The Cubs Winning Formula – Cubs 7 Rockies 3

Game Seventy-Eight – Cubs 7 Rockies 3
WP – Matt Garza (4-6) LP – Jhoulys Chacin (8-5) Save – None

wflag.jpgStrong starting pitching and four home runs … just the way the Cubs drew it up prior to the season.

Following Monday’s make-up game, Mike Quade said he liked the formula his team used to beat the Rockies. Quade added that the end result was good but he did not like all of the mistakes he team made. Quade held a meeting with his team after they salvaged the finale of the three game series that began back in April. Quade stressed to his team they needed to clean up the mistakes they can control on the field … namely the physical and mental errors.

All and all Monday was a good day for the Chicago Cubs as they finished the season series with the Colorado Rockies (2-4).

Matt Garza’s day ended the same way it began with Carlos Gonzalez hitting a home run … but in between he put together one of his better outings of the season. After giving up the solo shot to Gonzalez to start the game, Garza settled down, found a rhythm and did not allow his third hit until the sixth inning. Garza pitched into the eighth inning and gave up three runs on five hits, and two of those came on two swings of the bat. Garza did not walk and batter, struck out six and hit a batter in 7 1/3 innings. Garza threw 110 pitches, 75 for strikes.

The Cubs offense came out swinging against a very good pitcher. Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena drove in six of the Cubs seven runs on four homers … two each. The Cubs other run scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. The Cubs pounded out 10 hits, only two singles … three doubles, a triple and four home runs for the Cubs offense on Monday afternoon.

Aramis Ramirez has really stepped up as of late both in the field and at the plate. Ramirez put together a 3-for-4 afternoon that included a double, two home runs, three runs scored and three RBI. Ramirez recorded the 24th multi-homer game of his career, the first of 2011.

Carlos Pena notched his first multi-homer game in a Cubs’ uniform and his first since last June. Pena drove in three with his two longballs and continued to cleanup the poor throws at first base.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored) extended his hitting streak to 11-games with a first inning triple. Castro hit in the three-hole and reached on a two-out triple in the first inning, his sixth three-bagger of the season. Castro was on board for Aramis Ramirez’s first longball of the day that gave the Cubs the lead.

The Cubs were charged with two more errors Monday and finished the game 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position with six left on base. The Cubs put runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 32-46 on the season, 14 games below the .500 mark …

Monday began on a negative note for the Chicago Cubs. After falling down early Sunday, Matt Garza served up a 2-1 pitch to Carlos Gonzalez that he deposited into the basket in left field. Garza then hit Jonathan Herrera on a 1-2 pitch … and the feeling was, here they go again.

To Garza’s credit he settled down and retired Todd Helton (fly out to center), Troy Tulowitzki (on a 4-6 fielder’s choice) and Seth Smith (struck out swinging) to end the inning.

After Fukudome and Campana made two quick outs to start the bottom of the first, Starlin Castro ripped a 2-1 pitch into center (just missed a home run) and ended up a third with his sixth triple of the season. Castro trotted home on Aramis Ramirez’s blast to left center … 2-1 Cubs.

Carlos Pena popped out to left to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the Rockies in order in the top of the second … with a little help from Tony Campana. Campana made a diving catch in right center to take away a hit from Chris Iannetta. At the end of two, Garza’s pitch count stood at 30, 18 for strikes.

The Cubs could not tack onto their lead in the bottom of the second after a leadoff double by Alfonso Soriano. Soriano advanced to third on a ground out by Blake DeWitt but Soto struck out swinging … and Garza tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Garza retired the Rockies in order in the third and worked around a one-out single and a mental error in the fourth. Troy Tulowitzki reached on a one-out single to center in the fourth. After Seth Smith advanced Tulowitzki on a swinging bunt, Ty Wigginton hit a 2-1 pitch into foul ground that should have ended the inning. Pena and Soto let the ball fall in between them and gave Wigginton another shot. With the Cubs up 2-1 at the time, Wigginton flied out to right center to end the inning.

The Cubs tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth and gave Garza a little breathing room.

Carlos Pena led off the inning with his 15th dinger of the season. Pena took over the team lead in homers and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Geovany Soto doubled with two outs in the fourth, the Cubs seventh hit of the game. Chacin then lost the strike zone and walked Garza on four pitches. Fukudome then worked a walk to load the bases with two outs.

