Results tagged ‘ Kevin Gregg ’
Carlos Villanueva made his return to the rotation this afternoon and was good but was on a pitch limit, so the Cubs needed a real big effort from their pitchers, and they got it. Villanueva and Hector Rondon each gave up a run today, but other than that the Cubs pitchers were spotless, all seven of them. Oh, except for Kevin Gregg, leading 3-2 in the ninth the Pirates were down to their last strike when Starling Marte launched a game tying solo shot, gut punch. Matt Guerrier came on in relief and gave the Cubs a chance to win and the Cubs did just that. After loading the bases with nobody out Dioner Navarro hit a game winning sacrifice fly to right field, and just like that the Cubs had a series win, their fourth in their last five. Sure this season is lost, but it is nice to see some positive results on the North Side, finally.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
July 31st is awfully close, here come the Soriano bombs! Alfonso Soriano padded his trade value today while also helping the Cubs dispatch a team they haven’t been able to buy a win against, the Pirates. Soriano blasted two, two-run homers in back to back innings, one in the fourth and another in the fifth. That was all the Cubs needed as Edwin Jackson was stellar, again. Jackson went 5.2 innings giving up one run on four hits while walking two and striking out three to earn his fifth win of the season. The Cubs pen was outstanding today, try to contain your shock and enthusiasm, actually let it run wild, this is a rare occurrence. James Russell, Matt Guerrier, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances with Gregg picking up his fifteenth save of the year, speaking of trade value.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
I know it sounds funny given the Cubs struggles, but they are playing their best baseball of the year right now. They have played well for the majority of games earlier this year, but now they are putting together more complete efforts and the result is more wins. With the win the Cubs take the series from the Rockies, this is the Cubs second straight series victory, both over winning ball clubs. The Cubs jumped on the Rockies right away as David DeJesus led the game off with a solo home run. After the Rockies got that run back in the second Jeff Samardzija helped his own cause in the third by launching a two run homer to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. The Rockies pulled to within one run in the sixth but the Cubs broke it open with a three run seventh inning en route to a 6-3 victory. Samardzija earned his second win of the season, his first since opening day, hopefully he can build on that, what was most important for him was finally being able to work deep into a game and control the outcome instead of handing it over to the pen in the fifth or sixth inning.
At The Plate – The Cubs made the most of their hits as they pounded out nine while scoring six times. The top of the order did most of the damage as the Cubs one, two, three hitters were a combined 6-for-10 with three RBI’s, and three runs scored. David DeJesus was 2-for-3 with his fifth home run of the season, an RBI, and two runs scored. Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .282 on the season. Anthony Rizzo continues to produce, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and an RBI, he now has twenty-nine RBI’s on the season. Darwin Barney is starting to find a groove at the plate he was 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Jeff Samardzija had a great day all around, he was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Really nice to see Samardzija pitch instead of just throw and try to miss bats. He has the stuff to miss bats but also get quick outs, and that’s what he did today. Shark went eight innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out seven to earn his second win of the season. James Russell worked just one-third of an inning striking out the only hitter he faced. Kevin Gregg took it from there, things got sketchy, but he was able to get out of the ninth to preserve the win. Gregg worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one run, unearned (on a Gregg error), on two hits.
Up Next - The Cubs welcome the Mets to Wrigley Field for a three game weekend set starting Friday. The Cubs are off tomorrow, their second straight Thursday without a game.
Samardzija goes deep
Samardzija’s strong outing
DeJesus with a sweet grab to end the game
Castro scores in the seventh
Rizzo’s RBI single
Castro with a big insurance RBI
Great defense from the Cubs
DeJesus’ lead-off homer
The Cubs are usually on the other end of these games, I like winning these games WAY more than losing them. The Cubs had nothing going all day as they were being no hit through five innings, then they started to chip away at Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth only to come up empty, but it signaled that the Cubs might be ready to make things difficult for the Nats. Gonzalez rebounded nicely in the seventh inning, but Nats manager Davey Johnson decided to pull Gio after only 86 pitches on the day, the Cubs thank you Davey. The Cubs went to work in the eighth as they played some small ball. Navarro singled to lead off the eighth, he was then moved to second on a sac bunt by Barney. Travis Wood pinch ran for Navarro and made a great base running play to tag up on a foul ball behind first base to make it to third with two outs. Starlin Castro delivered as he took a Drew Storen pitch back up the middle for game tying base hit. The Cubs used some aggressiveness in the ninth to take the lead an ultimately win the game. They put the first two guys on in the ninth then Ryan Sweeney struck out, I know I’m not the only Cubs fan to think here we go again. But on the very next pitch Soriano and Borbon executed a double steal and the Cubs finally got a break. Kurt Suzuki‘s throw to third hit Welington Castillo‘s bat and went down the third base line allowing Soriano to score the game winning run. Kevin Gregg was perfect in the ninth to secure the Cubs win, and the series win over the Nats.
