April 2013

Cubs Baffled by Latos in Loss

Cubs 4-24 line

Full Box Score

If you like a good old fashion pitchers duel, then this one was for you.  Jeff Samardzija and Mat Latos went toe-to-toe in this one, and it almost didn’t even happen.  Both pitchers received visits from the trainer in the first inning, Latos after being hit with a hard ground ball off the bat of Julio Borbon, and Samardzija ripped up the nail of his index finger on his pitching hand while trying to knock down a ground ball.  Both pitchers stayed in the game, Samardzija Shark 4-24with blood dripping from his hand and both were outstanding.  Todd Frazier was the only player to make an impact on offense for either team as he connected on an estimated 480 foot home run in the sixth inning, and that was enough for Latos and the Reds.  The Cubs threatened in the eighth but once again couldn’t make contact to score a run.  Alfonso Soriano pinch hit in the eighth and struck out with runners at second and third with only one out.  Then DeJesus was robbed by Zack Cozart on a ground ball back up the middle, if it gets through the Cubs lead 2-1, it didn’t, Cubs lose.

At The Plate – As I mentioned, the Cubs really didn’t get much going off of Latos, Broxton, and Chapman in this one.  Julio Borbon had a solid day as he made good contact a few times, he went 1-for-3 with a double.  Both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were 1-for-4 in the loss, Castro was also caught stealing.  Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom were the only other Cubs that registered his in the loss.

On The Mound - Jeff Samardzija was solid again, this time while battling an injury, and still ended up with a loss, his fourth of the season despite an ERA of 3.03, sounds like much of the Cubs staff.  Samardzija went six innings giving up one run on seven hits while walking three and striking out eight.  Shawn Camp and James Russell gave the Cubs a shot late as they each tossed a scoreless inning out of the pen.

Up Next - The Cubs travel to Miami to take on the Marlins in a four game weekend set.  Edwin Jackson will start things off against Kevin Slowey at 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-24 box

Game Highlights:

Samardzija’s gutsy outing
Samardzija get’s nicked up
Navarro guns down Votto
DeJesus with a diving grab

Thanks for reading,
- George

April 24, 2013 – Cubs @ Reds; Lineups – Game Delayed (UPDATE)

Solid match up today as Jeff Samardzija takes on Mat Latos in the rubber game of the series.  It’s raining in Cincinnati at the moment and the game will not start as scheduled (11:35 AM), instead everyone involved will meet to see if they should postpone the game or just wait it out around 11:15 AM.  Here are the lineups for today should we get underway.  (UPDATE)  Game scheduled to start at 1 PM CST now, could change, but that’s the plan.

April 24 lineups

Thanks for reading,
- George

Cubs Find a Way to Win Despite Another Blown Save

Cubs April 23 line

Full Box Score

Same thing every night it seems as once again the Cubs blew a ninth inning lead, this time it was Carlos Marmol giving up a game tying single to Joey Votto.  Marmol then loaded the bases and narrowly escaped the jam, lucky he did as the Cubs responded right away in the tenth.  An unlikely power source did the trick, Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep to start the tenth, how unlikely you ask?  I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, that was Barney’s first home run away from Wrigley Field, in his career.  The Cubs were able to tack on another insurance run for good measure and Kevin Gregg nailed down the save, with the tying run on base of course.  Lost in this was the Castillo 4-23 winperformance by Carlos Villanueva, he was sensational, but had to settle for a no decision and Carlos Marmol got the win…. yeah, the win stat in baseball doesn’t always tell the truth, sometimes it’s just a dirty liar, okay, Cubs win!

