Results tagged ‘ Starlin Castro ’

Series Preview – Cubs @ Pirates; May 21 – May 23, 2013

Pirates preview logo

It’s really quite disappointing that the Cubs come into the series on the heels of just losing one at home to the Mets.  That was the whole step back thing I was talking about before that series even started, and the Cubs went out and did just that as they fell back into bad habits, or trends, and lost the series.  The Cubs get a chance at redemption and to start another series winning streak starting tonight in Pittsburgh, and it’s a very important series.  Why, you ask.  I’ll tell you, my inquisitive friend, this marks the beginning of an eight game road trip, and I really think if they can get through this no worse than .500 they will be seeing .500 on the season sooner than later.  Pirates previewTonight also marks the return of Mr. Pie to the face, Matt Garza.  All kidding aside this is huge for the Cubs and Garza for so many reasons, one of those reasons is contract status, the other is trade value.  The Pirates come into this series with the pedal to the metal as they find themselves just two games out of first in the Central.  They also pose a challenge in their home ballpark where they are 15-9 on the season.  Both the Pirates and Cubs come into this series as equals as far as scoring runs is concerned, the Pirates have scored 176, the Cubs have scored 173.  Wait, so why do the Pirates have a better record, well, they have better pitching then the Cubs, specifically in the pen.  The Buccos boast the third best team ERA (3.33)in all of baseball, and their bullpen is a huge reason why as they have a bullpen ERA of 2.81, which is second best in the Majors.  The Cubs currently sit twenty-third in the Majors with a 4.11 bullpen ERA, and that boys and girls is why the Pirates are eight games over .500 and the Cubs are seven games under.

Last Series:

The Cubs lost two out of three to the Mets at Wrigley, and of course could have, and maybe should have won all three, which seems to happen a lot this year.

The Pirates won two out of three from the Astros in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and have won eight of their last ten games.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on WGN
  • Thursday, May 23, 2013 – 11:35 AM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Matt Garza (0-0, -.–)
– Career vs. Pirates (3 GS) (1-1, 3.79)

Game Two – Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.59)
– Career vs. Pirates (14 appearances, 3 GS) (4-0, 0.92)

Game Three – Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76)
– Career vs. Pirates (7 GS) (4-1, 3.09)

Pirates:

Game One – Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.25)
– Career vs. Cubs (23 GS) (8-7, 3.56)

Game Two – Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 6.35)

Game Three – Jeanmar Gómez (2-0, 2.78)
– Career vs. Cubs (first appearance)

Bold Prediction:

This will be the first time all season that the Cubs will trot out their number one, two and three starters.  Okay, Jackson is not quite performing like a number three yet, and Wood and Feldman have been much better, but on paper going into this year it was Garza, Samardzija, Jackson.  Garza’s return to the rotation should only make the pitching staff, bullpen included, better.  With that said, I think the Cubs lose two out of three to the Pirates.  I think Garza will be way too amped up to make his first start so I forsee command issues and a loss tonight.  Now if Garza can harness that emotion the Cubs have a great shot to win the series, but given how hot theCastro pirates preview Pirates are, and Garza “easing” back into things I think the Buccos get the best of the him tonight, and then the Cubs splitting the next two.

Cub to Watch:

I expect a big series from Starlin Castro.  Castro has had his ups and downs this year, but not too high or too low.  He has hovered around .280 for the better part of a month, I think this series is the jumping off point to a really hot stretch.

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Matt Harvey does it all to beat Cubs

Cubs 5-17 line

Full Box Score

Another frustrating one run loss for the Cubs, just when you thought they might be starting to win these close games today happens.  It was a stiff test as the Cubs were facing off against all everything Matt Harvey, and he was as good as advertised, well, after the first inning.  After falling behind 1-0 on a David Wright home run in the first the Cubs answered right back with two runs in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead.  Edwin Jackson pitched right with Harvey for the Rizzo 5-17whole game until Harvey got in his way, with the bat.  That’s right, not only did Harvey get the win on the mound, but he got the game winning hit in the seventh inning.  The Cubs still had a chance in this one, but a questionable send by third base coach David Bell took the Cubs out of the eighth inning.  Bell has been fine all year, so I’m not going to pin this on him, but it hurts to have the game tying run cut down at the plate for the second out of the inning when it could have been first and third with one out with Castro and Rizzo coming to the plate.

At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t have much going against Harvey, but did have a very good first inning, and threatened late.  The Cubs could only manage six hits on the day, but were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position.  Starlin Castro had a solid day going 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .287 on the season.  Anthony Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a double, his twelfth of the season, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, and Darwin Barney recorded the other hits in the game.

