Results tagged ‘ Matt Garza ’

Cubs “sweep” White Sox, finally

Cubs 7-8 line

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This should have happened a month ago, but because of rain Cubs fans had to wait another month for full bragging rights.  The Cubs pounded the White Sox for the fourth straight game the result was a four game season sweep.  The Cubs offense had it going late as they pounded out thirteen hits and scored eight runs, six of those runs coming in the eighth and ninth inning to break it open.  Alfonso Soriano is putting on a show for the rest of baseball, he was 3-for-4 with his thirteenth home run of the season, a walk, two stolen bases, a double, and three runs scored.  Soriano’s trade value is climbing with each passing day, and a game like last night shows teams that are interested that this guy isn’t done.  Speaking of trade value, Matt Garza got the start and was brilliant once again going seven innings giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out six to pick up his fifth win of the season.

PICTURE OF THE GAME

Cubs 7-8 picture

Cubs 7-8 box

Game Highlights:

Valbuena’s huge go ahead double
Garza strong all night
Soriano goes way back
Ransom with a big two-out hit
Sappelt’s second RBI single

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July 7, 2013 – Pirates @ Cubs; Lineups!

Carlos Villanueva gets the start today for the Cubs as they try to take the series from the Pirates this afternoon in the rubber game.  The Pirates will counter with A.J. Burnett who has been outstanding against the Cubs this year.  Villanueva was really good as a starter earlier this year but was relegated to bullpen duties when Matt Garza returned to the rotation, now that Feldman is gone his spot in the rotation is Villanueva’s.

Cubs 7-7 lineup

 

 

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Rizzo comes up huge to complete Cubs comeback

Cubs 6-5 line

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Tale of two games in this one for the Cubs as they fell behind 4-1 in the fourth inning then went to work.  Cody Ransom just barely snuck a three-run homer inside the left field foul pole to tie the game at four in the fifth.  The Cubs jumped ahead in the sixth inning as Ryan Sweeney came through with a big RBI single.  The Cubs hung onto that one run lead until the eighth inning when Mark Trumbo took James Russell deep to tie things up.  It stayed that way until the tenth inning when the Cubs loaded the bases with two out for Anthony Rizzo.  Up until that at bat Rizzo was scuffling, but that’s the great thing about baseball, always a chance to turn the day around.  That’s exactly what Rizzo did as he laced a two-out bases clearing double to give the Cubs an 8-5 lead, and they held off the Angels in the bottom half to take this one 8-6.

PICTURE OF THE GAME

Picture of the game 6-5

Cubs 6-5 box

Game Highlights:

Rizzo’s huge three-run double
Ransom’s three-run homer
Sweeney’s big hit
Barney’s RBI groundout
Sweeney makes a huge diving catch
Gregg nails down the save

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Cubs bats stay hot as they pound the Diamondbacks for fifth straight win

Cubs 5-31 line

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This is starting to resemble a real winning streak, not just a few games, but an actual legitimate winning streak.  The Cubs had everything working for them today as they pitched, hit, and played solid defense, that usually wins a lot of games.  The Cubs only needed one inning in this one as they scored five times in the third inning to take a 7-0 lead en route to a 7-2 victory, their fifth straight.  The big blow came from Scott Hairston, who must have been taking pointers from Travis Wood before the game as he mashed a grand slam, just like Wood did a day earlier.  After the third inning the Cubs didn’t do much with the bats, but they didn’t need to as Matt Garza was outstanding in picking up his first win of the season.  Garza worked seven strong innings giving up two runs on six hits while striking out four, he didn’t walk anybody. Over the last five games, the Cubs are 15-for-38 with runners in scoring position, that is mind-boggling for a team that hasn’t been above .200 as a team in what seems like forever.

