Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cubs win 3-2 over Astros and secure the series win; Anthony Rizzo hits first homer as a Cub; Jorge Soler deal finalized; No more shaving cream pies by Garza

The Cubs beat the Houston Astros 3-2 at Wrigley Field to secure the series win.  Matt Garza started for the Cubs and gave up two runs on nine hits and issued three walks over 5-1/3 innings.

Matt Garza stretches before starting Saturday's game against the Astros (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer as a Cub in the fifth inning, when Starlin Castro was on base, which gave the Cubs the 3-2 lead.  "It's good to come here and help us win," Rizzo said.  "It's a lot of fun when you can do that.  It's good for us to win and get that monkey off my back by hitting a home run."

Anthony Rizzo is congratulated by Bryan LaHair after hitting the game-winning home run on Saturday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
In other Cubs news, Jorge Soler has officially signed a 9-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs.  “He provides a ton of power potential for us,” Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer said.  “We scouted him heavily and it obviously is a significant commitment for us.  He fits very well into what we’re trying to do.  He’s the right age, the right talent and we’re excited to get him started.”  Soler is 20 years old and hails from Cuba.

Hoyer also said that negotiations with first-round draft choice Albert Almora are ongoing.  The Cubs have until July 13th to sign Almora.

It was also announced that Chris Volstad, who has been at Triple-A Iowa after a 0-6 start to the season, will be called up to start on Tuesday against the Braves in Atlanta. 

Hoyer also said today that Ian Stewart will most likely have to get surgery on his left wrist, since the cortisone shots in his hand haven't helped to resolve the pain.

After today's game, during Anthony Rizzo's postgame interview on the field, Matt Garza emerged from the dugout with a shaving cream pie ready for Rizzo, but opted to cover the camera lens instead and then removed Rizzo's headset and put it on himself and said for Rizzo to come inside, it's hot out here.

Apparently Garza's antics didn't go over very well and he tweeted tonight, "Thanks for the love all of you... Sad to say I shall be retiring from the pies! Certain individuals don't enjoy it as much! "  Garza definitely brings a lot of energy to the clubhouse and personally, I get a charge out of the guy!

Matt Garza puts shaving cream on a camera during Anthony Rizzo's postgame interview (photo from Chicago Tribune)

Luis Valbuena and Anthony Rizzo celebrate the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Astros (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Tomorrow the Cubs and Astros will play the final game of the series at 1:20pm CT.  Travis Wood is scheduled to start for the Cubs and will try for his third win of the season.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Paul Maholm's best performance of season leads Cubs to 4-0 shutout of Astros; Kerry Wood's Bowling Fundraiser

Paul Maholm had his best outing of the season as he pitched 8-2/3 innings and allowed just four hits, leading the Cubs to a 4-0 shutout of the Houston Astros Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Maholm struck out six batters and walked one.  Today's win was Maholm's first in his last eight starts, as well as his 200th career start.

Paul Maholm pitched 8-2/3 innings in Friday's Cubs win over the Astros (photo from
Luis Valbuena, Steve Clevenger, and Alfonso Soriano all homered in today's game.  Clevenger's was his first career homer, which was hit onto the Budweiser Patio and into the hands of one of several guys dressed in red pajamas/long underwear.  It looked like the Cubs had to make a deal with the red PJ guy to have him give up the ball to Clevenger for a keepsake.

In other Cubs news, right-handed pitcher Randy Wells, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa today. 

Randy Wells has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa on Friday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Ryan Dempster is expected to miss another start on Tuesday in Atlanta.  Cubs manager Dale Sveum has yet to decide who will pitch in Dempster's spot, but it sounds like it will be either Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman.  Should be interesting, either way.

Dempster won't return to the rotation until just after the All-Star break.  “I feel great, completely pain free,” Dempster said Friday morning.  It won't take long after I get going."

Kerry Wood, along with his wife Sarah, and his Wood Family Foundation hosted its 7th annual Stike Zone Celebrity Bowling Tournament at 10pin Bowling Lounge on Wednesday night, which raised over $300,000 to benefit children in need.

Most of Wood's former Cubs teammates were in attendance, along with WWE Champion CM Punk, former WWE Diva Lita, the Plain White T’s band members Tom Higgenson and Dave Tirio, and ‘85 Bears player Steve McMichael.