On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was solid, but ended up registering his sixth loss of the season.  Jackson worked 6.2 innings giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four.  James Russell was solid out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two.  Kyuji Fujikawa was continues to string together good outings going one scoreless inning while striking out two.

Up Next – Game two of the series at 12:05 PM CST.  The Mets will send Jeremy Hefner to the mound and the Cubs will counter with Scott Feldman

Cubs 5-17 box

Game Highlights:

Soriano’s infield single results in two runs
Barney and Castro turn two
Barney gunned down at the plate

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Cubs win second straight series behind strong Samardzija

Cubs 5-15 line

 

Full Box Score

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 Shark 5-15off 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 seasonCastro 5-15, 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.

Cubs 5-15 box

 

Game Highlights:

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

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Cubs throttle Rockies for third straight win

Cubs 5-13 lineFull Box Score

  As I mentioned in the series preview the Cubs look to be finding a groove and riding the momentum of some nice wins lately.  Tonight was pure domination from beginning to end as the Cubs had a 5-0 lead after two innings en route to a 9-1 victory, their third straight win.  These wins are coming against good teams as well, and they held their own in their most recent losses against the Reds, and Cardinals.  I’m not saying the Cubs are going to be contenders Wood 5-13next week, but they are playing some of the best baseball they have played in the last three years.  Okay, I know, that really doesn’t take much, but watching this team every night I can see the change. Lost in the offensive awesomeness, say that five times fast, was the performance of Travis Wood.  He was brilliant again, and is pitching like a true number one, this is the Travis Wood the Cubs’ brass was hoping they got when they traded Sean Marshall to the Reds.  Actually this is probably more than what they expected this soon, just outstanding.

At The Plate –  The best offensive night for the Cubs this year, they pounded out fourteen hits and scored nine runs.  They were an impressive 6-for-18 with runners in scoring position and had eight extra base hits, six doubles, a triple, and a home run.  David DeJesus was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  Starlin Castro was on base all night going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.  Alfonso Soriano padded his slugging numbers in this one going 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, a double, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Nate Schierholtz was 2-for-4 with a triple, and two RBI’s, he is now hitting .299 on the season.  Welington Castillo and Travis Wood also had two hits in the victory, both of Castillo’s hits were doubles, what else is new, the Cubs lead the Majors in doubles.

Soriano 5-13

On The Mound - Travis Wood was brilliant, what else can be said, he has been all year.  Wood worked seven scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking three and striking out two.  This was his eighth straight quality start to begin the season, he improved his record to 4-2, and lowered his ERA to 2.03 as well.  Kyuji Fujikawa had another solid performance out of the pen tossing a scoreless inning while striking out two.  Carlos Marmol worked the ninth inning giving up one run on one hit while striking out three.

Up Next - The Cubs go for their fourth straight win as Carlos Villanueva looks to get things back on track.  The Rockies counter with Jeff Francis, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM CST, and the weather is supposed to be very summer like.

Cubs 5-13 box

Game Highlights:

Wood’s scoreless outing
DeJesus two-run single
Schierholtz two-run triple
Cubs turn two to end the fifth
Castro turns two
Castro’s two run double
Travis Wood helps himself with a double
Alfonso Soriano launches one out onto Waveland

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Huge News: Cubs lock up Rizzo through 2019 (UPDATE)

This is awesome news.  Per Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have agreed to a long term extension with Anthony Rizzo to the tune of 7 years $41 million.  STEAL!  The Cubs now control Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Jorge Soler for the better part of the next decade.  Much more shortly..

(UPDATE) A few sources confirm that this deal has two club options that could result in this deal going for nine years, and $68 million.  This is such huge news for the Cubs, they are paying Castro and Rizzo to be here for the next 7 years together for $101 million, that’s remarkable.  That should give the Cubs financial flexibility when they need to get get a free agent when they are contending, good news all around tonight.

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Cubs comeback to steal a win, and the series from Nationals

Cubs 5-12 line

Full Box Score

  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, Soriano 5-12but 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.

Up Next - The Cubs head home to start a three game series with the Colorado Rockies tomorrow night.Cubs 5-12 box

Game Highlights:

Soriano scores on a wild throw in the ninth
Gregg gets the save
Great catch by DeJesus
Castro’s game tying single
Navarro gets the first Cubs hit

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May 12, 2013 – Cubs @ Nationals; Lineups!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there!  Today the Cubs look to win the series from the Nationals as they continue to play right with the National League contenders despite their record.  Scott Feldman has been outstanding as of late and he will try to build on that today as he opposes Gio Gonzalez who has struggled in the early going this year.  Starlin Castro is back in the lead-off spot for the Cubs and Bryce Harper makes his return to the Nats lineup, here is how both teams will line up today.

