April 2013

Clutch Hitting, Pitching, and Defense Lead Cubs to Third Straight Win

Cubs april 27 line

Full Box Score

As far as team wins go this one might be at the top of the list.  For really the first time all year the Cubs put everything together for a solid victory that included clutch hits, outstanding pitching, and a handful of tremendous defensive plays.  Yes, this is the 2013 Cubs we are talking about here, and it was a pleasure to watch.  The Cubs jumped in front early again in this one taking a 1-0 lead in the first and a 2-1 lead in the second, both times they allowed the Marlins to tie it up.  The game stayed tied at two into the seventh inning and that’s where the Cubs came up clutch.  The Marlins went to Mike Dunn, a lefty specialist to take care of Julio Borbon, Borbon drew a walk, then Dunn DeJesus 4-27was tasked with retiring DeJesus, he couldn’t do that either.  With Castillo at second DeJesus smacked a ground ball base hit back up the middle to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.  The Cubs pen did the job the rest of the way to secure their third straight win, with a whole bunch of help from Starlin Castro and his glove.

At The Plate – The Cubs finally found some clutch hitting in this one as they were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo was also right in the middle of the action going 2-for-4, and scored the game winning run.  Luis Valbuena has been in a good stretch as well, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory.  Loved the Cubs approach tonight as they walked four times and struck out only five times.

On The Mound – Travis Wood was outstanding once again in this one as he earned his second win of the season.  Wood went six innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking one and striking out five, he is now 2-1 on the season with a 2.25 ERA.  The bullpen then took over as they shut down the Marlins over the last three innings to preserve the win.  Kameron Loe worked a scoreless inning giving up a hit while walking one.  James Russell and Carlos Marmol teamed up to work a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering one hit and one walk.  Kevin Gregg once again pitched a flawless ninth inning for his third save of the season.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their fourth straight win and a series sweep of the Marlins tomorrow afternoon.  Carlos Villanueva will take the mound for the Cubs opposite Ricky Nolasco at 12:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-27 box

Game Highlights:

Luis Valbuena RBI single
Schierholtz with a spectacular catch
DeJesus’ game winning single
Castro’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George

April 27, 2013 – Cubs @ Marlins; Lineups!

The Cubs go for their third win in a row tonight, that’s called a winning streak, it has happened before, just not a lot recently.  Travis Wood gets the ball for the Cubs as he will oppose Alex Sanabia of the Marlins.  I feel like if the Cubs can take care of business tonight that they might be ready to go on a really nice run here.  Here are the lineups for tonight, 6:10 PM CST first pitch.

April 27 lineups

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 26, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-26 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Iowa fought back in this one scoring twice in the ninth inning to tie the game at four, only to lose it in the bottom of the tenth.    Ryan Sweeney continues to pound the ball as he went 2-for-5 with his fifth home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored, he’s hitting .404 this season.  Brian Bogusevic is just as hot as he went 3-for-4 in the loss, he’s hitting .394 on the season.  Brad Nelson extended the game in the ninth inning with a pinch hit two run homer, his fourth of the season to tie it at four.

On The MoundChris Rusin was really good just didn’t get any help from his offense is this one.  Rusin went six innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one.  Hisanori Takahashi couldn’t keep things tied during his outing, he went one inning giving up one run on one hit while striking out one.  Blake Parker was decent out of the pen going two innings giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out three.  Zach Putnam took the loss in this one, he worked a third of an inning giving up one run on three hits.

Smokies 4-26 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies just continue to roll on as they walked away with another win Friday Night.  Jae-Hoon Ha filled up the score book going 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and three runs scored.  Rubi Silva had a big night as well going 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Rafael Lopez knocked in the other run for the Smokies and that’s all they would need, Lopez finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

On The MoundAlberto Cabrera was outstanding for the Smokies going six innings giving up one run on three hits while walking three and striking out six to earn the win.  Kevin Rhoderick was touched up a little bit again, he went two-thirds of an inning giving up one run on two hits while walking one.  A.J. Morris also allowed Clearwater to get closer in his one inning of work, he gave up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Trey McNutt got the train back on the tracks in this one to earn his second save of the year.  McNutt went 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out one.

Daytona 4-26 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Daytona jumped all over the Flying Tigers early and often en route to a 7-3 victory Friday Night.  Javier Baez is rounding into form right now, he went 2-for-4 in this one with a double, two RBI’s and a run scored, he’s now hitting .253 on the year and .341 in his last ten games.  Dustin Geiger was also productive going 2-for-4 with three RBI’s, he’s an RBI machine, he now has twenty-one on the season.  Chad Noble was 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and a stolen base.

