Royals Getz the Best of Q’s Cubs – Cubs 2 Royals 3

Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 2 Royals 3
WP – Greg Holland (2-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (5-4) Save – Joakim Soria (12)

Once again the Cubs had plenty of chances to win a game … and once again the Cubs came up short. The Cubs and Royals were tied at two until the bottom of the eighth.

Jeff Samardzija took over with one out in the eighth and after two walks, a passed ball and an infield single, the Royals took a 3-2 lead. Chris Getz made up for his error on Friday night that allowed the Cubs to take the lead on in the ninth. Getz reached on an infield single that Samardzija tried to field barehanded. Samardzija deflected the ball, Castro could not make the play and Jeff Francoeur scored the go ahead, and eventual winning run.

Samardzija took the loss after allowing one run on one hit with two walks, a hit batsman and a strikeout in a third of an inning.

Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto hit back-to-back jacks in the sixth inning and provided the Cubs only offensive highlights of the game.

Aramis Ramirez celebrated his 33rd birthday with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate that included his sixth homer of the year. Ramirez put together a good day in the field and made a fine catch on a ball in the camera well.

Geovany Soto hit his sixth of the season as well but continued to look lost in his other three plate appearances.

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 1-for-3 night at the plate that included a walk.

Reed Johnson (2-for-4 with a stolen base) was thrown out at the plate in the third inning, the fifth out the Cubs made on the bases in the series (12 innings). Ivan DeJesus waived in Johnson and it was a horrible call by the Cubs’ third base coach.

The overly aggressive Cubs’ offense allowed Danny Duffy to complete a career-high seven innings of work. The rookie threw only 91 pitches and walked one batter. Duffy hit Luis Montanez to start the fifth but only two free baserunners against a rookie that struggles with his command just reinforces one of the big problems with this roster.

Q’s offense scored only two runs on nine hits and finished the game 1-for-4 without a RBI with runners in scoring position and left six on base.

Carlos Zambrano used the double play ball to get out of jams in the first two innings and ended up putting together a decent outing. Zambrano allowed two runs on eight hits in seven innings of work. Zambrano retired the last eight batters he faced and with any support would have picked up a win. Big Z threw 111 pitches, 69 for strikes.

On the night the Royals ended their six-game losing streak, the Cubs dropped back to 14 below .500 with a 31-45 record …

The Cubs offense was predictably aggressive against Danny Duffy the first time through the lineup. Starlin Castro walked and Aramis Ramirez singled in the first … but that was it. Duffy threw 25 pitches in the first two innings, 15 for strikes.

Carlos Zambrano was effective over the first two innings and used two double plays to end both the first and second inning. Z walked Eric Hosmer with one out in the first but Billy Butler hit into a 4-3 inning ending double play.

The Royals looked like they would score the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. Mitch Maier reached on an infield single to third and advanced to third on a single to right by Mike Moustakas. Matt Treanor stepped in and hit a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to Starlin Castro who stepped on the bag and fired to first. The 6-3 double play ended the second. Zambrano’s pitch count after two innings: 31, 19 for strikes.

Reed Johnson reached on a one-out single to right in the top of the third. Castro broke his bat and blooped a single into left. Castro extended his hitting streak to nine games and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.

Jeff Baker ripped Duffy’s first pitch into left. As Alex Gordon got to the ball, Ivan DeJesus waived in Johnson who had just reached third base. Gordon threw a strike to Treanor and Johnson was out by a mile … the fifth out made by the Cubs on the bases in the first 12 innings of the series.

Aramis Ramirez flied out to left center to end the inning.

Big Z worked his way out of big jam in the bottom of the third. Chris Getz led off the inning and tried to bunt his way on. The former Southsider bunted the ball right to Carlos Pena and was an easy out. The former Brewer, Alcides Escobar, followed with a triple to right center on a 2-1 pitch. Jarrod Dyson then dropped down a bunt to first. Escobar broke for the plate on the safety squeeze but stopped when Pena fielded the ball cleanly. Dyson reached on the bunt single and the Royals had runners on first and third with one out.

Eric Hosmer fouled out to Aramis Ramirez on Z’s first pitch and Billy Butler flied out to Luis Montanez in shallow right to end the inning.

After three, Z’s pitch count stood at 48, 28 for strikes.

The Cubs went down in order in the fourth and Zambrano worked around a leadoff walk to Alex Gordon, thanks to a fine catch by Aramis Ramirez leaning into the camera well, in the bottom of the fourth.

At the end of four … the score was zilch to nada.

The Cubs offense stayed aggressive against Danny Duffy in the fifth … just a bad game plan against a pitcher that a team as never faced before. Luis Montanez was hit by a pitch to start the fifth but was erased on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of LeMahieu. Reed Johnson singled to left with two outs. Starlin Castro flied out to right center to end the inning. After five, Duffy had thrown only 58 pitches, 34 for strikes.

The Royals continued putting pressure on Zambrano in the fifth … and finally put runs on the board.