At The Plate - As I mentioned the Cubs had nothing going all day long, but woke up just in time. Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a game tying RBI from the lead-off spot. Cody Ransom had a solid day from the two spot going 2-for-4 with two singles. Dioner Navarro was one of the few guys who were locked in at the plate, he was 2-for-3 in the win.
On The Mound - Another really solid start for Scott Feldman, he had to settle for a no decision but that was better than an undeserved loss. Feldman went six innings giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out six. Kyuji Fujikawa was solid, and healthy for the second time this series. Fujikawa worked a scoreless inning while striking out one, very encouraging to see his velocity up near 93-94 MPH. James Russell worked a scoreless eighth inning while walking one to earn his first win of the season. Kevin Gregg was lights out yet again, what else would you expect? Gregg worked a scoreless ninth while striking out two earning his sixth save of the season.
Some good news today on the injury front, the Cubs have activated Kyuji Fujikawa from the DL and he will join the team in Washington tonight. Rafael Dolis was sent back to Iowa, and Kameron Loe refused his assignment to Iowa so he has been released. Fujikawa, assuming he is healthy should calm down a bullpen that has been shaky to say the least. With the emergence of Kevin Gregg as the new Cubs closer they now have a formidable seventh (Russell) eighth (Fujikawa) and ninth (Gregg). Wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell and Fujikawa flipped so that Fuji can ease his way back into the bullpen rotation. On paper at least it looks like the toughest spot for the bullpen will be that middle guy, sixth/seventh innings. Luckily for the Cubs their starting pitching has done a tremendous job of getting the ball to the seventh inning, if they can keep doing that they might start seeing no decisions start turning into wins.
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Carlos Villanueva can’t buy a win as he has left with a lead in five of his seven starts this year, the Cubs pen has blown the lead now in four of those five starts. Villanueva didn’t have his best stuff today but still got into the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead. The usually reliable James Russell took over in the seventh and gave up back-to-back hits which resulted in the Cardinals knotting the game up. Michael Bowden worked the eighth inning and surrendered the game winning run as the Cubs couldn’t generate anything in the final two innings. The bullpen was half the story, double plays and missed opportunities were the other half. The Cubs seemingly had men on base all day long, but grounded into four double plays to thwart any rally they might have had. The Cardinals weren’t much better, but did get the big hit in the eighth inning when they needed it, but they also grounded in to four double plays, odd game in that regard for sure. Really wanted a sweep for the Cubs, and of course they were in position to get one, eventually these blown leads have to stop…..I think.
At The Plate - The Cubs pounded out eleven hits, but could only manage four runs as they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and they had that double play issue that I already mentioned. Luis Valbuena got a chance in the three spot today and delivered a solid game going 1-for-2 with two walks, and two runs scored. Anthony Rizzo continues to roll, he was 3-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, all of a sudden he is hitting .269 on the season. Cody Ransom continues to hit for the Cubs, he was 2-for-4 with two singles in the loss.
On The Mound - Carlos Villanueva wasn’t at his best, but did more than enough to pick up a win in this one, alas, a no decision for the funny facial hair guy. Villanueva went 6.2 innings giving up three runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out two. James Russell wasn’t his usual self in this one, he was asked to get the last out in the seventh, he did, but not after giving up a run on two hits. Michael Bowden worked the eighth and took the loss, he gave up one run on two hits. Kevin Gregg, the Cubs new closer (officially), worked a scoreless ninth to keep the Cubs in it, he walked one and struck out two.
Up Next – A day off tomorrow. Then a three game weekend series in Washington, the full series preview will be up tomorrow, going to be a tough series for sure.
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As a baseball fan these games are fun to watch. No matter what the records are the Cubs and Cardinals always seem to play close, hard-fought games. Tonight was no different as Travis Wood and Lance Lynn were locked in a battle all night long. The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Allen Craig, and that’s all they would get the whole night. The Cubs erased that deficit and turned it into a lead in the fourth inning, all with two outs as well, something this team hasn’t been great at. Alfonso Soriano looped a single to right then Nate Schierholtz put a good swing on a 3-1 fastball and deposited it in the right center, well more center than right center, bleachers to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead and that’s how this one would end. Tremendous job top to bottom tonight from the Cubs, love beating the Cardinals, and hey, that’s two wins in a row!
At The Plate – Lance Lynn came into this one 5-0 and he didn’t disappoint as he matched Travis Wood pitch for pitch. The Cubs didn’t generate a lot as they only had five hits, but it was enough for the win. Starlin Castro had a rough night at the plate and made a questionable error, but did manage a double in his last at bat to finish the night 1-for-4. Alfonso Soriano was a big part of the offense tonight going 2-for-3 with a run scored, fonsi has his average up to a respectable .276, need more production out of him however. Nate Schierholtz was the offensive hero tonight going 1-for-3 with his fourth home run of the season, two RBI’s and a run scored.
