Archive for the ‘ Game Recaps ’ Category

Cubs Send Pirates Further Into Downward Spiral

The Cubs are enjoying the role of spoiler right now as they have won six out of their last seven, four of those being against the wild card contending Pirates.  The Pirates have not only lost fours games recently to the Cubs but they have lost seven straight and are on the verge to falling back to five hundred for the first time in forever.  Chris Rusin got the ball for the Cubs today and earned his first major league victory behind five strong innings.  Rusin gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six.  After the Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead the Pirates made things a little uncomfortable for Rusin and company by scoring once in the sixth and twice in the seventh to make it a one run game.  Starlin Castro who had a big day at the plate opened the gap up again in the bottom of the seventh with his 13th home run of the season, a three run job to put the Cubs up 7-4.  The Pirates would get one run closer in the eighth but that is as close as they would come as Carlos Marmol closed the door for his 20th save of the season, his 19th straight.  We all remember how horrible Marmol was at the beginning of the year but he deserves major credit for his turnaround.  In his last 19 save opportunities (since May 2) Marmol is 19-for-19 with a 0.49 ERA (1 ER/18.1 IP), wow, that is elite right there.

FULL BOX SCORE

Rusin’s Postgame

Sveum’s Postgame

Game Highlights:
Rusin’s First Major League Win
Full Video Recap
Castro’s Huge Three-Run Homer
Rizzo’s Two-Run Double

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

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

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

Cubs Use Long Ball to Sweep Away Pirates

Wins at this point of the year don’t mean much for the Cubs, sure they might be able to avoid 100 losses, but that’s about it.  Across the field in the other dugout these wins mean everything, which renders this weekend as a complete disaster for the Pirates as they walk away from this series without a single win.  Today it was a combination of solid starting pitching from Chris Rusin, and the long ball as the Cubs blasted three home runs in the 4-2 victory.  Rusin was solid on the mound for the Cubs as he tossed five strong innings giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out three.  Unfortunately the Cubs bullpen couldn’t hang on to a one run lead late so Rusin had to settle for a no decision.  After the Pirates tied the game in the seventh on a  James Russell balk, Alfonso Soriano continued is ridiculous 2012 by blasting his 28th home run of the season in the eighth to put the Cubs up for good 4-2.  Soriano finished the day 1-for-4 with a home run, and two RBI’s, he’s now has 94 RBI’s on the season to go with his 28 home runs.  Josh Vitters and Anthony Recker had the other two home runs for the Cubs today, it was Recker’s first major league home run.  Carlos Marmol had an uneasy ninth inning but was able to nail down his 18th save of the season and lowered his ERA  to under four, which was something that no one thought he would do this year back in May.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Soriano’s Game Winning Home Run
Marmol Escapes with the Save
Sappelt’s Nice Grab
Recker’s First Career Homer
Josh Vittes Goes Deep

Thanks for reading,
– George

Samardzija Saves His Best for Last

Talk about an exclamation point on a season, Jeff Samardzija went the distance in his final 2012 start in a 4-3 victory over the Pirates.  It was known for a couple of days that Samardzija would be making his last start of the season tonight, so he was ready to empty the tank tonight, and he did.  Samardzija gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out nine in his first career complete game.  A fantastic season for Shark as he was not guaranteed a spot in the rotation until the last week of spring training, he finished the year 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA, and 174.2 innings.  The Cubs did just enough with the bats to help Samardzija get his ninth win of the season and put another dent in the Pirates playoff hopes.  Four runs was just enough, but the Cubs could have had so much more tonight as they were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left ten guys on base.  Tony Campana, hitting ninth tonight, was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base, the Cubs had four stolen bases in all.  Alfonso Soriano went deep again tonight, his 27th home run of the season, David DeJesus and Welington Castillo each had two hits in the victory.  Two in a row, the Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Samardzija Goes the Distance
Castro Hit by Pitch
RBI Single from DeJesus
Soriano’s 27th Home Run

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs End Six Game Skid in Spectacular Fashion

If you knew nothing about baseball and sat down to watch this one you would think that the Cubs were the team fighting for its playoff life and the Pirates were on their way to a 100 loss campaign.  Well, we all know that it’s the other way around, which is what makes this game so very weird.  Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs tonight and was nearly perfect over six strong innings, he gave up no runs on one hit while walking three and striking out five.  It’s always easier to pitch with a big lead and that is exactly what the Cubs offense gave Wood early on.  By the time Wood left the game in the 7th the Cubs held a 12-0 lead, yes you read that right, can’t remember the last time the Cubs were on the right side of one of these.  Sure the Cubs offense was solid tonight, but they got a lot of help from the Bad News Bears, I mean Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Bucco’s made seven errors tonight, seven, that’s really hard to do in a major league game.  Starlin Castro had a historic night in Pittsburgh, sure he went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI’s but the thing that will be remembered tonight is Castro recorded his 500th hit as a Major League player.  For Castro to accomplish that feat before the age of 23 is amazing, just some context, he is a full two years younger than Pete Rose when he recorded his 500th hit.  Alfonso Soriano and Brett Jackson stole the show in the field tonight as both guys made spectacular catches, robbing Andrew McCutchen both times, with Jackson’s catch quite possibly being the catch of the year.  Jackson had to leave the game, but was only diagnosed with a bruised knee, he should be fine.

