Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’

Jackson Impresses in Debut; Bullpen Fails Cubs

It was an exciting day to be a Cubs fan until the bullpen entered the game and the reality of being in the early stages of rebuilding slapped us all across the face.  Nevertheless, it was an important day for the Cubs organization and the fans as the future became a little clearer.  Top prospects  Brett Jackson, and Josh Vitters were called up before the game, and both Jackson and Anthony Rizzo played large roles in the game today.

It was a pitchers duel through five innings today as the Cubs and Dodgers were deadlocked at one, that’s when things got crazy.  After the Cubs took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 6th the Dodgers pushed across three in the bottom half to take a 4-2 lead thanks to the Cubs bullpen, and their inability to throw strikes.  Normally that would signal the end for the Cubs but they stormed back in the top of the 7th, scoring three times, Alfonso Soriano came through with a big two out double to score two of those runs to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead.  Once again, the Cubs bullpen couldn’t preserve the lead as the Dodgers jumped right back on top in the bottom of the 7th, scoring twice after having nobody on and two outs.  The Dodgers clung to a one run lead into the ninth as Kenley Jansen took the mound, Jansen has been nearly un-hittable this year, don’t tell that to Anthony Rizzo.  Rizzo lead the ninth off with a towering solo shot to tie the game at six, his ninth home run of the season, and third RBI of the game.  Shawn Camp came on in the ninth to get this game to extra’s but he doesn’t really have an arm left and it showed again as he allowed the Dodgers to string together a couple hits after a lead-off walk to win this one 7-6.  All in all it was an exciting yet excruciating day for Cubs fans, probably more of these on the way, but at least there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Volstad Outstanding, But Kershaw Better

If I would have told you that Chris Volstad would only give up two runs tonight you would probably think that the Cubs would win, who am I kidding, I mean lose by less than you originally thought.  That’s exactly what happened as Volstad was outstanding, unfortunately the Cubs could not get anything going against Kershaw and fell to the Dodgers 3-1.  Volstad who is trying to make a great third impression on the Cubs organization tossed seven strong innings giving up two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three.  The loss is Volstad’s eighth of the season and extends his winless streak to 21 straight starts.  For the fourth straight game the Cubs offense was listless at best, resembling the May and June Cubs offense.  Kershaw held the Cubs to three hits over his seven stellar innings of work, and the Dodgers bullpen was spotless.  Darwin Barney, Alfsonso Soriano, and Welington Castillo were the only Cubs to get hits in the loss.  The Cubs look to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon against newly acquired Joe Blanton, something tells me he will resemble Cy Young more than Joe Blanton.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Cubs Offense Too Little Too Late as Pirates Take the Series

After scoring 14 runs in the series opener and rolling over the Pirates the Cubs offense disappeared over the last two games.  Last night they just barely avoided being no-hit, and today they were shut down for eight innings by Jeff Karstens before rallying in the ninth only to fall short and drop the rubber game to the Pirates 8-4.  Travis Wood got the start for the Cubs and was much better than his last few starts, hard to be much worse I guess, but still.  Wood worked five innings giving up two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out six.  The game stayed close into the eighth, that’s where Shawn Camp’s arm fell off.  Okay, he’s not hurt, but he finally had a bad outing, I guess he was due because that never happens.  Camp didn’t retire a batter and gave up five runs on seven hits, if you’re going to be bad, be epic bad, it happens.  The bright spot in the mess of an eight inning was Alberto Cabrera who was called up today and made his major league debut.  Cabrera was electric, working one inning and striking out two hitters, it’s only one outing but it’s a glimpse into the future as Cabrera sets up to be a serviceable major league bullpen arm.  Starlin Castro was the lone offense early as he blasted his 11th home run of the season in the first inning, a career high, he finished the day 2-for-5 at the plate.  Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and Bryan LaHair all had two hits in the loss, unfortunately the Cubs couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it early in the game.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Countdown to the Deadline: Talks Picking Up, Sort Of

Just two weeks ago it seemed that the Cubs would have made a few deals by July 30th, well here we sit, on July 30th and nothing has been done.  I attribute this to the whole Dempster saga, if he accepts the Braves deal then I think the Cubs would have made a few more moves by now.  But because he declined, at least for now, the Cubs sit in a holding pattern.  Here are some of the latest trade rumors involving the Cubs.


Andy Martino is reporting  that the Mets have had discussions with the Cubs about Geovany Soto.  Odds are a deal doesn’t get done here, but it is nice to see somebody asking about Soto. If the Cubs could move him for anything more than a Manny Alexander life-size cardboard cutout we should all be grateful.


