“Every player should be accorded the privilege of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs. That’s baseball as it should be played – in God’s own sunshine. And that’s really living.” –Alvin Dark
I love this quote and completely agree with it. Although if I was a player and read this, I would make up my own clause that stated: “Make sure I get a season where they don’t suck as much.”
You can kind of get an idea at the beginning of the year about how a team is going to do. We knew this team wasn’t going to contend, we knew they were going to lose 100 games or at least close to it, yet it still amazes me at the amount of people that are “surprised” when we lose. It’s so frustrating, I know, but as you’ll see later there are very few things that bring me more joy than the Cubs. Let’s get into the recap first.
6/22 @ Arizona L 1-6 6/25 vs. Mets W 6-1
6/23 @ Arizona L 5-10 6/26 vs. Mets W 5-3
6/24 @ Arizona L 1-5 6/27 vs. Mets L 1-17
The series vs. Arizona didn’t go too well. The Cubs got swept and really struggled to produce runs.
6/22: Jeff Samardzija cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one hit, but he gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks over five-plus innings. Geovany Soto drove in the only run of the night on a solo homer in the fourth. He also singled in the second inning and was the only Cubs player with multiple hits. They did have their chances but as a team, they left 11 runners on base.
6/23: Paul Maholm hit the second homer of his career, which gave the Cubs the lead. He hit a no-doubter to right field off of Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, but that didn’t help much since he gave up seven runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings. As for the offense, it was an all too familiar story. The Cubs had 14 hits, eight of which came from David DeJesus and Starlin Castro (4 hits each) that tied their respective career highs. Not many positives aside from that. The Cubs left ten men on base and were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
6/24: Matt Garza was on the mound for this game and he pitched well enough to win, but didn’t. He allowed only three runs on five hits, while striking out seven and walking one in seven innings. ONCE again, the Cubs had their chances. The key to them losing the game was this: the Diamondbacks were leading 3-1 and the Cubs had runners on second and third, no outs in the eighth. Wade Miley, the Diamondbacks starter, was able to pitch out of the jam, retiring the next three batters. Joe Mather struck out, Luis Valbuena hit a line to the SS and DeJesus hit a grounder back to the mound.
The series vs. The Mets was definitely a bit better. The Cubs had a chance to sweep but came up short, but they at least walked away with a series win.
6/25: This was a great game all around. Good pitching, good defense, timely hitting and taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes. Travis Wood was fabulous; he outpitched Johan Santana going seven shutout innings while striking out six. Johan pitched well enough for the Mets but a two-run homer from Mather and a three-error seventh inning sealed the deal for the Cubs. It’s been really nice to see Wood step up, and it hasn’t been easy. Like Anno pointed out, he has had a tough line of opposing pitchers. Santana was the fourth Cy Young winner Wood has faced. The others have been: Giants’ Barry Zito, the Tigers’ Justin Verlander and the White Sox’s Jake Peavy. This hasn’t phased Travis though, as this was his fourth quality start in his last five outings. Maybe it helps that he’s being opposed by such great starting pitchers, whatever it is, we want more of it.
6/26: RIZZOMG! Probably the highlight of this season finally arrived last Tuesday. Anthony Rizzo made his Cubs debut and he didn’t disappoint. He had two hits, including an RBI double, which helped the Cubs add on and get the win. Both of the starters had rough outings. Mets’ starter Dillon Gee went five innings, allowing four runs while Randy Wells went just three innings while allowing three runs and was sent packing.
I was lucky enough to attend this game with a few friends, thanks to Anno who hooked me up with tickets. The minute I heard that Rizzo would make his Cubs debut I was so excited, seeing as I don’t have much luck with fun and exciting things happening. It was such a gorgeous night to begin with, everywhere I went I heard talk of Rizzo, Wrigley was buzzing with excitement. I can’t imagine how the poor guy was feeling. He’s probably been hearing all the hype around him and he finally comes up and all eyes are on him, everyone is documenting and analyzing his every move. What will he do to help this team that hasn’t won in a very long time? Talk about pressure.
Like I said before, there are very few things that make me happier than the Cubs, even when they suck. Good cup of coffee, good fitting jeans or a great sale at the mall are a few small things that bring me joy. However, the Cubs really really make me happy. When I’m there, all my problems go away, I feel like everything will be ok. I can go and relax and just tune out the world for three hours and focus on something that makes my heart skip a beat. I don’t care about money, or expensive things, just give me a bleacher ticket and I’m a happy girl. I love going to games and this game was perfect. The starting pitching wasn’t great but the bullpen did a great job and the offense did just what they needed to do to get the win. Carlos Marmol didn’t give me a heart attack so overall it was a great night. I was also happy that I got to see Randy Wells probably for the last time, who knows. I love Wells and I hate that he didn’t prove that he should be here. I know that he stinks and I’m aware that this move will make the team better, but you can’t help but get attached to these players that you spend your summers with, year after year. All I know is that it’s good that I just write blogs, I’d be the worst GM in baseball. I’d keep all the sucky players just because I love them, lol. Anyway, hopefully Rizzo can continue to grow into a solid player so I can brag about how I was there for his Cubs debut. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy:
As for yesterday, let’s just not talk about it, all I can say is that all teams are bound to have one of those games. Now, what do the Cubs need to do to improve? Well, the biggest problem in these last few games was not being able to produce with runners in scoring position. There were a lot of opportunities but they just couldn’t cash in, I know Dale Sveum has been working with the hitting coach and players and he’s liked the adjustments he’s seen but there is still a lot of work to do.
The Cubs will have a quick 3-game home series with the Astros and then go back on the road to face the Braves and the Mets before the All Star game which signifies the end of the first half of the season. Can you believe that? Time flies when you’re having fun…or not.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs
Friday June 29, 2012 @ 1:20 p.m. CT
Bud Norris, RHP (5-4, 4.81 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm, LHP (4-6, 5.38 ERA)
Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs
Saturday June 30, 2012 @ 3:05 p.m. CT
J.A. Happ, LHP (6-7, 4.83 ERA) vs. Matt Garza, RHP (3-6, 4.06 ERA)
Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs
Sunday July 1, 2012 @ 1:20 p.m. CT
Wandy Rodríguez, LHP (6-5, 3.52 ERA) vs. Travis Wood, LHP (2-3, 3.54 ERA)
So, I thought that it would be fun to end every blog with a question. I would love to get to know our readers more and be able to interact. So my question this week is: What is the most exciting game that you’ve attended? Maybe something that went in the MLB history books? Let me know! Thanks for reading and as always Go Cubs!