Alfonso Soriano’s 2nd homerun in as many days kicked off the Cubs scoring in the 3rd inning, and an RBI single in the 8th capped it off as the Cubs top the D-Backs 4-1. Randy Wells continued on a growing trend by Cubs starting pitchers to give up runs early when he surrendered a lead-off home run to Willie Bloomquist. However Wells quickly settled in and gave the Cubs their best starting performance in this young season. Through 6 strong innings he gave up just 1 run on 6 hits and 4 walks while retiring 6 batters on strikes. The Cubs bullpen also came up big with 4 pitchers recording holds over the course of 2 innings, this includes Marshall, Mateo, and Grabow who all recorded 1 out in the 7th. Kerry Wood got through a bend but don’t break style 8th giving up a hit and a walk but no runs. Closing responsibilities were once again given to Carlos Marmol who was coming off of a meltdown loss to the Pirates. This time Marmol would not falter however and recorded his 2nd save of the year. The win brings the Cubs to 2-2 and a possible 3 way tie for 2nd in the Central if the Cardinals win. With a Cardinals loss the Cubs will be in sole possession of 3rd place. Tomorrow the Cubs send young fire-baller Andrew Cashner to the mound and will take on Barry Enright for game 2 of the series.
An up and down game for the Cubs ends in a thud as the Pirates walked out of Wrigley leaving an L above the scoreboard. The Cubs found themselves down 2 by the third inning but showed some life in the bottom of the fourth when Carlos Pena smashed a two run double off the wall in right tying the game. The Pirates threatened in the fifth but only scored one run which was matched by the Cubs in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs managed their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth when slugging left fielder Alfonso Soriano took his turn at the plate. Soriano, batting just .125 going into the game blasted a solo home run into the left center field bleachers. Solid pitching for both teams brought the game to the ninth with the Cubs still ahead by one. Then came the ninth inning. Carlos Marmol of the Cubs entered the game looking for his second save of the year. Marmol gave up 2 earned runs on 2 hits and one walk in the inning and recorded his first blown save and eventually loss as the Cubs offense was held to just a hit in the ninth. The loss for the Cubs shifts them to a tie for third place with the Cardinals at 1-2. Chicago moves on to face the Arizona Diamondbacks, Joe Saunders is scheduled to make his first start of the season for the D-Backs and Randy Wells will do the same for the Cubs. With the win the Pirates jump up to second place with a record of 2-1. They will send Charlie Morton to the mound to face Kyle Lohse and the St. Louis Cardinals.
I was a little board over spring break so I decided to make the Kinda Cubs squad for the 2000’s. My team consisted of player who played around a year or less with the Cubs who went on the be serviceable elsewhere, or were once great, here we go.
Catcher: Jason Kendall, played second half of 2007 for us and is still playing for the Royals.
1B: Randall Simon, the infamous sausage mutilator played the second half of 2003 for the Cubs.
2B: Omar Infante, We traded for him after the 07 season and traded a few weeks later.
3B: Ryan Freel, I can proudly say I saw one of his 14 games as a Cub in person in 2009.
SS: Alex Cintron, another spring training invitee who didn’t make the cut.
OF: Jeremy Burnitz: Burny played one great year as a Cub but we didn’t bring him back in 06.
OF: Jim Edmonds: Hard to believe this guy is still making his way onto major league rosters.
OF: Cliff Floyd: He was at the end of his rope in 2007 when we got him but he still did O.K.
SP: Tim Lincecum: Technically he was never under contract but we still could have had him.
SP: Dontrelle Willis: We traded him in 02 for Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca
Other note worthy players include:
David Weathers, Lenny Harris, Kenny Lofton, Phil Nevin, and Matt Stairs.
This year is THE year! That’s what we’re all thinking isn’t it? Well maybe not all of us, I for one am on the fence in my attitude towards this team. Part of me thinks we are similar to last years Giants team. Good pitching staff, sufficient offense, and slow on the bases. Our division looks like its up for grabs, Wainwright being out severely damages the Cards chances this year. The Brewers could be slow coming out of the gate with Grienke on the D.L for sure and its possible Hart and Lucroy could have a similar start to the year. That leaves the Reds and Cubs as the only two contenders in the central starting the season injury free, and the Astros and Pirates left in the dust as non contenders. However, the more I look at the Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds, the more I wonder how in the world we can beat one of those teams out for the division let alone all three. Things may change, if the Brewers start off to sluggish they would likely dump Fielder and Hart for prospects. Wainwrights injury might leave the Cards in to vulnerable a position but that still leaves the Reds who look poised to steal the top spot in the Central again. I feel like this year will be important to see what our young guys can give us and see what Quade is capable of with a full year. As much as I hate to say it though I don’t think this year is the year but I’m still excited to watch as many games as I can and to see if Pujols ends up on our squad next year. Thoughts?
They day I have been waiting 3 months for has finally arrived, pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training. Baseball is back to fill the void my Minnesota Vikings left weeks ago when it became clear they weren’t going to the playoffs. This years group of Cubs has me filled with high hopes for the 2011 campaign. The biggest problem I can find with team is going to be the lack of a true lead off hitter/ base stealer. Castro or Dewitt may be able to fill the void but only to an adequate level, nothing over the top. Our offense is once again going to really on the power hitting of the 1B and 3B positions. However the pitching staff is looking much better, Garza, Zambrono (in post June 2010 form), Dempster, Wells, and Silva is a solid group of starters. Starters weren’t the issue last year and definitely shouldn’t be this year with the addition of Garza and now the pen shouldn’t be a problem either. Wood, Cashner, Marshall, and Russell setting up Marmol should be solid throughout the year. Can’t to see this group on the field together in a few weeks.