Ken Rosenthal weighed in with some thoughts about the increase in demand for starting pitching, and how it relates to Garza.  Even with the news of Garza not starting again until after the deadline team keep calling on him.  What teams are looking for her obviously is a discounted rate for Garza, the Cubs aren’t budging.  For that reason Rosenthal and a number of sources believe that a Garza deal during the 2012 season before the deadline is “doubtful” but not out of the question.  Because the Cubs and Garza have not talked contract extension since the Spring it is believed that the Cubs will move him in the Winter.


Danny Knobler is reporting that the Dodgers and Cubs are at an impasse on Dempster.  If I had to guess I thing each team is waiting for the other to cave and accept a deal to just make a deal.  Because of the this the Braves have been keeping an eye on the situation and might be ready to start-up talks again with the Cubs for Dempster.  Per Knobler, people in the game expect Atlanta to get involved with Dempster again.

Yesterday afternoon Peter Gammons was on MLB Network and was very candid about what the Dodgers need to do, and the #1 thing he said the Dodgers needed to do was trade for Dempster.  He said that they should do whatever it takes to land Dempster because he could be the difference for them.  Let’s hope he’s right.


An interesting rumor popped up over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal suggests that Alfonso Soriano’s name has come up in the Dempster to the Dodgers talks.  The Cubs were rumored to add Soriano to a potential deal to the Dodgers to get a better prospect in return, but nothing has come out of those talks, yet.  Rosenthal adds that if the Cubs can’t find a deal before the deadline they would look to deal Soriano in the off-season where they might get a better return.

Things are going to get pretty crazy here as the deadline is only 31 hours away, keep checking back for the latest updates, and maybe a couple trades to announce as well.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Catch Cards By Surprise, Even Series

If you only watched the first inning today you probably thought that the Cubs and Cards went toe-to-toe in another slugfest today, you would also be wrong.  Cardinals starter Joe Kelly and Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija both struggled in the first today.  But both guy got out of jams where it could have been much worse than it was.  Samardzija struggled with his command all day, but especially in the first where he walked the first three guys he faced to load the bases with none out.  Samardzija escaped with giving up only one run which was huge as the Cubs bounced right back.  Kelly had men on second and third with no outs and managed to tightrope out of the first giving up just two.  The game stayed 2-1 until the Cardinals tied things up in the 6th inning.  The Cubs looked like they might break things open in the seventh when they put the first two guys on 1st and 3rd, but struggled to push across a run.  With two outs and guys at 1st and 2nd still Reed Johnson caught everyone by surprise by laying down a two out safety squeeze.  It worked to perfection as Fuentes didn’t have a throw and pinch runner Tony Campana scored the go ahead run, which was also the winning run.  Carlos Marmol came on for the ninth and shut the Cardinals down, he is now 11-for-11 in save opportunities.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Cards Use The Long Ball to Down Cubs

The Cardinals were hitting home runs on a record pace this afternoon in Chicago as they pounded out five home runs en route to a 9-6 victory over the Cubs.  Not only did they hit five home runs, they did so in the first five innings against Travis Wood.  Wood, who was being viewed as a surprise earlier in the season has fallen on hard times recently.  Friday afternoon added to Wood’s recent struggles as he gave up eight runs on seven hits in five innings of work, he walked two and struck out two.  Almost all the scoring took place in the first five innings today, and it started right away as the Cardinals jumped out in front in the top of the first inning 1-0.  The Cubs bounced right back as they scored three times of Cardinals surprise ace Lance Lynn.  Starlin Castro singled home DeJesus, and Anthony Rizzo blasted a two run homer to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.  That lead evaporated quickly as the Cardinals built up a 6-3 advantage by the third inning before the Cubs came back again.  Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were part of the rally again as Castro tripled and Rizzo had an RBI single in the three run third inning and just like that it was 6-6.  Unfortunately the Cubs offense was done after the third and the Cardinals continued to tee off on Cubs pitching on their way to taking game one from the Cubs.  Rizzo finished the day going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI’s. Castro also had a solid day at the plate going 3-for-4 with a triple, and RBI, and two runs scored.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Spoiler Alert: Maholm, Cubs Frustrate Pirates

