Swept by the ‘Stros – Cubs 1 Astros 3

Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 1 Astros 3
WP – Brett Myers (2-4) LP – Doug Davis (0-4) Save – Mark Melancon (4)

The Cubs have gone from a team that does not hit with runners in scoring position to a group of players that just doesn’t hit. The Astros completed the three-game sweep of the Cubs behind Brett Myers.

Myers continued his dominance of the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon by allowing only one run on three hits in six innings. The Cubs managed only two walks and five baserunners against Myers. The Astros’ right-hander picked up his second win of the year, both at the Cubs expense … the Cubs have not beaten Myers since 2007.

The Cubs only run came in the bottom of the first on a leadoff home run by Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome’s second longball and third leadoff homer of his career gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, but they would not score another on the afternoon. Q’s offense was 0-for-3 with RISP and left six on base.

Doug Davis lost for the fourth time (0-4) since joining the Cubs’ rotation. Davis held the Astros to one run over the first six innings (a solo home run by Jason Michaels, his first of the season). But Davis was sent out to start the seventh. After a single by Jeff Keppinger to left center and a pop out by Jason Michaels, Chris Johnson reached on an infield single off the face of Aramis Ramirez.

Ramirez ended up leaving the game with a cut lip (lip laceration, listed as day to day) and received stitches. Mike Quade went to his pen at the same time and Sean Marshall could not get out of the jam.

After Kerry Wood walked the first batter he saw (J.R. Towles) to load the bases, Wood struck out Angel Sanchez looking for the second out. Sean Marshall’s first pitch to Michael Bourn ended up in right field and the Astros took a 3-1 advantage … Bourn’s single was just the second hit of his career off Marshall (2-for-8).

Doug Davis was credited with three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Davis struck out five and did not walk a batter. Davis did what he needed to do Wednesday and kept his team in the game.

The Astros began the series with the worst record in the NL Central and seemingly more problems than the Cubs. The Cubs led in every game of the series but found ways to lose each time. So what does the last three games say about the 2011 version of the Chicago Cubs?

The Cubs finished the nine-game homestand against the Mets, Pirates and Astros with a 3-6 record. With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs are a season-low eight games under .500 with a 23-31 record …

The Cubs offense, or lack thereof, was really the story Wednesday. Three hits on a day the wind was blowing out when a team statistically worse pounds out 11. The Cubs are walking to the plate swinging the bat and are simply not making the opposition work. Q’s offense did not record a single hit off the Astros’ pen over the final three innings of the game.

Doug Davis put together a credible start. It was not good or bad but enough to give his team a chance to win the game. Davis pitched his way in and out of jams but allowed the leadoff hitter to reach only twice in two innings, the last time in the seventh ended up being the go ahead run.

Davis finished the sixth inning with a respectable pitch count of 80 (53 for strikes) with the game tied at one. After the Cubs failed to capitalize on an error by Jeff Keppinger in the bottom of the sixth (Pena reached on the miscue with two outs but Ramirez flied out to left), Davis took the mound to start the seventh.

Jeff Keppinger ran the count to 2-2 before dropping a single into left center. Jason Michaels popped out to first on Davis’ first offering. Davis then fell behind Chris Johnson 2-0 before Davis was able to work the count back to even. Johnson took ball three before hitting a grounder down the third base line.

Ramirez tried to make a diving stop but the ball took a bad hop and hit Ramirez in the mouth. The ball ended up in foul ground as Ramirez lay on the ground. Castro picked the ball up and kept Keppinger from advancing. The Cubs trainer ran out from the dugout, helped Ramirez to his feet and covered his cut lip with a towel. D.J. LeMahieu took over at third and Quade went to his pen for Kerry Wood,

Wood walked J.R. Towles on five pitches to load the bases with one out. Wood struck out pinch hitter Angel Sanchez looking for the second out of the inning.

Mike Quade went to his pen for Sean Marshall.

Michael Bourn continued his onslaught against Cubs pitching and ripped Marshall’s first pitch into right. Keppinger and Johnson scored … 3-1 Astros, the eventual final score.

The Astros pen retired nine of the 10 batters they faced in the seventh, eighth and ninth on 47 pitches, 27 for strikes.