Ryan Dempster was all decked out for the Wood Family Foundation bowling fundraiser on June 27, 2012 (photo by Kenny Kim)

Kerry Wood and his family at his fundraiser on June 27, 2012 (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Tomorrow the Cubs and Astros will play game two of the three game series at 3:05pm CT.  Matt Garza will start for the Cubs and will hopefully get some run support and a win for the Cubs.  Then maybe his teammates can get back at him with multiple shaving cream pies!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman and Cubs get whopped 17-1 by the Mets; Roster moves made today

The Cubs lost by a whopping score of 17-1 to the New York Mets at Wrigley Field this afternoon.  Jeff Samardzija started for the Cubs and allowed nine runs on six hits and issued four walks over 4-1/3 innings pitched.  Samardzija was charged with his seventh loss of the season and now has an ERA of 5.05.  In his last five starts, the "Shark" has been charged with 27 earned runs over 23-1/3 innings. 

Jeff Samardzija didn't fare well today and takes the loss against the Mets (photo from
"The walks aren't acceptable, especially with the conditions we had today,'' said Samardzija, who walked four.  "If you're going to give up home runs, they have to be solo home runs.  You can't give up runs for free.''

The Mets hit three home runs in a 10-batter stretch during a six-run fifth inning against Samardzija.   Casey Coleman came into the game in relief and didn't fare better, giving up another six runs in the sixth inning, including a grand slam to Scott Hairston.  Perhaps the Cubs shouldn't have shipped Randy Wells off so quickly after his start last night....seeing as Samardzija and Coleman both fared much worse than Wells did....

Yesterday's hero, newcomer first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with a double in today's game.  Even he couldn't help save the Cubs today.

As I mentioned above, right handed pitcher Randy Wells was designated for assignment today.  Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wells was DFA'ed instead of simply being optioned to Triple-A Iowa because the Cubs needed a roster spot for outfielder Jorge Soler.

Randy Wells was designated for assignment on Tuesday
The $30 million, nine-year Soler deal is expected to be official in the next few days.  If Wells is claimed on waivers by another team, that team would be responsible for the remaining $1.5 million on his $2.7 million salary.

However, if Wells clears waivers, he will be outrighted to Iowa.  But I think it's totally unfair since there are pitchers still on the roster that have worse numbers than Wells.  Such as, Samardzija, who has allowed 27 earned runs in his last 23 1/3 innings pitched.  That's an ERA of 11.64 in his last four starts.

This all goes back to my belief that Wells never got a fair look in spring training this year by the new Cubs' front office and Sveum.  He hardly got to pitch in ST and when he did, he pitched well.  But for some unknown reason, Wells was sent to Iowa to start out the season and Chris Volstad took a spot in the starting rotation.  And Volstad flopped and was eventually sent to Iowa.  Plus, many people are quick to forget that Wells pitched two complete games, with one being a complete game shutout last season.  Anyway.....

The Cubs also recalled relief pitcher Rafael Dolis from Iowa today.  We'll see how things go for him this time around.

The Cubs have an off-day tomorrow and will play a three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Houston Astros starting at 1:20pm on Friday, when Paul Maholm will start for the Cubs and try for his fifth win of the season.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Anthony Rizzo makes memorable debut in Cubs 5-3 win over Mets

The Cubs won 5-3 over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field tonight.  Scott Maine earned his first win of the season, as he pitched in relief of Randy Wells, who started in place of Ryan Dempster, who is on the disabled list because of a tight right lat.  Wells gave up three runs on six hits and walked four and struck out three batters in three innings pitched.

The big news of the day and night was top prospect Anthony Rizzo's Cubs debut.  And Rizzo gave Cubs fans something to cheer about as he went 2 for 4 with a double and also drove in the go-ahead run. 

Anthony Rizzo was impressive in his Cubs debut tonight (photo from

Anthony Rizzo chats with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts before Tuesday's game (photo from Paul Sullivan)

Wrigleyville is ready for Anthony Rizzo's Cubs debut (photo from Paul Sullivan)

The Cubs' front office watches as Anthony Rizzo takes batting practice before Tuesday's game (photo from Len & Bob)
"I think it's great to be this excited," General Manager Jed Hoyer said about Rizzo's arrival.  "I hope it comes with the understanding that there will be ups and downs.  It's hard to find players who come up and never struggle.  When they do that, they're in the Hall of Fame."  Well put, Mr. Hoyer.

