Tagged: Aramis Ramirez

Cubs Get Win Number 10,000

W Flag.jpgLadies and gentleman, if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.  I’m going to be honest with you, I really thought the Cubs were going to lose this game.  No one gets this lucky.  No one gets this many clutch hits.  Sooner or later the breaks stop going your way.  I wasn’t that disappointed, with the Cubs having won five in a row.  But wait!!!! The Cubs were having none of that, came back, and stole a game from the Rockies.  The Cubs won an unbelievable ballgame tonight, 7-6 in extra innings to become only the second team in MLB history to reach the 10,000 win milestone.  If this is one of my beautiful Cubs dreams, don’t wake me up! Let me sleep!!

I don’t even no where to start.  How about the Cubs hitting to triples, one from Fukudome and one from Lee?  How about Lee and Soto having four hit nights.  How about that homer by Soto in that second?  How about Rich Hill and the Cubs leading 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth before giving up five runs and going through four pitchers? 

Could you believe that the Cubs had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh with only one
Ramirez jacks it 4-23.jpgout and one runner already in, before DeRosa lined out and D-Lee was doubled off second?  That should have been the ballgame.  All momentum should have gone to the Rockies.  The Cubs should have just hung their heads and given up?  But no, this team has fight.  After Bob Howry set down Holliday, Atkins and Hawpe in order in the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs had one more chance to win it.  Derek Lee started off the inning with a single.  Then to the surprise of Len and Bob, every member of Cubs nation, and Derek Lee himself, Lou pulled him for a pinch runner, Felix Pie. No pinch runner was needed as Aramis jacked one to deep left center off of Manny Corpas, who blew a game the night before, to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead.

Kerry Wood came in to close it out, and looked phenomenal, getting Tulowitzky and Torreabla out on consecutive strikeouts.  But then Rockies manager Clint Hurdle put in long time Cubs nemisis Scott Podsednick into the game.  Podsednick killed the Cubs when he was a Brewer, killed the Cubs when he was with the White Sox, and now he was standing at home plate against Wood.  I knew he would score.  Podsednick singled and scored the tying run on a Spilborghs double.  Ok, now the Cubs really should have lose.  The closer comes in, blows the game after the Cubs took the lead in the ninth, and again Colorado has the momentum

Then, in the top of the tenth, Kip Wells took over for Corpas.  Soto singled to lead off the inning and was lifted for pinch runner Mike Fontenot. Cedeno bunted to move Fontenot into scoring postition.  Daryl Ward came in to pinch hit for Wood and was intentionally walked.  With one out, Reed Johnson worked the count, but popped out to short left field.  With two outs and his Canjun twin on second, RyanTheriot hit a single down the first base line, scoring Fontenot.  Just to make things interesting, Carlos Marmol had to pitch the 10th and face Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, and Garrett Atkins, with Mark DeRosa playing first base!!  No sweat for Marmol as he retired them in order and the Cubs win. 

This was an amazing game and I am just going to soak this up.  My brother was at the game and will email me photos soon.  Jason Marquis will take the hill tomorrow against the Rockies in a day game, 2:05 start.

Go Cubs! 

Cubs Prove They Are Ready For Prime Time

A lot of people are wondering if the Cubs are real or not.  A lot of doubters point to the fact that a lot of the Cubs victories have come against some bad teams.  But on Monday night, the Cubs faced the New York Mets, everyone’s pick to win the east after signing Santana, on ESPN.  It was a matchup between Carlos Zambrano and John Maine under the lights at Wrigley.  Man, if you saw it on a nice high def TV, Wrigley Field looked just gorgeous.  The crowd at Wrigley got to witness a great game, as it was a nail biter all the way until the seventh inning, when the Cubs busted it open to take the first game of the two game series 7-1.  It’s games like these that make you feel like this may be a magical season at Wrigley.

