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Game 69: Bloops, Walks and Shutout

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

I could see it coming from a mile away, The Cubs actually had a few things going for them coming into this game. The White Sox had been struggling, playing terribly at home, Gavin Floyd had given up about 5,000 home runs per start and so you thought the Cubs could win the BP cup. So of course Floyd pitched a 4 hitter and shut the Cubs out thru 6 and a third.

Randy Wells struggled with command, walks killed him, he had 4 in 3.2 innings. When you walk a guy who is hitting .190 in Eduardo Escobar to lead off an inning, it usually doesn’t turn out good. Every Single RBI the White Sox had was hit to the opposite field. Most weren’t hit all that hard. Konerko, Ramirez and Beckham all had bloop hits to right that fell for an RBI. Even Beckham’s three run homer wasn’t hit all the hard but sneaked over the right field wall.

The Cubs had 2 lead off extra base hits and couldn’t get them in. David DeJesus  got a lead off double and as far as he went was third but by that time there were 2 outs and he was stranded. Castro led off the 6th with a triple and for the second straight game the Cubs couldn’t get a lead off triple into score. It’s really pathetic but it has been pathetic all year so at least they are consistent.

DeJesus will be playing center for the foreseeable future, even with LaHair back at first the still stick DeJesus in center. Most likely  meaning when Rizzo comes up next week, they plan on playing LaHair in right regularly.

The game was a pretty tough watch, not a lot of hits, poor pitching and all those bloop hits fell for the Sox. Starting Friday the Cubs play the Diamondbacks who have averaged 10 runs the last three games so the offense will need to pick

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Game 142 – LaHairs Bomb is Wasted

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Cubs 2, Reds 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What Went Right

  • Bryan Lahair was one of the first Cubs to get into a hitter’s count and crushed a 2-0 pitch and also crushed Mike Leake’s dream of a 2 hit shutout. With 2 strikes and 2 outs in the 9th and nobody on Starlin Castro beat out an infield dribbler to 3rd and that allowed LaHair come to the plate.
  • Cubs bullpen didn’t give up a hit for 5.2 innings until a bunt single to Paul Janish by John Grabow, he got out of it but then imploded in the 13th by giving up a hit to anyone who wanted one.

What Went Wrong

  • For 8.2 innings Mike Leake dominated this game. Threw 91 pitches in the nine innings gave up 3 hits and struck out 6. He didn’t have a hard hit ball off him until LaHairs bomb. Cubs were doing a lot of early chopping at pitches and hitting them right at the fielder.
  • Grabow
  • There was a horrible call in the 13th where Tony Campana was safe by a foot to lead off the bottom of the 12th and you know a leadoff single by Campana might as well be a leadoff double because he is always going to steal.

Take Away

Not much happened this game; Cubs had only 6 hits in 13 innings and were pretty lucky that Leake gave a gift 2-0 pitch to LaHair. A minor leaguer who has been up for a couple of days, of course he was sitting on that pitch. The game was a strike away from being a 2 hour game then went on for 2 more hours of the Cubs wasting opportunities like in the 10th. Bases loaded with 1 out, next at bat is a double play.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Bryan LaHair (.487 WPA)

2nd Star – Sam LeCure (.337 WPA)

3rd Star – Aroldis Chapman (.262 WPA)

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Game 129 – Heyward Smash

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

What Went Wrong

  • Runners left on again, the 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th Cubs had at least one runner in scoring position with less than 2 outs and came up empty and left 9 on base. The Braves are the second best team in the national league for a reason; they have great starting pitching and the best bullpen in baseball.
  • Casey Coleman was absolutely cruising thru 3 and 2/3 of this game he even had a 5 pitch 3rd inning. Then Dan Uggla hit a weak grounder to Ramirez and he unnecessarily tried to bare hand it when it looked like he had plenty of time to use his glove. Chipper Jones then of course singled to right followed by back to back walks which plated a run. Jason Heyward then crushed a grand slam to left center.
  • Tyler Colvin bailed Quade out after looking god awful in his at bat to the end the game. If Colvin would of got a single and Aramis gets nailed at home with Tony Campana sitting on the bench, one would wonder WHAT THE %&$# is Quade thinking. Down one and two outs I don’t know what he was saving Campana for.

What Went Right

  • I wish I could just say Aramis Ramirez and leave it at that, he is playing so freaking great right now. This was his first career five hit game and his second one with 4 or more hits on the season, it was unfortunately wasted because the rest of the Cubs only got 5 hits themselves.  Aramis even had a rare (for the Cubs) two out and two RBI double.
  • Other than the 4th Coleman and the bullpen pitched decent baseball tonight. The 8 innings not counting the 4th, they scattered 6 hits, walked 1 and didn’t give up any runs.
  • Alfonso Soriano took the first pitch of 5th and planted it into the bleachers; Soriano also got a hustle double in the 6th. Side note my computer just asked me if it was a mistake for having the words Soriano and hustle in the same sentence.