On The MoundBen Wells battled command issues but was able to work effectively enough to earn the win.  Wells went 5.2 innings giving up three runs, two earned, on one hit while walking five and striking out one.  Eduardo Figueroa found some trouble out of the pen going two-thirds of an inning giving up two hits while walking one and striking out one, and would have given up a couple runs if not for the work of Hunter Cervenka.  Cervenka bailed out Figueroa while working 2.2 scoreless innings to earn his second save of the season, he didn’t give up any hits while walking three and striking out four.

Kane County 4-26 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Kane County might not have another loss all year that stings as much as this one, and they really only have themselves to blame.  The cougars lead 5-1 in the ninth inning but gave up four in the ninth and lost in the tenth, they made five errors in the process.  Rock Shoulders continues to hit, he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, he’s hitting .403 on the season.  The bulk of the damage was done by the bottom of the Cougars order.  Eight hitter Oliver Zapata was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Nine hitter Yaniel Cabezas was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.

On The MoundPierce Johnson continues to dominate as of late, he went 5.2 innings giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking two and striking out seven.  Jeffry Antigua was great out of the pen going 2.1 scoreless innings giving up two hits while striking out three.  Then things went bad, Nathan Dorris was roughed up in one-third of an inning, he gave up four runs, two earned (sending a theme?), on three hits while walking one.  Eddie Orozco was officially charge with the blown save and the loss, he worked 1.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while walking two.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Win Second Straight Behind Rizzo’s Monster Shots

Cubs April 26 line

Full Box Score

If you are going to break out of a slump, do it in impressive fashion.  That’s exactly what Anthony Rizzo did tonight as he blasted two monster home runs, each two run shots and that’s all the Cubs would need.  Scott Feldman and company made those four runs hold up the rest of the way for the Cubs second win in as many games, the first time they have done that all year.  Scott Feldman worked out of a couple jams thanks to some slick defense, the Rizzo 4-26biggest play might have been Darwin Barney saving a throwing error and turning into a double play in the third inning.  Shawn Camp also faced some trouble in his inning of work but once again was able to wiggle off the hook.  Heading to the ninth with a two run lead Dale Sveum turned to Kevin Gregg and he delivered, pitching a spotless ninth for the save.

At The Plate – The Cubs scattered ten hits in this one while scoring four times.  The offense really only came from three guys in this one, Dave Sappelt, Anthony Rizzo, and Darwin Barney.  Rizzo had the huge game going 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, a stolen base and two runs scored.  Dave Sappelt getting the start for DeJesus filled in admirably going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  Barney was 3-for-3 with three singles in the victory.

On The Mound – Scott Feldman finally got that elusive first win tonight as he worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two.  With first and second and nobody out in the third Feldman almost threw it all away, literally.  Feldman grabbed a ball hit back to him and threw to second to start a big double play but the throw was high and if not for some defensive heroics from Darwin Barney this game might have ended differently.  Shawn Camp and James Russell each had scoreless appearances to get the game to the ninth.  Kevin Gregg took it from there as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save of the year.

Up Next – The Cubs go for their first three game winning streak of the year tomorrow night with Travis Wood taking the mound.  Wood will oppose Alex Sanabia at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-26 box

Game Highlights:

Anthony Rizzo’s first home run of the night
Rizzo goes deep into the upper deck
Barney’s game saving play

Thanks for reading,
– George

April 26, 2013 – Cubs @ Marlins; Lineups!

Sveum lefites

The Cubs go for two wins in a row, for the first time all season….yep.  Scott Feldman takes the ball for the Cubs, he opposed lefty Wade LeBlanc, lefty… you know what that means.  It’s the return on the lefty lineup that is hitting somewhere near .100 on the season with zero wins.  Here is how both teams will line up tonight for the 6:10 PM CST start.

April 26 lineups

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 25, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 4-25 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – A huge first inning from Iowa was all they needed as they scored six times en route to a 9-3 victory over Omaha.  Brent Lillibridge had an outstanding game going 4-for-5 with a walk, and two RBI’s.  Ryan Sweeney was also 4-for-5, he was a lot more productive though.  Sweeney had a walk, a home run, a triple, four RBI’s, and two runs scored in the win.  Darnell McDonald was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Edwin Maysonet was 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, and an RBI.

On The MoundBarret Loux got the start and struggled with command, and was wild in the strike zone but managed to pitch around trouble.  He was able to go 4.2 innings giving up three runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out three.  Esmailin Caridad did a fine job out of the bullpen and earned the win going 2.1 scoreless innings while walking two and striking out three.  Cory Wade and Rafael Dolis struggled but managed to each have a scoreless appearance.  Dolis worked 1.1 innings to earn his first save of the season while walking two and striking out two.

