Baker Comes Up Big for Z Cubs – Cubs 7 Brewers 4

Game Seven – Cubs 7 Brewers 4
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-0) LP – Randy Wolf (0-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (3)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs nine-game road trip began on a positive note. Q’s squad out slugged the Brewers with Jeff Baker leading the way. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits, four for extra bases, and they climbed above the .500 mark for the second time on the young season

Jeff Baker finished the game 4-for-5 hitting out of the top spot of the lineup. Baker drove in four runs, all with two outs, on a three-run homer and a single in the sixth. Baker also scored the Cubs final run of the night on a double by Marlon Byrd in the ninth … all four of Baker’s hits came with two outs and helped extend innings. Baker’s three-run shot in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie.

Geovany Soto tied the game at two with his first longball of the season. Soto’s rocket to center put the Cubs on the board and appeared to relax his teammates. The Cubs scored five of their seven runs in the fourth … two on Soto’s shot and three on Baker’s dinger.

Marlon Byrd hit two more doubles Friday night and the second drove in the Cubs seventh run of the game.

Carlos Zambrano grinded out a decent start. Z picked up the victory and posted his ninth straight win dating back to last season. Z was not good and Z was not bad … Z was just good enough to post a win. Zambrano gave up four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Z threw 112 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Zambrano also chipped in a 1-for-3 night at the plate. Z’s single in the fourth extended the inning for Jeff Baker.

Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood were lights out. Marshall and Wood retired all six batters they faced in the seventh and eighth innings on a combined 20 pitches, 17 for strikes.

For the seventh time in seven games, the final score of a Cubs game was decided by three runs or less.

Dating back to the end of last season, the Cubs have won 20 of their last 25 on the road under Mike Quade

Carlos Zambrano’s night began with an impressive three up, three down first inning. Z threw only 13 pitches, eight for strikes. The feel-good first inning was soon forgotten.

Prince Fielder led off the second with a booming homer to left center on a 1-2 pitch. Fielder’s 100th career blast at Miller Park gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Zambrano could not find the strike zone against Casey McGehee and it cost him another run.

After McGehee’s four-pitch walk, Yuniesky Betancourt singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Nyjer Morgan sacrificed both runners up ninety feet. Mike Quade played his infield back and George Kottaras grounded out to second, McGehee scored … 2-0 Brewers.

The Cubs put two more runners on base in the third but Marlon Byrd hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Carlos Gomez reached on an out single in the third. With Ryan Braun at the dish, Zambrano threw over not once, not twice but three times … and the third time was the charm. Z picked off Gomez before walking Ryan Braun. Prince Fielder flied out to deep left to end the inning.

The Cubs tied the game in the fourth … with a little help from the Brewers’ defense. Aramis Ramirez reached on an error by Rickie Weeks. The Brewers’ second baseman overran a pop up into shallow right. Geovany Soto then launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center. Soto’s first longball of the year tied the game at two.

Carlos Pena struck out for the second time in the game. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 two runs scored) ripped a single into left on a 3-1 pitch. After Tyler Colvin struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch, Carlos Zambrano worked the count to 3-2 before ripping a single into left.

Jeff Baker stepped in and launched a 1-1 offering from Wolf over the wall in left … 5-2 Cubs.

Q’s offense sent eight to the plate in the fourth and really worked the count.

Carlos Zambrano could not keep the momentum in the Cubs’ dugout after the big five-run top of the inning.

Yuniesky Betancourt reached on a single to left. Soriano dove and appeared to catch the sinking liner but when Soriano hit the ground, the ball popped out of his glove. Z fell behind Nyjer Morgan 3-1 before receiving a pitcher’s strike. Morgan ripped Z’s next pitch into center. Betancourt was running on the 3-2 offering and advanced to third on the single.

George Kottaras gave himself up again and hit a sac fly to left on the first pitch of the at bat. Betancourt tagged and scored … 5-3 Cubs.

Randy Wolf flied out to deep center to end the inning.

After four, Z’s pitch count stood at 75, 44 for strikes.

