Cubs Win Second in a Row

The Cubs take a nail-biter from the Reds to open their series, winning their second road game in a row.

Why the Cubs Won:  Well, Joey Votto is on the disabled list, that probably helped a lot. The Reds offense wasn't much before that and Votto has killed the Cubs in his brief career. Zambrano looked good though, no-hitting the Reds through four and a third. He got into a bit of trouble in that fifth inning with runners on the corners and one out, but got Micah Owings swinging and Jerry Hairston Jr. to fly out to end the threat.  Z finished with 6.2 IP and runners on first and second before giving way to Angel Guzman who got the hold when Johnny Gomes grounded out to Ryan Theriot for the force.

That set-up Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg for the eight and ninth and they did their job - I suppose - although it certainly wasn't pretty. After a leadoff walk to Hairston Jr. and ground out by Chris Dickerson, Marmol left a fastball over the plate to Brandon Phillips that was ripped to left center. The scorer graciously awarded a triple to Phillips although Alfonso Soriano probably should have been able to cut it off in the gap. Phillips did a bit of showboating, stopping his slide short of third base, jumping up and clapping his hands together and then slowly taking the final step to third base as Soriano's throw was way off the mark. Now only up 2-1 with the tying run on third and less than two outs, Marmol got Lance Nix to pop up before walking Ramon Hernandez. He got the hold though by making Jay Bruce look silly on a few sliders before finally grounding out. 

Kevin Gregg then got the benefit of facing the bottom of the order and retired the first two Reds before finally throwing one too many sliders to pinch hitter Ryan Hanigan who singled to center. After going down 3-0 on Hairston Jr., the count worked back to 3-2 and Hairston Jr. chased strike three but for the second time in a week, Gregg fell victim to the dropped third strike. Koyie "Three-Finger" Hill lazily tried to back-hand the ball instead of moving his body to try and block it and with the runner going, the Reds had runners on the corners. Two pitches later though, Chris Dickerson mercifully popped up to third base to end the game.

The Cubs worked Micah Owings to over 30 pitches in the first including three walks one of the bases loaded variety to force in the first run of the game. The only other offense for the Cubs was by big Z himself who struck out his first time at-bat from the left side. He switched to the right side in his second at-bat and launched one out to center field. It's unclear whether there was an injury or he'd just been talking to Andres Blanco.

Armchair Managing: Lou pretty much played this one by the book, although I'm not sure why he didn't just pinch-hit with Reed Johnson for Micah Hoffpauir in the top of the 8th with lefty Arthur Rhodes pitching. Hoffpauir was removed in the bottom half of the inning for defensive purposes as is and Marmol wasn't going to go two innings tonight.

Cubs face rookie lefty Mike Maloney tomorrow and Bronson Arroyo on Sunday, thus missing Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and the injured Edinson Volquez on top of Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion being on the disabled list. It feels like a good time for a sweep.

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Alls well that ends well. Would have liked a few more runs, but a win is a win. Marmol and Gregg were there usual 'interesting' selves. Confidence not very high in close games with those 2.

Hill and Blanco are automatic outs at this point, not that Soto is any better. I for one am actually looking forward to the return of Aaron Miles and I hate to say that but he has been a much better hitter than either Blanco or Scales over his career.

This series does matchup favorably for us, of course I remember thinking that a few times this year only to be dissapointed so we will see.

Hill and Blanco are automatic outs at this point

K. Hill has a .386 OBP this year. How is that an automatic out?

Yeah he hasn't been as awful this year so far as he has been most of his career.

His career OBP is .280 and thats including his 'great' year this year. Hill just isn't a hitter.

Who said this year was great?

Hill's .280 career OBP has come in a grand total of 316 plate appearances.

Don't get me wrong - I have very low expectations from Koyie Hill. But to say that he is an automatic out ignores the fact that he has actually been pretty decent/good this season. Now, I don't necessarily expect that to last, but he has definitely not been a problem for this team so far.

The last time Hill had more than one PA and didn't get on base was April 30th. I think he sucks, but to say he's an automatic out is a blatant distortion of the truth.

I wouldn't mind seeing Z hit 8th. I can understand not doing it when the regulars were there, but with Andres Blanco hitting 8th ... I really wouldn't mind it.

Solid win for the team. Micah swung at some bad pitches, but he made up for a poor offensive night with that "running, bumbling play" (or whatever the Cincy announcers said ... was watching on mlbtv).

I also would've liked to see Reed come on to PH for Micah as well.

White Sox get shut out again.

DeRo goes yard -- now with 9 HR and 37 RBI.

And we're choosing between Scales and Blanco.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

imo, this should be their 3rd win in a row. the wells game was given away.

incredible insight...

thanks. so was your "report" reprising what I spent watching three hours watching myself.

nice redundancy.

www.bleedcubbieblue.com...

they'd love to have you...

I call bullshit.....

"After this contract, I'm gone," he said. "I'll betcha $100. I'm serious."

"Because I don't want to play," he said. "I want to help this team. I want to do everything possible to win with this team. And after five years, four years, or whatever is left on my contract. ...