As expected, it started out as a pitchers dual.  Zambrano was really on tonight, Big Z gave up only five hits, walked two and struck out four over seven innings. The defense also came up big, turning four double plays.  The Cubs were able to get to Maine in the bottom of the fourth, when Derek Lee led off the inning with a single.  That’s when Aramis Ramirez hit a home run to tie the game.  Ramirez has now homered in cosecutive games and it looks like he’s heating up.  In the top of the sixth, Z ran into a little trouble.  Endy Chavez started out the inning with a double that just missed being a home run.  John Maine was up next, and bunted the ball right in front of home plate.  Soto tried to throw out the lead runner at third, but Chavez got a good jump and everyone was safe.  With runners at first and third, Jose Reyes hit into a double play, scoring Chavez and cutting the Cubs lead in half.  With the double play, it looked like the inning was done, but Luiis Castillo hit an infield single and David Wright drew a walk.  That brought up Carlos Beltran with the tying run at second.  Z go Beltran to fly out to left to end the threat.

Busting it Open

With the Cubs leading 2-1, Carlos Marmol took the mound in the eighth inning.  He made quick work of the Mets, getting them out in order. Marmol made veteran pinch hitter Marlon Byrd look goofy on a knee buckling breaking ball.  With Kerry Wood warming up in the bullpen, the Cubs were looking to add some insurance runs.  The inning started out well, with Derek Lee reaching on an error by the shortstop Jose Reyes.  Relief pitcher Aaron Heilman hit Aramis, putting runners at first and second.  Then the place went nuts, chanting Fukudome’s name, and he didn’t disappoint. Fukudome fought off pitch after pitch before slapping a single to left field to load the bases with no outs.  But then it started to happen.  Mark DeRosa had a horrible at bat, striking out for the first out.  Than Geovany Soto popped out for the second out.  It looked like the typical Cubs, loading up the bases and then letting the pitcher off the hook, swinging momentum back to the opposing team.  Not only that, but Ronnie Cedeno, who was a late game addition after Theriot couldn’t play with back spasms, was up to bat.  Cedeno was 0-3 at that point, reaching base on an error by David Wright.  Down quickly in the count, it looked like the Cubs would spoil the opportunity, but then Cedeno hit a ball up the middle to drive in Lee and Ramirez and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.  After that, Heilman was pulled and Jorge Sosa came into the game.  Lou brought in Pie to pinch hit for Marmol, and Pie jacked one to right, giving the Cubs a 7-1 lead.  Pie’s reaction was priceless.  Wood put ’em away 1-2-3 and the Cubs put on a dazzling display of ptching, defense, and timely hitting.

Is this team for real?  I don’t know.  I keep staring at stats and can’t believe how well the Cubs are doing offensively, especially when it comes to seeing pitches and taking walks.  The soft underbelly of most teams is middle relieff.  Have the pitcher throw a high number of pitches, get him out of the game  by the fifth or sixth inning, and go to town on the stiffs that most teams have in their bullpen.  I just though that Monday nights win against the Mets had one of those magical feelings at Wrigley, the kind that really get Cubs fans excited and make the doubters take notice. After struggling so bad in April last season, this is the kind of start Lou was looking for.  The Cubs play game two of the series at 1:20 tomorrow, with Ted Lilly taking on Nelson Figueroa.  Lilly wants to contribute in the worst possible way, and how nice would it be to see Ted get his first W tommorrow.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that Ted can finally get it going.

Go Cubs! 

 

All or Nothing

L_flag.gifWell, the streak was bound to end sooner or later.  The Cubs had five wins in a row going into tonight’s game against the Phillies, and they got the fireworks started early, but it wasn’t enough to get it done.  Carlos Zambrano struggled in the first game of the series against the Phillies and the defense didn’t help much either.  As Pat Hughes put it tonight, the Cubs either hit all or nothing against Phillies starter and big A-hole Brett Myers.  The Cubs only had five hits off of Myers, but three of them were solo home runs by Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano.  The only other player to have a hit for the Cubs was Mark DeRosa. 