Tony Campana stepped in and hit a 2-1 pitch up the first baseline. The ball was just foul and Chacin uncorked a wild pitch with his next offering that allowed Soto to score … 4-1 Cubs. Campana grounded out to second to end the inning on Chacin’s 35th pitch of the inning.

Garza worked around his own error in the fifth and ended up facing the minimum.

After Castro tapped back to the mound to start the fifth, Aramis Ramirez ripped Chacin’s first pitch down the right field line. Ramirez ended up at second and was along for the ride on Pena’s second homer of the game. Pena launched a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Pena’s seventh homer in his last 11 games gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead.

Alfonso Soriano worked a one-out walk but DeWitt and Soto struck out to end the inning. At the end of five, the Cubs were up 6-1.

Jonathan Herrera singled to center with one out in the sixth. Herrera broke for second on a 1-1 pitch to Helton that was in the dirt. Soto threw the ball into center and Herrera advanced to third. Helton cut the Cubs lead to 6-2 with a single to right. Tulowitzki grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Smith grounded out to second to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the Rockies in order in the seventh.

Aramis Ramirez led off the bottom of the seventh with a monster blast just to the left of dead center. Ramirez’s eighth homer of the season hit off the top of the batter’s eye and gave the Cubs a 7-2 lead.

Mike Quade left Garza in to start the eighth. Garza retired pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs for the first out of the eight. Garza had retired six in a row at the time but Gonzalez launched a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in right and ended Garza’s day.

With the score 7-3, Sean Marshall retired Herrera and Helton to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the ninth. Tulowitzki reached on a bloop single to start the inning and advanced to second when Marmol walked Seth Smith. Marmol settled down and struck out Wigginton and Jason Giambi. With two on and two out, Chris Iannetta flied out to center to end the game.

A win is a win … and at least Q’s squad started the long homestand out with a victory.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Tuesday will be a long day of baseball for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs play a day-night doubleheader against the defending World Champs. Doug Davis versus Ryan Vogelsong in game one with Rodrigo Lopez facing Barry Zito in the nightcap.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
  • Aaron

    Hoilman is out of Boise’s lineup. I’m not positive, but it’s possible he might’ve been called up. I haven’t seen it anywhere…but it’s possible, so I thought I’d let everyone know to monitor the situation

    • Chriswicker16

      Are you joking? Because why would he be called up.. or you mean Peoria then?

      • GrantJones7

        I assume he means to peoria, sending Rohan prolly to Daytona, Bour to tenn, Ridling to Iowa, and hopefully sign Voglbeck(sp) and send him to boise

        • Aaron

          exactly….promoting him to Chicago would be a joke….

          Who knows where he is right now. I just found it a bit odd that he was out of the lineup when he’s been so hot. It could be because he’s played in the most games up to that point, so they were just trying to give him a rest…I don’t know…

          I was merely pointing out a probability.

  • paulcatanese

    Lots of positives today, what happened? That foul ball should have been Penas all the way. And my little buddy Tony made a great catch out in center, liked that.

  • paulcatanese

    Good luck to Bobby Scales, may all his dreams come true.

    • Aaron

      Paul….agreed on Scales. Nice to see something good happen for a guy like him that works so hard, just like Murton. It just goes to show you that if you give it your all like they did, good things happen. 

      I still believe:
      Scales vs Miles= Cubs should’ve just gone with Scales
      Murton vs Floyd= Cubs should’ve stuck with Murton

      But what do I know?

      • John_CC

        Hard not to agree with that.

        Murton over Floyd over Jones and I really wanted to keep him over Fukudome, too. I argued that one to more than a few fans and everyone thought I was crazy.

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to the Daytona Cubs on the 50th win of the season. Daytona defeated Dunedin 3-1 after they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Jeffrey Lorick got the victory.

    Aaron, there has been no report on Paul Hoilman yet. It would just be speculation, but if it did happen, Ryan Cuneo most likely would be sent down.

    • Chriswicker16

      I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • Neil

    Marlon Byrd was 0-for-3 with a walk, 2 runs scored and a stolen base on Monday night. John Ely hit Byrd with a pitch in the third inning.

  • John_CC

    So yeah, that was a pretty good game all the way around. The middle of the order hit the ball hard, real hard. Pena is on a binge and Aramis seems to be doing what he’s done for the past few years which is heat up with the weather.