"You know how many Mother's Days I haven't spent with my mother? Twelve. You know how many things I've been [missing] in my life? It's good to be here, it's good to play baseball. But in five years. ... I will retire. And I won't have to see you anymore."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

no good will come of this....

Right on. These guys say ridiculous crap and then complain when it gets beat into the ground by sportswriters and broadcasters. Hello, it's their job to cover your stupid ass. You don't want them to talk about you, then stop doing and saying stupid shit like this.

Z is an $18 million per year baby.

Z just Freewhelin' there...and really who's to blame him? I am always surprised that some guys hang around now when they have made millions.

I am really surprised that a man making $18 million a year cannot fly his mom to Chicago for Mother's Day, which is a bullshit Hallmark holiday anyway.

Well said on both points.

How come Grandparents Day isn't so big? or Fetus Day? Between birthdays and Hallmark holidays we end up buying gifts for people every couple of weeks. Then I hear my dad tell stories of how his mother would mix 1 pound of ground beef into mashed potato's for the 15 person family's dinner. He says there was so little beef on each plate it looked like specks of pepper in the potato's. We have it so easy compared to just a generation or two ago, and Z is bitching about the hassles of making 91 million dollars. Go eat shit, Z. If it's such a pain in the ass, retire now. I don't want to hear 5 years of this nonsense.

mariano rivera adamantly said the same thing years ago...then he realized how much $$$ he makes.

as long as Z shows in game shape and isn't a locker room distraction he can do whatever he wants, imo.

even if people don't think he bleeds 100% cubbie blue, he is definitely out there trying to do his best and not 1/2 assing it.

That's funny that Z is layin' down a $100 bet. Good lord. 100 bucks to that dude is pocket change to all of us up in the TCR.

pinella said he has to see what fox can do may put him in right saturday.

maybe lou should have put johnson in for soriano not hoffpauer.

most outfielders cut that ball off and hold runner at first or second,luckily it all worked out in the end.

saturdays starters
soriano,johnson,fox
fontenot,theriot,blanco,lee
soto

Nice game. I thought Marmol was going to blow it for us.

Gregg seems to be rounding into form. If we can just one more bullpen guy going, we should be able to at least hold our fair share of leads (assuming the offense gets going well enough to give us leads). 2 runs off of Owens, not very good.

I really think Angel Guzman is the guy. With the way Marmol is off with his command this year, I'd like to see Angel get some 8th inning looks. Marmol's still the guy, as we knew we'd have to live and die with his command (after all, the Cubs made him a pitcher because of how much movement he got when throwing the ball from behind the plate), but if Angel can get some looks, it might ease the pressure on the pen and save some innings for Marmol.

I really want to see Ascanio get more usage. If we could have those 4 arms to rotate late, with Ascanio/Guzman as 7th inning options, Guzman/Marmol as 8th inning options, and Marmol/Gregg as the closers, it would (obviously) be a big help. We've got to see what Ascanio can do, though, and he hasn't pitched in awhile. Then, with Marshall and perhaps Waddell (another guy they need to get work for) back there, that would have our pen as close to being set as possible.

With other potential concerns this year, I'd hate to have to look at pen trades midseason.

I wasn't counting Marmol. He's pretty useless about now. He seems to have no idea where his pitches are going, and now his slider doesn't always break.

Ascanio hasn't shown me anything. Not sure if he's trying to over throw, or what, but the catcher may as well call for all the pitches right down the middle because he's got no clue where they're going.

I asked Z's mom and she doesn't really want to see him on mother's day after all the stunts he pulled as a kid.

Yo momma!

Will Carroll's latest Cub UTK update:

The good news is that Bradley's strained calf isn't as bad as the Cubs originally feared. The team doesn't think they'll need to DL him, but they aren't sure exactly when he'll be back either. In the meantime, Bradley's hitting isn't enough to make first base an option, and with no DH there's some thought that he could miss as much as a week, leaving Lou Piniella shorthanded again. It's also beginning to make people wonder if Bradley might not be shopped to some American League teams. The downside here is that the deal would have to be payroll-neutral, and unless Bradley really picks things up between now and the deadline, that's going to be very tough to make happen. (It's not just Bradley; Jim Hendry can't take on any new salary until the team's new ownership is in place.) In other news, the Cubs have benched Soto for a few games, though they insist that the shoulder is only a small part of his current issues. If Koyie Hill can hit even a little, they'll keep Soto on the bench for as much as a week. There's even some talk about Jake Fox putting the gear on for a game. I remain unconvinced that Soto's problems don't have a larger physical component, and I will continue to follow this closely.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

If Milton is out for an extended period, we really need ... well, we really need Mark DeRosa basically, a guy that can handle corner OF and play some 3rd. That said, money will be an issue, although Crane Kenney did say in an interview (I think over on BCB) that there was midseason money. I can live with Jake catching once a week, I think. I mean, our options are limited right now. That said, if Milton is out for an extended period, I'd like to see Jake get some corner OF reps. It won't be pretty, and it could very well be bad, but it's the easiest way to get him in there and we need to see what his bat can do.

