Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’
I understand that the Cubs won’t be competitive this year, maybe competitive in games, but not to the point of winning anything substantial, but the one thing I expect to see at least is strong fundamental play. When the roster is hollowed, which it is, one would expect to see the little things done right, and players paying attention. We are only sixteen games into this season and it is clear that in some games the Cubs just aren’t mentally there. I suppose I shouldn’t be as upset about it because this kind of stuff happens on bad teams, and for the most part the Cubs have fought in games but today just got to me. It also is starting to get to Dale Sveum, “”This is obviously getting old…we’re making mistakes that rookie ball people make.” The Cubs only had four chances with runners in scoring position, they did convert once, but it wasn’t enough as four unearned runs did in the Cubs and Edwin Jackson, just frustrating.
At The Plate – The Cubs managed to out-hit the Brewers in this one 7-6, but the Brewers didn’t make any errors and thus they won. Of the seven Cubs hits only two were of the extra-base variety. David DeJesus was 1-for-3, as was Luis Valbuena. Alfonso Soriano was the only Cubs player to register an RBI, he was 1-for-4, and also made an error. Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 and he also made an error, the other error was made by Edwin Jackson. Nate Schierholtz, and Dave Sappelt were the only Cubs with extra base hits, both doubles.
On The Mound - Edwin Jackson had a ”quality” start by definition of the rule book as he went six innings giving up five runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out four. Hector Rondon, and Kameron Loe both worked scoreless innings in relief but by then the game was decided.
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Now these are the games that I think a lot of Cubs fans can get used to. Thirteen hits, and six runs, not just thirteen hits but nine extra base hits and many of them very loud. Maybe they just sounded loud because there were only 217 people at today’s game, but they were squared up for sure. The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning amid the rain drops and this time they were able to keep their opponent at bay behind some solid pitching and defense. I’m not sure what was the bigger victory today, the Cubs win, or the fact that the game was actually played. Most of Chicago and the suburbs are under water, me included, so great job by the Wrigley grounds crew to get the field in the best shape possible.
At The Plate – Maybe the best day at the plate all year for the Cubs, big days all around. David DeJesus went 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a triple, a double, a walk and a run scored. Starlin Castro was solid as well as he went 1-for-3 with two walks, his first two of the year, a double, and a stolen base. Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, and the longest in the Majors this year, a 475 foot blast. His day could have been better two as it included two line outs, good to see solid contact from Rizzo. Alfonso Soriano also found some production, he went 1-for-5 with his first home run and first RBI of the season. Welington Castillo continued his red-hot start to the season going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s.
On The Mound - The Cubs pitching was just as good as the hitting in this one. Carlos Villanueva was finally rewarded for a solid outing, he earned his first win of the season going seven innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six. James Russell and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning to close this one out. Carlos Marmol was particularly good in this one as he didn’t allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
Up Next - The Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a three game series with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will get things going for the Cubs against Marco Estrada at 7:10 PM CST. I guarantee there will be no rain outs this weekend.
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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 held 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.
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Every game seems winnable with this team, more often than not, it still ends up as a loss. Heading into today it looked like a solid pitching match up on paper, and both guys delivered for the most part as Samardzija battled Bumgarner through six innings. The Giants built a 3-0 lead after six and a half innings and for the fifth straight game the Cubs wouldn’t go quietly. Dioner Navarro has a flare for dramatics it seems as for the second straight day he delivered a pinch hit home run. Today it was a two-run shot that brought the Cubs within one run, unfortunately that’s as close as they would get despite a wonderful opportunity. That was the story of the day for the Cubs, wasted opportunities, they had multiple chances to drive runs in while making outs, whether it be a ground ball or a sac fly, and the Cubs couldn’t do either, which isn’t that surprising. Welington Castillo had two great opportunities and failed both times. The latest was a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the eighth inning, he swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning ending double play.