Carlos Marmol earned his 100th save of his career tonight and is only the fourth Cub in franchise history to reach that number.

In other Cubs news, third baseman Ian Stewart, who has been on the disabled list since June 13th for a sore left wrist, is not ready to come off the disabled list yet, even though he is eligible to come off on Friday.  Stewart received a cortisone shot in his left hand to help relieve the pain and said, “No, I am not ready yet for [rehab].  We have to get through soft toss and hit on the field first, then we can go from there.  But this has weighed on me mentally because I really haven’t got any relief from the injections I have had.” 

Tomorrow the Cubs and Mets will play the series finale at 1:20pm at Wrigley Field.  Jeff Samardzija will start for the Cubs and try to earn his sixth win of the season.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Travis Wood pitches the Cubs to a 6-1 win against the Mets; The Anthony Rizzo era is about to begin

The Cubs won 6-1 over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field tonight.  Travis Wood started for the Cubs and pitched seven shutout innings and allowed five hits, one walk, and threw six strikeouts on 93 pitches.  Wood had excellent command of his pitches and led his team to a win.

Travis Wood pitched seven shutout innings against the Mets (photo from
Joe Mather got the Cubs on the board with a hard-hit two-run homer in the fourth inning.  The Cubs then scored four runs in the seventh inning when the Mets made three errors.  Shawn Camp pitched in relief in a scoreless eighth inning, but the Cubs were one out from a shutout in the ninth inning when Ike Davis hit a solo home run off of James Russell.

Joe Mather is congratulated by Geovany Soto after his 2-run homer against the Mets (photo from
This was definitely one of the more fun games to watch this season!  Go Cubs Go!

The other big news of today - It's official:  Anthony Rizzo is on his way to Chicago and will start in Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets. 

Rizzo was hitting .345 with 23 homers and 62 RBI in 69 games at Iowa.  After his second at-bat during the Iowa Cubs' game against Round Rock today, he was told he had been promoted to Chicago.  “I had no idea before the game,” Rizzo said.  “After that at-bat, I figured something was up because (manager Dave Bialas) usually comes out to get the helmet of whoever makes the final out.  He didn’t do it that time.  He told me to come on in.  That’s when he told me I was going to Chicago.”

Regarding Cubs fans, Rizzo said, “I want to tell them that there’s going to be good times, and there will there be bad times.  Hopefully there will be times I’m a hero, and there will be times that I’m the villain.  That’s the nature of the game, and that goes for every baseball player.”

Anthony Rizzo (shown here during Cubs' spring training) will make his Cubs debut Tuesday against the Mets (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Rizzo "has got to understand he's not a savior of this offense right now.  I think that's what he's got to be careful of.  If he comes up here and tries to save a struggling offense...he can't do it with one swing of the bat.  It'd be nice if he did."

Sveum said he'll probably bat Rizzo third or fourth in the lineup "so somebody can hit behind him."  Bryan LaHair, who has been playing the most at first base, will play in the outfield almost exclusively, and Rizzo will play first base "most of the time", according to Sveum.

“You’re going to play in front of the greatest fans in baseball,” former teammate Chris Volstad told Rizzo in the clubhouse during the Iowa Cubs’ game against Round Rock.  “You’ll do great.”

Well, this sure is exciting news and gives Cubs fans something to be pumped about, since the Cubs currently have the worst record in the Majors.  After tonight's game, Adrian Cardenas has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Rizzo on the 25-man roster.  Rizzo will wear number 44 for the Cubs.

In other Cubs news, former Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Michael Bowden was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for an estrogen-blocking drug, tamoxifen, which is used to minimize side effects typical in steroid use and is one of 200 substances on the banned list, but is not a performance-enhancing drug.

Former Cub Marlon Byrd has been placed on the restricted list and suspended for 50 games (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Via the players' union, Byrd released the following statement:  "I made an inexcusable mistake. Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball.  Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test.  Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons.  I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do.  I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a club win later this season."  Byrd had been released by the Red Sox and was playing at the minor league level.