This Cubs’ team has a lot more wrong with it than just all of the injuries …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is an off day for the Chicago Cubs, one of their last before the All-Star break. Q’s squad begins a stretch of 38 games in 38 days Friday night in St. Louis. Ryan Dempster will face Kyle Lohse in game one.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein
  • GaryLeeT

    This team makes me wish I were Rip VanWinkle. Just wake me up when it’s time to cheer again.

  • cubtex

    It is painful to watch them start guys like Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez,Casey Coleman and James Russell. What are their options? The injuries to Cashner and Wells have pretty much buried this team. They have too many flaws to have won the division this year no matter if Cashner and Wells would have stayed healthy, but they need to start looking into selling the Fuko’s and others. I guess the only thing to look forward to is waiting for the Brett Jackson era to begin(hopefully within a month)

  • Anonymous47701

    Let The Fire Sale Begin!!!!!

    1. Blow up The 40-man roster.

    2. Fire Jim Hendry, Randy Bush, Mike Quade and Crane Kenney.

    3. Promote Greg Maddux to Assistant GM

    4. Hire AJ Preller as the Cubs Vice President/GM

    5. Demote Mark Riggins to Iowa, Promote Dennis Llewallyn to Cubs Pitching Coach.

    6. Retain Tim Wilken & Oneri Fleita.

    7. Trade Baker, Pena, Ramirez, DeWitt, Byrd, and Fukudome.

    8. Let Dempster, Wood, Grabow, Davis, and Lopez walk.

    9. Add Koyie Hill as a Bullpen Catcher.

    10. Add Jody Davis to Cubs Coaching Staff.

    11. Retain Rudy Jaramillo as Hitting Coach.

    12. DFA Coleman.

    13. Did I leave anything else out?

    • ZT

      I don’t see why the Cubs should let Dempster walk because he has been their most consistent pitcher for the last 2 years. Also I would not DFA Coleman because he is only 23 years old. Otherwise I agree with everything you said.

      • Anonymous47701

        You’re right, that DFA comment was unnecessary. As for Dempster, I have seen this guy give like 3 Grand Slams dating back as far as the 2008 NLDS.

    • diehardcubfan

      I would not retain Rudy Jaramillo as I have not seen enough improvement by the hitters to warrant that.  I thought he would make a difference as I watched him in Texas but I was wrong on his ability to turn the Cubs around.

      • BosephHeyden

        They’re one of the top hitting teams in the majors.  He has had an effect.  It’s not his fault that they forget how to hit with runners on.  Or that some people on the roster just flat out don’t listen to him.

        They need a home run guy.  They don’t have one of those. 

    • erniesarmy

      Anonymous, you read my mind.

      • Anonymous47701

        What do you mean?

  • Mark

    These last two series, AT HOME,  were just horrible and embarrassing!  This team and organization needs to be shaken up with some firings, trades, and non-signings or let goes.  If Ricketts family ARE true Cub fans, they should feel OUR pain as true Cub fans.  They need to get some BALLS and do a little shake shake up, and making some big changes.  The boss is to blame!  I’m sick of losing or being disappointed every year.  I think we ALL are!  Let’s go Ricketts!

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to the Daytona Cubs on their 40th win of the season. Daytona defeated the Charlotte Stone Crabs 10-3.

    • Mike1040

      They could probably beat the Pirates and Astros. Quade’s lollygaggers can’t.

  • Ripsnorter1

    38 games in 38 days. Boys and girls, this could get very, very brutal.

    Pirates won tonight. Their run differential: -1. All winning teams have this in common: they have a positive run differential. The Pirates are on the verge of becoming a .500+ ball club. Correa is 8-4–the winningest pitcher in MLB. 

    Folks, I’m telling you: the Cubs will finish LAST in the division unless some changes are made SOON. 

    • diehardcubfan

      Concur, but changes will not happen because the owners are as blind as the GM and manager.

      After all injuries are to blame for the Cubs poor performance per Mr. Ricketts.  NOT!!!!

  • erniesarmy

    Last place look out here come the Cubbies!