At The Plate – Alfonso Soriano finally showed some signs of life at the plate today going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. Alberto Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Dioner Navarro, who will probably get the start tomorrow, was 1-for-1 off the bench with a two-run homer, yesterday he did it from the left side today from the right.
On The Mound - Jeff Samardzija turned in another solid outing and walks away with another loss. Samardzija went six innings giving up two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. He falls to 0-2 on the season with a sparkling 2.75 ERA. Michael Bowden came on in relief and gave up one run in one inning of work on two hits. Both Carlos Marmol and James Russell tossed scoreless innings to keep it close late.
Up Next - Game four of the series as the Cubs will try to salvage a split when it all honesty they could be going for a sweep. Edwin Jackson will get the start for the Cubs, he will oppose Tim Lincecum at 1:20 PM CST. Much warmer temperatures tomorrow, so there’s that.
Check back later, FOX is horrible.
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Ah, Spring in Chicago, either it’s great or horrible, usually no in between. Hopefully the weather cooperates today, and all weekend as the Cubs welcome the defending champion San Francisco Giants to town for a four game set. Should be some great baseball on display this weekend, hopefully for both teams. As usual the Giants boast of formidable pitching staff that will most definitely pose a challenge for the Cubs anemic offense.
The Cubs split the two game series with the Brewers as the final game was rained out.
The Giants swept the Rockies in a three game series at home.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 13, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on FOX
- Sunday, April 14, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One - Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71)
- Career vs. Giants (4 appearances, 2 GS) (0-3, 5.54)
Game Two - Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35)
- Career vs. Giants (13 appearances, 1 GS) (2-1, 4.15)
Game Three - Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.63)
- Career vs. Giants (6 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.53)
Game Four - Edwin Jackson (0-2, 5.73)
- Career vs. Giants (5 appearances, 4 GS) (2-2, 4.73)
Game One - Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44)
- Career vs. Cubs (15 appearances, 9 GS) (4-5, 5.73)
Game Two - Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38)
- Career vs. Cubs (13 GS) (6-2, 2.45)
Game Three - Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32)
- Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.79)
Game Four – Tim Lincecum (1-0, 4.91)
- Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (4-4, 3.43)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
Something happened in the Brewers series, the Cubs found some offense, not only offense, but clutch offense. In both games the Cubs mounted comebacks, one successful, and one not so successful. Regardless, it was good to see guys having good at bats and driving the ball when they needed to. Welington Castillo has been a consistent threat at the plate since day one for the Cubs, he’s hitting .381 on the season with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s. Nate Schierholtz is also swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .304 on the season, and sports an impressive .385 OBP. Alfonso Soriano is scuffling, he’s back to missing his pitch and then getting himself out on the pitchers pitch. He’s hitting .194 on the season and has no extra base hits, or RBI’s. The Cubs pitching is starting to show some dents, but for the most part the starters have been great. Hector Rondon has been very good out of the pen, while Shawn Camp has struggled of late.
It’s a former Cub that is leading the offensive attack for the Giants, Angel Pagan is hitting .361 in the early going. Pablo Sandoval is also swinging a hot bat hitting .345 on the season with two home runs and six RBI’s, and has only struck out once in 29 at bats. Brandon Belt is struggling at the plate as he is only hitting .148 with only two extra base hits and no RBI’s. The Cubs won’t see Barry Zito in this series, usually that’s a bad thing, but not this year, Zito started on his comeback trail last year, and has continued it this year as he hasn’t given up a run so far this year in two starts over fourteen innings. Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain have been knocked around a bit as Vogelsong has a 8.44 ERA, and Cain has a 8.38 ERA, when was the last time you saw that?