The Brewers cut into the Cubs lead in the fifth after two long at bats by Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez. Z threw 16 of his 29 pitches in the fifth to Weeks and Gomez. Weeks led off with a single to center on a 2-2 pitch. Carlos Gomez put together an impressive at bat. Gomez worked the count to 3-2 and fouled off five straight 2-2 offerings from Zambrano. Z ended up striking out Gomez for the first out.

Ryan Braun popped out to Starlin Castro in shallow left on the first pitch of the at bat. Prince Fielder then walked on Zambrano’s 99th pitch of the night. Casey McGehee singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Weeks scored, 5-4 Cubs. Zambrano retired Betancourt on a ground out to short to end the inning.

Zambrano reached a season-high pitch count of 104 after five innings, 63 for strikes.

Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with a single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tyler Colvin grounded out weakly to short, Soriano advanced to third but held on a chopper to short off the bat of Zambrano.

Jeff Baker lined Wolf’s first pitch into center. Soriano scored on another two-out hit by Baker. Starlin Castro hit a weak liner to Weeks to end the inning.

The Cubs scratched out a run in the sixth and took a 6-4 lead into the home half.

Carlos Zambrano put together his second 1-2-3 inning of the night in the sixth. Z retired the bottom of the Brewers lineup on eight pitches.

Z gave Quade a decent six innings. Zambrano allowed four runs, all earned, on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts on 112 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood were perfect in the seventh and eighth inning. Marshall retired the Brewers in order on 11 pitches, nine for strikes and Wood did the same in the eighth. It took Wood only nine pitches, eight for strikes, to record three outs.

Jeff Baker’s night continued in the ninth. Baker led off the inning with a single to right on a 1-0 pitch from Zach Braddock. Starlin Castro popped out but Marlon Byrd ripped a double into the gap in left center. Baker scored all the way from first.

Sergio Mitre replaced Braddock and retired Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto to end the inning.

The ninth inning was anything but pretty for Carlos Marmol. Marmol got the job done after giving up a leadoff single to Nyjer Morgan and walking George Kottaras. Marmol struck out pinch hitter Mark Kotsay and retired Rickie Weeks on a fly out to right on a 3-2 pitch. Carlos Gomez struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game. Marmol threw 23 pitches, 13 for strikes.

4-3 after seven games sounds so much better than 3-4 …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza versus lefty Chris Narveson in game two Saturday night.

Quote of the Day

"The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare." - Bobby Knight
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  • Agustin_Rexach

    Ok, i will now proceed to check the standings…Sick I know.

    This game was an automatic loss a year ago. Its Nice to see some fight in our group.

  • Demitri

    I know this team wont win anything this year, but at least were seeing some OK baseball. Far from great but not terrible.

  • BosephHeyden

    Not taking anything away from this win, but I would also like to point out that the addition of Zack Grienke to this Brewers team has no reason to make them an automatic favorite to win the Central. I have no idea why sports writers everywhere gave the team about 20 more wins than last year after they added one guy, but this Brewers team just isn’t THAT good.

    That being said, this was one the Cubs needed to win and they did, so good start.

    • Calicub

      I think it was also the addition of shaun marcum and upgrade in the middle infield. The coming if age if mcgeehee and gallardo and weeks. A contact year for fielder. Brauns constancy and a new manager. But still they have no decent relief

      • cubtex

        Marcum is nothing special. He doesn’t go deep into games and he had his career best year last year with 13 wins. He has never come close to 200 innings and he has some early season shoulder issues due to his career high of innings pitched last year. As I mentioned, Brewers and Cards are flawed in many ways. Cubs are as well but the Cubs have the best back end of bullpen with Marshall,Wood and Marmol out of those 2 teams.

        • Dorasaga

          Wait a minute. You were telling me you are looking forward to Garza, with his 3.97era, 1.32whip, in 732.1 career innings, while you despise Marcum:

          3.85era, 1.24whip, in 602.2 innings?

          I know Marcum has bigger injury risk, but hey, who doesn’t? Fukudome is an injury risk, so are Cashner and Pavano.

          Pavano has been logging 432.1 innings since his comeback from serious injury, and I won’t write off Cashner for a comeback even if his rotatory cuff hurts him bad enough to call the season off.