It wasn’t too  long ago that the Cubs were contenders and would struggle whenever the lowly teams in the division would come to town, well they are now returning the favor to the Pirates.  Not that it’s something to get really excited about because of course a team would rather be contending, but it’s nice to have meaningful win one way or another.  Paul Maholm turned in another outstanding performance, this time against the only other team he has suited up for in the Major Leagues.  Maholm went eight innings giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out seven to earn his ninth win of the season and lower his ERA to 3.88.  It was the second start in a row that a Cubs pitcher was able to go eight innings as Jeff Samardzija did the same to the Pirates yesterday.  Things got started in a big way as Starlin Castro took the first pitch he saw and deposited in the right center field bleachers for his ninth home run of the season to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.  The only mistake Maholm made all night was an elevated fastball to Garrett Jones, Jones matched Castro’s solo shot with one of his own to tie the game at one in the fourth.  David DeJesus came through with the big hit for the Cubs in the fifth inning, with two outs and the bases loaded DeJesus laced a double into the right field corner scoring two to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.  Alfonso Soriano put the game to bed in the 6th as he blasted his 19th home run of the season, a two run shot to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead and that’s how it would end.  The Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow morning behind Ryan Dempster, I guess.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Shark Sinks Pirates

If you like pitching then this one was for you as Jeff Samardzija and Erik Bedard put on a clinic, fortunately for the Cubs Samardzija was just a hair better… get it?  Samardzija was dominant as he matched Bedard pitch for pitch in his eight innings of work.  Count me as one of the people who thought Samardzija should have been allowed to finish the game, he wasn’t, but Carlos Marmol was outstanding in the ninth close out a 2-0 victory over the red-hot Pirates.  The final line for Samardzija was impressive, he shut out the Pirates over eight innings giving up only one hit while walking one and striking out five to earn his seventh win of the season against eight losses.  As I mentioned Bedard was equally as good but the Cubs broke the deadlock in the fourth inning thanks to a double from Alfonso Soriano.  Soriano wasn’t done there as he liked doubling home Castro so much that he did it again in the ninth inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead and some breathing room.  Starlin Castro played table setter for the Cubs tonight as he earned a two out walk before Soriano’s first double, and singled in the ninth before scoring on Soriano’s second double.  Castro finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk and two very big runs scored.  I guess I should mention that as of 9:33 PM CST Ryan Dempster is still a member of the Chicago Cubs, it’s been a crazy day, glad it ended with a solid victory.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.


Maholm Brilliant Again as Cubs Take Series

Paul Maholm was pressing early in the year, and I don’t blame.  He was trying to prove to a major market that he was worth the money spent on him in the offseason, he soon realized that he didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and has taken off since then.  Today was the latest chapter in Maholm’s resurgence as he was outstanding over eight innings to earn his 8th win of the season against six losses, and give the Cubs a series win over the Marlins.  Maholm gave up one run on five hits while walking one and striking out four and lowered his ERA to 4.09 on the season.  Maholm didn’t get much help from his offense, but he got just enough as the Cubs came through with clutch hits yet again, which has been a staple of this team during their recent hot streak.  The Cubs only needed one inning to do their damage as they pushed four runs across the plate against Marlins starter Mark Buehrle, which was started by an Alfonso Soriano solo home run, his team leading 18th of the season.  Luis Valbuena recorded a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no outs to make it 2-0, and Reed Johnson came up with a huge two out single that scored two to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.  Reed Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, and Darwin Barney all had two hits in the win.  Carlos Marmol came on in the ninth and had some trouble again before nailing it down for his 11th save of the season.  The Cubs finished their six game home stand an impressive 5-1, full box score and highlights after the jump.


Rain Can’t Cool Off Cubs

Judging by today’s performance I’m going out on a limb and saying the four-day all-star break was the most beneficial for Alfonso Soriano.  Soriano led the charge for the Cubs as they opened the second half much like they finished the first half, blowing out an opponent.  The Diamondbacks jumped on top of the Cubs in the first inning after a three-hour and forty minute rain delay, plating a single run on two hits off of Maholm, that was the only run Maholm would surrender as he was stellar again.  After the Cubs tied the game at one in the second they went off against starter Ian Kennedy while dodging rain drops.  The Cubs scored in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh inning on their way to an 8-1 blow out.  As I mentioned, Soriano led the way, he finished the day 4-for-4 with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI’s and three runs scored, probably Soriano’s best game since the 2007-2008 seasons.  He wasn’t alone in his destruction of D-Backs pitching as Anthony Rizzo also had a good day finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  The offense didn’t need eight runs, though it was nice to see, because Maholm was on top of his game.  Maholm secured his seventh victory of the season by going seven strong innings giving up one run on six hits while walking one and striking out five.  After today’s effort Maholm’s ERA dropped to 4.33 on the season.  The Cubs are putting it all together right now, they are 7-3 in their last ten, and have raised their home record to .500 on the season.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.



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