At The Plate – I know it’s easy to pin the blame on the bullpen with all of these close losses, but one of the other fingers has to be pointed at the offense as well, tonight was a perfect example.  The Cubs jumped on the board early in this one, plating two runs in the second, that was it until the tenth, more times than not, that won’t be good enough.  Hello Cody Ransom!  Ransom made his Cubs debut tonight as was terrific, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano has located the fountain of youth, it’s in Cincinnati, weird place for it, but anyway.  Soriano was 3-for-4 but his aggressiveness on the base paths was refreshing, he stole second and third on consecutive pitches which set up the first run, the Cubs need more of that.  The Cubs stole four bases tonight, the two from Soriano, one from Sappelt, and one from Julio Borbon.  Dave Sappelt had a solid night out of the lead-off spot as well going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and an RBI.  Darwin Barney had the game winning hit, a solo home run in the tenth which was his only hit in four at bats.

On The Mound - What else can be said about Carlos Villanueva, he has been outstanding in the early going and only has one win to show for it.  Villanueva went 8.1 innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking two and striking out six.  Carlos Marmol blew the save, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit which allowed the tying run to score while walking two and striking out one.  Kevin Gregg did a solid job in nailing this one down, I don’t expect any Cubs pitcher to go 1-2-3 in a save situation, he gave up two hits while striking out two to earn the save.

Up Next - Great match up in the series finale tomorrow morning at 11:30 AM CST on CSN Chicago.  Jeff Samardzija battles Mat Latos, a series win would be fantastic, but again, the Cubs are trying to win a series tomorrow when they could be going for a sweep.

Cubs 4-23 box 1

Cubs 4-23 box 2

Game Highlights:

Cody Ransom goes deep in debut
Big double play
Darwin Barney’s game winning blast
Sappelt’s RBI single
Slick play here from Cody Ransom

Thanks for reading,
- George

Minor Matters – April 23, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 4-23 llineFull Box Score

At The Plate - Not a lot going on for the Cubs in this one as they could only manage one run on four hits in the loss.  Logan Watkins was 1-for-2 with, yes you guessed it, two walks, and a caught stealing.  Ryan Sweeney was 1-for-4, while Brian Bogusevic was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.  Brad Nelson was 1-for-3 with an RBI in the loss.

On The MoundNick Struck was solid in this one, but was still hung with the loss as he fell to 0-2 on the season.  Struck went six innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking two.  Casey Coleman tossed a scoreless inning out of the pen and he also struck out the side.  Yoanner Negrin had his second straight rough outing as he gave up two runs on three hits in one inning of work.

Smokies 4-23 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - Really tough loss for the Smokies in this one as they let a 3-1 lead get away in the ninth.  Christian Villanueva was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the loss.  Johermyn Chavez was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run scored.  Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s, a double, and a run scored.  Matt Szczur and Arismendy Alcantara continue to tear up the base paths as Szcur stole base number seven,  and Alcantara registered his eleventh stolen base already.

On The MoundKyle Hendricks was down right nasty, unfortunately he had to settle for a no decision.  Hendricks went seven innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out nine.    Zach Rosscup had another solid outing out of the pen tossing a scoreless inning while giving up on hit and striking out three.  Trey McNutt didn’t have his command and it came back to haunt him in this one, he worked the ninth and gave up three runs on three hits while walking two to get a blown save and the loss.

Daytona 4-23 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – A powerless night for Daytona as they could only manage four hits while being shut out.  Ben Carhart had a solid game going 2-for-3 with a double.  Zeke DeVoss and John Andreoli added singles and that was it.  Daytona walked only once, and it was Javier Baez go figure, and struck out ten times.

On The MoundP.J. Francescon had an encouraging outing as he had been roughed up as of late.  He worked five inning giving up one run on five hits while walking two and striking out four, he got the loss.  Yao-Lin Wang struggled out of the pen as he went 1.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out one.  Frank Del Valle was outstanding again going 1.2 scoreless innings while walking one and striking out four.

Guess what?  Yep, you’re right, Kane County was rained out.

Thanks for reading,
- George

April 23, 2013 – Cubs @ Reds; Lineups!

