April 2013

April 18, 2013 – Rangers @ Cubs; Lineups, Just in Case

We are experiencing historic rainfall around the Chicagoland area over the past two days, but the tarp is off the field at the moment, and the Cubs think they might have a small window to get this game in.  If they do it will be Alexi Ogando against Carlos Villanueva.  The Rangers chose to skip Justin Grimm and go to Ogando while the Cubs are sticking with Villanueva instead of going with scheduled starter Jeff Samardzija.  As optimistic as the Cubs are that they will play today, I don’t think they will, that field has seen a ton of water already and there is more on the way, maybe we’ll get lucky, I just want to see proof the sun still exists.

April 18 lineupsThanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

Minor Matters – April 17, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Smokies 4-17 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies could only manage six hits, but worked seven walks en route to beating Huntsville 4-1.  Arismendy Alcantara had quite the day at the plate and on the base paths.  Alcantara was 1-for-1 with three walks, four(!) stolen bases, two errors (oops), and a run scored.  Christian Villanueva had the big blow in this one going 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Justin Bour was 1-for-2 with two walks, and a run scored.

On The MoundEric Jokisch was outstanding today going six scoreless innings giving up three hits with no walks while striking out seven to earn his second win of the season.  Zach Rosscup was solid out of the pen going two scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one.  Brian Schlitter had trouble with his command in the ninth giving up one run, unearned, on no hits while walking two.

Daytona 4-17 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – After giving up fifteen runs on twenty-seven hits a day ago the D-Cubs got some payback today.  Daytona scored thirteen runs on twelve hits with seven different players registering at least one hit, the Cubs also walked eleven(!) times.  Zeke DeVoss got things started at the top going 1-for-2 with three walks, a stolen base, a caught stealing, a double, and two runs scored.  Javier Baez looks to be coming around at the plate as he had a monster game today going 3-for-6 with a home run, two RBI’s and three runs scored.  Dustin Geiger continues to pound the ball as of late, he went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, four RBI’s and two runs scored.  Ben Carhart was 2-for-5 with two RBI’s in the win.

On The Mound - The D-Cubs pitching bounced back nicely today.  Yao-Lin Wang got the start going four innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking two.  Austin Kirk came out the pen today and actually went more innings than Yao-Lin in this one.  Kirk went five innings to get the win, he gave up one run on three hits while walking two and striking out four.

NOTES:  Kane County and Iowa were both rained out

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs/Rangers Postponed

At least they finally made it official, the Cubs and Rangers have been postponed tonight, and there is no make up date as of yet.  Normally a double-header would be on tap for tomorrow but there is a chance that Chicago will see MORE rain tomorrow than today.  So that puts tomorrows game in jeopardy as well, what a lovely Spring we are having, ugh.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 16, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-16 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – You wouldn’t know it by the hit totals, but the I-Cubs won this one rather handily 4-3.  Iowa only had three hits, and gave up ten, but that’s not what decides games.  Ty Wright was 1-for-4 with a run scored.  Ryan Sweeney had one of the other hits and it was a big one, he was 1-for-3 with a walk, a triple, and an RBI.  J.C. Boscan had the biggest hit of the day as he was 1-for-3 with a double, and two RBI’s, definitely an odd game at the plate, but drawing four walks definitely helped.

On The Mound –  Plenty of hits given up by the Cubs staff, but they didn’t walk anyone, and that was a huge reason they pulled this one out.  Brooks Raley had a tremendous outing getting his first win of the season going six scoreless innings giving up six hits, and striking out seven.  Yoanner Negrin continues to be untouchable out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings only giving up two hits.  Cory Wade worked the ninth and gave up one run on two hits while striking out two.

Smokies 4-16 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – A back and forth game in Huntsville ended with the Smokies hanging on to win 4-3 over the Stars.  Matt Szczur continues to be productive out of the lead-off spot, he went 2-for-3 with a home run, a stolen base, a caught stealing, an RBI, and a run scored.  Justin Bour also joined in on the fun going 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva has been scorching hot all year and it was no different last night, he was 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s hitting .405 on the season now.

On The MoundAlberto Cabrera got the start and his second win of the season as he went six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out five.  A.J. Morris was solid out of the pen going two scoreless, and hitless innings while striking out three.  Frank Batista worked the ninth for his second save, although he made it exciting, he worked one inning giving up one run on one hit while walking one.

