Game Recap

via Rotoworld...

Marmol entered a 3-1 game and allowed the six runs on five hits and a walk before being yanked having recorded just one out. The last time a Cubs pitcher allowed six runs in the ninth inning with Chicago leading entering the frame came in 1911.

Also it seems that Q-Ball doesn't have the respect of everyone in the clubhouse...a response to Z breaking a bat over his leg last night.

‘‘I don’t like that,’’ Quade said. ‘‘I’m glad he’s OK. I get his frustration, but he can do something else. I cringe because he can hurt himself.’’

‘‘I work hard. My legs are strong,’’ said Zambrano, who was upset at himself because he missed a hanging breaking ball he thought he should have hit. ‘‘It’s nothing to worry about. If you want to see how I can break bats over my legs, come back tomorrow and watch me lift weights.’’

But what about the manager’s concern?

‘‘What manager?’’ Zambrano said.

Don't forget that Dempster was picked over Z for Opening Day and Dempster couldn't have been more vocal about wanting Q-Ball to get the manager gig. It could be nothing, could be something....

A nice night for the Golden Boy last night as he throws 5.2 shutout innings against the fading Cardinals to further deter their playoffs hopes. Samardzija did give up six hits and four walks against just one strikeout, so he was constantly working out trouble, but he got 8 groundballs and two timely(as if they are never not timely for a pitcher) double plays by Pedro Feliz to help the cause.

Mike Quade and Geovany Soto came away impressed.

"To me -- and I haven't seen him since Spring Training -- he did a lot of damage with his soft game," Quade said. "He threw some good splits, some good sliders. ... He did a good job against a nice club. It's a real good start."

"He looks more aggressive, throws with more conviction and isn't afraid to baby it in the zone," Soto said.

Ninja says he worked on his offspeed pitches while down in Iowa and mastered picking up groupies for a hopeful 2011 run around Wrigleyville.

"Being down there all year, you get a lot of opportunities to throw [offspeed pitches]," he said. "It's not live or die situations all the time. Not only that but [catcher Geovany Soto] calling pitches [Monday], he showed confidence in me to throw those pitches. A lot of times that's what it takes -- throw it two or three times in a row and that gets it going for the rest of the game."

He'll throw again Saturday against the Marlns and the Cubs say Ninja will be considered for a starting spot no matter how he fares the rest of the season.

In draft pick news, the Cubs slightly improved play has them at the 8th spot right now and in danger of catching the Brewers for the 9th spot as they're just 3.5 behind them with 18 to play.

10 pts for catching the title reference.

Addendum: In cycling through Cub no-hit history, ESPN's Jon Miller mentioned that the Cubs have not been on the short end of a no-hitter since Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against the Cubs back in 1965. That was the game that saw Cub loser Bob Hendley allow the Dodgers just one hit. Joe Morgan intoned that he heard the ninth inning of that game on the radio as he and his Houston Astro teammates drove into the city from the L.A. airport; they were scheduled to play the Dodgers the next night. Morgan said he specifically remembered Koufax striking out Ernie Banks in the 9th to preserve the perfect game. Would it surprise you to know that Morgan was wrong? Nope. Didn't surprise me either.

 


 

The Cubs held on to beat the White Sox, 1-0, Sunday night at Wrigley Field. The game saw Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd locked up in a double no-hit duel until Alfonso Soriano collected the game's first hit, a double inside the leftfield line with two out in the Cubs seventh. Chad Tracy then followed with a sharp ground-ball single that plated Soriano with the game's only run.

So, just how much good stuff happened in this Saturday night game?

(Click on image for full-size version)

The Cubs squandered another superb start, this one by Ryan Dempster, and lost 3-2 to the Astros in 10 innings Sunday afternoon. To make matters worse, the bullpen culprits on this day were the Cubs' two relief studs so far this young season, Carlos Marmol, who surrendered the tying run in the 9th, and Sean Marshall, who took the loss after allowing a double by Jason Michaels and a sacrifice fly by Pedro Feliz in the 10th. To make matters worser, the the now 5-7 Cubs wound up dropping two of the three games to Houston, thus ending the season's first homestand at 3-3. To make matters even worser, the Astros really, truly suck.

In the aftermath of the loss, Lou Piniella announced that Marlon Byrd, who had three hits and both Cub RBI Sunday, would henceforth be leading off against lefthanders with Jeff Baker moving up to the second spot and Ryan Theriot sliding down to eighth. (Byrd has actually hit leadoff or sixth more often than in any other spot in the lineup throughout his career.)

Young lefty Jon Niese is supposed to start for the Mets when the Cubs begin a four-game visit to Citi Field on Monday night, so Lou's new lineup will get its first go right away. Randy Wells is scheduled to start for the Cubs.

I Returned to TCR to recap THIS?!?!