    Has anybody seen our genius owner lately, or is he too busy smearing his face with mustard out in the cheap seats?

    That’s it Tommy boy, sign ol Hendry and Kenney to new contracts as soon as possible. Success like this is priceless. 

  • roseyc

    It’s time for the youth movement. I wouldn’t do nothing with the bullpen unless get rid of Grabow.But the rest of the team it’s time to trade away Rameriz and Dempster and let’s play the kids in all the outfield positions. Byrd if he can heal trade him to. Fukedome can help some team. Soriano should be a DH in the AL. It’s not going to get better before it gets worse. Let Quade stay but Hendry needs to be fired immediately. Riggins and Jarmillo need to go.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    The following was  an excerpt from the Tribune’s David Haugh.In an awkward moment before the game, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts uncomfortably walked away from a group of reporters after a brief, curt answer when someone asked Ricketts what was wrong with his team.    

  • Tony

    Good article by David Haugh


    No time for Cubs to wait till next year
    Cubs should start playing for future because present is too much like past

    This might be the best line

    “Exactly one-third of the way through the season, the Cubs seem like they kinda, sorta want to use 2011 as a developmental year but haven’t decided yet.”

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,I did read the article, should have let you know sooner. It was very well put. I would like to see more from those writers as they dont have anything to fear from the Cubs and can tell it like it is.

  • paulcatanese

    In no way do I mean to be a downer here, but after watching Colvin,Barney,Castro,Snyder,LeMahieu swing the bat lately,
    Its apparant they all have trouble with recognizing sliders,curve balls
    and transfer back to fastballs. Not so much with Castro and Barney,
    obviously as they have been playing on a regular basis. But the others
    that seems to be the difference in their starting at the Major League level.
    Having said that,it’s impossible for these kids to adjust because they do
    not get any subsequent playing time. It’s a catch 22 for the kids, hit the soft stuff
    or you dont play,hit it and you may get a start or pinch hit once a week.

    Its different for vets, they are established and that allowance is made for
    them, they can look silly on the same pitches and yet start the next day.
    Its unfair to younger players but then who said life is fair

    Rudy has been seen as a good hitting coach by many, and he probably is,
    however the Cubs are making better contact but without power and certainly
    they are not being taught to be situational when they go up to bat.They fail
    miserably. They do not take pitches,swing at bad ones and in general fail
    when the time is for hitting with runners in scoring position. So in that sense
    Jarmello is failing at this job,but he could say,he cant get into hitters heads
    when they step into the batters box.

    So which is it? The players are stupid? Cant think? Or is it that Rudy is
    simply not approaching the hitters and is not getting through to them?

    Pitchin is another story,I will leave that one to Aaron. I will say that Riggens
    and Quade are a motley twosome and should be on the next freight train
    out of town.

    • cubtex

      Snyder is 29 and he has always had a high strikeout rate in the minors. You know my thoughts on Colvin….too long of a swing and doesn’t shorten it with 2 strikes. Doesn’t use the whole field….he tries to pull everything. Barney and Castro make good contact but need to walk more. If the pitchers start seeing that Barney and Castro will lay off the slider low and away…they will both get more hittable fastballs.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000706523521/ Richard Hood

        This goes back to is Selectivity inbred or is it taught. I believe that it can be taught to a lesser extent but you have to be able to identify the pitch coming out of the pitchers hand. That is the problem with Colvin. IMO he can not identify pitches until he getting ready to swing at it. So late breaking sliders and pitches like that make him look silly. You can not “shorten your swing” until you can identify what you are seeing early.

        • cubtex

          You can definately shorten your swing with 2 strikes and not be great at identifying pitches. I think Colvin got caught up with hitting the ball out of the park on every swing instead of trying to put the ball in play more.

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000706523521/ Richard Hood

            What I meant was what he working on not what you physically can or can’t do. They are drilling him with Selectivity and Pitch ID. Letting the stike outs happen right now to see if he can learn and build. 