Carlos Villanueva has been excellent all year, and tonight the Cubs need him to play stopper, although, if the offense continues to “perform” like it has it might not matter.  The Cubs will face Reds prospect Tony Cingrani, he’s impressive, and was very impressive in his MLB debut last time out.  Game starts at 6:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago, here are the lineups.

April 23 lineup

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
- George

Cubs Find Another Mind Numbing Way to Lose

Cubs Line 4-22

Full Box Score

This is starting to get out of hand, maybe it already is out of hand, but the way the Cubs are losing games is almost hard to believe, even for the Cubs.  The latest chapter in this horrific story of a season took place tonight in Cincinnati where the Cubs seemingly did everything to win.  They received a tremendous performance from starter Travis Wood, jumped out to an early lead, had a strong performance from the bullpen for the most part, and yet still lost.  Such is life as a Cubs fan and Cubs team at this point, every game this year has been decided by four runs or less, think about that, all of them.  You know what decides close games in the majors?  Bullpen and clutch hitting, Travis  Wood 4-22usually with runners in scoring position, two things the Cubs have been terrible at.  Luis Valbuena hit a monster two-run shot in the top of the thirteenth to give the Cubs a two run lead, nothing could go wrong, until it did.  Before anyone could even savor that two-run homer, Michael Bowden, who didn’t get much help from Sappelt in right field, gave up three runs and the game was over, ho-hum, another mind numbing loss.

At The Plate – David DeJesus got things going right away in this one as he led the game off with a home run, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a home run, two walks, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz was solid as well going 3-for-6, but also had three strikeouts.  Luis Valbuena had the big hit for the Cubs, that two-run homer that I mentioned, and finished the day 2-for-6 with two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Darwin Barney was 2-for-6 with a run scored, the Cubs left 12 men on base in this one, that didn’t help either.

On The Mound - Travis Wood was great again, against a tough lineup, and once again had nothing to show for it.  He went 6.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out five.  Shawn Camp worked a third of an inning, but balked in the tying run, yes, again.  James Russell, Carlos Marmol, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances out of the pen.  Marmol was particularly strong going two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two.  Michael Bowden was good, then really bad, he took the loss going 1.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits. 

Up Next - Carlos Villanueva looks to play stopper tomorrow night against Tony Cingrani, the Reds highly touted prospect.  First pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM CST.

Cubs 4-22 box 1

Cubs 4-22 box 2

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s two-run homer
Castro RBI single
DeJesus lead-off homer

Thanks for reading,
- George

Minor Matters – April 22, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-22 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Iowa had several solid performances in this one and it led to a solid victory over a good Redbirds team.  Logan Watkins went 1-for-3 with two walks, a double, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Ian Stewart finally showed some life as he went 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .389 on the season.  Brad Nelson was 2-for-4 with a home rune, two RBI’s, and a run scored in the victory.

On The MoundBrooks Raley had another solid outing, and was rewarded with his second win of the season.  Raley went 5.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out three.  Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis, and Blake Parker combined to shut the Redbirds down over the final 3.2 innings to preserve the win.  Putnam went 1.2 scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out three.  Dolis and Parker also worked scoreless innings with Parker walking a tightrope to earn his second save, he didn’t give up a hit while walking two and striking out two in the ninth.

Smokies 4-22 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies wasted no time in getting back into the win column as they destroyed the Biscuits…Biscuits!  Arismendy Alcantara was in the middle of everything once again for the Smokies, he was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s, two stolen bases, and two runs scored.  Eight of the nine hitters had at least one hit for the Smokies, Alcantara was the only one to have a multi-hit game.  Jae-Hoon Ha was 1-for-3 with a walk, a double, and two runs scored.  Jonathan Mota was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s in the victory.

On The MoundEric Jokisch continued his tremendous start to the season tonight, he went 6.1 innings giving up three runs, one earned, on eight hits while walking two and striking out three to move his record to 3-0.  Brian Schlitter, who has been just as good, if not better, did the rest out of the pen.  He went 2.2 scoreless innings giving up two hits and striking out one, he has yet to give up an earned run this season.