Daytona 4-16 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – All sorts of offense from Daytona but it wasn’t nearly enough in this one.  Seven out of the nine players in the lineup had at least one hit.  John Andreoli was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, two stolen bases, and one run scored.  Javy Baez connected on his second homer of the season, he finished the day 1-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored.  Stephen Bruno was 2-for-2 with two walks with a double, and a run scored.  Dustin Geiger continues to stay hot going 2-for-3 with an RBI, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .310 on the season.

On The Mound – I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like this in just nine innings.  The D-Cubs staff gave up fifteen runs, that was low in my opinion seeing that they gave up twenty-seven hits, twenty-seven!  Ryan Searle has been great this year, not last night, he went 4.2 innings giving up seven runs on fifteen(!) hits while striking out five, his ERA sits at 4.85 right now, a small miracle given how many runs he gave up.  Hunter Cervenka and Luis Liria gave up a combined seven runs in 2.1 innings.  Taylor Davis, a catcher, worked one inning giving up one run on four hits.

Kane County 4-16 line game 1Full Box Score

At The Plate - The Cougars had a thrilling comeback win in game one as they scored twice in the last two innings to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3.  Gioskar Amaya was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.  Daniel Vogelbach was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored, with that two hit game his average climbed to .302 on the season.  Jeimer Candelario was 1-for-3 with a big two run double to help the Cougars come all the way back.

On The Mound –  Errors got the best of the Cougars early on and it showed in the pitching staff”s numbers.  Jose Arias got the start and went four innings giving up three runs, all unearned, on four hits while walking three and striking out three.  Jeffry Antigua was great out of the pen and was rewarded with his first win of the season.  Antigue went three scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out three.

Kane County 4-16 line game 2

Full Box Score

At The Plate – No such comeback luck in this one from the Cougars as they were done in by a seven run second inning.  Marco Hernandez was 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, an error, and two runs scored.  Wes Darvill was 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-2 with a walk.  The top three guys in the Cougars order went 0-for-10 in game two, and the Cougars went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

On The MoundMichael Heesch got the start and didn’t get much help from his defense.  Heesch went 1.2 innings giving up six runs, two earned, on five hits while walking one and striking out two.  Brian Smith got beat up a little bit as he went 2.1 innins giving up two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two.  Steve Perakslis and Nathan Dorris each tossed a scoreless inning in the loss.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Bats Wake Up Too Late in Loss to Rangers

Cubs 4-16 lineFull Box Score

The Cubs do have a flair for the dramatic, but as we have seen so often this season it usually ends with Cubs fans disappointed and another loss.  Hey!  That’s what happened tonight.  Through seven innings it was the Derek Holland and Travis Wood show as the Rangers Barney 4-16held a slim 1-0 lead.  The Rangers were able to tack on some insurance runs in the eighth which they ended up needing.  Trailing 4-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth the Cubs once again fought back and were one swing away from grabbing a victory but ended up falling short after scoring twice to make it 4-2.

At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t do much all night, but at least they were able to snap the 0-for-24 with RISP slump by going 2-for-4 tonight. Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-4 with a double and has his average all the way up to .275 for the season.  Nate Schierholtz continued his hot hitting, this time off the bench going 1-for-1 with a two-run double.  Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Welington Castillo each had one hit in the loss.

On The Mound – Travis Wood continued his strong start to the 2013 season, he went 7.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three and was hung with the loss.  Shawn Camp is clearly not the Shawn Camp of 2012 just yet as he gave up two runs on two hits in just one-third of an inning.  James Russell and newcomer Kameron Loe had scoreless appearances.

Up Next – Game two of the series will feature Carlos Villanueva against Justin Grimm as long as they can get it in, the weather is not going to be very helpful.  The Chicago area is supposed to get hammered with rain on Wednesday and Thursday so we’ll see.

