Monday, May 27, 2013

Jeff Samardzija pitches first career complete game shutout as Cubs win 7-0 over White Sox

Jeff Samardzija was brilliant as he pitched his first career complete game shutout and led the Cubs to a 7-0 win over their crosstown rival, the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on a cool Memorial Day evening.

Jeff Samardzija pitched his first career complete game shutout on Monday against the White Sox (Chicago Sun-Times photo)
The "Shark" allowed just two hits and struck out eight and walked two batters over nine innings pitched and 108 pitches thrown.  Samardzija is the first Cubs starter to pitch a shutout since former Cub Randy Wells did so on August 29. 2011 against the San Francisco Giants.

Samardzija said, "I love this place.  I loved coming to watch games here as a kid.  I loved watching these guys play here, so to come here, and have my whole family here, 30 minutes from home, from my backyard, it's fun.  I love being here, I love the atmosphere.  I love these games against the White Sox, they're always fun.  Unfortunately, they cut [the series] down to four -- this is what baseball is all about, these rivalry games.  It's just fun, this is what you play for."  He also added, "I love competing against that team, they're a great group of guys who play hard, and I admire them a lot -- it was just fun."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "That kind of stuff, 97 [mph] from the first pitch to the last pitch, whatever he threw, you're not going to see that too often in the big leagues."

Julio Borbon hit his first homer and Anthony Rizzo had a double and a triple and drove in two runs.  Rizzo said, "Just to put runs on the board and keep adding on, and two-out hits, it's nice for the entire team, the pitching staff, our coaches -- it was a nice, easy win."

In other Cubs news, the team placed right handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa on the 15-day disabled list  with a right forearm strain.  The Cubs also claimed right-handed pitcher Alex Burnett off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles, who takes Fujikawa's spot on the roster.

The Cubs and Sox will play the second game of the four game Crosstown Classic series tomorrow night at 7:10pm CT on the South Side.  Edwin Jackson will start for the Cubs and try to earn his second win of the season.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cubs win 8-2 over the Mets as Scott Feldman pitches his way to fourth consecutive win

The Cubs beat the Mets 8-2 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Scott Feldman delivered another quality outing for the Cubs as he pitched 6-2/3 scoreless innings.  Feldman allowed seven hits and struck out six batters and walked one.  He has a 1.27 ERA in his last five starts and is 4-0.  I was at the game and am happy to share some of my personal photos in this blog post.

Scott Feldman earned the win against the Mets on Saturday
Both Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz homered in the game, with Rizzo's coming in the fifth inning and Schierholtz's in the eighth.  "I am just seeing pitches to hit and not trying to do too much.  Keeping it as simple as possible.  Not over-thinking, no matter who's pitching." Rizzo said.  Well, keep it up, #44!

Cubs players and coaches celebrate their "W" on Saturday

Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo visit while James Russell warms up
In other Cubs news, Matt Garza has rejoined the team and is scheduled to make his first start since last season on Tuesday against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  Carlos Villanueva is the likely candidate for moving to the bullpen once Garza is added to the roster.

Matt Garza and teammates during the national anthem before Saturday's game
Tomorrow, the Cubs and Mets will play the rubber game of the series at 1:20pm CT.  Travis Wood will make the start for the Cubs and try to earn his fifth win of the season. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cubs beat the Cardinals 2-1 and win 2nd straight game

The Cubs won 2-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in the first of the two-game series.  Anytime the Northsiders can beat the Redbirds, it's a beautiful thing.  It was really satisfying to watch Cardinals fans listening to Cubs fans fill the Friendly Confines with the sweet words of "Go Cubs Go!"

Starlin Castro makes the throw to first as Yadier Molina slides into second (Chicago Tribune photo)
Travis Wood made the start for the Cubs and was excellent as he allowed one run on five hits while walking one and striking out eight batters over 6.2 innings pitched.  Wood earned his second win of the season and threw 114 pitches.

Wood is the first left-handed Cubs pitcher to start a season with seven consecutive quality starts since Johnny Schmitz in 1948.  Kevin Gregg dominated in the ninth inning and earned his fifth save of the season (in five opportunities).  Carlos Marmol tried his best to give up the Cubs' lead in the eighth, but was thankfully able to get out of the jam unscathed.

Rightfielder Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, which gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead and was enough to win the game.  Schierholtz was even interviewed after the game on the field and didn't even get a shaving cream pie in the face.  Bummer!

Tomorrow the rivals will play each other at 1:20pm CT and Carlos Villanueva will start for the Cubs and try to earn his second win this year.  Can the Cubbies extend their winning streak to three games? I sure hope so!