Daytona 4-22 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – After yesterday’s poor offensive effort the D-Cubs got back at it tonight as they pounded out ten hits and seven runs.  Javier Baez, who is really turning it on of late, was 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Dustin Geiger also had a big night going 3-for-5 with three RBI’s, he now has 18 already on the season.  Jorge Soler was finally shut down, he was 0-for-5, but did have an RBI, and scored a run.

On The Mound - Austin Kirk had some trouble navigating through five innings, but he was able to do so and improve his record to 3-0 on the season.  He gave up four runs on four hits while walking two and striking out eight over those five innings of work.  The bullpen was stout for the D-Cubs, and it was just two guys doing the work.  Zach Cates worked 1.1 scoreless, and hit-less innings while walking one, and Hunter Cervenka worked 2.2 scoreless, and hit-less innings while walking one and striking out two.

Kane County 4-22 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Tough one to take for the Cougars as they built an early 5-1 lead only to watch it slip away an end up in a 9-6 loss.  Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-4 with a walk, a caught stealing, and a run scored.  Gioskar Amaya was 2-for-5 with a run scored, but also made an error.  Daniel Vogelbach had a productive night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Marco Hernandez was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and two RBI’s in the loss.  Rock Shoulders was finally held without a hit, but did walk three times, and scored a run.

On The MoundMichael Heesch was solid in his start today, unfortunately the bullpen and the Cougars defense kept him from getting the win.  Heesch went six innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five.  Brian Smith took the loss out of the pen, while he didn’t pitch well, he didn’t get much help either.  Smith went two-thirds of an innings giving up five runs, only one earned, on three hits while walking two and striking out one.  Matt Iannazzo was beat up as well, he went 2.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three.

Thanks for reading,
- George

Series Preview – Cubs @ Reds; April 22 – April 24, 2013

Time to start playing good baseball, and getting some wins, and no better time than right now.  The Cubs travel to Cincinnati to take on the first place Reds for a three game series beginning tonight.  The Reds have been playing solid baseball as of late as they are 6-4 in their last ten games, and have won seven of eight.  The Cubs are the exact opposite, having lost three straight and only winning three times in their last ten games.  The Reds are also clicking on all cylinders at home as they have an impressive 10-3 home record, if they could do anything on the road they might have a three or four game lead in the division, but they are only 1-5 away from Great American Ballpark.  As bad as the Cubs have been, they are only 4.5 games out of first in a tightly packed Central Division, time to get hot, hopefully it starts tonight.

Central Standings 4-22

Last Series:

The Cubs came up empty in Milwaukee, getting swept in the three game series.

The Reds took three out of four from the Marlins in Cincinnati.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Monday, April 22, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Tuesday, April 23, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2013 – 11:35 AM CST on CSN Chicago, MLBN

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One - Travis Wood (1-1, 1.83)
- Career vs. Reds (2 GS) (0-1, 5.25)

Game Two - Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 1.83)
- Career vs. Reds (20 appearances. 5 GS) (2-2, 3.99)

Game Three - Jeff Samardzija (1-3, 3.38)
- Career vs. Reds (16 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 4.67)

Reds:

Game One - Mike Leake (1-0, 4.26)
- Career vs. Cubs (10 GS)  (4-2, 3.56)

Game Two - Tony Cingrani (1-0, 1.80)
- Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three - Mat Latos (0-0, 2.73)
- Career vs. Cubs (5 GS) (2-2, 3.16)

Bold Prediction:

I’m going into this series extremely positive, the Cubs have been in too many close games to keep losing at the clip they are.  Unfortunately, this is a tough place to play and the Reds are playing well and have more talent, I think the Reds take two of three from the Cubs.  BUT, if the Cubs defense actually defends I think the Cubs take two out of three.  Keep an eye on Tony Cingrani in game two of the series, he is an outstanding young talent, and highly touted pitching prospect.  Soon the Cubs will have guys like that, at least I hope they will.

