Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cubs lose 8-4 to Pirates; The latest roster changes

The Cubs lost the rubber game 8-4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field this afternoon, which I witnessed in person. 

Travis Wood started for the Cubs and allowed two runs on three hits while walking three batters and striking out six over 98 pitches in five innings.  This was Wood's fourth straight loss.

Travis Wood sports his new haircut while making the start against the Pirates on Wednesday (photo by Karen Burchell)
Wood said, "It was a battle early.  I was missing location, and just off and throwing balls. Unfortunately, we came up short.  I felt like I took a stride today, even though I didn’t go deep into the ball game and threw a lot of pitches, I still felt like I kept them off-balance and keep our team in the ball game.”

Very true, the game was close until the Pirates scored five runs off reliever Shawn Camp, who wasn't able to get anyone out.  This was a departure from the usually reliable Camp, who had give up on ly two runs in his last 20 outings.  Camp's ERA jumped from 2.70 to 3.54.

The Cubs rallied in the ninth and scored three runs, but it was too little, too late.

Starlin Castro is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout after his homer against the Pirates on Wednesday (photo from Chicago Tribune)
In other Cubs news, Chris Volstad was called up from Triple-A Iowa and is scheduled to start on Saturday.  Let's hope he can turn his season with the Cubs around and finally earn a win (his record is 0-7 with the Cubs this season).

Relief pitcher Alberto Cabrera was also called up from the Iowa Cubs and made his major league debut by striking out two batters in a scoreless inning in Wednesday's game.

Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after starting for the Cubs on Tuesday and allowing a grand slam in the first inning.

Second baseman Darwin Barney,  who was hit in the helmet with a slider by pitcher A.J. Burnett during Tuesday night's game is predicted to be back in the lineup on Friday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Thankfully, tests showed that Barney is ok.

Second baseman Darwin Barney had to leave the game Tuesday night after being hit in the head by a pitch (photo from Chicago Tribune)
This has been a busy week for the Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, as the team dealt top pitchers Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, as well as utility player Reed Johnson and catcher Geovany Soto.  Dempster and Soto have landed with the Texas Rangers and Maholm and Johnson have ended up on the Atlanta Braves.

"They're great guys -- outstanding pitchers, outstanding teammates," Wood said of the ex-Cubs. "When you lose people like that, it's hard to replace them.  They're moving on and we have to, too."
"We lost a lot of good friends, good teammates and on top of that, good baseball players," Baker said. "We put ourselves in a situation where we got off to a slow start and didn't play well.  I still believe in the guys in the room and it's an opportunity for some guys to prove themselves so they can play and be part of the plans going forward.  We still have to play good baseball.  Everyone in here is a big league player, and now it's time to step up and run with it."

Dempster said, "I definitely don't close doors on possibly coming back to the Cubs.  It was just an unbelievable nine years of my career and of my life.  It's been more than just a baseball team to me. It's been a city and a way of life."  We'll miss you, Demp!

Starting pitcher Matt Garza, who has been out with a triceps injury since July 21st, will throw a bullpen session over the weekend and could start on Tuesday in San Diego, if things go well with the bullpen session.  Garza and his wife also welcomed a baby daughter, who they named Summer, on Tuesday.

The Cubs have an off-day tomorrow and will play a three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles starting Friday night at 9:10pm CT.  Jeff Samardzija will start on Friday and try to earn his eighth win of the season.

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