***

Smokies 4-25 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies are playing good baseball, and if not for a few blown saves recently could be on a real impressive winning streak.  It was the Ronald Torreyes show for the Smokies, he was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, a triple, and a run scored from the lead-off spot.  Only three other Smokies registered hits in this one, but it was enough.  Rafael Lopez and Jae-Hoon Ha recorded the RBI’s with Ha going 1-for-4, and Lopez going 1-for-3 with a double.

On The MoundDallas Beeler is dealing right now, and last night was no exception.  Beeler went seven scoreless innings giving up seven hits while walking one and striking out two.  Zach Rosscup found some trouble out of the pen but was able to hold the lead, he gave up one run on one hit while walking one in one inning of work.  Brian Schlitter worked a stress free ninth inning for his first save of the season, he has yet to give up an earned run this year.

***

Daytona 4-25 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Daytona jumped out early in this one and never looked back as they pounded out twelve hits and scored five runs to beat the Flying Tigers…Flying Tigers!  5-3.  Every player in the Daytona starting lineup had at least one hit.  Javier Baez is slowly but surely turning around his slow start, he was 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season with an RBI, and a run scored.  Timothy Saunders was 1-for-4 with a big triple, and two RBI’s in the win.  Chad Noble was 2-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  Anthony Giansanti stayed hot since his return going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

On The MoundZach Cates got the start and the win as he pitched a solid game.  Cates worked five scoreless innings giving up four hits while walking one and striking out four.  Yeiper Castillo did a solid job out of the pen tossing a scoreless inning.  Austin Reed continues to get beat up, he gave up three runs on three hits while walking three in one inning of work.  David Cales was outstanding to earn his first save of the year, he went two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out four.

***

Kane County 4-25 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - A late rally wasn’t enough for the Cougars as they fell to the Tin Caps 6-4 after trailing 6-1 in the third inning.  The Cougars approach was fantastic in this one, they just couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it.  They had eight hits, walked five times, and only struck out four times, unfortunately they came up just short.  Rock Shoulders continues to hit, he was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .406 on the season.  Marco Hernandez was also 1-for-3 with a walk in the loss.  Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .314 on the season.

On The MoundLendy Castillo ran into trouble in one inning and that was enough for him to suffer his first loss of the season.  Castillo worked six innings giving up six runs, five earned, on eight hits while walking none and striking out three.  Both Justin Amlung and Steve Perakslis worked scoreless innings out of the pen to keep the Cougars in this one.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Valbuena’s Blast Propels Cubs to Victory

Cubs Line 4-25

Full Box Score

How was that for exciting, for the second time in the last week Luis Valbuena belted a clutch home run to put the Cubs up late, this time they actually won the game.  Things weren’t looking so good early on as Edwin Jackson was struggling with his command and the Marlins jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning.  Usually that spells the end of the game for the Cubs given their offensive woes, but not tonight.  The Cubs scored once in the fourth on back to back doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo, and then tied it in the sixth on a home run by you guessed it, Schierholtz again.  Jackson settled in, and the Cubs pen did a great job to get the game Valbuena 4-25tied at three and then Valbuena delivered the game winning shot in the top of the ninth.  Carlos Marmol came on to get the save, and of course made it very interesting for everyone involved by putting the first two men on before escaping the jam, Cubs win!

At The Plate – The Cubs were only able to manage six hits in this one, but they made them count as they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  David DeJesus was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored from the lead-off spot.  Starlin Castro got the Cubs on the board early with an RBI single, he finished the day 1-for-4.  Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Luis Valbuena, the hero on this night went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.

On The Mound – It didn’t look like Edwin Jackson was going to make it through four innings in this one but he battled his way to a quality start.  Jackson went six innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out four.  The Cubs pen shined in this one as Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol all tossed scoreless innings in the victory.  Impressive job by Marmol after it looked like things were going to unravel, he walked the first guy, gave up a hit to the next guy then settled in as he struck out the Marlins best hitter Giancarlo Stanton with the tying run in scoring position to end this one.

Up Next – Game two of the series as Scott Feldman looks for his first win of the season against Wade LeBlanc at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-25 box

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s game winner
Great defensive play in the ninth
Marmol gets the save
Schierholtz ties it with a home run
Castro’s RBI single
Great catch by Barney
Castillo’s RBI double
Slick play by Barney and Castro

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

April 25, 2013 – Cubs @ Marlins; Lineups!

Edwin Jackson tries to get his first win as a member of the Cubs tonight against the light hitting Marlins.  I guess the same could be said for the Cubs, not exactly two offensive juggernauts here.  The Cubs will face Kevin Slowey who has been sharp in the early going, here is how each team will line up.