    Garza was on his game. No walks and few hits, 6 Ks in 7 innings – that’s a good formula. Solo homers — lots of great pitchers give up solo homers to the best hitters. If you don’t give free passes (and your offense scores runs) good things happen.

    BUT (there has to one, right?) the problem with Aramis and Pena being the teams big guns is exactly the problem that Aramis is never productive till June/July and Pena is a terribly streaky hitter. When your offense relies on those two hitters – it’s too little, too late.  Aramis could easily hit 20 homers from here on out and Pena could very well end up with a total close to 40, but it’s too late! There just is not enough offense around them or when there is it is too streaky i.e. Soto and Soriano.

    I really fear that what I just wrote happens with Aramis – ends up .280/28hr – and Pena – .245/37hr and in all of Hendry’s infinite wisdom resigns both of them on because their final slash line looks good. A winning team needs consistency.

    What I really hope is that a forward thinking mentality takes over and sees that a productive Aramis and Pena could be desirable to teams with an actual shot.

  • Chriswicker16

    I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • Chriswicker16

    I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • Chriswicker16

    I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • Chriswicker16

    I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • Chriswicker16

    I have confirmation, the Chiefs have not been told of the call-up and have a all-star 1B. But there still could be a chance, we never know.

  • gocubs

    Why isnt Colvin up with the Cubs?  I understand him getting regular at bats, but with Byrd down all this time, couldnt he have been playing CF this whole time for us over Campana or Montenez?  Makes no sense.  He is crushing it in AAA.  

    It would be great to see an OF of Colvin, Szczur, and Jackson growing together up on the Cubs.   

    • Aaron

      It’s not about Colvin getting AB’s at the MLB level at this point…It’s ALL about him getting his confidence back. Honestly, I thought he should’ve been playing much earlier in the season, as he obviously won the job in RF from Fukudome last year, but that’s NOT how the Cubs operate…He who “earns” the most, gets the playing time. Colvin struggled mightily when he found himself, likely for the first time in his life, as a bench bat. Remember, even when he came up last year, he got a lot of AB’s right off the bat, which helped his timing, and thus, his confidence.

      Colvin is on a tear right now, but he’s still not where he needs to be. With the AAA pitching, he needs to be in Castillo, LaHair, and Snyder territory, where he’s batting between .315-.355 

      My guess is that once Byrd comes off the DL, the Cubs will ship Montanez back to AAA, because Johnson and Campana can play all over the OF, and Montanez is locked into LF or RF mainly. 

      When Barney comes back, LeMahieu will be out.

      If you ask me, both are the wrong moves, as trades need to be made with Byrd, Johnson, and Fukudome out, and DeWitt needs to be traded or optioned (he still has an option anyway).

      DeWitt’s line is downright pathetic. In 139 plate appearances, he has a .265/.281/.368 line with 36 hits, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 1 hr, 7 RBI, 3 walks and 18 K’s.

      • Richard Hood

        I agree with you and at the same time I wonder what you are smoking Aaron. DJ needs to be sent down when Barney gets back. He has a lot to work on and needs AB’s. Right now Barney has “earned” his playing time and will be the starter. At some point DJ needs to go to AAA and get AB’s against curve ball pitchers because they make him look pretty silly right now. If he can work on his pitch selection and keep his confidence the kid has a bright future and I am sure everyone is telling him that. But he is not a finished product and at 22 years old he needs to work on all the stuff that he has had to digest while on the big club.

        I do agree with making some moves soon but I would rather have the guys in the minors getting there work in than sitting on the bench on the big club.

        • Aaron

          He’s not a finished product, and I never said he was….However, the Cubs have handled him very poorly. First of all, Quade sat him on the bench, and used him almost exclusively as a pinch hitter when he came up. It wasn’t until recently he got a few starts, and he actually did well when he started. He sucked as a pinch hitter though. Colvin also happened to do very poorly as a pinch hitter.

          At some point, the Cubs need to decide what they’re doing. They haven’t had an organizational plan for a VERY long time. Are they continuing with the veteran players up to the deadline? Are they allowing them to finish out the year with the Cubs? Are they going to go young? Are they going to go young and actually play the prospects rather than having them ride the pine? Are they going with a mix of veterans and prospects, and if so, which veterans do they see as being in the long-term picture? 