Tomorrow is the big game at 7:05pm where Anthony Rizzo will make his debut.  Randy Wells will start for the Cubs in place of Ryan Dempster (who is on the disabled list for a tight right lat) and try for his second win of the season.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Matt Garza excellent today, but doesn't receive run support as Cubs lose 5-1 to Diamondbacks

The Cubs lost their 4th game in a row at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks today.  The final score was 5-1.  Matt Garza was excellent and allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings pitched and left the game with the Cubs trailing 3-1.  Garza struck out seven batters and only walked one.  Once again, run support for the Cubs was a problem.

Matt Garza started against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field today (photo from
Alfonso Soriano, who hit his 14th home run today, is tied for the lead in the National League with 10 road home runs and Bryan LaHair has nine.  Too bad these stats don't translate into more wins for the Cubs, as they have the worst record in the Major League at 24 wins and 48 losses.

The Cubs will return to Chicago to play a six-game homestand at Wrigley Field against the Mets and Astros.  Travis Wood will start for the Cubs at 7:05pm CT tomorrow as the Cubs try to break their 4-game losing streak.

Hey, on the bright side, at least the grass at Wrigley Field should look decent again after having new sod put in after the grass was destroyed after the Roger Waters and Brad Paisley concerts earlier this month.  Also, don't forget that there is a big possibility of top prospect Anthony Rizzo being called up on Tuesday to start at first base.

Could Cubs top prospect Anthony Rizzo be in this week's lineup? (photo from Chicago Sun-Times)

Paul Maholm's 2-run home run not enough as Cubs lose 10-5 to Diamondbacks

The Cubs lost 10-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field tonight.  Paul Maholm started for the Cubs and hit a 2-run homer in the fourth inning to put the Cubs ahead 2-1.  However, Maholm was pulled after the D'backs scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and Cubs were trailing 7-2.  Maholm allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings.

Paul Maholm started for the Cubs against the Diamondbacks and also hit a 2-run homer (photo from
Paul Maholm crosses home plate after hitting a 2-run homer against the Diamondbacks (photo from
Although the Cubs had 14 hits in the game, including a career-high four each by Starlin Castro and David DeJesus, they ended up stranding 10 base-runners and wasting numerous scoring opportunities.  On Friday, they had nine hits and left 11 stranded. 

In other Cubs news, the topic Anthony Rizzo's call-up from Triple-A Iowa is still hot and the latest speculation is that he could be called up on Tuesday in order to not have to face left-handed pitcher Johan Santana on Monday.  We'll see what happens and hopefully once Rizzo is called up, he's ready to step up.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Diamondbacks will play the final game in the three-game series at 3:10pm CT.  Matt Garza will start for the Cubs and try for his fourth win of the season.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cubs lose 6-1 to Diamondbacks; Anthony Rizzo won't be called up this weekend

The Cubs lost 6-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in the first game of the three-game road trip.  Jeff Samardzija started for the Cubs and allowed five runs on seven hits and walked two and struck out six batters over five innings pitched.

Jeff Samardzija started for the Cubs against the Diamondbacks on Friday (photo from
One last minute change to tonight's game was that lefty Joe Saunders was scheduled to start for the Dbacks, but was scratched at the last minute because he couldn't get loose in the bullpen before the game, so right hander Josh Collmenter was called on to start at the last minute.  Cubs manager Dale Sveum had gone with his usual lineup against left handed pitchers, leaving Bryan LaHair and David DeJesus on the bench, but it was unfortunate when the Dbacks switched to a righty just before game time.

Geovany Soto's solo home run in the fourth inning gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead and was the team's only offense in tonight's game.  Jason Kubel countered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to give the Dbacks a 2-1 lead and they never looked back as they tacked on 4 more runs during the game.

In other Cubs news, Sveum said that Randy Wells will remain in the starting rotation in Ryan Dempster's spot and is scheduled to start in Tuesday's game against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.  "We'll stick with Wells for right now," Sveum said today.  "Something could change, but right now Wells will pitch on Tuesday."  In 24.2 innings pitched against the Mets, Wells has a record of 0-1 and an ERA of 2.92 with 14 strikeouts.