The Cubs usually play up to their competition, at home at least, I think they play well enough to split this four game series. If they get a surprisingly solid performance from Feldman and Villanueva they might take three of four.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
More of the same from the Cubs offense tonight in Atlanta as they could only manage five hits and one run in a 4-1 loss. Sure Mike Minor was pounding the zone, but Cubs hitters made things way too easy on Braves pitching by having way too many aggressive at bats. The Cubs have two losses now, both with the “lefty lineup” on display, meaning DeJesus and Schierholtz on the bench. Not saying that they would have made a difference, but the Cubs always seem to struggle against lefties. Scott Feldman was all over the place, but battled, the result was being over 100 pitches and out the game before the end of the fifth inning. It’s not the end of the World, the Cubs are 2-2 which is probably a fair record at this point, if not better than it should be given the offensive struggles.
At The Plate – Another night, another low number in the hit column for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Welington Castillo, and Alberto Gonzalez were all 1-for-3. Hairston provided the only offense of the night with a solo home run in the fifth inning off of Minor.
On The Mound - Scott Feldman made his Cubs debut and really never settled into a groove. For the most part he was able to pitch around trouble but couldn’t get out of the 5th. Feldman went 4.2 innings giving up four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one. The bright spot was the bullpen, Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon shut the door over the last 2.1 innings but it was to no avail.
Up Next - Carlos Villanueva will make his Cubs debut opposite Julio Teheran at 6:00 PM CST. The Cubs will have their hands full again as Teheran is a high-class talent that will give them fits if they aren’t patient.
Stat Of The Night - The Cubs have 16 hits in the first four games of the season.
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It was rather obvious early, the Cubs offense was awfully disinterested in this one. Wandy Rodriguez and the cold temperatures combined to keep the Cubs at bay as they could only manage two hits all night. The Cubs opportunity came in the seventh inning when they put the first two on, and then loaded the bases with one out only to come up empty. It really was a story of one inning both ways tonight for the Cubs as Edwin Jackson was decent except for the fourth inning. Jackson struggled with his command in the fourth and gave up two runs in the frame which was more than enough for the Pirates in this one.
At The Plate – How many ways can I say bad? I guess I’ll just leave it at that, the Cubs approach and the subsequent results or lack there of left a lot to be desired. Alfonso Soriano and Alberto Gonzalez were the only Cubs to register hits in this one, both singles.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was really good early, then got into deep count after deep count and had to exit after five innings of work. Jackson gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out five in his Cubs debut. Hector Rondon made his Major League debut, tossing a scoreless inning while walking two, and striking out two. Michael Bowden gave up one run in his inning of work on two hits. Shawn Camp and Hasanori Takahashi each had scoreless outings.
Stat Of The Night – Here I will feature a stat, either from the game, or a trend, could be good, or bad, or alarming. Tonight it’s alarming, the Cubs are 0-for-13 as a team with RISP, yikes.
The Cubs had two hits, there are no highlights worth watching, I promise.
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Seems like just yesterday we here at Born on Third were getting ready to cover Opening Day, and just like that it’s over. Crazy how time flies, and I didn’t expect it to go so fast given how bad the Cubs were this year. I was expecting just the opposite, for it to drag on and on, and I guess it did towards the end there but the reality of no Cubs baseball for four months is starting to sink in. Let’s take a look back at some of the surprises and disappointments that we all barely lived through, this season.
Let’s start with the disappointments, there were plenty of them, I mean the team lost 101 games, you know how hard it was to write about 101 losses!? Sure the record was disappointing, but one could argue that it was expected, maybe 101 losses wasn’t expected, but the Cubs were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, we knew that. Let’s dig a little deeper into that futility, we should probably put on a Haz-Mat suit before doing so. The one thing we heard all offseason was this new “Cubs Way” – well that was thrown out there to mean a lot of things, one being patience, no not by the fans (we do need that though), but by the Cubs as a whole at the plate. So how did that go, you ask? Not very good, the Cubs drew 447 walks this season, that comes out to less than three a game, and was good for the fourth fewest in all of baseball. You could probably guess that the Cubs OBP was terrible as well, it was, the Cubs as a team had a .302 OBP this year, 2nd worst in baseball. This is something that has to change, and it will on Theo’s watch, I believe that it will. It’s hard to see that vision come to fruition however when the team on the field in “year one” was so terribly bad at it, or just refused to do it.