PICTURE OF THE GAME

Picture of the game 5-31

 

Cubs 5-31 box

 

Game Highlights

Scott Hairston’s grand slam
Soriano’s two-run homer
Cody Ransom goes deep
Great grab by Barney

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The good news: Cubs stage “real rally” to avoid sweep

Cubs 5-26 line

Full Box Score

No fake rally today boys and girls as the Cubs finally showed some life and came through with a successful rally, no, really!  The Cubs were being owned by Johnny Cueto all day and thanks to some questionable behavior from Cueto, the Cubs woke up.  Now, I’m not going to get into the problem with waiting to be woke up by the opponent versus being ready at first pitch right now, the point is Cueto woke the Cubs up, and paid for it. Trailing 4-0, the Cubs got one run back in the seventh, and scored three times in the eighth inning, the big blow was an Alfonso Soriano two-run homer to tie the game at four, all the damage was done with two outs.  The Cubs went on top for good in then tenth inning as Welington Castillo‘s two out double scored Scott Hairston, and Kevin Gregg shut the door in the bottom half.  The bullpen was outstanding in this one, as they worked a combined 5.2 scoreless innings giving up only one hit after Matt Garza left after four.

PICTURE OF THE GAME

Picture of the game 5-26

Cubs 5-26 box

Game Highlights:

Castillo’s game winning RBI double
Fujikawa leaves hurt
Gregg closes it out
Valbuena makes a great play
Soriano’s game tying blast
Rizzo’s RBI double
Valbuena’s RBI single gets the Cubs on the board

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May 26, 2013 – Cubs @ Reds; Lineups

Matt Garza is tasked with playing stopper as the Cubs have lost six straight, and it would be nice to avoid a seventh straight.  He will be opposed by Johnny Cueto, quite the Sunday match up on the mound in Cincinnati today.  Here is how both teams will line up today.

May 26 lineups

 

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Series Preview – Cubs @ Reds; May 24 – May 26, 2013

Reds preview

I think I mentioned that it was imperative for the Cubs to get off to a good start on this road trip to avoid a disaster, well that didn’t happen.  The Cubs limp into this weekend series against the Reds after getting swept by the Pirates and losing five out of their last six.  That’s why I said that the Mets series would have either been a step forward or a big step back, they lost that series and spiraled since, that would be a step back as they sit ten games under .500 now which is a low water mark.  Things aren’t going to get any easier as the Cubs start a three game series in Cincinnati tonight, a place where the Reds are 16-6 on the season, and have won eight of their last ten overall.  Reds preview 5-24If there is any good news heading into this series it’s that the Cubs have played the Reds tough all year-long, that doesn’t necessarily mean wins, guess we’ll have to rely on moral victories at this point.  The Reds are back to scoring runs in bunches again and have scored 225 on the season, that’s good for sixth in the majors.  They hold a huge edge in the department over the Cubs and the 179 runs they have scored this season.  Scoring runs isn’t the only thing the Reds do well, they are pretty good at preventing the other team from doing so.  They have a 3.31 team ERA which is third best in the Majors, you add up that kind of offense, and pitching and you get a team that is 29-18 on the season.  The Cubs will need a perfect series in order to take two out of three this weekend.

Last Series:

The Cubs were swept in Pittsburgh, three games that we should all just forget about.

The Reds are rolling as they have won three straight, and eight out of their last ten.  They are coming off a three game sweep of the Mets in New York.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, May 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN
  • Saturday, May 25, 2013 – 3:10 PM CST on WGN
  • Sunday, May 26, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Scott Feldman (4-3, 2.19)
– Career vs. Reds (first appearance)

Game Two – Travis Wood (4-2, 2.24)
– Career vs. Reds (3 GS) (0-1, 4.42)

Game Three – Matt Garza (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Reds (4 GS) (1-2, 3.80)

Reds:

Game One – Bronson Arroyo (4-2, 3.25)
– Career vs. Cubs (28 appearances, 26 GS) (11-9, 2.99)

Game Two – Homer Bailey (2-3, 3.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (5-2, 5.12)

Game Three – Johnny Cueto (2-0, 3.22)
– Career vs. Cubs (18 GS) (8-6, 3.01)

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs send their number four, five, and one starters to the mound in this series, and oddly enough that might be their best chance to win.  Travis Wood, and Scott Feldman have been as good as any pitcher this year, not just on the Cubs either.  With that said, the Reds are finding their groove and the Cubs look disinterested so I think they lose two out of three this weekend.  HOWEVER, of course there is a however, I think if they can steal the first game tonight they could win two out of three, fingers crossed.Rizzo 5-24

Cub to Watch:

Time for Anthony Rizzo to get back on track as he has struggled since signing his big contract extension.  Could that be a product of Rizzo trying to justify his contract, I don’t think so, I think he is just pressing at the moment knowing he is a big part of this offense and is struggling.  Rizzo has had success against Arroyo in the past (3-for-8), if he has a big night tonight then expect a big series as Rizzo usually parlays one big game into a torrid week or so.