          • paulcatanese

            Agree that you can shorten your’e swing. I was having problems in AAA fast pitch softball and went to a Paul Molitor type of swing, and trying to drive everything up the middle and it worked very well for me.You can lay off the
            rise ball (fast ball in BB) and see the drop quite well and it becomes the hittable
            pitch,aka curve or slider. Made the conversion in Calif at age 30 after Baseball. I know its not the same,but there is less time to recognize pitches from 46 ft
            rather from 60 ft,at 80mph. You must have a short compact swing to compete..

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000706523521/ Richard Hood

      I totally agree on your assessment of most young players (it is not just a Cubs problem). How do you compete and still give young guys a chance to  succeed? Are you doing more harm than good letting them learn from the bench in the big leagues? It is like a sword that you are always on the edge of. If you are counting on young hitters to get the idea of what a major league paint the black breaking pitch looks like from video or watching from the bench then you eventually have to see if they can put what they learn into practice. When they struggle then everyone is ready to either ship them back to the minors or get mad because they have not played enough to get a true sample size. I still think that it comes down to how they go about there work when the camera’s aren’t on them. Some guys you can just tell from the work ethic and there focus if they can get it eventually.

      • paulcatanese

        Absolutly Richard,work ethic is the key. I dont know what the availability to do that at Wrigley, the practice facility is not the greatest underthe stands,I have heard that they can only cater to one hitter at a time in the batting cage there. That would make it tough. And I dont see rookies asking the coaches to stay after the game or before to give them extra swings,that time is generaly fo vets.

        I happened to have the opportunity to coach at a very small school 350 students and a small baseball team in number(14-16) players, Yet they were always competetive with the bat. That was because the head coach was a firm believer in the amount of swings the hitters took EVERY day. 200 swings each
        at four different stations and it worked. I helped out with the infield and all off the credit was his with the inovative approach to hitting. (I was in my mid 60’s) and had two grandsons playing on the team,I loved the excuse to get back out there. 

        • paulcatanese

          By the way he taught the Charlie Lau system.

    • Aaron

      I agree with everything you said. In the minors, a lot of pitchers struggle with their secondary stuff, so they really heavily on their fastball. When they get to MLB, they find pitchers can throw their secondary stuff at any time during the AB, no matter what the count. Pitch recognition then becomes a huge issue, as they can no longer get by with guessing correctly most of the time like they were in the minors. 

      Usually, in AAA, the pitchers are mostly recently demoted rookies who couldn’t hack it in MLB, or they are veterans that can no longer spot their secondary pitches as well. Thus, you see a tremendous amount of offense at the AAA level, which is why guys like Snyder and LaHair have looked like the second coming of Babe Ruth. That’s not to say that they’re not good players, but AAA tends to add a “Beer Goggles” factor when looking at certain players.

      That’s why I believe the true talent both ways in hitting and pitching lies in AA. However, there is a problem with AA as well when it comes to pitching. That’s usually where you find your best pitching talent, but often times, the majority of pitchers at AA are still trying to figure out their secondary pitches as well, so the hitters aren’t seeing a heavy diet of secondary pitches at any time during the AB in any count. So there’s really no perfect place to find talent, and say definitively that they will have success at the MLB level. There are pros and cons at any level. 

      Guys like Hoffpauir, Fox, Pie, Snyder, LaHair, etc. have absolutely obliterated AAA pitching, had a reasonable amount of success at the MLB level (Hoff, Fox, Pie, and even LaHair), but flamed out for the most part. 

      That’s why I try to look at the career stats of these prospects to see if they can hack it at the MLB level, making sure they’re not a one year wonder at AAA. It’s why I was not enamored with Soto when he initially came up, and everyone else was. It sure shocked the hell out of me when he won the ROY, and I ate some crow for that one, but now look at him…it’s about where I thought he’d be. 

      And I already mentioned this in another post, but my preference for rookies when the MLB team is doing poorly does NOT mean that I think Snyder, or LaHair, or Montanez will do any better than the veterans, but my point is they can do no worse. How do you do any worse than last place? Am I right? So why not play them everyday, and see what you’ve got?

      Now….onto the pitching…..

      When the Cubs had 20-somethings in Wood, Prior, and Zambrano when they were healthy, Rothschild sure looked smart, didn’t he?