Alcides Escobar reached on a one-out infield single to the hole at second. Z then walked Jarrod Dyson. Eric Hosmer ripped a 1-0 pitch into right. Escobar scored … 1-0 Royals.

The Royals kept squaring up Zambrano. Billy Butler hammered a 1-1 pitch into left. Dyson scored easily, 2-0 Royals. Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single to right. Hosmer held at third and loaded the bases with one out.

Mitch Maier hit a lazy liner to Castro for the second out and Mike Moustakas fouled out to Pena to end the inning.

Z’s pitch count after five: 94 total, 56 for strikes.

The Cubs finally got on the board and tied the game with two big swings in the top of the sixth.

Jeff Baker struck out swinging to start the sixth. Aramis Ramirez then hit a mile-high fly to left. The ball kept traveling and ended up beyond the wall in left. Ramirez’s sixth of the season cut the Royals lead to 2-1.

Geovany Soto lined a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left … back-to-back jacks. Soto’s sixth tied the game at two.

Alfonso Soriano singled to left center but Carlos Pena grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Carlos Zambrano retired the Royals in order for the first time in the sixth … and once again in the seventh. Z retired the last eight batters he faced and turned the game over to the Cubs pen.

Zambrano’s line: two runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts in seven innings, 111 pitches, 69 for strikes.

The Cubs went down in order in the eighth … but hit three balls extremely hard against Greg Holland.

John Grabow started the eighth and retired Alex Gordon on one pitch, a fly out to right. Quade went to his pen once Jeff Francoeur was announced for Mitch Maier and brought in Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija walked the free-swinging Francoeur. On a 1-1 pitch to Moustakas, Francoeur stole second. Samardzija ended up walking Moustakas and Ned Yost went to his bench for Wilson Betemit. Betemit, hit for Matt Treanor, and after a passed ball on a 2-2 pitch that moved both runners up ninety feet, Betemit struck out swinging.

Chris Getz made up for his error on Friday night that allowed the Cubs to score the winning run. Getz hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle that Samardzija tried to field with his pitching hand. The ball changed direction, Castro could not make the play, Francoeur scored and the Royals took a 3-2 lead.

Samardzija’s wild inning continued. He hit Alcides Escobar on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases.

Quade decided at that point he’d seen enough and brought in James Russell to face Jarrod Dyson with the bases loaded and two out. Yost went to his bench and sent Melky Cabrera up to hit for Dyson.

James Russell struck out Melky Cabrera looking to end the inning.

Joakim Soria struck out the side in the ninth (Soriano, Pena and DeWitt) to end the game.

It’s a Way of Life …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells against Luke Hochevar in the finale on Sunday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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  • paulcatanese

    And tonight we all saw another brilliant platoon lineup on the field. But not to fear,Quade saved the best for last. And if that was the best in the ninth why even spend the energy to play it? The pinch hitters were the premire crop that Quade keeps in reserve for just this moment, and they performed just as expected. Of course DeWitt was going to hit a home run to tie it up, unfortunatly the Royals didn’t know that and decided to strike out the side for the ballgame. Again I wonder how many hits the Cubs can have in one inning and not score a run? and oh, the baserunning was supreme tonight as the third base coach knew our runners can beat any outfielder’s arm with the Royals. I wonder what the lineup would be if the opposing team threw a pitcher that was amberdextrious? It would blow his mind.

  • Joey U

    Why wasn’t Russell in there against Goetz especially since Samardzija had trouble finding the plate? Just another stupid mistake by CLUELESS QUADE.

  • paulcatanese

    Two runs on nine hits, and two were back to back home runs. Just pathetic.

  • Kingdomusa

    Another stupid Q-Ball mistake in Samardzija…..Grabow has an easy out, let him go til he struggles but he lets Mr. ND walk 2, hit a batter, & get in the way of a ending inning out. He is a lifer minor league manager that just wants to be one of the Boys. Ryno has his team rolling if Hendry hasn’t noticed. How about the AAA “Iron Pigs” vs the Cubs @ Wrigley with all the proceeds going to Cubs Care. Oh, can’t do thast as 35,000 would be cheering for ryno. Maybe Crane Kenney can throw out the 1st pitch & Hendry could sing in the 7th inning. That would be a site to see.

  • diehardcubfan

    As much as I would hate to say it I hope the Cubs lose again today.  That would get them 15 games below .500 and hopefully that will influence the meetings on Monday and Tuesday.  Then maybe they will come to the realization that it is time to move on. 

    Zambrano needs to be the Cubs focus to trade followed by Fukudome, then Baker, Soto and DeWitt.  The Cubs in the end though will not net much in return in regards to prospects and that will only hurt this team.  Soriano should at least be dangled but given his contract and his defensive liabilities in left will unlikely be moved unless the Cubs eat a significant portion of his salary and a American league team needs a DH.  That leaves few options there.

    Looking to next season the Cubs will obviously need starting pitching and if the Rangers do not get CJ Wilson wrapped up I would like to see the Cubs take a shot at him. 

    Given CJ is only 30 and spent his first several years as a short reliever he still should have plenty of mileage in his arm and I think a four year deal around $10 million might get him onboard.  I think he would be worth the risk. 