Take Away

Each team had a bad inning each, Cubs gave up five in the 4th and Braves fall short of topping Cubs and only gave up 4 in the 5th. I’m sure the Braves will take it and also the victory. Cubs lose their 3rd in a row and fall 5 games under .500 …. at home. Aramis Ramirez is really good and since June 1st has been one of the top 5best players in baseball, it’s a shame that we don’t have any pitching because we should be better.

Watching Michael Bourne get on base and then steal makes me wish the Cubs actually had a leadoff hitter; Cubs have 46 steals on the year while Bourne has 47. Ughhh

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Game 89 – Cardiac Cubs

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Cubs 10, Nationals 9

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

by Tony English

What Went Right

  •  The sixth inning – is where things started going the Cubs way. Aramis Ramirez got it started with one out and on a 0-2 pitch, shot it back up the middle for a single. Livan Hernandez struck out Carlos Pena and then Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd singled to knock in Ramirez, another knock by Alfonso Soriano plated Soto.  Darwin Barney continued the inning with a two run double. Blake DeWitt decided he wanted in on the rally and at the same time make a bid for some playing time; Blake blasted a pinch hit three homer and cut the Nationals lead from five to two.
  • The seventh inning - started with the same three guys that started the 6th. Starlin Castro smoked a ball to left center and Roger Bernadina made an outstanding catch. Aramis drew an eight pitch walk after again having a 0-2 count. Naturally the Nats brought in a lefty to face the hot hitting Pena, Pena jacked a line drive on the first pitch to tie up the game.
  • The Eighth/Ninth – Castro who has been hitting the ball hard but right at people lately, finally found some grass when he came up in the 8th with a two out double to deep center. Aramis elected not to start off with a 0-2 count this at-bat but the reigning NL player of the week, who is the early favorite for player of the month, gets the job done again and knocks in Castro. In the 9th Darwin doubles in the game winning run with a great at bat, will talk more about ninth in what went wrong.

What Went Wrong

  • The events that proceded Soto’s single in the ninth. Instead of pinch running Soto with Tony Campana, Mike Quade bunted with Byrd.  Byrd bunted and Soto was nailed at second (you could see it coming from a mile away) Campana then pinch hit. So the plan was to get Soto to second and pinch hit with a guy who is 1-11 pinch hitting. Usually if Campana gets a hit it’s an infield hit anyways. Bob Brenly seemed confused by the move you could tell he was thinking “ Damn this should be my job”. Quade got extremely lucky Darwin came through with that double or the media would of questioned that ninth a lot more.
  • Matt Garza pitched two good innings; he then couldn’t get another out. Innings never start out when you give up a hit to a pitcher, 6 hits and 2 errors later, Jeff Samardzija is in the game and it’s 6-0. Jeff did a decent job getting out of the inning only giving up 1 more run, he came in with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs.

Take Away

It was a tale of two games, first 5 innings the Nats blew us out and the next four the Cubs made a memorable comeback and maybe this was just what the Cubs needed to string some wins in a row. Hard to say with this pitching staff being so banged up and bullpen being so over used. Hitting has not been a problem with this team all year, it’s been pitching and defense and both were awful this game. But the game was great something we can look back on at the end of the season.

Pena and Ramirez are staying hot and raising their trade value, not saying we should trade them but as we get closer to the deadline teams will start getting desperate and would give up prospects for these great bats.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Darwin Barney (.330 WPA)

2nd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.323 WPA)

3rd Star – Michael Morse (.271 WPA)

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Game 69 – Masterpiece Theater: Doug Davis Edition

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Cubs 3, Yankees 1

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Guest post provided by Tony English

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Doug Davis finally got his first win as a Chicago Cub by pitching a 3 hit gem over 7 and a third. Davis didn’t give up his first hit until 2 outs in the 4th. The Yankees couldn’t seem to figure out Davis which might be the strangest sentence anyone has ever written. EVER! The only hard hit ball was the last hitter he faced; Nick Swisher crushed a double that was close to being a home run.
  • Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez both went 2 for 4. Castro hit two doubles and Aramis knocked him in twice with two singles. Castro is looking locked back in at the plate. Hit the ball hard 3 times and on the third ball he absolutely crushed but lined to left. It would have been long gone in yesterday’s game
  • Defense Aramis had a great bare handed play that he makes look so easy and Reed Johnson inserted in left in the 9th made a great diving play that Soriano never could make if he tried a thousand times .