On The Mound - How about Travis Wood, he was outstanding again tonight and has been all season. Wood improved his record to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 2.33 by going 6.2 innings giving up one run on five hits while walking two and striking out eight. Carlos Marmol (yes I held my breath when he came in) was really good in this one. Marmol worked 1.1 scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one, but he worked around the free pass. Kevin Gregg has been reborn, he was spotless again in the ninth inning, he didn’t give up any hits and struck out one.
Up Next - The Cubs go for the sweep, okay it’s only a two game series, but a sweep over the Cardinals is a SWEEP OVER THE CARDINALS. Carlos Villanueva will battle Jake Westbrook at 1:20 PM CST, both pitchers have been outstanding this year, should be another good one.
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Well, how should we look at this loss? Be thrilled that the Cubs fought back against arguably the best closer in the game only to fall just one run short. Or say that this was the typical Cubs “fake rally” where they get just close enough to give us fans some hope, then fizzle out. Maybe a little of both I guess, fact remains the Cubs left way too many guys on base in this one and that was the difference. The Cubs trailed 4-0 in the sixth before getting two runs in the bottom half to pull within two. Unfortunately the Cubs pen couldn’t keep the Reds in check over the next two innings as they built their lead back up to four runs heading to the ninth. The Cubs, somewhat miraculously touched up the untouchable Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, scoring three runs off the flamethrower. Unfortunately, with the bases loaded and trailing 6-5 Darwin Barney struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat and the game, not a game to remember from Darwin Barney, more on that later. So close, so frustrating, so encouraging, so many things pulling us in different directions, welcome to the 2013 Cubs.
At The Plate – The Cubs had a solid game at the plate, but on one hand they could have been so much better. They scored five times on fifteen hits, that’s hard to do, too many opportunities wasted in this one. Anthony Rizzo is now far removed from his early season struggles as he was 3-for-5 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .243 on the season. Alfonso Soriano was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored but it was the at bats he had where he didn’t get a hit that hurt the most. The Cubs four hitter was 0-for-2 with zero RBI’s in this game with the bases loaded, both at bats came with less than two outs, unacceptable. Nate Schierholtz had another good day going 2-for-4 with an RBI, but he also left five guys on base. Luis Valbuena continues to string together good games here and there he was 3-for-4 in the loss. Really rough game for Darwin Barney, he was 0-for-5, he left eight men on base, eight, by himself, including striking out with the bases loaded to end the game. Tomorrow is another day, Darwin, go get em.
On The Mound - Carlos Villanueva didn’t have his best stuff in this one, but he did all he could to get deep into the game. Villanueva went 5.2 innings giving up four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four. Michael Bowden really struggled out of the pen, and it was his own doing as he worked 1.1 innings giving up one run on three walks, ugh. Kameron Loe wasn’t much better has he work one inning giving up one run on two hits while walking one. Kevin Gregg had another solid outing as he worked a scoreless ninth inning while walking one and striking out one.
Up Next - Game two of the series as the Cubs trying to even it up. Jeff Samardzija looks to get a little deeper in the game as lately his pitch counts have been elevated too early, it would be nice to see him get some run support as well. That won’t exactly be easy as the Reds will counter with Tony Cingrani who has been really good in the first few starts of his career.
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The Cubs fight finally paid off in this one, so often this year the Cubs have had the will to win….see what I did there? But they have all too often come up short, but not tonight as they beat the Padres 5-3 to open the four game set. Jeff Samardzija struggled with command in the early going which resulted in an earlier than normal exit. That’s when the bullpen took over as they walked a fine line over the last four innings but shut the Padres down. With the game tied in the sixth Cody Ransom and Darwin Barney came up huge with two outs to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead and they never looked back. That’s four wins in their last five games for the Cubs, I think we can all get used to this.
At The Plate – The Cubs pounded out ten hits en route to scoring five runs in this one, and probably could have had more as they were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Alfonso Soriano broke out of his slump, at least for tonight as he went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored. Cody Ransom was a hero for the Cubs with the bat and glove as he made a game saving play in the seventh. Ransom was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI’s, and two runs scored against his former team. Darwin Barney also found some rare success as he was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI’s, and a walk in the victory.
On The Mound - Jeff Samardzija battled, but he didn’t have his best command, the result was an elevated pitch count by the fifth inning. Shark worked five innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out eight, he did not factor into the decision. Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, James Russell, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless outings out of the pen to nail this one down. Bowden earned the win as he worked an inning while striking out one. Camp and Russell each had some trouble, but were able to work out of it with the help of one another and Kevin Gregg. Gregg worked his third perfect ninth for his fourth save of the year already with the Cubs. Overall Gregg worked 1.1 scoreless innings while striking out two.
Up Next - Game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05 PM CST, should be a great night for baseball as temperatures are supposed to soar into the 80′s. Edwin Jackson gets the ball for the Cubs, he will be opposed by Edinson Volquez who always seems to have the Cubs number.
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