Lee Ramirez high five 4-11.jpgAfter getting two outs in the first inning, Myers gave up back to back jacks to Lee and Ramirez in the first inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.  The good news for Cubs fans is that Lee has has now equaled his home run totals for both April and May 2007 (four) — and it’s only his 10th game of the season. But as we’ve seen so many times before, the bats went cold.  Myers threw breaking ball after breaking ball, After the first, the Cubs only had one hit, an infield single by DeRosa, until the sixth inning.  It was the same old Cubs, hacking away instead of waiting for a good pitch to hit. 

Meanwhile, Zambrano was able to keep the Phillies hitters down for a few innings, but he wasn’t locating his fastball.  He started having his Carlos meltdown in the fourth inning.  He started out falling behind Chase Utley, who eventually singled,  He then got Ryan Howard to ground to Lee, who threw to second, but Utley slid hard and Theriot couldn’t put anything on the throw to Zambrano and Howard was safe.  The next batter, Pat Burrell, hit a ball that still hasn’t landed, tying the game up at 2-2.  In the fifth inning, Z got two quick outs, then gave up a walk to the lead off hitter, Shane Victorino.  The next batter, Greg Dobbs, doubled to left-center. Kosuke Fukudome, playing center, made a back-handed catch on the run, but Soriano bumped him and knocked the ball out of his glove, allowing Victorino to score.  Lou came out to argue that Fukudome had taken a few steps, and that it should have been called an out. 

“That’s what the umpire said — it wasn’t a full transfer,” Piniella said . “He bumped into Soriano, and the ball dropped out of his glove.”

 

“I did catch the ball,” Fukudome said, “but as I ran past Soriano, the tip of the glove hit — maybe Soriano’s leg, maybe his torso — and the ball popped out of my glove. It was nothing but my fault that I didn’t hold on to it. The ball did come into my glove. I thought I made the catch.”

The funniest(or saddest) part was Soriano’s response. 

“I don’t know where it hit me,” Soriano said. “I was more scared because I saw him running to catch the ball, and I wanted to tell him to get out of the way. He didn’t see me.”

Technically, the play should have been made by Soriano, who misplayed the ball.  Fukudome made an amazing play to get to the ball.  Had Soriano moved out of the way, the Cubs may have gotten out of the inning without any further damage. 

Z pitching 4-11.jpgSoriano did make it up to the team, leading off the sixth with a solo home run, tying the game at three.  Unfortunately, Z couldn’t put them away.  Z fell behind Ryan Howard 2-0, who then hit double to left center. Burrell then hit a double that got past Daryl Ward scoring Howard with the go-ahead run.  This caused Z to start jumping around like a moron.  One of these days, one of his teammates is really going to kick the crap out of him for that (Barrett tried that once!) 

“What can I say?” Ward said. “I’m doing the best I can. It’s been three weeks since I’ve been in right field. It’s tough getting good jumps after not being out there that long. There’s not really any excuses. I gave it my best effort. It was over my head. If it was side to side, I think I had a good chance of catching it. Once I got there, it was over my head, and I tried to get it in as quick as possible.”

You really can’t blame Ward.  After Soriano tied the game at three, I though that Ward should have been taken out of the game to upgrade defensively.  I understand Lou wanting to get Ward some at bats, but you have a tie game and you need to play good defense.  That was Lou’s fault for leaving him in.   Carlos Ruiz hit a single,scoring Burrell and that put the game out of reach.  Brad Lidge saved it for the Phillies.

Uh-Oh

The Cubs really needed Z to pitch a great game, and he didn’t.  Now the Cubs have to face lefty Cole Hamels on Satuday and have struggling starter Ted Lilly going.  Hamels was 2-0 last year with a 1.80 ERA and is 2-1 in his career against the Cubs.  Let’s try to get another streak started.  We only have to win one more game to make this a winning road trip.

Go Cubs!   