5-12 lineups

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More of the same from Cubs in loss

Cubs 5-10 line

Full Box Score

  The same old things keep plaguing the Cubs, not hitting with runners in scoring position, pitchers making errors, unearned runs, wasted doubles, all were present and accounted for in this one.  Samardzija has no one to thank but himself for the Nationals taking a 2-1 lead in the second as he botched a ball right back at him then gave up a two out double.  Then Samardzija just lost the feeling for everything in the fourth and fifth innings Castro 5-10as the Nationals scored twice in the fourth and three times in the fifth to put this one to bed.  For a game that featured ten total runs on nineteen total hits it was played at a breakneck pace, ending in just over two and a half hours.  More on the Cubs misery with runners in scoring position below, they definitely had plenty of chances to keep this one close.  I mentioned in the series preview that the Cubs would have to play mistake free baseball and capitalize on chances when they present themselves to win, the Cubs proved that true tonight.

At The Plate – The Cubs pounded out ten hits, one more than the Nats, but were only able to score three times.  Of those ten hits seven were doubles, think about that for a second, and the Cubs only scored three times.  Starlin Castro was given a chance to lead off for the first time this year and had a solid game going 2-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.  Anthony Rizzo turned in another solid performance going 2-for-4 with an RBI, he’s now hitting .276 on the season.  Ryan Sweeney had a solid day getting the start in center, he went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.

On The Mound - Jeff Samardzija needs to find a way to get through the fifth inning, or at least avoid the mind numbing innings that make his pitch count explode.  Samardzija’s record fell to 1-5 with the loss, he went five innings giving up seven runs, five earned, on eight hits while walking two and striking out five.  Hector Rondon, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Shawn Camp each worked a scoreless inning in relief to keep the deficit somewhat respectable.

Up Next – Game two of the series as Edwin Jackson takes the ball for the Cubs to face one of his former teams.  Jackson needs a good outing, I’m not saying his spot in the rotation is in jeopardy, yet, but a good performance could go a long way.  Stephen Strasburg will oppose Jackson and the Cubs at 3:05 PM CST.

Cubs 5-10 box

Game Highlights:

Great play by Barney
DeJesus’ RBI ground out
Soriano with the outfield assist
Rizzo’s RBI ground out

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Wood brilliant again as Cubs edge Cards

Cubs line 5-7

Full Box Score

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 Wood 5-7single 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.

Cubs 5-7 box

Game Highlights:

Schierholtz’s game winning two run homer

Thanks for reading,
– George

Feldman turns in second straight gem to get Cubs back in win column

Cubs 5-6 line

Full Box Score

Those are fun games to watch, and this was the first game all year where everyone could sit back and enjoy the ride instead of worrying about how the Cubs would close it out.  Scott Feldman got plenty of run support in this one as the Cubs exploded for nine runs, their largest output of the season.  Feldman will gladly take the run support but really didn’t need it, he was brilliant for the second straight outing, and has really been a pleasant surprise Rizzo 5-6all year-long.  Tonight was a preview of what the Cubs want to be every night, solid at bats, deep counts, using the whole field, and solid starting pitching.  The trick is doing this consistently, it’s not there yet, but I think it’s heading in the right direction.  The Cubs were holding a tenuous 1-0 lead into the fourth inning when they exploded for five runs en route to a 9-2 victory, and a delayed series win over the Rangers..

At The Plate – So many good things tonight as the Cubs pounded out eleven hits and scored nine runs.  Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a walk, for reals, two RBI’s and three runs scored.  Anthony Rizzo is dialed in at the plate right now, and it’s fun to watch.  Rizzo was 3-for-4 with a walk, his ninth home run of the season, a double, four RBI’s, and a run scored, he is now hitting .262 on the season.  Luis Valbuena continues to defy logic as he went 3-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .271 on the season.

On The Mound – What else can be said about Scott Feldman, he was awesome against his former team tonight.  Feldman went seven plus scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out three.  The only bad news was that Feldman had to leave the game in the eighth with a cramp in his throwing hand, after the game Sveum said that Feldman would be fine.  James Russell worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit and no runs.  Rafael Dolis, who was called up today, got some work in as well, he worked 1.1 innings giving up two runs, both unearned on two hits.

Up Next – The Cubs welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to Wrigley for a brief two game series starting tomorrow.  Travis Wood will get the ball and he will be opposed by Lance Lynn who already has five wins this season.  First pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM CST.

Cubs 5-6 box

Game Highlights:

Cubs five run fourth inning
Rizzo’s line drive home run
Cubs take the lead on Soriano ground out

Thanks for reading,
– George

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