    Then I would like the Cubs if there is salary room to target Prince Fielder.  Yes there are issues with his weight but one cannot argue with is success and he will still be only 28 next season.  He is someone the Cubs can build around.

    If these moves realistically happen then I can see this is the 2012 Cubs:

    Lineup:

    Brett Jackson – CF
    Barney – SS
    Castro – 3B
    Fielder – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Colvin/Byrd – RF
    DJ LeMahieu – 2B
    Castillo/Clevenger – C

    The Cubs still need to strengthen the middle infield but short of a trade or miraculous signing of Reyes or Rollins not a lot of options.  Vitters isn’t ready and Castro hasn’t even played 3rd so that leaves into questions on what the Cubs will do at that position.  There again not a lot of options but again maybe the Cubs look at moving DJ to 3B.   

    Bench:
    Flaherty
    Byrd
    Clevenger
    ?
    ?

    Starting rotation:

    Garza
    CJ Wilson
    Dempster (he isn’t going anywhere)
    Wells
    Cashner
    McNutt

    Bullpen:

    Marmol
    Marshall
    Carpenter
    Wood
    Russell
    ?

    This team is not that much of a improvement but I think Castro will improve on his power potential and Fielder will serve as a presence in the middle of the order.  The Cubs will still need to look for power and Colvin could help there but he still needs to work on his pitch selection. Granted Colvin has over a .500 slugging percentage in Iowa but his OBP is below .300.  That is what concerns me most. 

    Please let this be JHs last year. 

    In my opinion next year does not look much better than this year.  It will take at least two or three years for this team to develop into a contender instead of a pretender.

    • Aaron

      Diehard,

      I disagree with your assumption that it’d take 15 games under .500 for them to start thinking of changes. If you’ll recall, their stated deadline earlier this year was the end of June. Well, we’re now approaching the end of June, and there’s no way they can possibly finish even 10 games under .500 to end the month.

      In fact, I suspect Hendry would believe the Cubs are “still in it” at the end of August, when they’re 20+games under .500…..True story…Don’t believe me? Hendry still thought the Cubs were in it last year in August, which is one of the main reasons he hung onto Nady, if you’ll recall.

      So…we all have big hopes that Hendry magically grows a brain, as he’s long-suffered from the lobotomy he’s had for awhile. But that just ain’t gonna happen.

      I might add that you’re absolutely right about CJ Wilson. He’s not as flashy as a lot of top-of-the rotation starting pitchers, but he gets the job done, and does it very well. In fact, this year, he’s averaging almost 7 IP per start, has an excellent WHIP, doesn’t give up the long ball much, and has pretty good control thus far. 

      The problem is, he started as a reliever, and I worry that his 204 IP last year in his first year as a starter, and 110 IP thus far this year. I’m concerned that he might start developing arm problems from the increased workload, and I have no clue if he’s had TJ surgery in the past or any other arm issues. 

      That being said, I think he’d be a great option. I also think the Cubs would benefit from taking a chance on Edwin Jackson, who has an electric arm, and might be able to put it together in the NL again.

      As for the lineup, I think that might be pretty accurate. It’s not what I’d want to see, but it’s fairly accurate.

      The lineup will be TBD, but here’s what I’d like to see:

      C-Castillo, Clevenger
      1B-Fielder, Ridling (who can also play LF)
      2B-LeMahieu
      SS-Castro, M. Gonzalez
      3B-Vitters (unless his recent pitch to the head gave him a concussion and he has issues)
      LF-Flaherty
      CF-B. Jackson, Campana
      RF-Colvin, Spencer

      ….and the rotation
      Garza
      McNutt
      Wilson
      E. Jackson
      Cashner

      ….and the pen
      Dolis
      Wood
      Carpenter
      Marshall
      Samardzija (for long-man/swing-man)
      Beliveau
      Rhoderick

      *trades this year: Soto, Pena, Baker, ARAM, Soriano (otherwise this offseason), Byrd, Fukudome, Johnson, Grabow, Marmol, Dempster, Zambrano

      *trades this offseason: Barney, Wells

      The position players give the Cubs an awful lot of versatility, and while I wouldn’t necessarily want to trade Marmol in a normal season, by the time the Cubs get competitive again in 2-3 years, Marmol will be in his 30’s, and likely have lost even more velocity than he already has, topping out at 94 mph nowadays from his 97-98 mph in the past. Additionally, some people might cringe at the thought of dealing away Barney, but let’s face it…..he’s a singles hitter, almost in the mold of a Theriot, except he plays better defense, and is more versatile, as he can also play 3B….but that’s it. Most fans couldn’t wait to get rid of Theriot….I just think if you’re offensive numbers are suffering at other positions, you have to improve wherever you can, and Marwin Gonzalez likely solves that problem with even more versatility than Barney, is younger, and has more pop in his bat.

      Plus, with LeMahieu, Flaherty, Gonzalez, Clevenger, and Ridling on the roster….you have a great amount of versatility, making substitutions far easier than before.