Well, this has definitely been a trying season, and after last night the last thing you guys probably want to do is talk about the Cubs, but let’s do just that. I’ll recap a little of the last homestand and also talk about the debacle that ensued last night. So, keep reading if you want to see what my two cents are…I’ll give you a little hint, I don’t agree with Anno and Rice on this one.
8/24 vs. Rockies W 5-3
8/25 vs. Rockies L 3-4
8/26 vs. Rockies W 5-0
8/27 vs. Brewers L 4-15
8/28 vs. Brewers L 1-4
8/29 vs. Brewers L 1-3
8/30 vs. Brewers W 12-11
8/31 vs. Giants W 6-4
9/01 vs. Giants L 2-5
9/02 vs. Giants L 5-7
9/03 @ Nationals L 1-2
9/04 @ Nationals L 5-11
9/05 @ Nationals L 1-9
9/06 @ Nationals L 2-9
vs. The Rockies
The Cubs were able to take two games from the Rockies. The first game they were able to come-from-behind and snag the win, after Brett Jackson tied up the game when he hit his first Wrigley Field homer in the eighth inning. Jeff Samardzija continued to show that he has been one of the very few bright spots of this season. He went seven strong innings; it was his eleventh outing of seven innings or more.
Rookie Brooks Raley was in line for the win after going five innings in his fourth big league start, but the Rockies tied up the game on a home run in the sixth inning off Manuel Corpas. In the seventh inning, the inability of the Cubs to turn two double-plays resulted in giving up the lead and losing the game.
The final game of the series brought good news for Cubs starter Chris Volstad, he pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, had three walks, three strikeouts in game that was delayed by rain and called after eight innings. Volstad was finally able to get his first “W” in 24 starts dating back to July 17, 2011.
vs. The Brewers
We got our butts kicked the last time we faced the Brewers and this series was turning out to be exactly the same, until the Cubs had an offensive explosion on the last game.
Former Cub Aramis Ramirez had a great game in the first game of the series, he had an RBI double, a two-run homer and added a solo shot as part of three consecutive Brewers homers in a nine-run ninth. The Cubs got blown out and didn’t want to use bullpen pitchers that have gotten a lot of work already that Joe Mather was called upon to get the final out and end the ninth inning. He threw four pitches, all strikes.
Travis Wood pitched seven innings giving up only three runs, it wasn’t a bad start. He also hit his third career home run but he didn’t get much help after that, and he was handed his eighth straight loss.
Jeff Samardzija was the starter for game number three; he went seven innings giving up three runs on seven hits. Mike Fiers was the starter for the Brewers, he was much better. He went 7 1/3 innings and allowed only one run. Jean Segura did pretty much everything he could to help the Brewers win. He delivered a go-ahead RBI single, scored an insurance run and made two key defensive plays. The only good news for the cubs was Darwin Barney setting an NL single-season record for errorless games (114) at second base.
The Brewers thought they were on their way to a sweep, they had a 9-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The Cubs however had different plans, they rallied for six in the sixth and three in the ninth to win the game in walk-off fashion on Alfonso Soriano’s single.
vs. The Giants
Chris Volstad got back-to-back wins for the first time since June 2011 as they had a 6-4 victory over the Giants. Alfonso Soriano drove in three of those runs and Anthony Rizzo added a solo homer. With the win the Cubs posted a record of 8-21 in August.
It’s pretty normal for former players to have great success vs. their former team. That is exactly what Xavier Nady and Angel Pagan did in the final two games of the series. Nady hit a three-run double to cap a four-run first. That would be enough for Tim Lincecum, he held the Cubs to two runs in 6 1/3 innings. Germano took the loss; he gave up five runs over five innings.
Travis Wood again pitched well enough for a win. Matt Cain struggled, going five innings and allowing five runs. However, Xavier Nady doubled with two outs in the sixth to grant Wood an exit and then scored on Belt’s triple. Angel Pagan hit a tie-breaking RBI single with one out in the ninth to give the Giants the win.
vs. The Nationals
Ok, let’s get the awful stats out of the way. The Cubs have lost 17 of their last 18 road games, which include six in a row. They were outscored 31-9 in this series, and the Nationals hit was seemed like 30 homers. Let’s just talk about the last game…last night.
The Cubs put up a fight…literally, but not the kind that will show up on the scoreboard. Most of you already know what happened, but I’ll mention it for those of you who don’t know.
The first “fight” began when Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk started yelling obscenities at the Nationals’ third base coach Bo Porter. Apparently Quirk was upset because Jayson Werth swung at a 3-0 pitch, with the bases loaded, in a five-run game. What also rubbed the Cubs the wrong way was that the Nationals were stealing bases, and basically still trying to play hard. Nothing seemed to escalate too much. After that, Lendy Castillo was pitching for the Cubs and he threw a fastball at Bryce Harper, not his head nor his hands…it was around his waist. Bryce Harper, who in my opinion seems like a little brat, didn’t like that very much, and he started to make his way to the mound and the benches cleared once again. Was the pitch intentional? Dale Sveum and Steve Clevenger said it wasn’t. We all know it was. Clevenger didn’t even move, if that wasn’t intentional, he would have reached out for that “wild” pitch. He didn’t even flinch, so he knew it was coming.
While I don’t agree with EVERYTHING the Cubs did, I did like the way they showed that they weren’t going to back down. I was hoping for a fight, and this was lame. But I agree with baseball’s unwritten rules, and sure the lead wasn’t as big to cause all this commotion, but here’s what I think. Maybe Quirk started it, but Porter actually charged the Cubs dugout. He should have been ejected too, and maybe if he wouldn’t have done that (charge the dugout) nobody would have noticed. Like Bob said, you need that fire sometimes though. Everyone is blaming the Cubs, but if you watch video, it was the Nationals that started the “fight”. Anthony Rizzo is trying to control one of the Nationals’ players, he’s wearing a hoodie, not sure who he is, but there’s also guys like Edwin Jackson and Michael Morse who weren’t in my opinion just standing there watching. Maybe I’m just looking for excuses but I side with the Cubs and think it was nice to see some fire and show that, although like I said the “fights” were lame. I think that’s old school baseball baby. I don’t want to take anything away from the Nationals though, they have an amazing team and talent, I hope the Cubs can turn things around just like they have.
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Friday September 7, 2012 @ 6:05 p.m. CT
Travis Wood, LHP (4-11, 4.64 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett, RHP (15-5, 3.63 ERA)
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Saturday September 8, 2012 @ 6:05 p.m. CT
Jeff Samardzija, RHP (8-13, 3.91 ERA) vs. James McDonald, RHP (12-7, 3.90 ERA)
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Sunday September 9, 2012 @ 12:35 p.m. CT
Thank you so much for reading and as always, Go Cubs!