 

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs, Photos

 

W-  Lowe (1-0), calls for instant replay, people making their team or career debuts

L- Zambrano (0-1), dignity. 3 hours of my life

 

Things to Take from This Game

1.  Not So Good: Zambrano, Samardzija

Zambrano got knicked by a series of softly hit singles before giving up a 3-run home run to Neo Heyward.  Some throwing mistakes and a McCann homer in the second chased Zambrano from the game, having given up 8.   The fourth reliever in, Samardzija, walked three in a one third of an inning.

2.  Good:  Byrd, Marshall, Russell.

Byrd gave the Cubs a very early and short-lived lead with a 3-run homer in the first.  Marshall and Russell gave the Cubs a chance to get back in the game with a Ramirez 2-run Homer, as they pitched 4 and 2/3 of scoreless relief, before turning things over to Samardzija, Berg, and Grabow

3.  McLouth Lies like a Dog.  And Fakes It.  And Just Isn't Very Nice. 

Down 8-5 with Ramirez on 1st, Byrd smoked a liner to left center.  McLouth made a diving catch with the ball popping out on contact with the ground.  But McLouth faked the catch, threw it in, and the umpires, missing the call, declared Ramirez doubled off of first.   We went from having the tying run at the plate with no outs, to no on and two outs.  After Soriano predictbly ended the inning; it was all downhill from there.


 

The gory details, below

 

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Just Need an Better Extra-Point Kicker.
W - Wells (7-4), pitching to contact, GIDP chances
L - Hampton (6-8), pitching badly to contact

Things to Take from This Game
1.  The batters hit well.
Hampton didn't have much control or stuff today, giving up 9 runs in 4 innings.  The game was over after the first, which saw the first nine batters either get hits or advance a runner on a sacrifice, resulting in  six runs.  No one on the team had more than two hits, and only Soriano got to three RBI, courtesy of the home run in the first.  Among the hitters only Fukudome, who replaced Johnson early in the game for reasons yet unknown, failed to get on base. (Update: As Cubster reports in the second and thirty-eighth comments, Johnson has a fracture in his foot.)

 

2.  The batters don't hit Wells.
Randy Wells only had one strikeout, on a generous check swing call.  But the Astros didn't hit much of anything hard, recording just six singles.  The Cubs seemingly had a GIDP opportunity in every inning and converted four of them.

 

3.  First! (s)
The game featured Wells' longest outing in the majors to date, eight innings, and in consecutive at bats, the first major league homer and triple for Blanco and Hoffpauir.  Mitch Atkins made his major league debut in the ninth, pitching a scoreless inning.  It's also my first game linking to the awesome FanGraph's Game Graph pages, too.  Oh yeah: we might regain first place, depending on the Cards' game tonight.

 

The nothing-to-complain-about details, below.
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The Cubs five-game win streak doesn't make it to six and and the loss coupled with the Cardinals win over the Dodgers, drops the Cubs back to second place. Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and was nothing short of awful. 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K and 5 ER, 6 total and the error was his own. But at least he didn't walk anyone! With the Cubs catching a huge break when Roy Oswalt left in the second inning with a back injury, the Cubs just needed some decent pitching to stay in this one and they sure didn't get it from Dempster or the bullpen. 

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For the second time in a week the Cubs go 13 innings, but manage the win this time to keep a half-game lead in the NL Central as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers (Brewers lost again to drop 4 back). The class of the Central division since June, the Astros waltzed into Wrigley on the shoulder of the über-hot Wandy Rodriguez (4 straight wins and 0.62 ERA in July) and he didn't disappoint, holding the Cubs to a run on 7 strikeouts in 7 innings. Z matched those 7 innings and one run, although with just 4 K's and 4 BB's. That left it up to the bullpens and the Cubs' proved to be just a little bit better tonight

Alfonso Soriano had goat written all over him, going 0/5 with 3 K's and
failing to run on a tap out to third base that he claimed hit his toe.
Then with the bases loaded and 0 outs, he got one more chance and
launched one deep to center on top of the center field restaurant for
the win and give the Cubs the opener.

Tags: 
The Phillies Don't Go to 11.

 

W - Zambrano, (7-4), "working" from home and watching afternoon Cubs games, ending someone else's winning streak.
L - Moyer, (9-7), making the same reference to the same movie that everyone else always makes.
S - Gregg, (19)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. A Balanced Attack
Seven different Cubs had RBI today, without benefit of a home run.  Bradley, Soriano and Ramirez all had two-hit games, Theriot had both 3 hits and stolen bases.  Perhaps most interesting, Bradley's five ABs were all with a runner in scoring position; he went 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. None of the hits were rockets, but I'll take it.

 

2. Well-pitched early...
Moyer had the Cubs fooled for the first three innings, and Z pitched well through the first five.