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Mike Quade’s decision to not pinch hit for Davis in the bottom of the 7th. With only one out it was basically giving up on the inning by hitting Davis, Cubs could have gotten something started with Kosuke and Starlin after a pinch hitter. Davis was already over 100 pitches. Bad decision that I’m glad didn’t come back to haunt Quade.
  • Blake DeWitt hit third again, I’m sure it didn’t make VFTB head honcho Joe Aiello pleased; this move is puzzling to say the least. Hit Blake 6th and go with Ramirez, Pena and Soriano 3rd, 4th and 5th respectfully.

NOTES

  • Today’s game was the highest paid crowd of the season with 42,219 in attendance on an absolute perfect day to be at Wrigley. Someone toss me a beer.
  • Seth Meyers from SNL fame and noted Red Sox fan sang the 7th inning stretch; apparently he was just in town. Seth Meyers afterwards said on Twitter he wasn’t expecting any record deals from his performance.
  • Starlin Castro first 2 hits were doubles. Making it 7 straight at bat he reached base going back to yesterday’s game where he reached base five times

THE TAKEAWAY

Cubs got off to great start in today’s game with a scoreless first and similar to yesterday’s game Kosuke got on and Castro knocked him in with a double, the ball was misplayed ball from Curtis Granderson. The Cubs have won 4 out of 5 and against good teams too. They’ve been hitting the ball hard, pitching better and hey the Cubs are only 9.5 back, 5 days ago it was 12 games. Tomorrow the Cubs try for the 8th time this year to win three games in a row and as we all know they are 0-7 after winning two in a row.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Doug Davis (.344 WPA)

2nd Star – Starlin Castro (.136 WPA)

3rd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.095 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: +.053 WPA

Cubs Pitching: -.447 WPA

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Game 60 – Down Goes the Losing Streak

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Cubs 4, Reds 1

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

The following is a post from guest contributor, Tony English

What Went Right

  • Ryan Dempster pitched 6 strong innings, only giving up 3 hits, walking 1, giving up 1 run and striking out 8 Reds. Before the game no one seemed to know if he was going to be able to start the game due to a right hip strain.
  • Back to back Jacks from Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez. Carlos Pena had a great at bat seeing seven pitches and absolutely crushing his 9th homer into the right field bleachers. Aramis didn’t want to see so many pitches; he decided to take the first pitch and cash it into the left field bleachers.
  • Kosuke Fukudome got two doubles and Paul Janish made a great play in the first robbing him of another single. Continuing his great play and should be excellent trade bait.
  • Bullpen was money like we expected them to be this year. Using Kerry Wood in the seventh, Sean Marshall in the eighth and Carlos Marmol saved his 11 game. Bullpen faced 10 hitters, struck out 4 and Wood gave up the lone hit, a triple by Janish.
  • Tony Campana had a good game, 2 singles and stole a base. Campana might be the only guy in baseball who could get a single on a ball hit right to Votto two feet away from first, love this guy’s energy.

What Went Wrong

  • In the first Dempster got into some trouble in the first by hitting Brandon Philips, giving up a single to Joey Votto and walking Jay Bruce. He got out of it by having Miguel Cairo pop out and Pena made a great play on a Fred Lewis grounder.
  • In the fifth after Kosukes’s leadoff double he moved to third on passed ball, they failed to get Kosuke home. Darwin Barney flew to right, Blake DeWitt grounded to second and Pena lined to the warning track in left.

Misc Notes

  • The back to back home runs by Pena and Ramirez were the first since Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto did it against the Diamondback on April 29th.
  • Starlin Castro got the day off today, Blake DeWitt started at second, moving Darwin Barney over the short and allowing Brad Snyder to get the start in left.
  • Twice Kosuke had a leadoff double and Barney tried to bunt him over to third. This goes against Quade’s usual stance on not wanting to kill the big inning. First time Kosuke got to third on passed ball and the other time Barney got the bunt down and Kosuke ended up being the only run of the inning.
  • Kosuke is having such a great year I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to unload him to a team wanting a .300 leadoff hitter. Cubs need to rebuild and Kosuke has to be one of the few guys we have that other teams could actually use.

Take away

The Cubs finally played an all-around good game from pitching, hitting, and fielding. Cubs ended there 7 game losing streak and are feeling better before heading to Philadelphia for a big series against the Phillies. Dempster pitched 6 great innings after fearing he might not even go. The Power bats came out to play and the bullpen dominated to give them the win 4-1. In the forth the Cubs took advantage of an error by a lazy grounder to Janish and Pena made him pay with a two run shot. Ramirez took the next pitch into the left field bleachers.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Ryan Dempster (.237 WPA)

2nd Star – Carlos Pena (.170 WPA)

3rd Star – Kosuke Fukudome (.158 WPA)

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