April 25 lineups

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Cubs @ Marlins; April 25 – April 28, 2013

Marlins Preview Header

Well, based on the records, this could be an ugly series as the Cubs come in at 6-14 with the Marlins sporting a 5-16 record, that’s a lot of losses.  As one could imagine, it hasn’t gone well of late for either team as the Cubs are 2-8 ion their last ten games, of course at least half of those losses could be wins, and the Marlins are 3-7 in their last ten.  The Marlins struggles are similar to the that of the Cubs, they can’t score runs.  The Marlins have the worst team batting average in all of baseball (.221), the Cubs aren’t much better at .229 (26th in MLB).  The Marlins are also dead last in runs scored with 54, eleven fewer than the Cubs on the season.  The Cubs also hold the edge in the pitching department as they sport a 3.44 team ERA which is 9th best in all of baseball, think about that for a second, the Cubs have the 9th best ERA yet sit eight games under .500 this year.  The Marlins team ERA is a full run worse than that of the Cubs, they sit 26th in the Majors at 4.50.  All signs point to a successful weekend in Miami for the Cubs, but they still have to go out there and perform.

Cubs Standings 4-24

Marlins Standings 4-24

Last Series:

The Cubs left Cincinnati wanting more, they lost two of three and could have easily won two of three.

The Marlins split a rain shortened series in Minnesota.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Thursday, April 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WCIU
  • Friday, April 25, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Saturday, April 26, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
  • Sunday, April 27, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.84)
– Career vs. Marlins (8 appearances, 7 GS) (1-6, 6.69)

Game Two – Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50)
– Career vs. Marlins (First appearance)

Game Three – Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08)
– Career vs. Marlins (2 GS) (0-2, 16.88)

Game Four – Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53)
– Career vs. Marlins (10 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 5.79)

Marlins:

Game One – Kevin Slowey (0-2, 1.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (1-0, 4.50)

Game Two – Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-0, 2.08)

Game Three – Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 3.18)

Game Three – Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 7 GS) (4-2, 2.85)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

The Cubs have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, even more troubling is their inability to get runners in from third base and less than two outs.  That is a situation where contact needs to be made and the run needs to score.  So far this season the Cubs have had twenty-three at bats with a runner at third with less than two outs, they only have two hits, that’s a .077 average.  They have only scored eleven times in those twenty-three chances, David DeJesus, Starlin Castrofor one, they need more chances, and two they need to capitalize starting yesterday.  Anthony Rizzo is having better at bats as of late unfortunately that is not yielding better results.  Over his last six games Rizzo is hitting .185 (5-for-27), he does have three home runs and five RBI’s during that stretch.  Darwin Barney has struggled mightily at the plate since returning from the DL, he is hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his last six games, but does have a game winning homer.  David DeJesus has been lighting it up of late, he is hitting .368 (7-for-19) over the last six games with a double, a triple, two home runs, three RBI’s, and four walks.  On the mound, Carlos Villanueva has been outstanding in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA only giving up seven hits in 15.1 innings.

The Marlins glaring issues are scoring runs, and then preventing them once the bullpen comes into the game, sounds familiar, eh?  I mentioned the Marlins offensive woes above, but their bullpen ERA is just as bad.  The Rob Brantly 4-24 previewMarlins sit 28th in the Majors in bullpen ERA with a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than the Cubs if you can believe that.  Get ready for a lot of names that you probably don’t know, starting now.  Not much has gone right at the plate for the Marlins, but Rob Brantly has been a bright spot lately.  Over the last five games Brantly is hitting .313 (5-for16) with three doubles, four RBI’s, and two walks.  Justin Ruggiano on the other hand has been awful in the last seven games hitting .207 (6-for-29), of those six hits two have left the park.  Ryan Webb has been one of the few bright spots out of the Marlins pen of late as he has tossed six innings over the last seven days giving up only one run.  Jon Rauch has been stupid bad in his last two appearances, giving up five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.

Bold Prediction:

These close games are bound to start going in the favor of the Cubs, and I think that starts now.  The way the Cubs staff has been throwing the ball I like their chances against a weak Marlins line up.  I also think the Cubs will start getting some timely hits and take three out of four this weekend….please??

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 24, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Smokies 4-24 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – Another tough loss for the Smokies as they gave up a 3-2 lead in the 6th, then gave up two in the top of the ninth with the game tied at three.  The Smokies were able to pull within one in the bottom of the ninth but that is as close as they would get.  Matt Szczur was 1-for-4 with a walk, his eighth stolen base of the season, and two runs scored.  Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk, his twelfth stolen base of the season, and a double.  Ty Wrightwas 2-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s in the loss.

On The MoundMatt Loosen struggled with command but was able to pitch around some trouble.  Loosen went 4.2 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three.  Marcus Hatley worked 1.1 innings out of the pen giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out two.  Tony Zych got the loss in this one, he went 2.1 innings giving up two runs on two hits while walking two.  Frank Batista was good again as he kept the damage to a minimum in the ninth as he worked two-thirds scoreless.

That’s it, only one game today, not weather related either.  How stupid is that?

Thanks for reading,
– George

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