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Sveum’s debacle last night, my thoughts

I’ve never been one to call for a managers head, or question a manager openly, unless their first name is Mike, and last name is Quade, that’s not what this is.  I’ve played the game, nowhere near the MLB level, and I’ve never been a manager so I cannot relate to what Sveum goes through on a daily basis with one eye on his team, one eye on his future, and one eye on the organizations future, wait, that’s too many eyes, I digress.  Sveum has been a popular target on social media, specifically twitter the last week, and really all the season when the Cubs flame out, but rarely receives any credit when he does make the right move and it pays off.  Now, I understand that this is usually the case with managers, but it’s worth pointing out that Cubs fans are slowly turning their hate and ire towards Sveum.  Last night didn’t help, and it added fuel to the fire of the keeping Shawn Camp decision, more on that later.

I don’t care what word you want to use, disaster, debacle, mismanaged, I think they all apply to last night.  After Matt Garza made a successful return to the mound going five scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking three and striking out five he was lifted by Sveum, this was after 82 pitches, and it was the RIGHT move.  Sveum screwed up last night, but one of the things he did right was lift Garza, Garza means more to the Cubs healthy with a no Garza Backdecision, then hurt again, and 1-0 on the season.  The head scratching came after he lifted Garza.  Shawn Camp was warming up in the pen during the fifth inning in case Garza couldn’t get out of some trouble, Garza did get out of the trouble, then Camp sat down.  Hector Rondon got up instead and was slated to come in for the sixth, that was the first issue I had.  Shawn Camp has been awful this year, Shawn Camp has shown signs of a dead arm this year, you don’t get him up to come in then sit him down, doesn’t work, usually doesn’t.  Rondon struggled, which can happen, then Sveum reached a new level of second guessing by bringing in James Russell, arguably the best arm in the pen…. in the sixth.  Sure, one could argue that this was a turning point in the game, but what happens after the sixth if Russell gets out of it?  Who’s left out of the pen to work the seventh, Camp?  The same Camp that just sat down an inning ago?  Marmol would probably come in for the seventh, but as you will read Sveum had no intentions of letting Russell get out of the sixth.

Let’s stop there for a second to discuss something else.  When Garza’s return to the rotation was announced, last week, Sveum said that Villanueva was going to go to the pen.  Okay, given that Garza was on a strict pitch count last night, Sveum had a day or so to figure out what he wanted to do when Garza was lifted, and he was most likely going to be lifted early.  So one would think that it would have made perfect sense to bring in Villanueva to not only get through the sixth, but piece together the game and have Villanueva get the ball to the ninth assuming he was effective.  But Villanueva was nowhere to be found, and I do understand that he might not have been available, but for argument’s sake I figured I would at least bring it up as another possible option for Sveum in the sixth.

Okay, back to what actually happened last night.  So in comes Russell in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out to face Pedro Alvarez.  I get the lefty/lefty match up thing in a big spot but after Russell walked Alvarez Sveum removed him.  The best arm in the pen faced one batter in the sixth and that was it.  If you are going10-4 Sveum to bring Russel in for that situation let him get out of it, or at least attempt to.  I don’t care if it’s a righty or lefty at the plate, Russell can get both out, instead he faces one guy, and leaves the game in the same situation as he entered it.  Now comes the decision to bring in Shawn Camp with the bases loaded and one out, he gets the first guy, but then is left in to face a lefty in Travis Snider, why?  If Russell is being lifted after one hitter because of matchup’s why is Camp being left in the game for an unfavorable matchup?  Probably because he was the third pitcher of the inning already.  But if this was the most important spot in the game, important enough to use Russell, why wasn’t Fujikawa brought in, or Marmol, both have been better than Camp, and that’s alarming given Marmol’s struggles.  Dale completely botched this whole situation as he then was forced to stick with Camp the rest of the inning because no one was left out of the pen if he went to a fourth pitcher in the inning.