Cubs 4-16 box

Cubs 4-16 box 1

Game Highlights:

Gonzalez’s diving catch
Rizzo with a great throw to cut down the run
Schierholtz two-run double
Sappelt’s sliding catch

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Roster Move Extravaganza (Barney, Ransom, Gregg, Loe, Lillibridge, Takahashi, Dolis, oh my)

The Cubs look much different heading into this Rangers series than they did during the off day yesterday, as they announced a flurry of moves.  I mentioned on Sunday that the Cubs signed Kevin Gregg and claimed Kameron Loe from the Mariners, well both pitchers have been added to the major league roster.  Also being Barney backadded to the major league roster is Darwin Barney who is coming off the DL tonight.  That wasn’t the only addition, the Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom, with all the players being added to the active roster, a few had to go, and that’s what happened.  The Cubs DFA’d Brent Lillibridge, and Hisanori Takahashi, and optioned Rafael Dolis back to Iowa.  The Cubs will have ten days to trade, waive or release Lillibridge and Takahashi.  My guess is that Lillibridge will end up in Iowa as long as he isn’t claimed by another team, and Takahashi will no longer be a member of the Cubs.  Busy day for the Cubs and the game hasn’t even started yet, such is life with an under-performing club.  Barney, Gregg, and Loe are on the roster for tonight’s game, Ransom will most likely be ready to go tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,
– George

April 16, 2013 – Rangers @ Cubs; Lineups

Darwin Barney makes his return to the lineup, and he was greatly missed on the defensive side of the ball, and if he can work deep counts he will be a big improvement to the Cubs lineup.  Early season inter-league play as Travis Wood will battle the Rangers and Derek Holland.  Dale Sveum counters with his “left lineup” which has been a giant failure in the early going.

April 16 lineups

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 15, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The Cubs built an early lead but once again had trouble holding it as they dropped to 3-9 on the season.  Darwin Barney had a huge game in his last rehab appearance, he was 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.  Ryan Sweeney continues to mash the ball, he went 2-for-4 with a home run (3), three RBI’s and a run scored.  Brett Jackson was 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.

On The Mound –  The Cubs were beat up from start to finish in this one.  Drew Carpenter got the start, he went 4.1 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out one.  Emailin Caridad went 1.2 innings out of the pen giving up one run on three hits while striking out three.  Both Jensen Lewis and Jaye Chapman continued their horrendous 2013 as Lewis gave up two runs, and Chapman gave up three.

Smokies 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate - Jae-Hoon Ha continued his red-hot start going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva has been the hottest hitter in the Smokies lineup, he was 3-for-4 with a home run (2), four RBI’s, a double, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .394 on the season.  Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 in the loss.

On The MoundDallas Beeler put together a quality start and was in line for the win before the bullpen lost it.  Beeler went six innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four.  Tony Zych went 1.1 innings out of the pen giving up two runs on two hits while walking one.  Trey McNutt had a rough go of it as he not only blew the save but got the loss, he went 1.1 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two.

Daytona 4-15 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – The D-Cubs continued to pound the ball in a 8-1 victory over Clearwater to move one game above .500 on the season.  Zeke DeVoss was very productive from the lead-off spot going 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, and three RBI’s.  John Andreoli was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, he’s now hitting .341 on the season.  Ben Carhart went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) and David Bote (2-for-3) each had two hits in the win as Daytona pounded out thirteen total.

On The MoundBen Wells was outstanding as he found his command in this one.  Wells went six scoreless innings to earn his first win, he gave up five hits while walking one and striking out four.  Yeiper Castillo went two scoreless innings out of the pen, he gave up one hit while striking out two.  Sheldon McDonald worked the ninth inning, he gave up one run on three hits while striking out one.

NOTES:  Kane County was snowed/rained out….again, shocking.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Rangers @ Cubs; April 16 – April 18, 2013

The Cubs welcome another tough opponent to Wrigley, quite the back-to-back series as the Cubs, who are coming off a series with Giants now entertain the Texas Rangers.  As bad as the weather was this past weekend it might be even worse this week.  Tomorrow’s game looks okay, but Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be wet, very wet, 70% chance of rain each day.  Obviously with this being an inter-league series they will do everything they can to get these games in.  Darwin Barney is scheduled to make his return to the Cubs lineup tomorrow, and he has been missed greatly in the defensive lineup.  One could say the Cubs have had some bad luck in the early going this year, but they have made most of that luck, if they just convert their save opportunities this team could be no worse than .500, just have to keep fighting.

Last Series:

The Cubs lost three out of four to the Giants at home.

