Results tagged ‘ Carlos Villanueva ’

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

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

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

Cubs Use Extra Base Hits to Pound Rangers

Cubs April 18 line

Full Box Score

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 Anthony Rizzocrew 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.

Cubs April 18 box

Cubs April 18 Box 1

Game Highlights:

Soriano goes deep
Rizzo hits a monster a shot, really far
Valbuena’s single puts the Cubs on top
Castro and Barney turn two
Valnbuena’s RBI double
Villanueva’s slick double play

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

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

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

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

Cubs Blow it, Then Walk-Off a Winner

Cubs line 4-12

Full Box Score

Baseball is a funny game, it’s also infuriating and thrilling, today had a little bit of everything.  Carlos Villanueva battled Matt Cain today, and got the best of him as he was brilliant all afternoon.  Villanueva left in the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead, things looked great!  Then the ninth inning rolled around, and that clearly has been a problem this year, and it’s not just Marmol either.  Kyuji Fujikawa struggled with his command and got hit Castro 4-12pretty hard as he gave up three runs to blow the save and put himself and the Cubs in line for the loss.  That’s when for the fourth straight game the Cubs showed some fight.  Dioner Navarro tied the game at three with a pinch hit home run off Sergio Romo, David DeJesus came up with a two-out single then Starlin Castro played hero.  Castro drove a 2-1 pitch off the center field wall for a walk-off double, just like that the Cubs were winners, as I said infuriating and thrilling all in one game, gotta love baseball.  My head hurts.

At The Plate – Top of the order magic again for the Cubs.  David DeJesus was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Starlin Castro was the hero, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo continued his torrid start to the season going 2-for-4.  Dioner Navarro came up large off the bench in the ninth delivering a game-tying solo home run, he finished 1-for-1.

On The Mound – What can be said about Carlos Villanueva?  He was absolutely outstanding today, and unfortunately for the second straight game he had to settle for a no decision.  Villanueva tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, he gave up three hits while walking one and striking out three.  James Russell worked tow-thirds of an inning and only allowed one hit.  Kyuji Fujikawa really struggled, he worked one inning giving up three runs on three hits, he earned the blown save, and the win, go figure.

Up Next – Game three of the series and it’s a good one.  Jeff Samardzija takes on Madison Bumgarner at 12:05 PM CST on Fox.

Cubs box 4-12

Cubs box 4-12 1

Game Highlights:

Castro’s solo shot
DeJesus goes deep
Navarro ties the game in the ninth
Castro wins it!

Thanks for reading,
– George

April 12, 2013 – Giants @ Cubs Lineups!

Cubs usually have a rough go of it against Matt Cain, and it doesn’t bode well that Cain was lit up last time out, rarely will that happen twice in a row.  However that’s why they play the game, Carlos Villanueva will oppose Cain and look to build off his outstanding first start of the season.  As far as the weather goes, it will be cloudy and windy, but the rain won’t move in until late this afternoon so this one should get in.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 PM on CSN Chicago.

April 12 lineups

 

Thanks for reading, GO CUBS!
– George

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