Sveum did confirm that the Cubs' top prospect Anthony Rizzo won’t be called up during their roadtrip in Arizona.  “I don’t know if there’s a date on it,” Sveum said. “It’s obvious he’s coming soon but we don’t have a date yet.”  Rizzo is batting .350 with 59 RBIs in 66 games with the Iowa Cubs this season and leads the Pacific Coast League with 23 homers.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Dbacks will play game two at 9:10pm CT.  Paul Maholm will start for the Cubs and is looking for his fifth win of the season.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cubs can't pull off series sweep, but still win series against White Sox; Ian Stewart update; Is Anthony Rizzo on-deck?

The Cubs weren't able to pull off the series sweep against the White Sox tonight and lost 7-0.  However, the Cubs did already secure the series win against the South siders when they won the second game in a row against the Sox yesterday.  Randy Wells started for the Cubs tonight and allowed three runs on five hits and also walked four batters over 3 2/3 innings.

Randy Wells started in the final game against the White Sox on Wednesday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Wells pitched two scoreless innings, but then walked Eduardo Escobar (who stole second) in the third inning and also walked Alejandro De Aza.  Both runners advanced on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice.  Then Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko both hit RBI singles to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Alexei Ramirez singled with one out.  Then De Aza reached on an infield single to Starlin Castro, who missed the flip to Darwin Barney for the forceout.  Then Beckham hit a single that got past a diving Barney that scored Ramirez.  He left the game in the fourth inning with the Sox leading 3-0.

The Cubs also wasted scoring opportunities they had tonight, such as when David DeJesus hit a leadoff double in the third inning, but was left stranded.  “Those are things we have to get better at,” manager Dale Sveum said.  “We gave one away that we could have taken the lead on early (in the third inning) if we could have got the guy over and we swing at the first pitch and roll over and don’t get anything out of that.  That was probably the key of the game right there.”

One tense moment in tonight's game was when relief pitcher Casey Coleman was hit on the right hand by the barrel of Eduzrdo Escobar's broken bat in the seventh inning, even though he tried to get out of the way.  "It's always scary when something like that happens, but I got lucky," Coleman said. "It was the barrel that hit me on the knuckles.  It's scary when you don't see it and all of a sudden it gets you." The x-rays on his hand were negative.

The White Sox win the Crosstown series 4-2 games over the Cubs this season. 

In other Cubs news, third baseman Ian Stewart had a cortisone shot in his left hand and said, “My options now are just to see if this cortisone works and give it four, five days when I’m on the [disabled list] to really let it sink in and work and then slowly get a program going off the tee.  If the shot works, then it’ll carry me through the season and maybe get another one in another six weeks or so.  If it doesn’t, then we may have to go the other route.  We’re just going to see how it feels.”  Hopefully the shot will work and Stewart won't need surgery on his wrist.  Stewart won't touch a baseball until this weekend, when he will hit off a tee.

Third baseman Ian Stewart is hoping the cortisone shot will help with his wrist injury (photo from ESPN)
The Cubs have an off-day tomorrow and will travel to start a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Their next game is Friday at 8:40pm CT.  Jeff Samardzija will start for the Cubs and try for his sixth win of the season.  There has also been lots of talk about the Cubs calling up top prospect Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Iowa this weekend for the games against the Dbacks, so we'll see if Theo and Co. are ready to make the leap.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cubs get second straight "W" against White Sox and try for series sweep tomorrow

The Cubs beat the White Sox 2-1 at U.S. Cellular Field tonight and in turn, have won the series and will go for the series sweep tomorrow night.

Travis Wood started for the Cubs and allowed one run on four hits and struck out five and walked four batters over six innings.  Wood earns his first win of the season.

Starter Travis Wood snags a line drive off the bat of Paul Konerko in the 2nd inning (photo from Chicago Tribune)
The Sox scored first in the second inning, but fortunately for the Cubs, it was just one run.  The Cubs then scored two runs in the top of the third when David DeJesus singled to score Geovany Soto and Tony Campana.