The Rangers split a four game series with the Mariners in Seattle.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV. MLBN

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64)
– Career vs. Rangers (8 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 3.16)

Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Rangers:

Game One – Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS)  (0-0, 3.00)

Game Two – Justin Grimm (0-1, 4.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three – Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

Let’s start with “not” for the Cubs.  The bullpen, and defense, both have been a disaster lately, and for the most part of the year.  The pen has been bad at the worst time too, in the seventh inning or later the Cubs have a bullpen ERA of 5.67 Castro previewwhich is 29th in the Majors.  That number alone says a lot as the Cubs have had a chance to win pretty much every game they have played so far this year, maddening.  Carlos Villanueva has been a big part of getting the ball to the seventh inning this year as he has been outstanding, unfortunately he has nothing to show for it except a sparkling 0.64 ERA.  Starlin Castro has basically made up for his slow start in the last seven days as he is hitting .379 over that period of time.  The only guy hotter is David DeJesus who is hitting .381 over that same period of time.  Another big reason for the Cubs early season struggles has been their success or lack thereof with runners in scoring position, they are hitting a paltry .141, 29th in the Majors.

The Rangers look rather different this year, but still come into this series with an 8-5 record.  Gone are Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, but the Rangers have persevered early in the season.  A big reason is the play of two newcomers, Lance Berkman, and everyones favorite catcher, A.J. Pierzynski.  Berkman is hitting .389 in the early going, and Pierzynski is hitting .342 so far.  Ian Kinsler has found some power in the early going and has stayed healthy, he’s Rangershitting .292 with four home runs and nine RBI’s.  David Murphy is struggling mightily, he is hitting .160 on the season, that’s with fifty at bats too (8-for-50).   Yu Darvish is the high-profile name on the Rangers staff, but the guy that is pitching like a number one is Alexi Ogando, and the Cubs will see the latter in this series.  Ogando has been outstanding, he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, and opponents are hitting only .194 against him this season.  The Rangers also boast the fourth best bullpen in all of baseball with a 2.06 ERA from their relief pitchers.  Moral of the story, get to their starters early.

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs win the two out of three if all games get played.  A few breaks have to start going the Cubs way soon….right….Go Cubs!

Thanks for reading,
– George

Minor Matters – April 14, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

Iowa 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate – Two wins in a row for Iowa, that says a lot considering they only have three total this year.  Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a caught stealing and a run scored.  Darwin Barney showed great patience in his second rehab start, he was 0-for-1 with three walks, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Luis Flores was 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.  Brad Nelson had the big hit in this one, a two run single that gave the Cubs some breathing room, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s on the day.

On The Mound - After some rocky starts to start the season, Chris Rusin bounced back with a stellar performance.  Rusin went seven innings giving up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out four to earn the win.  Zach Putnam worked two scoreless innings to earn his first save of the year, he walked one and struck out three.

Smokies 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate - The Smokies busted this one open in the seventh inning scoring four times to take a 7-1 lead on their way to a 7-3 win.  Ronald Torreyes had his second straight solid game going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  Jae-Hoon Ha was outstanding going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Rubi Silva (2-for-4) and Jonathan Mota (2-for-4) each had two hits in the victory, and Matt Szczur recorded his 5th stolen base of the season.

On The Mound –  Couldn’t get much better than Dae-Eun Rhee as he went six scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three to earn his first win of the season.  Zach Rosscup and Kevin Rhoderick each had a rough go out of it in the seventh and eighth inning with Rosscup giving up one run and Rhoderick giving up two.  Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory.

Daytona 4-14 lineFull Box Score

At The Plate - The D-Cubs were able to get back to .500 with a solid victory of the Tampa Yankees.  Javier Baez seems to be coming around at the plate, he was 1-for-4 with a double, he has hits in his last three games.  Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a run scored, he is now hitting .385 on the season.  Dustin Geiger was 2-for-4 with a run scored, after his slow start he is now hitting .286 on the season.  Micah Gibbs was 2-for-4 with a double, and an RBI in the victory.

On The MoundZach Cates was outstanding in this one going six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking thee and striking out four.  Austin Reed was just as good out of the bullpen going two innings giving up no runs on three hits while striking out two.  Frank Del Valle continues his awesome start to the season as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save.  He didn’t give up any hits or walks, and struck out the side.

Thanks for reading,
– George

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