Q’s Squad Plays Wells Enough – Cubs 4 Diamondbacks 1

Game Four – Cubs 4 Diamondbacks 1
WP – Randy Wells (1-0) LP – Joe Saunders (0-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (2)

wflag.jpgIf the first four games are any indication, the Cubs will have little room for error this season. Q’s crew won for the second time in Two Thousand Eleven in the fourth game decided by three runs or less.

In front of the smallest crowd at Wrigley since 2002, the Cubs evened their record at 2-2 behind a solid start by Randy Wells, two big hits by Alfonso Soriano, a 2-for-4 effort from Aramis Ramirez, a RBI double by Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena’s game winning sacrifice fly.

Monday began on a sour note for Randy Wells. Willie Bloomquist ripped Wells’ fourth pitch of the game into the bleachers in left and quickly put Arizona up 1-0. Wells settled down after the Bloomquist homer and managed the game … with a little help from his defense and Geovany Soto.

Wells became the first Cubs’ starter to pickup a win this season after completing six innings and allowing just the single run. The D’Backs offense recorded six hits and walked four times against Wells but could not come up with the big hit when they needed it. Wells struck out six and improved to 3-0 in his career against Arizona.

Geovany Soto threw out two base runners that seemed to change the momentum of two different innings. Soto was solid again behind the plate and added a RBI double in the eighth.

Alfonso Soriano hit his second home run in as many games Monday. Soriano’s solo shot tied the game at one in the third. Soriano added a two-out opposite field RBI single in the eighth that drove in the Cubs fourth and final run of the game.

Carlos Pena recorded his first game winning RBI in a Cubs’ uniform before leaving the game in the eighth inning. Pena hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth that broke up the 1-1 tie. Pena was lifted in the eighth after going to Mike Quade and questioning if he could put together a good at bat after spraining his thumb. Quade decided to lift Pena for Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker finished the game at first. Pena is listed as day-to-day.

Pena turned in another fine defensive play in the seventh that kept the leadoff hitter off base in a one-run game.

Mike Quade pretty much emptied his bullpen Monday afternoon. Sean Marshall, Marcos Mateo and John Grabow each recorded an out in the seventh. Kerry Wood worked around an error by Starlin Castro and out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth … and Carlos Marmol survived a shaky start in the ninth and earned his second save of the season.

Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol pitched in their third straight game and will likely be unavailable Tuesday.

It wasn’t pretty but the Cubs pen allowed just two hits and two walks, one intentional, over the final three innings … and for the third time in four games, no runs.

The D’Backs jumped on Randy Wells in the first inning. Willie Bloomquist hit a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in left. Kelly Johnson followed with a single to right and the feeling was, here goes Wells again.

To Wells credit, he settled down and allowed just four other hits in six innings.

Wells retired Justin Upton on a fly out to left, struck out Russell Branyan and got the call on a check swing on a 3-2 pitch to Chris Young to end the inning.

Miguel Montero led off the second with a single to right. But Montero tried to advance on a ball in the dirt. Soto threw him out at second and Wells ended up facing the minimum in the second.

Joe Saunders made quick work of the Cubs offense in the first and second innings.

After Randy Wells retired Arizona in order in the third, Alfonso Soriano tied the game at one with the Cubs first hit of the game … a solo homer that ended up in the bleachers in left. Saunders settled down and retired the next three batters he faced in the third.

Wells got into trouble in the fourth by issuing back-to-back walks to Justin Upton and Russell Branyan to start the inning … but in between the two free passes, Soto threw out Upton trying to steal second, which had a big impact on the inning.

Chris Young followed Branyan’s walk with a single to center. With runners on first and second with one out, Miguel Montero hit into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs took the lead for good in the home half of the fourth. Marlon Byrd reached on an infield single. Aramis Ramirez singled to right and Geovany Soto walked to load the bases with one out.

Carlos Pena hit a sac fly into right on a 1-1 pitch … Byrd tagged and scored the go ahead run. Aramis Ramirez did not tag and it could have cost the Cubs a run.

A wild pitch with Soriano at the plate advanced Ramirez and Soto ninety feet, but Soriano lined out to short to end the inning.

At the end of four, the Cubs led 2-1.

Randy Wells pitched around two more walks in the fifth … and got away with giving up a pair of singles in the sixth.

Wells threw 99 pitches in his first outing of the season, 59 for strikes, and put his team in position to win the game.

Mike Quade used three of his relievers to get three outs in the seventh as his offense could not manage anything against Kam Mickolio.

Kerry Wood took over in the eighth and found himself in trouble after just one batter. Justin Upton hit a routine grounder to Castro. Starlin hesitated then uncorked a wild throw to Pena at first. Upton reached on the gift.

With the Cubs up 2-1, Russell Branyan singled to right on a 1-1 pitch. Chris Young then hit a grounder back to Wood on a 2-2 pitch. Wood bobbled the ball but threw out Young at first. With runners on second and third with one out, Wood intentionally walked Miguel Montero to load the bases.