          If you look at the Cubs team in 2011, it’s a series of contradictions. If the Cubs never plan on giving prospects much of a look, then they should’ve just brought up the likes of Scales, Moore, Perez, LaHair, Chris Robinson, etc. when guys like Baker, Barney, Byrd, Johnson, Soto, etc. went down with injuries. Because if all they needed was roster filler, then those minor league veteran types would be the perfect replacements.

          But you simply do NOT bring up your top prospects, only to sit them on the bench, having them make a few pinch hitting appearances each week. It’s not good for the team, and NOT good for the player.

          • Richard Hood

            On all that we are in total agreement. All I am saying is looking at how his approach is at the plate, he has good to great potential. I just do not think that when you have one player that is a young middle infielder coming off the DL that has done nothing to take away from his playing time that you punish a kid that has work to do by keeping him up. That is exactly what the Cubs would be doing by keeping DJ on the bench on the big club. He has his cup of coffee if he pays attention he will be able to digest the stuff he learned up here and the next time may be a full time call up after some moves are made. Right now he needs AB’s and to figure out what he wants to be.

             Most scouts say you can only get about 10% of the finished product at the majorleague level . When you take a kid and push him up too soon and leave him on the bench you actually do more harm than good. Send the kid down to Triple-A keep an eye on him and let him grow.

            Look at Castillo but not at his numbers because they have been pretty consistent all year. Look at the difference that the pitching staff in Iowa has had since he went back there. A lot of scouts are saying he is calling better games and working constantly on his communication during the game (the exact thing the Cubs said he needed to work on in ST). The results are that the pitching in Iowa has went from horrible to almost winnable.

            I am not saying that Castillo’s time on the bench in the bigleagues was a good idea because I thought he should have spent more time actually in the game. But he learned a lot and some of those lessons are beginning to sink in.

            This actually happens a lot on big clubs. You get a kid up for a week or 2 to cover depth on the bench. He gets face time with the big clubs batting coach and then they send you back to AAA. Look at Brandon Guyer for the Rays. Do you think he is out of their plans or is destine to be a AAAA player for getting a 1 day audition for the big club?  Nope he was given a shot, he did well, got some one on one instruction and will be back if the Rays make a move.

            I said at the time that DJ coming to the big leagues looked like a Ricketts move to show that he was correct in the push to build from within. Now DJ will go where he should have went to begin with and get time at Triple A while Smith is on the DL.

  • Tony

    At least the Cubs can be high on some list. (Not ESPN Insider)

    Top 10 Worst Owners in MLB History.  There are some pretty bad owners, listed, makes you realize how bad the Tribune was to have as owners…how long before Tommy Boy starts making these lists….

    Step 1 for Tommy Boy to not make these lists.
    Fire JH

    Step 2 for Tommy Boy to not make these lists.
    Hire a real VP of Baseball Operations or President and stick to walking around Wrigley as the owner.

    That’s it, 2 little things, would keep him off of these type of lists.

    • Aaron

      I have a problem with the list, and the long-time readers can call me a hypocrite, because I’ve changed my mind after researching the topic more….but the Tribune should NOT be as high on that list, if at all. In fact, it should be P.K. Wrigley (“college of coaches” and all)…I just do not understand their shortsightedness with that list, but it is what it is.

      I used to think the Tribune was bad ownership, and they had ill intentions (corporate greed) the whole time, when in fact, that wasn’t even close to the case.

      First of all, when they purchased the team, it was an absolute disgrace of a franchise from the damage P.K. Wrigley inflicted on it. 

      Secondly, the Tribune actually got together, and since nobody in ownership knew much about managing a baseball team, they hired Dallas Green away from the wildly successful Phillies organization (at that time), and he brought with him his scouts, and made the push to get Sandberg. In just their third year, they came close to making the World Series in 1984, and it was their first playoff appearance in nearly 40 years at that point. Naturally, the fan base started coming out to games more, as they thought the winning would continue.

      Naturally, the ownership thought the winning would continue, and they’d reap the rewards of an energized fan base, but the team fell on hard times, mostly due to injuries and aging players from 1985-1988, and Dallas Green ultimately was pushed out because of it, even though he completely rebuilt their farm system with such players as: Dunston, Grace, Maddux, Palmeiro, Moyer, etc. In fact, a lot of his draft picks were a part of the 1989 playoff team, even though he resigned at the end of the 1987 season.

      At that point, Tribune executive realized what Joe Ricketts was talking about when they purchased the team…..A starving fan-base will come out rain or shine, win or lose, if you just give them a winner every now and then. 