Thanks for reading,
- George

Minor Matters – April 21, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-21 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – Not much happening for the Cubs offense in this one as they lost a 1-0 heart breaker to the Redbirds.  The Cubs could only manage six hits, all singles in the loss.  Brent Lillibridge was 1-for-4, as was Ryan Sweeney, and Donnie Murphy.  Darnell McDonald, Brian Bogusevic, and J.C. Boscan were each 1-for-3 in the loss.

On The Mound – The Cubs pitching did all they could and then some in this one, but still couldn’t get a victory.  Drew Carpenter got the start and was solid despite having some command issues.  Carpenter worked 5.2 scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking five and striking out six.  Hisanori Takahashi worked 1.1 scoreless innings with a strikeout.  Yoanner Negrin finally gave up a run, unfortunately that’s all it took to lose this one.  Negrin went 1.2 innings, he gave up one run on two hits while walking one and striking out two, his ERA “sky-rocketed” to 0.79 on the season.

Smokies 4-21 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies looked to be well on their way to another win after a four run second inning, then they weren’t.  Matt Szczur had another solid day going 1-for-4 with two walks, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, a caught stealing, and an outfield assist, busy day.  Anthony Giansanti finally has returned to action and had a solid day going 2-for-2 with a walk, a double, and a run scored.

On The Mound – A mixed bag from the Smokies pitchers, and a very costly error by Ronald Torreyes didn’t help.  Alberto Cabrera got the start and was average going 5.1 innings giving up four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one.  Marcus Hatley was solid out of the pen going 1.2 scoreless innings while giving up one hit and striking out one.  Kevin Rhoderick continues to struggle, he worked an inning giving up two runs on four hits whiles striking out one.  Trey McNutt was outstanding, going two scoreless innings while striking out one.  Tony Zych was the hard luck loser, he worked an inning and gave up three runs, all unearned, on one hit while walking one.

Daytona 4-21 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – Not a lot to cheer about in this one as the D-Cubs did their best Major League Cubs impersonation in this one.  Daytona could only manage two hits in this one, singles by Timothy Saunders and Jorge Soler.  They did manage to earn three walks, but were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

On The Mound – Not much better here for the D-Cubs.  Ryan Searle got the start and got roughed up again.  Searle went four innings giving up five runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four.  Austin Reed wasn’t much better out of the pen going two innings giving up four runs, two unearned, on six hits while striking out two.  David Cales worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out three, the lone bright spot of the day.

Kane County 4-21 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - Crazy ballgame yesterday as the Cougars built a 4-0 lead going into the 6th inning, then things got weird.  The Chiefs scored six times in the top of the 6th to take a 6-4 lead, then the Cougars scored three times in the bottom half to go back in front and that’s how it ended.  Pin-Chieh Chen got a chance to lead-off in this one and delivered going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Rock Shoulders, or the guy who rarely makes an out, was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, he’s hitting .424 on the season, yikes.  Chadd Krist was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.  Trey Martin finally busted out with the bat, and made a tremendous catch in CF as well, he was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, an RBI, a double, and two runs scored.  Fun fact, Daniel Vogelbach had a stolen base today, the guy is rather athletic for his size.

On The Mound –  Kane County only used two pitchers in this one, rather rare given the fact that six runs were given up, but I guess that’s what happens when it’s all in one inning.  Felix Pena got the start at went 5.2 innings giving up five runs on five hits while walking two and striking out two.  Ian Dickson got the win coming out of the pen going 3.1 innings giving up on run on four hits while striking out three.

Thanks for reading,
- George

April 21, 2013 – Cubs @ Brewers; Lineups!

Please don’t get swept, please don’t get swept…Oh, hello.  The Cubs take on the Brewers this afternoon trying not get swept, or trying to salvage one game in this series, however you want to put it.  Scott Feldman takes the mound against Wily Peralta at 1:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago, here’s how the teams will line up.

April 21 lineupsThanks for reading,
- George

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