The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.
CF Albert Hernandez singled and doubled and drove in two runs, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter, as the DSL Cubs #1 defeated the DSL Tigers 7-3 yesterday afternoon on Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day at Baseball City, near Boca Chica, DR.
In other DSL Opening Day action, Miguel Gonzalez had three hits and drove in two runs, but the bullpen could not hold a 4-1 8th inning lead, as the DSL Orioles/Brewers co-op team took advantage of five errors to rally and edge DSL Cubs #2 5-4.
Larry Suarez threw four shutouts innings and struck out seven, and Jose Made smacked a bases-loaded triple, leading the EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the EXST Giants at Fitch Park Field #1, in one-half of an Extended Spring Training simultaneous doubleheader played this morning in Mesa under partly cloudy skies.
In the other game on Field #3, ex-OF (now RHP) Andres Quezada threw three shutout innings and the Cubs rode the extra-base hitting of John Contreras en route to an 8-3 victory over a second squad of EXST Giants.
Carrie Muskat wrote yesterday that Alfonso Soriano has been playing with a sore knee since April 23rd, when he "banged his knee against the wall" while running after what turned out to be a Joey Votto home run.
"It hasn't been the same since,"
Soriano said. "It's getting better."
Lou Piniella said athletic trainer Mark O'Neal hasn't told him that Soriano can't play. He'll take it day by day.
"Soriano is a tough kid and wants to play," Piniella said. "If it
persists, we might have to get him out of there for a few days."
In 31 games since April 23rd, Soriano, has hit .233/.266/.431/697 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS). He has hit 7 HR, though none in his last 10 games. His current line of .253/.313/.495/807 is a season low, across all categories.
Matt Cerda reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, but there just wasn't much other Cubs offense on display, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 3-1 in Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.
Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.
A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.
RF Jesus Morelli threw a strike to catcher Matt Cerda with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, nipping the potential tying run at the plate and preserving the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A's 4-3 in Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
As expected, Carlos Zambrano was handed a six game suspension for his antics yesterday. Unlike Milton Bradley, pride isn't an issue for Z as he said he won't bother appealing the suspension and will begin serving it immediately. He'll miss the Dodgers series and the first two games in Atlanta next week. Conveniently the Cubs have an off-day Monday, so some minor rotation juggling and Z should be starting next Thursday in Atlanta.
Some more news has trickled out on the impending sale of the Cubs and Sam Zell is hinting that the Ricketts may not be the new owner afterall (emphasis added).
Granted, any lineup that undergoes a triple crown-ectomy is gonna be sore. But Jake Fox's promotion to Chicago leaves the Iowa Cubs really hurting.
The team hadn't even homered in Fox's last six games on the roster. After yesterday's doubleheader split and today's 9-1 matinee loss to the Sacramento River Cats on getaway day the dubious streak is at nine and counting as the team heads south for a road trip versus its divisional rivals in Memphis and Nashville.
Fox left town with 17 homers.
An eventful afternoon at Wrigley as the Cubs take their first series in two weeks and climb back over the .500 mark.
Robert Hernandez was clubbed for seven runs in a nightmarish bottom of the 1st inning and the EXST Giants cruised to 9-3 victory over the EXST Cubs on Indian Bend Park Field #4 in Scotsdale this morning, but not to worry too much, because Logan Watkins and Matt Cerda drove-in two runs apiece and Su-Min Jung and Toby Matchulat combined to throw six innings of two-hit shutout ball, as the another squad of EXST Cubs defeated another squad of EXST Giants 5-1 at Indian Bend Park Field #3, in a game played simultaneous to the one on Field #4. And I was able to watch both games simutaneously, too.
Jake Fox and his 17 PCL home runs are on their way to Chicago for today's game. To make room on the roster, Aaron Miles will be put on the disabled list with a sore shoulder that has apparently bothered him since spring training. Miles is barely good enough to play major league baseball when healthy, he certainly didn't need to be struggling through an injury all this time.
The Cubs end their eight game losing streak with a 6-1 rain-shortened victory over the Pie-rats.
Taking a cue from his counterpart in the big leagues, Iowa Cub manager Bobby Dickerson held a pre-game meeting yesterday in the team's clubhouse at Principal Park in Des Moines. The team had made 10 errors in its previous three games.
After the meeting the troops went out and made three more in the process of losing 5-3 to the Sacramento Rivercats.
The battle of capital cities was also a battle of pitching prospects as former Cub Sean Gallagher opposed current hotshot Jeff Samardzija.
Monday night's game seemed otherworldly from even before the first pitch.
A Wrigley Field home game on a holiday at night? It made scheduling sense, given that the Cubs had to fly all the way east from San Diego following Sunday's game, but it still felt wrong.