 

3. ... tense moments late.
The Phillies left the bases loaded in both the seventh and the eighth.  Marshall faced one batter, Dobbs, who singled in two runs that got charged to Z.  But Guzman then escaped from the inning, and eventually turned the game over to Gregg who escaped from the eighth and pitched an uneventful ninth for an impressive save.  The Cubs also finally did some damage to the Philly relievers, getting to both Durbin and Lidge, allowing our relievers some breathing room.

 

The 5-2 Roadtrip details, below.

Tags: 
Illegitimate.
W - Rodrigo Lopez. (2-0) (Seriously)

S - Chad Durbin (1)

Things to Take from This Game
1. Aspirin.

 

2. Well, the bullpen pitched well. Mostly.
Lilly never looked comfortable.  His 6/2 K/BB line looks good, but he fidgeted on the mound, was consistently wild in the strike zone, and it resulted in 7 ER in 4 IP.  A 3-run HR by Ibanez in the first, and a 2-run job by Ruiz in the second, and the Cubs were out of it.  Stevens and Heilman pitched well, before Guzman gave up a solo HR to Howard in the ninth.

 

3. Rodrigo Lopez, wtf?
The Cubs were shut down by Lopez, who departed for Chad Durbin and the embarassment of the three-inning save.  I can't begin to understand the combination of events that led to the cubs being six-hit by this pairing.

 

4. Oops.
Soriano watched a routine fly ball clank off of the heel of his glove for a run-scoring error.  You just don't see professionals miss fly balls in this manner; he didn't lose it in the lights, slip, get distracted, or anything.  Just missed it.  He then seemingly responded to the Phillies fans' mocking applause after he caught the next ball, by making an overly exaggerated graceful hop-catch on the ball after that. He did have three of our six hits, at least.

 

If you really want to, the details follow. 
Tags: 
Good Duel, Bad Result
W - Vazquez (6-7)
L - Zambrano (4-4)
S - Soriano (9)
Things to Take from This Game
1. Z does fine on short rest
Zambrano pitched an efficient six innings on three days rest, the only blemishes being a couple of run-scoring hits by McCann.  

2. Vazquez pitches like an All-Star scorned
Not as much shame in this weak performance by the Cubs' offense, as Vazquez, Gonzalez and Soriano pitched well.  Ramirez looked pretty good at the plate, with a couple hits to show for it.  Soriano managed to sneak a couple hits in, as well, and Hill got the lone RBI.  There isn't much to report in the way of missed rallies or failed execution or bad approaches at the plate, the team just ran into three good pitchers and...

3. Some good defense
Maybe no plays that make Sportscenter, but for the most part it was a well-defended ballgame.  No errors, and some particularly good D up the middle.  A satisfying game in everything but the result.

The hard-fought details, below.
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I'll make this brief, but wanted a place to discuss the latest in "As Milton's World Turns". First though, the Cubs won, they hit a 2-run home run and a 3-run home run. It's nice to know those haven't gone extinct. Jake Fox and Geovany Soto did the damage and no truth to the rumor that Soto was promised White Castle if he hit one out today.

Randy Wells got his second win on the year, two solo shots being the only marks against him.  After 98 pitches and 7 innings, the increasingly baffling Lou went to Carlos Marmol and he predictably walked two of the first three hitters, gave up a couple of hits with some assistance from Soriano losing a ball in the sun (which I admittedly didn't see) and was mercifully pulled for Sean Marshall who got out of the jam by inducing the 3-2-3 double play by A.J. Pierzynski with the bases juiced.


5 Runs on the Road, Lilly Pitching, Not Enough.
W - Galarraga (4-7)
L - Lilly (7-5)
S - Rodney (16)
Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Fox, Fukudome lead Attack
Jake Fox staked the Cubs to a 3-0 lead on a big home run in the first.  Fukudome had a triple and a double in the game, while Hoffpauir hit an impressive opposite field home-run in the ninth.  An encouraging day from the supporting cast, but also a day with continued futility when there were RISP.

 

2. Lilly is Ineffectively Wild in the Strike Zone
Lilly got hurt on several breaking and offspeed pitches that got up into the heart of the strike zone. Just one BB to 6 Ks, but10 hits an 6 ER in 6 IP.  Santiago and Ordonez each hit two-run homers off of him, and Raburn had two RBI hits. Cabrera also hit a homer that was incorrectly ruled a double.

 

3. No Dramatic Comeback, Today.
Rodney gave up the homer to Hoffpauir, but otherwise slammed the door by striking out the side.

 

The one-run-short details, below.
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11 Hits, 7 BB's for the Cubs offense....just 3 runs. One of those 11 hits was a solo home run by the somewhat rejuvenated Geovany Soto, meaning the Cubs needed 10 hits and 7 bb's to score the other 2 runs. The Yahoo box score says the Cubs left 13 on base as a team (seemed like 130), with Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir leading the way with 8 and 7 left on base each (some of those the same baserunners).  The offensive ineptitude and Rich Harden's gopher ball won't keep me from making fun of the bullpen though, who managed to walk in the two deciding runs.

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