David DeJesus had two RBIs in tonight's game against the White Sox (photo from
In other Cubs news, Ian Stewart received a second opinion on his sore left wrist at the Cleveland Clinic today.  There was nothing serious discovered and it was confirmed that there is nothing structurally wrong with his wrist.  He received a cortisone injection in the top of his left hand, which will hopefully help.  Stewart has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 13th.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Sox will play the final game of the Crosstown series at 7:10pm CT.  Randy Wells will make the start for the Cubs in place of Ryan Dempster, who went on the 15-day DL yesterday.

Wells definitely sees this as an opportunity to prove himself again.  "Three years in the rotation, or whatever it was, doesn't guarantee you're going to get the fourth," Wells said.

"The two years I had in the rotation didn't guarantee anything.  I've been through it before.  It was definitely a low point in my career to have to go to Triple-A this year out of Spring Training.  I felt I was throwing well.  It's definitely an eye-opener but it makes you stronger and you realize there's nothing given to you in this game and there's a guy waiting to take your spot every day."  Wells also said doesn't think he's lost too much stamina pitching out of the bullpen (vs. the starting rotation). 

"It's an opportunity to get back on the hill as a starter and hopefully have some quick innings and some quality innings and give the team a chance to win," Wells said.  "I'm not worried about what it means and all this stuff.  It's unfortunate 'Demp' went down and I was the guy they called to start and I'm going to do it."  Let's get the series sweep tomorrow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cubs crush White Sox 12-3 to kick off Crosstown Classic; Ryan Dempster to DL; Geo Soto is back; other roster moves

The Cubs crushed the White Sox 12-3 to open the three-game Crosstown Classic series at U.S. Cellular Field tonight.  Matt Garza started for the Cubs and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking one batter over six innings pitched.  Out of Garza's 87 pitches, 59 were strikes.

The Cubs celebrate their 12-3 win over the White Sox on Monday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Bryan LaHair, Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Luis Valbuena all hit home runs tonight to add to the Cubs' offense.
Bryan LaHair crosses home plate after his two-run homer in the third inning against the White Sox (Getty Images photo)
Regardless of the Cubs' record this season, it's always fun to watch the Northsiders beat up on the Sox!
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein before the Crosstown Classic game Monday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
In other Cubs news, right handed pitcher Ryan Dempster was placed on the 15-day disabled list today for tightness in his right lat (near his shoulder).  Randy Wells will move from the bullpen to the starting rotation while Dempster is on the DL and will make the start for the Cubs on Wednesday against the Sox.  Scott Maine was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take Wells' spot in the bullpen.

Catcher Geovany Soto was activated from the DL today and was in the starting lineup tonight.  In a corresponding move, Wellington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.  Guess all that talk from Cubs manager Dale Sveum about the possibility of using three catchers was just that...a possibility. 

Having Bryan LaHair play right field tonight suggests that the Cubs may be getting ready to call up first baseman Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Iowa soon.  Last season when LaHair was called up to the major leagues, he played in right field nine times and in left field five times, so this is somewhat familiar to him.  But this also makes me think if the Cubs might be thinking of trading right fielder David DeJesus?  Unless DeJesus will play center field (like he did tonight) and share the position with Tony Campana?  Hmmm, the next month or so should be interesting!

Tomorrow the Crosstown Classic will continue at 7:10pm CT.  Travis Wood will start for the Cubs and try to earn his first win of the season.  Let's Go Cubbies!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cubs lose 7-4 to Red Sox; Geovany Soto expected to return soon

The Cubs lost 7-4 to the Boston Red Sox in the final game of the three-game series tonight at Wrigley Field.

Paul Maholm made the start for the Cubs and allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five batters over six innings pitched.  Maholm ended up with a no decision and reliever Shawn Camp was charged with the loss.

Paul Maholm started for the Cubs tonight (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Starlin Castro was a homer shy of the cycle in tonight's game, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and two RBIs.

Starlin Castro runs to third base in tonight's game against the Red Sox (photo from Chicago Tribune)
In other Cubs news, the Cubs are going to try to go with three catchers on the roster, which may be bad news for Adrian Cardenas.  Geovany Soto, who is expected to be reactivated from the disabled list on Monday, would be joined by Steve Clevenger and Wellington Castillo.

Catcher Koyie Hill did not accept his outright to Triple-A Iowa and is now a free agent.