Then the lineups were published and owing to a combination of illness, injuries, and an opposing lefthander, we saw Reed Johnson hitting cleanup and an infield of Freel, Theriot, Miles, and Hoffpauir. In other words, the stuff of split squad spring training games.
Playing in front of his family visiting from South Korea, 18-year old bonus baby Hak-Ju Lee ripped a three-run inside-the-park home run to key a four-run 7th, but the Cubs couldn't hold the lead, as the EXST Angels rallied to tie the EXST Cubs 5-5 in Memorial Day Extended Spring Training holiday action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning. in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs finish off the road trip a perfect 0-6, scoring a grand total of five runs in those six games and are now 21-21 on the season. $140 million doesn't buy what it use to in this crazy world.
Why the Cubs Lost: Because God hates the Cubs and all their fans.
This last week was about as fun as mistaking Icy Hot for a tube of KY Jelly...painful and unsatisfying for all the parties involved. Clearly my absence from TCR of late has greatly affected the morale of the Northsiders, so I'll suck it up and watch the game today. A loss would drop the Cubs back to .500 on the season, with just over a quarter of the season done.
Lou's desperation is showing batting Reed Johnson third versus a righty. If things get ugly again today, I recommend Derrek Lee taking a swing at Chris Young again just for good measure.
After losing to the likes of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Jake Peavy earlier in the current losing streak, the Cubs fell Saturday night at San Diego to young Josh Geer, who came into the game with a 5.61 ERA and no victories in five starts.
Seven Cub pitchers combined to throw a five-hitter, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played to a 1-1 12-inning tie before a Memorial Day Weekend packed house at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Reader Osiris flagged this bad news by way of Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:
The Cubs placed Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain on Friday, and inserted Randy Wells into the rotation for Saturday's game.
This will allow the Cubs to activate Carlos Zambrano without having to make another roster move, i.e., demote Wells. Harden felt "a twinge" when he pitched last Sunday against the Astros.
From my longtime Cub-loving and Sox-hating friend, Dave.
Let the autopsy report on this ghastly series read: three games, two runs, 14 hits, three losses.
Lou Piniella made a lineup change on Thursday night, sliding Mike Fontenot from third base to the more familiar ground at second and starting the seldom-used Ryan Freel at third. The moves paid dividends...to the Cardinals:
Jericho Jones had three hits, reached base all four times he batted on two singles, a double, and a HBP, stole a base, and drove in a run, but the EXST A's rallied to score the tying run in the 8th and the game-winning run in the 9th en route to a 5-4 victory over the EXST Cubs in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in warm & overcast Mesa, AZ.
With Carlos Zambrano expected to be reactivated from the 15-day DL tomorrow, the Cubs will need to make an acompanying roster move.
Here are the three most-likely moves:
For the second night in a row, the Cubs failed to support a deserving starting pitcher with any offense and they lost another low-scoring game to the Cardinals.
Joel Piniero, coming off three consecutive losses, recorded the Cardinals' first complete-game shutout of the season. He faced only 28 hitters, threw only 28 non-strikes (never reaching a three-ball count), only allowed one man into scoring position, and dispatched the Cubs in 125 minutes, the Cards' fastest game in almost three years.
Rookie Colby Rasmus, who had just two singles in 25 AB against lefthanded pitching this season, bashed a 2-run homer off of Ted Lilly.
Two things of note from the Iowa Cubs' road win in Salt Lake City yesterday:
1. Jake Fox played catcher after a game at 3B earlier on the trip. Is his versatility on display for potential trade suitors?
2. Kevin Hart threw three innings of perfect relief highlighted by five strikeouts in easily his most encouraging outing of the season.
In more routine news, Fox also slammed his 17th homer of the year, drove in four more runs and was named the PCL Player of the Week for last week. Ho-hum...MW
It had been days since we'd heard a new reason why the Cubs-to-Ricketts deal still hasn't been closed, but then on Monday, Crain's Chicago Business ended the wait:
Matt Cerda drove in three runs on an RBI single and two sacrifice flies, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the EXST A's in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.
Not since some bright guy invited Stephen Colbert to the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinners, have we been able to witness a more uncomfortable public verbal flogging.
Logan Watkins had three hits and scored twice, leading the EXST Cubs to an 8-3 victory over the EXST Angels in a pre-planned ten-inning Extended Spring Training game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.
The Astros and Cubs meet in a 12:05 game at Wrigley following yesterday's washout.
The pitching matchup is a reset of what was scheduled Friday, with Roy Oswalt opposing Randy Wells. Oswalt (1-2) fell to the Cubs on Opening Night and didn't notch a win until his most recent and eighth start of the year, versus the Padres.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.