      When the Yankees have an All-Star (and former All-Star) rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Colon, and Garcia, plus, a back-end of the pen in Rivera, and the young, flame-throwing Chamberlain….there’s not much he has to do, right?

      However, when he’s given a project to work with, he almost always failed with them. Hell, look at the rookie Nova in the rotation and Soriano in the pen, who was a solid closer last year. I guess you could say that Colon was a “project”, but he injected stem cells in his shoulder, and can now throw in the mid 90’s, versus the high 80’s, low 90’s, which nearly caused him to call it a career. So his success has more to do with a medical marvel than Rothschild’s help. 

      Anyway, back to the Cubs….

      Coleman was compared to Maddux. Do you know how many players have been compared to him? I can remember at least 5 in recent history with the Cubs, and Coleman is one of them. A righty “prospect” being compared to Maddux is NOT a compliment, at least when you’re talking about Cubs prospects. Maddux is actually code for “soft-tossing righty without much else going for him”. 

      Then, the Cubs have journeyman pitchers that were recently released by other teams (though Lopez was signed by the Braves, then traded to the Cubs…but he was released prior to the Braves) for poor performances. 

      Then, Riggins had to deal with Russell, who was best suited as a LOOGY, being thrust into the rotation. The point is, there’s not much at all he could do with those circumstances.

      And with Zambrano, Dempster, and Garza all coming around after rough starts to the year, you could say that he’s done a fine job. And prior to his rough outing a few days ago, you could see that even Marmol and Marshall were doing better than they were a year ago with each of them being under a 2 ERA (Marmol is now over 3 after the 6 runs given up). And when you factor in the strong starts to the year prior to going on the DL by Cashner and Wells, you’d see that the entire rotation would be in good shape.

      And I believe you can actually see Riggins’ lack of a presence in the minors having a big impact this year, as a lot of the pitchers that were doing well last year in the system have fallen on hard times.

      The Cubs went into this year having a very good outlook with their pitching prospects with Archer, McNutt, Jackson, and Carpenter at the top of the list. But Archer was traded, Jackson got injured, and Carpenter was moved to the pen, and essentially replaced on the list by Whitenack.

      Now, Whitenack is injured with an elbow issue, and while Jackson had a solid start last night, his shoulder has bothered him all year, so the ONLY healthy pitcher they have left in that group is McNutt.

      That’s a problem, isn’t it? What does Riggins have to work with? Not much, if you ask me. I guess the Cubs could make a reach to A ball with Kurcz, Lorick, and Kirk….but that would be pretty foolish, and they obviously need to go to AA first.

      But, this post is too long, and I want to continue this conversation, so I’ll post below.

    • roguesqr09

      I bet Ryne Sandberg could tell by watching the young players, off the camera, whether or not they were ready for major league action. If he would get off his keister and……wait a minute, he’s in the Phillies organization now. 

      And last I checked, his team was in 1st Place! 

      • cubtex

        I could see the Cubs hiring Sandberg next year after this terrible season. It actually would be a great box office move to try and get some fans excited about next year after this debacle.

        • Anonymous47701

          Good Call, cubtex.

      • paulcatanese

        I just think Sandberg would just send a card (blank) with two words written on the inside,   HA  HA .

        • cubtex

          Paul… I disagree. It is not easy getting a managerial gig and I can’t see Sandberg turning it down. Especially if a new GM is hired and offers him the job.

          • paulcatanese

            Yeah,well thats a different ballgame,he would take the gig. that would be a big improvement. Still I would imagine him taking the job only if he had no interference or at least limited input. It’s just too hard to get anything done unless that were to happen. Like to see it happen.

        • Mike1040

          Right Paul, but I don’t think those would be the two words…..and the 2nd word would be “you”.

  • DColby

    This what happens when you play a minor league team in a major league game!

    • paulcatanese

      I can agree with that.however the Cubs don’t have a Major League team to field in a Major League game, they just flat out do not have the talent,so what to do?
      Do you trade for ageing vets? or deplete what minor league prospects agaito trade for a decent player? This is a situation where the Cubs cant win for losing.
      Hate to beat a dead horse but serious changes need to happen, starting from the general manager down, all the way to the base coaches. Players need to go,but cannot because of contracts,rookies need to be brought up,but cant they are blocked. The Cubs are really a Country Club for the players and management on the North side, that Club needs to be closed for any success
      in the future.