So, what could have been done differently?  Garza had to come out, no question, I absolutely agree with that move.  I’m indifferent on bringing in Rondon in that situation, but I would have went with Marmol, but have a quick hook ready if he can’t find the zone.  Ideally, Marmol works the sixth inning, Russell works the seventh, Fujikawa works the eighth, and Gregg closes it out.  I don’t see any reason why Rondon HAD to be used, when in the past Sveum has shied away from using him late with a lead, but my biggest complaint is Russell for one hitter, makes no sense.  Now, this is the scenario if Villanueva was not available, if he was available then this game was the perfect spot for a former starter easing into the pen.  Use him for as long as he is effective then go from there, we’ve already seen our fair share of bullpen disasters, but I think this one could have been avoided with better decision-making from Sveum.

That brings us to the other question, why was Camp still available to be used in the first place?  To make room for Garza one pitcher had to be designated for assignment, and that pitcher was Michael Bowden.  Bowden was having a solid season on the heels of having a really good finish to 2012, but now the Cubs risk losing him completely, and he’s only 26, why?  I can’t really answer that question, and ultimately that decision comes down to the front office.  Both Theo and Jed said that all decisions regarding the roster are made with a large input from Dale, so my guess is that he lobbied hard for Camp, and the front office showed faith in their manager and player by keeping Camp around.  Garza for BowdenThe Cubs had options here, they could have placed Rondon on the DL with a “middle body” injury to by some time before making a decision, or they could have released Camp who looks done, there is nothing telling me that he is going to bounce back in any way, shape or form.  Let’s not forget the only reason the Cubs got him was that he was released by Seattle during spring training the year before.  He’s also 37 years old, all of these things just don’t add up in regards to keeping him, so Sveum and the front office have to share the blame on that one, and if I had to guess Camp won’t be on the Cubs by the All-Star break.  Been a while since I’ve been able to share my thoughts in this space, felt I needed to after last night, today’s another game, let’s get a win!

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Same old problems plague Cubs in loss to Mets

Cubs 5-19 line

Full Box Score

Another frustrating loss, as I mentioned in the series preview the Cubs had an opportunity to take another step forward with a series win, instead they take a step back, as they have all year.  Travis Wood was brilliant again, but the Cubs wasted multiple opportunities until the fifth inning when Wood took things into his own hands.  With the game scoreless and the Cubs threatening to waste another lead-off double Travis Wood launched a two run homer out on to Waveland to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.  After the Mets got one run back in the sixth the Cubs answered right back in the bottom half to regain their two run lead.  That’s when things unraveled as Wood gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Juan Lagares, yeah, the noted home run hitter, Juan Lagares.  It was Lagares first home run of his career and it tied the game at three and seemingly took all the fight out of the Cubs.  Kyuji Fujikawa quickly gave the Mets the lead in the eight giving up a lead-off Wood 5-19homer to Daniel Murphy and just like that a series win turned into a series loss.  If this loss doesn’t sum up 2013 I don’t know what does, a quality start wasted, a bunch of wasted opportunities offensively, and the bullpen took the loss, yep, your 2013 Chicago Cubs, so frustrating.

At The Plate - The Cubs problems with runners in scoring position came back to bite them again in this one as they were 1-for-10, yuck.  David DeJesus was 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a double, he’s now hitting .294 on the season.  Ryan Sweeney got the start in left for Soriano and produced just about as well as Soriano has.  Sweeney was 2-for-3 with a double, his first home run of the season, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  Welington Castillo was 2-for-4 with his tenth double of the season and a run scored.  Travis Wood did all he could to get the win today, he was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season with two RBI’s and a run scored.

On The Mound – Travis Wood delivered with his ninth straight quality start, and didn’t factor in the decision, again.  Wood worked seven innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking two and striking out three.  Kyuji Fujikawa didn’t take long to record his first loss of the season, he worked one inning giving up one run on a solo shot to lead off the inning while striking out two.  Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless ninth because it wasn’t a save situation giving up one hit while striking out two.

Up Next – The Cubs are off tomorrow then they open an eight game road trip starting with a three game set in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.  Matt Garza will make his first start in ten months for the Cubs, I’m sure he will be more than ready to go.