Wood struck out Ryan Roberts looking on a questionable 2-2 pitch before retiring Gerardo Parra on a flyout to left to end the inning.

The offense gave Carlos Marmol a lot of breathing room in the eighth. Aramis Ramirez doubled off the wall in left with one out. Ramirez put together a good at bat and worked the count to 3-2.

Geovany Soto gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead with a double to left on a 2-1 pitch.

Reed Johnson hit for Carlos Pena and grounded out to third … but Alfonso Soriano delivered again. Soriano went with the first pitch he saw from David Hernandez and knocked it into right. Soto scored … 4-1 Cubs.

Carlos Marmol was not perfect but was able to pick up his second save in three chances. Marmol issued a leadoff walk to Stephen Drew before finding the strike zone. Marmol struck out one and threw 19 pitches in the ninth, 10 for strikes.

The Cubs offense once again allowed the game to be close than it needed to be. Q’s offense was 2-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base.

Mike Quade used 17 players Monday afternoon to notch his second win of the season … and six of his 12 pitchers.

The Cubs reached the .500 mark again, now the next hurdle is to surpass the mediocre mark and leave it in the rearview mirror …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Andrew Cashner will make the first start of his big league career Tuesday afternoon. Kirk Gibson will send Barry Enright to the hill in his first start of the season.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt
  • cc002600

    Cardinals losing to buccos. I’ll repeat what I said last week. They won’t win 80 games. In fact. I don’t think they win 75. That team is headed for some real trouble over next few years, in my opinion. Their farm system is bad and their best players are all over 33. Not a good combo.

    I just feel horrible about it all. LOL.

  • Tony

    Nice to see a manager that is willing to use the bullpen, for a batter here, a batter there. Lou seemed to bring in a guy, and let him stay, even though the next batter’s matchup was bad.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,again nice post.Glad you caught the bottom of the fourth with Aram on second and Pena hits the fly ball to left. There is no way Aram remains on second. Everyone in the park knew the throw would be to home as they had a play. That was just plain lazy on Aram’s part. That should be a fine at least in the Kangaroo Court. No one knows if there would have a wild pitch and it did cost a run because he should have advanced and he would have scored. These are the kinds of things that Quade should address after the game. Heads up ball wins ballgames,not lazy play.

  • Matt

    What was the Attadance today

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      The announced attendance was 26,292, reportedly there was under 10,000 in the stands.

  • Gramps

    Nice win! Wells settled down well and threw a pretty good game. Nice hitting by Soriano who seems to have more patience this year. Soto had a very good game, both offensively and defensively. And I like the way Pena has been hitting the ball solidly, just hope some of those liners start to fall in for him. The Castro kid is going to be a great one. I like everything about him. Nice to have a bullpen that is as solid as they get. Looking forward to seeing Cashner pitch tomorrow…hoping he has a good game.

    Heard something interesting watching the Yankees-Twins game……Sutcliffe said the Rothschild pickup was like getting a “big” free agent signing as he thinks our old pitching coach is one of the best in the business. I know he was not liked by many on this site.

    Let’s sweep the D-Backs. It would be nice to go on the road with a 4-2 record for the first week of the season. GO CUBS!

    • paulcatanese

      Nice post, very positive.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Strangely, I like Rothschild. I say “strangely” because I despise Jim Hendry, and you know it.

      • BosephHeyden

        Larry Rothschild fits into the Yankees scheme…the scheme I think the Cubs should have gone with. Rothschild can supplement pitchers that have been around for a bit like no other pitching coach, but his weakness showed when it came to teaching guys coming up. Quite honestly, with the failure of Rich Hill and the inconsistency of Carlos Zambrano and pretty much every other young arm that the Cubs farm system brought up, Hendry should have seen it and realized he needed to either get rid of Larry or start going after more talented pitchers through trade or free agency. He didn’t, and that’s a failure on Hendry’s part.

    • Tony

      Gramps – Announcers always say that this coach is “one of the best in the business” about every coach.

      They also said that the Cubs signing Rudy J was like a big free agent signing, and that having Maddux around is so important, etc.

      I really can’t remember every hearing an announcer say “this coach is bad for this team or he’s an average coach at best. Part of this is that all coaches in the majors (just like players) are the best in the business. But at the major league level, most of the coaches (just like the players) have to be average. There are truly only a few, that are the elite, and we judge them based on the rings on their fingers.

      • Gramps

        Tony – When pitchers like Maddux and Sutcliffe mention that a guy is a good pitching coach, I take their word. And both of these guys have gone out of their way to mention what they think of Rothschild.

        • Tony

          Once again, they won’t come out and say the guy is a bad pitching coach. Have you ever heard a guy come out and say, “Yeah, my ex-pitching coach is average” Never!

          Maddux and Sutcliffe went out of their way…Sutcliffe is on National TV, talking about the Yankees, and changes to their team, the pitching coach is a change. Madddux was asked directly about Rothschild, when he left.

  • paulcatanese

    Two guys with their first start,ought to be very interesting.