 

Not Firing On All Cylinders

I never thought I would be so unimpressed with a Cubs 4 game win streak.  In fact, I am more disgusted then happy. Why you ask?  Because the Cubs had to go another 15 innings just to beat the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.  It just seems like the Cubs are not firing on all cylinders.  Either the starting pitching is good but there is no hitting, or the hitting is good, but the bullpen is bad, or their are defensive mistakes or baserunning mistakes.  One Monday, our number two starter, Ted Lilly, was given a ton of offense, but couldn’t hold on to the lead.  Today, our number 3 starter, Ryan Dempster, pitched a beautiful game, but got no offensive support or help from his former bullpen mates.  Dempster pitched seven innings of one hit ball, giving up zero runs and striking out 5 Pirates.  He had a wicked offspeed pitch that had the Pirates’ hitters fooled all day.  So how does Dempster not win this game?  The offense and the bullpen.  The offense was horrible, scoring only two runs, only one of them earned, in the first nine innings.  The Cubs could never get the clutch hit to put the game out of reach.  The Cubs left a total of 15 men left on base.  If you do the math kiddies, if you add the 15 men the Cubs left on base on Monday and the 15 men they left on base on Wednesday, that equals 30 baserunners the Cubs left in two games !!  We are not facing San Diego with their amazing rotation and bullpen, these are the friggin’ Pirates. 

Carlos Marmol came in to relieve Dempster in the eighth, and gave up one run after the Pirates hit back to back doubles.  The Cubs still nursed a one run lead going into the ninth, when closer Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff homer to Jason Bay to tie the game in the bottomof the ninth.  Bob Howry pitched the tenth, while Michael Wuertz pitched the eleventh and twelfth, keeping the Pirates off the board.  The Cubs had plenty of chances to win the ballgame, but couldn;t.  Finally, in the top of the fourteenth inning, with Derek Lee on first, Aramis Ramirez hit a two run homer to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead.  Unfortunately, Kevin Hart, who had pitched the thirteenth inning, gave up a two run homer to Adam LaRoche , tying the ballgame.  And like Monday, Pittsburgh gave the game away again.  In the fifteenth inning and one out, Geovany Soto drew a walk.  Hart was supposed to bunt him over to second, but instead bunted it back to the pitcher who threw Soto out at second.  Ryan Theriot singled, putting runners at first and second, with Soriano up with two outs.  Pitcher Phil Dumatrait threw a wild pitch, and the runners advanced to second and third.  Rather then pitch to Soriano, they decided to intentionally walk him to get to Felix Pie, who came into the game in the seventh.  Pie hadn’t gotten close to a pitch in his previous three at bats, but hit the game winning double to drive in two runs.  Sean Marshall, recently called up after Carmen Pignatiello threw eight straight balls on Monday, gave up a double in the bottom of the fifteenth, but was able to hold on for the save.

Again, sorry to be negative, but when you play a team as bad as the Pirats, it shouldn’t be this difficult.  The Cubs have spent 118 million on this roster, compared to 48 by the Pirates.  The reason I am so frustrated is that the Cubs can’t seem to go after victories.  They just seem to be lucking in to them.  You may be fine with that, but I am not.  I remember the playoffs last season, do you?  Bullpen giving up runs, no clutch hitting, etc.  We are not going to face the Pirates in the playoffs.  If we make it, we will be facing much better pitching, much better defense, and much better hitting.  My goal, the team’s goal, any fans of the Cubs’ goal, should be a World Series championship.  Do I see a World Series team on the field right now. No. I realize we have only played eight games, but after spring training, there is no excuse for playing as poorly as we are.  If you remember last season, the Cubs would be a very streaky team, bad for long stretches, good for long stretches.  We need to get consistently good, not make stupid plays, play defense, and get some clutch hitting, especially from our big money players.  We have to start playing better.  This is the second straight game we have burned up our bullpen.  That adds a lot of added pressure to Rich Hill, tomorrows starter (who doesn’t handle pressure well and hasn’t been pitching well either) and Jason Marquis (who has the flu and didn’t pitch well in his first game).  Let’s home we can get some innings out of them and get the sweep tomorrow. Hard to believe, but we are going for 5 wins in a row.

Go Cubs!