  • Anonymous47701

    2012 Pitching Staff idea




    • Aaron

      Whitenack is out with elbow issues, and my guess is it will result in TJ surgery. Jackson has been hampered by shoulder issues, which, like Whitenack, will likely result in surgery.

      If Hendry is still running the team, the likeliest scenario for next year is:

      Cashner, like Jackson, will likely be out with shoulder surgery as well. And even if he comes back, Hendry has already stated it’d likely be in the pen just as you noted above putting him at set-up.

      The other problem with your suggestion that I see is Carpenter seems to have fallen out of favor, and Rosscup is a starter. The more likely scenario is this:

      Cashner-closer (if he’s not under the knife)
      Wood-set-up (remember he WANTS to be here, and will play for less)
      Cabrera (swing-man)

      *Marmol will likely be traded if Hendry isn’t running things, because he will bring the most value in return of ANY player, other than Castro, that the Cubs could trade (I’m not saying they’d trade Castro, just FYI)

      • paulcatanese

        You called it, surgery for Whitenack just posted.an hour ago 6/3/11.

  • Aaron

    ….going off my previous point about the pitching staff.

    The Cubs have made some very curious moves with the staff, so I thought I’d give some reasons….

    1) Dolis was doing VERY well as a starter, then they all of a sudden put him in the closer’s role, even though Carrillo was doing a fine job there

    2) Beliveau was promoted from A-ball

    3) Then, they promoted Cabrera to AAA, even though he was struggling in AA

    4) They demoted Carpenter to AA, and promoted Carrillo to AAA

    5) Struck was promoted to AA when Whitenack went down with injury

    So let’s dissect these moves:
    #1-Dolis is a fireballer that has been clocked at 100 mph. I believe he is the replacement for Marmol, and the Cubs might be actively looking to trade Marmol for top prospects in a terrible season

    #2-Beliveau has done nothing but perform in the Cubs system since they drafted him 3 years ago with a K/9 rate of over 12. Could this be a prelude to a Marshall trade, just like where Marmol would land them several top prospects? Or could this be a promotion to replace Grabow, who should be traded soon?

    #3-Could this mean that the injury to Cashner is worse than expected, and they need a fireballer to replace him instead of soft-tossers like Davis and Lopez?

    #4-Could this mean that they are no longer high on Carpenter, and are trying to rebuild his value for a trade by sending him to AA? The reason I say this is in a season where a lot of pitchers are coming and going, and guys like Jackson and Carpenter have already been passed with both struggling at AAA…..it could be that they’re not in their future plans

    #5-The Struck move made sense, but one has to wonder why Kurcz and Lorick were passed over. I think this should tell you the pecking order now of future promotions. You have to think that it will be: Cabrera, McNutt, Whitenack (when he is healthy), then Struck. I say this, because they likely would’ve promoted Rusin or Raley to AAA if they were high on them.

    And while Kirk is still very young, I do not understand why they haven’t promoted him to Daytona yet. He’s dominated the Midwest League thus far, and needs to advance.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000706523521/ Richard Hood

       I think that a Marmol trade will only happen if Hendry is gone. JH will have to admit that this is a long term problem to trade away your best weapon and he would never do that.

    • paulcatanese

      Thanks Aaron, I knew you would give a comprehensive post on the pitching,and agree. Pretty interesting on Dolis and I agree Marmol may be a big trade factor in the near future. Also agree, play the youngsters,we absolutly could do no worse.

  • paulcatanese

    Just a change of pace here. Imagine Pena being picked for the All Star game, you have to know that he would want to be in the HR contest. If televised, I would say that he would run over the time alloted by the station. Even with bringing his own pitcher he would step out, take three practice swings and step in and raise his hand for time out and start all over again. Priceless to imagine.

    • BosephHeyden

      I literally almost peed my pants laughing at this.

      • paulcatanese

        Thank you sir, as he is one guy that drives me up a wall when he comes up.
        As a little addition, imagine Davis on the mound against him,Spring would turn to Fall before the at bat would finish.