      They started out with good intentions, then stuffed their pockets full of cash, and didn’t give a damn about producing a winner on the field, often going the cheaper route with managerial and coaching hires to free agents, and ultimately on the draft.

      But they were NOT at all the worst owners in the league, and even the Cubs for that matter, as P.K. Wrigley and Ricketts take the cake on that.

      In just a short amount of time, the Ricketts have proven to be the worst ownership group in professional sports, and here’s why:
      1) They overbid on the franchise to begin with, as they should’ve taken into account Spring Training facilities improvements as well as the cost of Wrigley improvements. Now, they’re strapped for cash, and can’t do much of anything
      2) They spent an incredible amount of time prior to their purchase, examining the Red Sox operation as a sort of case study in how they wanted to run the Cubs. Rather than follow their path of success, the Ricketts completely disregarded everything the Red Sox ownership group did to make them a success, and have completely flopped.
      3) Tom Ricketts came out and echoed pretty much what Hendry said in 2008, that the Cubs were going to be winners, and winners for a long time, then he proceeded to cut the budget, didn’t spend much on the draft, and kept the organization in tact, despite a lackluster 2009 season.
      4) Ricketts then stood by and watched as the Cubs hit all time lows in 2010 with Piniella and Hendry leading the way, and allowed Piniella to waltz into the sunset, and the main culprit (Hendry) to remain with the team in 2011…
      5) Then, immediately after the 2010 season, Ricketts states that the Cubs would be going with a more youthful look, and they’d revamp their scouting efforts. He proceeds to allow Hendry to trade away 4 of their top 15 prospects to the Rays for a soon-to-be expensive pitcher in Garza (entering expensive arbitration years)
      6) As if that weren’t enough, he watched as Hendry went against his own wishes, and hired Quade instead of Sandberg.
      7) And even worse, Ricketts watched as attendance for the Convention dwindled, attendance in Spring Training dwindled even more (and they had the issues with Spring Training funding to boot), and the lack of interest in tickets for the regular season…..
      8) Then, to make matters worse, and even more embarrassing for the organization, Tom’s father, Joe, went in front of the camera, and stated their reason for buying the team was that fans came rain or shine, win or lose….
      9) And as if that weren’t a big enough PR issue, when attendance numbers faltered earlier this year with plenty of empty seats around the park, Tom stomped his feet like a spoiled little rich kid, and said everyone can afford to come to the game, and he didn’t care if there was a recession, that they should want to spend their money on the Cubs….
      10) And again, as if that weren’t enough….Quade essentially flipped Ricketts off, and rather than play the young talent the Cubs accumulated in recent years, he stuck with the veterans, and they are now almost 20 games under .500
      11) And then Ricketts opens his mouth again, says the Cubs are a good team, and have just suffered a few injuries (not knowing that people can actually research things online and find out that most of the injuries happened in May and June, but the Cubs only had Cashner and Wells go down in April….and were still 5 games under and over 5 games out at that point)
      12) Then, he opens his mouth yet again, and says the Cubs will be spending more on the draft than in recent years, and he authorized Wilken and his staff to take more risky picks (signability issues) than ever before….and the Cubs currently rank at the bottom of MLB in draft picks signed right this moment, including NONE of their picks above the 16th round

      So……yeah…Oh….and lucky #13…

      13) He recently gave the dumbest GM in the game a vote of confidence. And this was NOT an ordinary vote of confidence that results in the guy being fired the next week….No, this was a vote of confidence, basically saying that he will extend Hendry’s contract 10 more years…LOL…but seriously, he’ll extend him.

  • paulcatanese

    Little note there that Byrd got hit by a pitch. Thats not a bad thing,for him it’s like falling off a horse,just get right back on. He actualy needed that to clear his mind that he is back into the game. It’s better that it happened now than when he comes back and teams try to test him inside. Again if he’s not hurt, it was a good thing to get over with..

    • Richard Hood

      It matters how he got hit. If it was like some of the HBP’s he was having the week before his face shot then there is a problem. He seemed to not see the ball till exploded up on him. That could be a sign of a serious issue. I remember when Kirby Puckett started having that issue the last part of the year before he retired. We all know how that turned out.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Richard, it does matter how. That info was not there, so I assumed since it was the third inning that it happened, maybe not serious. I hope so.I had posted earlier almost the same thing that you are saying. Hopefully it was one of those butt shots where he just turns and takes it.