Let’s take a look at some poor individual performances…
Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade was a disaster, I can’t even say that he showed flashes of brilliance, maybe a flash, but not flashes. Volstad finished the season 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA, I can’t even spin that into anything positive. Volstad had a huge opportunity this year and took a step back, but all is not lost on the gigantic right hander. He will have every opportunity to pitch for this team next year, that is squarely on his shoulders, his huge shoulders, seriously, look at a picture of the guy pitching, it’s cartoonish.
For the first month or so of the season it looked as if Dolis’ name was going to end up on the surprise portion of the year-end recap, then things went bad. Dolis lost the strike zone, in doing so his confidence disappeared and his ERA sky rocketed. Dolis went from being the closer of the Cubs after taking over for Carlos Marmol to pitching and struggling at Triple-A. Dolis was called back up to finish off the season but the numbers were not good. He finished the year 2-4 with a 6.39 ERA and four saves. He does have one thing the Cubs need in the pen, a power arm, so he will have a shot to pitch for this team next year at 25 years old. If he wants to do so he has to clean up the walks, as he issued 23 in just 38 innings at the big league level this year.
I debated singling him out here, only because he was clearly hurt since last year in Colorado so I’m not sure how much we can really take from his season. But a lot more was expected from Ian Stewart, on the plus side he did play above average defense at third base. His season was shortened by much-needed wrist surgery, he finished the year hitting 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He did show the ability to work the count and take a walk, but at third base he was and will be expected to be a source of production. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will keep Stewart in their plans moving forward, I would like to see what a healthy Ian Stewart could do.
Other guys that I would say had disappointing years would be Darwin Barney’s bat, a sub .300 OBP from him is not acceptable. Lendy Castillo had a 7+ ERA, but Castillo is so young and could be a huge part of this teams bullpen when they are contending. Steve Clevenger took a nose dive after a very strong start, Starlin Castro’s mental lapses and subsequent errors. I think Castro improved greatly defensively, I think the errors were a result of focus or lack thereof. Should I mention the 12 game losing streak? I just did.
Now onto the positives, sure there were some.
He lived up to the hype, and there was plenty of it heading into the season and that hype only grew as he tore the cover off the ball in Iowa. He finally was called up to the Cubs on 6/26/2012, he had two hits in that game and never really looked back. Rizzo finished the campaign hitting .285 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI’s in 87 games, so just over half a Major League season. The biggest thing here is that Rizzo showed the ability to adjust to major league pitchers. I’m not just talking about rebounding from last years dud with the Padres, this year he had a few skids but came out of those before they became too overwhelming. He is the Cubs 2013 starting first baseman, and will be for many years to come.
Wow. There really is no other word to describe his 2012 season, I guess shocked would apply to me. I was just that, shocked at what Soriano was able to accomplish not only with the bat, but with the glove. Soriano made one error all season, think about that for a second. This is the same guy that made 11 in 2009, 7 in 2010, and 7 in 2011, he worked his butt off and showed real improvement. Offensively he set a career high in RBI’s with 108, folks the Cubs only scored 613 runs as a team this season. Soriano also found the long ball again hitting 32 home runs, the most in one season since he hit 33 in 2007. There’s no telling he has earned the right to be back here next year, and that is somewhat up to him, but we will see how the Cubs deal with him in the coming months.
I really don’t care what other people think of him, but Starlin Castro had a fantastic year, and a couple of mental lapses got in the way of making it something really special. Castro became the first Cubs shortstop to play in all 162 games, ever. That shows me that he wants to be out there, mental errors can come with that kind of workload, he probably needed a day off here or there to avoid some of that but he just kept going out there. Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs (a career high), and 78 RBI’s (a career high), he also had 29 doubles and 12 triples for good measure. Castro inked a 7 year extension during the season, he will be a Cub for a long time, and that is a good thing.