Totally unrelated to the Cubs, but Jonathan Broxton is on pace for:

17 -0 71 innings 80 hits 28 BB 128 Ks 37 Sv 1.29 ERA

That will get you some Cy Young votes.

my fantasy team completely approves of those final numbers

That sounds like one of Eckersly's A's seasons, but Eck had even fewer walks. What an amazing run that guy had.

The gelded I-Cubs start a homestand tonight w/ Aaron Miles in the lineup & Rich Harden slated to pitch tomorrow. I will try to blow off some previous engagements to get a look @ Harden...

I wonder where they will play Miles.

Hey, is Dubois hurt or something? His playing time has been a bit inconsistent of late, and I don't know if I missed something. The lineup could really use him in the middle.

He was staring as late as June 3rd, and he played 1B and had one at-bat on June 4th, then got the 5th off. Something could be going on, but it could just be a day or two off for rest and to get others playing time.

With regard to Fox and his glove...if he's in the lineup you KNOW he'll come to the plate 4 times; you don't know how many balls will be hit in the vicinity of him; it might be zero! And of those that are, he's gonna catch some of 'em! Limited range, yes, but he can't be any more of a dice roll defensively than most of our bullpen is on the mound right about now...

And if Fox is going to get penciled into the lineup, why would it be @ catcher; the most defensively demanding of all his possible positions? I think you gotta play him @ an outfield corner & hope for the best...

Dubois is not mentioned on the team's injury report...Harden scheduled for 5 IP's/75 pitches - whichever comes first [bet it's the pitch count]...

Soriano, LF
Theriot, SS
Lee, 1B
Fox, J, RF
Johnson, R, CF
Soto, C
Scales, 2B
Fontenot, 3B

okay, whatever...also 25 xbase hits, 26rbi and a .303 ob% for our fearless leadoff hitter who's been leading the team in homers and doubles pretty much all year...

here's to hoping dlee/fox/johnson can deliver.

That lineup smells like poop in a metal bucket with no sawdust on top.

is getting annoying...

fontenot responsible for 4 runs today...for the reds...soto with an assist on whiffing on that wild pitch.

The not-having-an-experienced-3B-backup chicken really came home to roost tonight. In Fontenot's case, he has no experience.

Thanks Hendry, you BLOCKHEAD!

I still don't understand why Lou doesn't play Fontenot at 2nd and Scales at 3rd. It's the optimal defensive placement given that both will be in the game.

WORD

wow that sucked.

happy to see lou take soriano out his defense has costed us on the road trip more so then normal and his offense well.

angel guzman lous new seventh inning guy.

the cubs blew this game in first inning
we didnt they did

oh yeah johnsons boneheaded base running did not help either

The great thing about Fontenot, see, is that he hits left-handed, which has been a huge plus so far this year. The last thing we need is DeRosa's RH bat driving in a bunch of runs. I expect the Cards to dump Pujols soon for the same reason.

Just wondering -- after Hendry dumped DeRo for nothing, who did he think would back up A-Ram, who has been injured pretty much every year? To be fair, Fonty is out of position.

Sheesh.

I think Miles was suppose to be the guy, but the sore shoulder seems to have prevented him from playing the position. I mean, they never explicitily said the shoulder kept him from playing third, but they did say it's been bothering since spring training and it was weird that they've played Fontenot the whole time before Miles hit the DL.

Not that Miles has a lot of experience there (15 games, 11 in 2008), but well that's more than Fontenot.

on that note...

Aaron Miles played for the Iowa Cubs on Saturday, part of his rehab
from a sore shoulder. He played five innings at third base and went
2-for-3, scoring a run in a 3-1 win over Round Rock. Miles was expected
to be activated Wednesday when the Cubs are in Houston.

you can see where that's headed...

Kudos to Gooz -- seems to have come all the way back. Nice to see.

to quote Golgo 13 "...."

ugg.

I understand that this is the first really bad game that we've seen Fontenot have at third. That said, if he's going to make errors over there, then fucking put Jake Fox there and deal with the mistakes.

I'd rather have his bat and the shitty defense instead of the 695 OPS and the shitty defense. Honestly, the way we're running right now, his bat in there everyday is what we really need, anyway.

Even David Wright only makes that play in the 11th one out of three times. That's a tough fucking play.

I agree, though, that Fox should at least be starting against lefties.

Even David Wright only makes that play in the 11th one out of three times. That's a tough fucking play.

I completely disagree. That is not a "tough fucking play."

Most 3b make that play. He had plenty of time. All you need to do is to take one step into the field so that you are not trying to throw into/over the runner. It is the same type of play as when a 1b has to step out of the baseline when fielding a pick off throw and then throwing to 2b.

I would say that Fontenot messed up that play because he is not used to having to deal with a runner running down the baseline like that. It was an error due to lack of experience.

sort of what I felt, seemed to have more time than he thought and could have took a sec to set himself instead of trying to do that on the run as it was taking him to the line.

Agree, but Geo could have done everybody a favor by stepping out, too. If Geo gives him an easier target to throw to, then it isn't a problem.

Geo also could have done everyone a favor and blocked the wild pitch that let Bruce get to second base. Seemed like a lazy stab at the ball.

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