          See the point here?

          • cubtex

            I think my words were Marcum is nothing special. He is not durable and he doesn’t go deep into games. Garza does! Are you telling me you would rather have Marcum over Garza???? Seriously?

          • Dorasaga

            Look at their numbers! You can tell me. I don’t have an opinion against or pro Garza, neither do I have an opinion for Marcum.

            But I do have an opinion of not seeing the facts, which had hurt Cubs fans and management for a Century.

          • cubtex

            I have. Marcum has thrown 195(career high last year) 151 and 159. To me, those are the stats that I consider extremely important in a starter. That is why I say…..nothing special. At least Greinke has gone well over 200 innings the last 3 years. Garza has thrown over 200 the last 2 years. I would take that over a little bit better WHIP anyday. Give me a guy who will battle and keep a team in the game over a 5 inning pitcher anyday!

          • Dorasaga

            I see. I won’t argue against the durability. But I’m thinking about talent, and a translation to its effectiveness of making outs for the team. So here’s what both did last year:

            Marcum: 15 games of 7IP or more (3 games that exceeded 7 innings)
            Garza: 16 games (10 +)

            It’s apparent who’s more durable.

            We can go back to a track record of three years and identify their talent level, if they ever pitched effective enough.

            2009, 15 games of 7 IP (6 +)
            2008, 11 (7 +)
            2008, 13 (4 +)

            You might have guessed right. The former two performances come from Garza, while the latter from Marcum (whose 2009 was hurt and DL).

            In 2008, Garza pitched 30 games in a great season that helped the Rays to get very far, while Marcum: 25 games. But if you add up their contribution to their respective team from each game that year, Marcum garnered higher values for an average per game (in WPA, and that’s including his rehab starts with 2 – 4 innings).

            I’m not saying Garza is less, but when Marcum is healthy, his changeup is really, really good, and his overall performance can be really, really good.

            That’s why I don’t think it’s a bad idea for the Brewers to take a chance on him.

          • cubtex

            Yes, Marcum is a solid #4 starter but right now he is their #2 with Greinke out. He is a good major league starter but like I said nothing special….But everyone is saying how much the Cubs gave up for Garza, but I think the Brewers will regret their trade much more than the Cubs deal. Lawrie is a stud and will be solid major league hitter for years. He is much more closer to being a solid mlb player than any of the players the Cubs gave up.

  • JimBo_C

    Neil,
    Any idea why Wellington Castillo is all the way down in A ball?

  • studio179

    I know Zambrano lost velocity, but it looks to have really went down.

    As we know, radar guns and how hard a pitcher throws is not the end all to effectiveness. Just making a statement about Zambrano’s velocity last night.

  • paulcatanese

    Anyone out there have an idea how many K’s Pena has now? Not bashing him, just want to know along with his .167 BA? I,m hoping he can get it under control. then again Colvin has proven he can handle first base to this point.

    • Dorasaga

      Paul, five. Surprisingly, with only a week into the season, he’s already consistent: 15.8% walk-rate and 35.7 % K-rate, compared to a career 13.6 % and 31.3 %.

      That also means he might end up a average of below-league average contact and some pop.

      Oh well, at least he’s a nice guy, and who knows? Colvin takes over then Pena be traded.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks for the response,I wasn’t sure about it. So if I interpet it correctly, a few more walks but also a few more strikeouts. Stats don’t lie, at this point a bad signing again. Again he must hit the long ball or it’s a total bust. This could have been avoided with Colvin getting some playing time over a first last fall. As bad as Colvin might be I think he will outhit Pena and produce more power overall. This is the result of a direct denial of Colvin by JH and Quade,and it continues.

        • Dorasaga

          Exactly. Pena walks above average, is below an average Major Leaguer for putting the ball in play, and strikes out a lot. He has already done these three like he did in his career, so it’s plausible that he will pop some long-balls as he was capable of doing in his career.

          We are talking about an overall offensively, slightly above average first baseman.

          That’s why I agree, Colvin should field first. There’s a power threat. He’s not a good outfielder, so maybe this will be the best move the Cubs management had ever made.