building in New York.

I was sitting with my future wife eating a bagel after our first class of the day, she was studying and I was pretending to.  There weren’t smartphones then, so it’s not like I could pass the time by looking at twitter, or game previews.  So I stared blankly at a book, looked around the common area and was hoping that Jon Lieber could bounce back from a rare horrendous outing and get the Cubs back on track.  Lieber won 20 games in 2001, an outstanding season from a very underrated pitcher.  As we sat there I noticed a commotion around a TV that was hanging outside the bookstore, I figured it was just something random on that people were watching, maybe some local breaking news about some random event.  When I walked over to take a look there it was, 1 WTC, or the North Tower of the World Trade Center with a gaping hole on its north face.  The enormity of the situation didn’t hit me at that second, I was able to glance at it and then we had to get to Chemistry.  We sat outside the classroom wondering if we should just go home as we knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know to what extent.  So we went to our Chemistry class, we felt we had to go because it was a class we struggled with and missing it would do us no good, we still dropped it later in the semester.  The class was basically a repeat of two days before as we could tell not even the professor was sure that we should all still be there at that point.

Upon exiting the class the situation in New York, and all over the Country had escalated to the point of the College closing effective immediately and everyone had to be evacuated from the building.  It was mid morning on a Tuesday, a large number of people were on campus.  To give you some background, Harper College is a community college, almost 100% of the people who are there drive there.  So all at once, a very busy campus was told to leave.  Needless to say that didn’t work, we sat in the parking lot for about thirty minutes without moving when we decided to park and figure out our next step.  We were going to have to walk off campus and get a ride because there was no way out of there, at least for another hour or two.  As the temperature escalated into the 80’s I realized that I really was stupid to wear that sweatshirt that day, go figure.  We made our way to Jewel so that we could use a bathroom, yes they would not let us use the college bathrooms before leaving, get out now.  As I sat in the Jewel waiting for a ride the thought hit me, are the Cubs going to play today?  In a time when there is panic over the entire Country I was thinking about how this would affect the Cubs season.  I’m not sure why I was, probably because that was my normal, that was my life up until that point.  The next week was anything but normal for everyone in this Country, feelings ranging from shock, and horror, to anger and sadness.  The 2001 major league season didn’t resume until eight days later(for the Cubs) on 9/18/11 with the Cubs losing in Cincinnati to further confirm that they would not be making a trip to the postseason, but at least I felt normal again because baseball was back.

I hope you enjoyed reading my account of that day, or at least part of it.  Please feel free to share your memories of that day.  I also want to say thanks to all the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom since that day, and I hope that the many families that were affected that day have been able to move on, and have a somewhat normal life of their own.  Here is a nice article from MLB.com about baseball coming back after 9/11.

I found some great video detailing the return to baseball, enjoy.

Never forget,
– George

Sappelt, Volstad Lead Cubs to Fourth Straight Victory

It’s up to you, the reader, to decide whether or not you want to believe my headline, but I assure you that it is valid, and not a joke.  This one was a struggle to get through, not only were two of the worst teams in baseball playing, but they did so for just under four hours.  It’s hard to play a four hour game and only have five total runs scored, but the Cubs and Astros “accomplished” that feat last night.  All’s well that ends well I guess as the Cubs wraped up what felt like the longest game of the year with a 4-1 victory.  Chris Volstad was solid yet again for the Cubs as he tossed five strong innings giving up one run on four hits while walking five and striking out four.  Volstad struggled with his command, see the five walks he surrendered, but he battled and made it through the fifth to not only qualify for, but register his third win of the season.  The Cubs had an unlikely hero at the plate, I only say unlikely because Dave Sappelt doesn’t get a lot of playing time and hasn’t been up with the big club for very long this season.  Cubs fans might want to get used to him because he most likely will have a role on the 2013 team, performances like last nights will go a long way in securing a spot on the roster next year for Sappelt.  Sappy was 2-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI’s and a run scored in the victory, the three RBI’s are a career high.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Full Video Recap
Marmol Gets the Save
Sappelt’s Big Day
Volstad’s Outing

Thanks for reading,
– George

September 12, 2012 – Cubs Lineup vs Astros

The Cubs look to extend their winning streak to four tonight in Houston behind Chris Volstad.  Volstad has been much better as of late, winning two of his last three starts, here is how the Cubs will lineup behind him, DeJesus not in the lineup.

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

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

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