There are a number of other guys that deserve to be mentioned as bright spots this year. Darwin Barney’s glove, Barney tied a major league record for consecutive error-less games at 141, and got to everything on the infield it seemed. Carlos Marmol’s second half, after a terrible first half Marmol finished the season strong and looked to be back to his un-hittable self late in the year. Travis Wood stepped into the rotation and did an adequate job for this team, if he can replicate those numbers or even improve upon them he can be a serviceable back of the rotation guy for the Cubs. Bryan LaHair’s first half was fun while it lasted, and earned him a trip to the all-star game, no reason to ignore that. Welington Castillo played his way into the 2013 starting lineup behind the plate as
It was a trying year for many, Dale Sveum included, and as I said around the all-star break I think Dale Sveum gets an incomplete for this season. There was not enough talent on this team to win baseball games, not matter how he managed them. What I did like seeing was the compete level of this team on most nights, sure over the course of a 162 game season there are going to be lackluster efforts. For the most part this team really never gave up, I will be interested to see how Sveum does when he starts getting pieces he can use to compete in games on a consistent basis, that’s when he can accurately be judged as a manager. I could have written about so much more but I think that sums up enough of what happened this season without going on forever, I’m really excited about the direction of this team, most of that excitement stems from the minor league system which we will continue to profile all offseason. Patience is still something fans will have to have as the Cubs are not going to have a team ready to be a contender next year. Sure, they should improve, and that’s what we need to look for, and it’s important we see that, one step at a time, thankfully for all of us I think the worst part just ended.
Thanks for reading all season long, we don’t take breaks so we will have great Cubs coverage all offseason for you. Go Cubs!
After falling behind by two runs early the Cubs were able to tie things up at two in the fifth inning. But, the Cubs couldn’t get a shutdown inning in the bottom half as the Diamondbacks pushed across three runs to take a 5-2 lead and they never looked back on their way to a 8-3 victory. Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and didn’t have his best stuff as he could only last five innings giving up five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two. The Cubs wasted a really good opportunity as well as Ian Kennedy clearly had less than his best as he walked six guys and couldn’t make it through the sixth. Dave Sappelt was the majority of the Cubs offense in this one as he finished the night 1-for-5 with his second home run of the season, he is now hitting .288 since his September call up. Starlin Castro continued his strong finish to the season as well as he had three hits in the loss, including his 27th double of the season. I guess the big news of the night was the error-less streak of Darwin Barney coming to an end. Barney’s streak ends at 141 games which ties the Major League record (Placido Polanco), and falls one inning short of holding it by himself. If that doesn’t sum up this season I don’t know what does, nice streak Darwin.
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The Cubs seem to spring to life in the ninth inning today, unfortunately poor at bats from Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters brought a would be rally to a grinding halt. Trailing 7-3 heading into the ninth inning the Cubs strung together four straight hits which resulted in two quick runs but that’s as far as it would get. With runners at second and third, trailing by two with nobody out, Castro and Vitters both struck out and looked bad in doing so, and the Cubs inched closer to the 100 loss mark. Chris Volstad was Chris Volstad bad today as he could only last for three innings giving up seven runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out none, with the loss he falls to 3-11 on the season. The Cubs were actually uncharacteristically clutch, I mean not counting the ninth inning. The Cubs pounded out 13 hits, and were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but still managed to leave 11 guys on base. Anthony Rizzo snapped out of a mini funk by going 3-for-3 with his 15th home run of the season, two RBI’s, two walks, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano added to his career high RBI total in this one as well, registering an RBI double in the ninth inning to give him 106 for the season. The Cubs now head to Arizona where they will meet the Diamondbacks and possibly 100 losses.
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