Cubs 5-19 box

Game Highlights:



Travis Wood’s great outing
Ryan Sweeney goes deep
Sweeney thrown “out” at third

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Minor Matters – May 16, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 5-16 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - Iowa didn’t really have a lot going offensively, but they didn’t need it as the one run they scored in the second inning was enough for the win.  Brent Lillibridge was 1-for-3 with a walk in the win.  Dave Sappelt, Brian Bogusevic, and Josh Vitters all had base hits in this one.  Donnie Muphy had the biggest one, a run scoring single in the second, he finished the night 1-for-2 with said RBI.

On The MoundMatt Garza is just about ready to return to the Cubs and he showed it tonight.  Garza was brilliant going six scoreless innings giving up two hits while striking out six, he threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes.  Brooks Raley took it from there as he worked three scoreless inning out of the pen for his first save of the year, he gave up two hits while walking one and striking out three.

Smokies 5-16 line

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At The Plate – The Smokies broke through with two runs in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie, and eventually win 6-4, the win pushes them one game over .500 on the season.  Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 with a double and a runs scored in the win.  Ty Wright had a huge night for the Smokies going 2-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored, Wright came into this one with no home runs on the season.  Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Rafael Lopez was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

On The Mound –  Matt Loosen never really found his command in this one as he worked four innings giving up four runs on three hits while walking six(!), and striking out five.  Then the bullpen took over for the Smokies and won the game.  A.J. Morris was perfect going three scoreless innings while striking out three to get his second win of the season.  Marcus Hatley worked a scoreless eighth inning giving up one hit.  Frank Batista worked a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save of the season while striking out one.

Daytona 5-16 line

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At The Plate –  The Daytona bats finally woke up, unfortunately that wasn’t enough to win tonight as they drop another disappointing one to Charlotte.  Daytona scored seven times but left a lot out there as they were only 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.  Dustin Geiger is putting together a solid season and had another good night going 3-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored, he is now hitting .298 on the season.  Ben Carhart was 1-for-4 with a walk, and two runs scored in the loss.  Huge night for Chadd Krist, he went 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and five RBI’s, not bad for his second game with Daytona.

On The Mound – Probably the worst outing you will ever see P.J. Francescon have, he had nothing.  Francescon went five innings giving up ten runs, eight earned, on nine hits while walking five and striking out three, his record fell to 3-3 on the season.  Jeffrey Lorick was decent out of the pen going 1.2 innings giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while walking one and striking out one.  David Cales was okay out of the pen going 1.1 innings giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Hunter Cervenka worked a scoreless inning giving up one hit, he has a sparkling 1.62 ERA on the season.

Kane County 5-16 line

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At The Plate – Game one was all Cougars, they didn’t break it open until late but they only needed one as they beat the Chiefs in game one 5-0.  Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored from the lead-off spot.  Gioskar Amaya had a big game going 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Dan Vogelbach was 1-for-4 with a double, and an RBI in the win.  Willson Contreras is locked in right now, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, he is now hitting .307 on the season.  Marco Hernandez was perfect in game one going 3-for-3 with a double, and two runs scored.

On The Mound -  Brian Smith was awesome for the Cougars, in fact he was almost perfect.  Smith worked four scoreless, and hit-less innings while walking two and striking out two.  Eddie Orozco took over and was very good, he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out one to earn his second win of the season.  Jeffry Antigua came on to close this one out, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.

Kane County 5-16 line game 2

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At The Plate – The Chiefs got payback in game two as they routed the Cougars 8-2, the Cougars could only manage three hits in this one.  What’s worse is they committed six errors in seven innings, that usually doesn’t end well.  Jeimer Candelario was one of the few Cougars who had a strong game two at the plate, he was 2-for-3 with two doubles, he also committed three errors.  Marco Hernandez proved to be the only offense for the Cougars going 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, a run scored, and you guessed it, an error.

On The Mound – As you could imagine the Cougars pitching didn’t get a lot of help from their defense.  Michael Heesch got the start and took the loss, he worked three innings giving up six runs, two earned, on four hits while walking two.  Steve Perakslis was solid out of the pen working three scoreless innings giving up three hits while striking out two.  Bijan Rademacher, the Cougars starting right fielder, worked one inning giving up two runs, unearned, on two hits while walking one.

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