Tomorrow the Cubs will head to the South Side to play the first of a three-game series against the White Sox at 7:10pm CT.  Matt Garza will start for the Cubs and try for his third win of the season.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cubs come close, but lose 4-3 to the Red Sox; Cubs have signed 15 of 42 draft picks

The Cubs made tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox interesting in the 7th inning when third baseman Luis Valbuena hit a three-run homer to pull the Cubs within a run of the Red Sox.  However, the Cubs couldn't manage to score after that and end up losing the game 4-3.

Third baseman Luis Valbuena after hitting a three-run homer against the Red Sox (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Jeff Samardzija started for the Cubs and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out six and walking three batters over 5.1 innings pitched.  He didn't have his best outing, but he also didn't receive much run support.

Jeff Samardzija started in game 2 against the Red Sox (photo from Chicago Tribune) 
Jeff Samardzija shows he's happy with catcher Wellington Castillo's play (photo from Chicago Tribune
In the sixth inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a ball hard to Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who dropped the liner, but Soriano stood at the plate and never bothered to run to first base with two runners on base.  Fans booed Soriano's laziness and he was booed again when taking his spot in left field in the top of the seventh inning.  Who knows, that could've made the difference between the Cubs losing or winning the game.

Actor and Chicago area native Vince Vaughn threw out the first pitch and sang the seventh inning stretch tonight.

Actor Vince Vaughn throws out the first pitch before the Cubs-Red Sox game (photo from Chicago Tribune)
In other Cubs news, third baseman Ian Stewart, who is the disabled list with soreness in his left wrist, is scheduled to see a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday. 

Catcher Koyie Hill, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa today.

The Cubs have now signed 15 of their 42 draft picks, but first-round pick Albert Almora is not one of those 15.  Almora is an outfielder out of Mater Academy Charter School in Florida.  The Cubs have until July 13 to agree on a deal with Almora, who is expected to sign with the team.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Red Sox will play the rubber game at 7:05pm CT.  Left handed pitcher Paul Maholm will start for the Cubs and try for his fifth win of the season.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ryan Dempster amazing as he leads Cubs to 3-0 win over Red Sox

Ryan Dempster pitched an amazing game as he led the Cubs to a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox at Wrigley Field this afternoon.  Dempster allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings and struck out three and walked two batters.  He has now pitched 22 consecutive shutout innings.

Ryan Dempster pitched seven shutout innings against the Red Sox Friday
In addition to pitching another outstanding game today, Dempster also contributed offensively by hitting a triple and a single.  His performance today certainly was favorable in generating higher trade revenue for the right hander.

"I'm not naive, I'm not oblivious to what's going on," Dempster said regarding the possibility of being traded.  "But it's really out of my control — not out of my control because actually it is under my control - but it's one of those things if I focused on that and worried about that, I wouldn't be doing a very good job as a teammate.  And I wouldn't be doing a very good job for myself if I wasn't focusing on what I need to do.  And whatever ends up happening, happens.   Right now I'm here and love being here and everybody knows that."

It has been confirmed that Dempster will waive his no-trade rights if it means going to a contender. 
"You don't want to lose your No. 1 starter," Cubs third baseman David DeJesus said.  "We understand it's part of the game, and we'd love to have him here.  If it happens [and he's traded], we'll move on. It's the nature of the beast."

I was lucky to be at the Friendly Confines to watch the Cubs win today and I must say the weather was absolutely perfect!  Following are some photos I took at the game:

Cubs players during the National Anthem

More Cubs during the National Anthem

Jamie Quirk before the game

Tony Campana on third

Ryan Dempster gets ready to pitch

Second baseman Darwin Barney

Ryan Dempster on-deck

Ryan Dempster on third base after his triple!

Alfonso Soriano on-deck

Carlos Marmol was back as the Cubs' closer

Manager Dale Sveum after his on-field chat with Marmol

Cubs celebrating their win

More Cubby high-fives!

Even more Cubs celebrating their "W"

Cubs after their win!

"Go Cubs Go!"

Final score: Cubs 3, Red Sox 0
Tomorrow the Cubs and Red Sox will play the second game of the three-game series at 6:15pm CT.  Jeff Samardzija will make the start for the Cubs and try for his sixth win of the season.