FULL BOX SCORE

Brett Jackson’s Amazing Catch

Pirates Make Seven Errors

Game Highlights:
Castro’s Big Night
Soriano’s Great Catch
Valbuena’s Two Run Double

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Go Down Fighting, Literally, Kinda

The Cubs could easily be accused as a team just going through the motions this year as they have a had a number of lifeless losses and currently sit 35 games under .500.  Tonight was more of the same against the Nationals until Bo Porter, former Cub, and the Nationals third base coach, lit a fire under the club.  After the Nationals stole a couple of bases, and Jayson Werth swung at a 3-0 pitch with a five run lead, catcher Steve Clevenger went to the dugout to get a new glove.  Apparently Bo Porter didn’t like it, and started barking at the Cubs bench, Jaime Quirk took exception to Porter and the two got in a shouting match which resulted in benches clearing.  Miraculously, Bo Porter, who started everything stayed at his post at third base, and Quirk was ejected.  Fast forward to the 6th, the Cubs were determined to get the last word as Lendy Castillo threw at Bryce Harper, and missed.  Harper walked towards the mound with Clevenger intercepting him before he could get too far, but the benches and bullpens were empty once again, this time with vigor.  Nats reliever Michael Gonzalez kept running his mouth, which resulted in some more pushing and a possible sad attempt at a punch from Clevenger.  Clevenger, and Corpas were ejected along with Gonzalez, that was the end of the extracurriculars, the butt kicking resumed after that.  I will say this, it was nice to see a Cubs team answer the bell and finally say enough is enough, however when you are getting blasted night after night it makes you look rather sad.  I was still happy to see it.

Now onto the third straight embarrassment on the field.  Justin Germano got the start for the Cubs tonight, and didn’t fare much better then the Cubs starters that preceded him in this series.  Germano was done after four innings, he gave up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits while walking two and striking out two.  Germano left trailing 7-2, this was after the Cubs actually held a lead of 2-1 in the second inning.  The Cubs had some success early against Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann as they scored in the first and second to take an early lead.  Anthony Rizzo had a great day at the plate going 3-for-4 with his 12th home run of the season.  Starlin Castro also did his best to keep the Cubs in this one as he was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and a run scored.  On to Pittsburgh.

FULL BOX SCORE

Incident #1 – Bo Porter NOT Ejected

Incident #2

Brett Jackson’s Great Catch

Game Highlights:
Barney Triples Home a  Run

Thanks for reading,
– George

From Bad to Worse as Cubs Get Thrashed Again

Dale Sveum said it best after the game, “That’s just men playing against boys right now.”  For the second straight night the Cubs gave up six home runs to the Nationals, at least they didn’t use as many pitchers tonight as they did last night.  Volstad was the one serving up long balls tonight, but at least he was able to give the Cubs some innings.  Volstad’s night came to an end after five innings, he gave up five runs on nine hits while walking four and striking out two.  Volstad gave up three home runs, Michael Bowden gave up one, and Blake Parker gave up two more.  Bryce Harper had two home runs tonight, and Adam LaRoche hit another home run in this one, LaRoche has been amazing against the Cubs, and will continue to be awesome until someone decides to pitch him inside off the plate.  I mentioned it yesterday, opponents are way too comfortable in the box against Cubs pitchers, until they go inside with a purpose balls will continue to leave the park.  Speaking of comfortable at the plate, the Cubs are anything but as they were carved up by now 18 game winner Gio Gonzalez.  The Cubs could only manage four hits in the 9-1 defeat, one of which was an Anthony Rizzo solo home run in the ninth inning.  Dale Sveum was ejected tonight after he took exception to home plate umpire Larry Vanover “eyeballing” the Cubs bench after a couple of close calls.  The Cubs will try to avoid the four game sweep tomorrow night.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
Anthony Rizzo’s 11th Home Run
Great Play by Vitters
Sveum Ejected

Thanks for reading,
– George

Nats Pound Cubs Into Submission

No doubt about this one, as the Nationals pounded out 19 hits, six of which were home runs, and 11 runs en route to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs.  This one was ugly from the get go as Chris Rusin couldn’t command anything and was awesome at finding the barrel of the Nationals bats.  Rusin only lasted an inning plus giving up five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out one.  The Cubs used seven pitchers in this one, and everyone one of them gave up at least two hits except for Jaye Chapman who pitched a hitless, scoreless inning in his major league debut.  This one was basically a spring training game, Sveum threw out almost every pitcher possible to see what they had, most of them didn’t have much.  Offensively it was a weird night for the Cubs, hitters two through five were 8-14 with a triple, a home run, two walks, five RBI’s and five runs scored.  The rest of the Cubs were 0-for-19 with two walks, yikes.  Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo, Alfsonso Soriano, and Starlin Castro all had two hits in the loss.  Soriano had a great night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple, and three RBI’s.  The Cubs set a franchise record tonight by playing their 51st player of the year, not really sure if that’s something to be happy about, probably not.

FULL BOX SCORE

Game Highlights:
DeJesus Makes a Great Catch
Soriano’s 26th Home Run
Castro With a Leaping Catch
Castro’s RBI Single
Chapman’s First Career K

Thanks for reading,
– George

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