Cubs Salvage Finale of Sox Series – Cubs 3 White Sox 1

Game Eighty-Five – Cubs 3 White Sox 1
WP – Rodrigo Lopez (1-2) LP – Gavin Floyd (6-8) Save – Carlos Marmol (17)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs salvaged the final game of the weekend series against the White Sox behind a tremendous outing from Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez put together, by far, his best outing as a Cub against the extremely aggressive Sox offense. Lopez tossed seven innings of shutout ball, allowed only two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three. The Sox managed only three baserunners off Lopez in seven innings (hit Gordon Beckham in the third). Lopez threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes.

During his post game press conference, Mike Quade said Rodrigo Lopez’s hamstring tightened up on him and he was lifted for precautionary reasons.

Carlos Marmol picked up his 17th save of the season by retiring all four batters he faced in the eighth and in the ninth. Marmol threw only 14 pitches, struck out two and did not walk a batter.

On the day Starlin Castro became the youngest player in Cubs history to be named to the NL All-Star team, he responded with his 33rd multi-hit game of the season. Castro drove in the Cubs first run on a triple in the fourth and was on board for Aramis Ramirez’s two-run shot. Castro finished the game 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and a RBI. Castro has 110 hits in the Cubs first 85 games of the season.

Not only did Castro bring his lumber to the yard Sunday but he brought his glove as well. Starlin Castro has shown improvement in the field during the homestand and made several fine plays on Sunday afternoon.

Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run shot off Gavin Floyd to complete the Cubs’ three-run fourth inning. Ramirez was 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk.

The Cubs finished their Interleague schedule with a 5-10 record and 2-4 in the Crosstown Series for 2011. The Sox won four of six and the two teams scored the same amount of runs … 18 for the Cubs and 18 for the Sox. Three of the first five games were decided by one run and two of the six were decided by two runs, the only “blowout” came in the first game the Cubs won 6-3 on June 20.

The Cubs improved to 2-11 on Sundays (4-4 on the eight game homestand) with their 20th victory of the season at Wrigley (20-26). Q’s squad is now 35-50 on the season, 15 games under .500 …

Both teams recorded their first hits of the game … and neither team could push across a run.

Mark Teahen hit a rocket to first on a 1-2 pitch. Carlos Pena made an excellent diving stop and tried to throw to Teahen out from the seat of his pants. Pena’s throw was low and skipped past Lopez. Soto was backing up the play and held Teahen to an infield single.

Lopez then hit Gordon Beckham on a 0-1 pitch. With runners on first and second with no outs, Gavin Floyd could not get the bunt down and struck out on a fouled bunt attempt. Juan Pierre hit a soft liner back up the middle (1-2 pitch) that Lopez snagged and threw to first to complete the inning ending double play … the Cubs second double play of the game.

At the end of three, Lopez had thrown only 38 pitches (27 for strikes).

Geovany Soto notched the Cubs first hit of the game, a one out single to center in the bottom of the third. After Rodrigo Lopez failed to get the bunt down, Fukudome ripped a 0-1 pitch off the wall in right. Soto lumbered around the bases and Ivan DeJesus waved Soto in. Geovany Soto was out by a mile (probably half the baseline) to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez retired three of the four batters he faced in the top of the fourth … and retired the Sox on just eight pitches.

Darwin Barney extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left to start the fourth. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center. Barney scored easily from first base and Castro slid in headfirst at third with his eighth triple of the season … ‘Double Trouble‘ gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Aramis Ramirez then launched a 0-1 pitch through the wind and his 12th homer of the season gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

In a four-batter span, the Cubs hit for the cycle against Gavin Floyd (Fukudome double, Barney single, Castro triple and Ramirez homer).

Carlos Pena grounded out to second but Marlon Byrd worked a one out walk. Alfonso Soriano flied out to deep left and Soto struck out swinging to end the fourth.

The Cubs gave Rodrigo Lopez a 3-0 lead and he responded by retiring the Sox in order in the top of the fifth on just nine pitches.

After the Cubs went quickly and quietly in the bottom of the fifth, Lopez sat down the Sox in order in the sixth on just six pitches (61 total, 44 for strikes).

Carlos Pena singled with two outs in the sixth … but that was it and Lopez was sent out to start the top of the seventh.

Rodrigo Lopez retired the Sox in order in the seventh and was lifted in the bottom of the inning for pinch hitter Blake DeWitt. Alfonso Soriano singled to left to start the home half of the seventh. Quade sent Tony Campana out to run for Soriano and he stole second on a ball in the dirt with Soto at the plate. Soto ended up striking out on a 2-2 pitch.

DeWitt popped out to shallow right for the second out of the inning … and Fukudome was called out on a check swing to end the seventh.

The Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the top of the eighth after a tremendous two-hit, seven-inning shutout performance by Rodrigo Lopez.

Kerry Wood retired Alex Rios on a fly out to center to start the eighth. Wood then jammed Teahen on a 1-1 pitch. Teahen broke his bat and blooped a single into right just in front of the diving Kosuke Fukudome. Gordon Beckham blooped a 0-1 pitch into right center. Teahen advanced to third … and the Cubs were in trouble leading by three with one out in the eighth.

Paul Konerko hit for Gavin Floyd and Wood uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-2 offering to Konerko that allowed Teahen to score the Sox first run.

Beckham advanced to second on the wild pitch and held when Wood walked Konerko.

With runners on first and second with one out, Quade went to his pen and brought in Sean Marshall to face Juan Pierre. Pierre fouled out to Aramis on a 1-2 pitch. Quade went back to his pen for Carlos Marmol. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez swinging on three pitches to end the eighth.

The Cubs had a chance to tack on the bottom of the eighth but came up empty again. Starlin Castro put together a good at bat against Brian Bruney that resulted in a one out single to right center. Aramis Ramirez walked on four pitches to put runners on first and second with one out.

Ozzie Guillen called on Will Ohman to face Carlos Pena. Pena flied out to deep right center. Castro advanced to third but was stranded when Marlon Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Adam Dunn, Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski (struck out swinging) to end the game.

The Cubs held the White Sox to four hits for the second day in a row.

It was nice to see the Cubs avoid a sweep at the hand of the White Sox … and win a game on Sunday.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs begin their final road trip before the break on Monday afternoon with the first of four against the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster was scheduled to start the opener but was scratched after Sunday’s game due to back pain. Casey Coleman will be recalled and face Jordan Zimmermann on the 4th of July.

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Jay Jackson (3-7, 7.72)
    Tennessee – Trey McNutt (1-3, 3.85)
    Daytona – Juan Serrano (2-1, 2.70)
    Peoria – Graham Hicks (1-3, 4.22)
    Boise – Yao-Lin Wang (2-0, 1.26)

    Casey Coleman is on a plane to Washington and will start for the Cubs tomorrow,

  • paulcatanese

    Solid pitching efforts two days in a row. I was a little surprised with the effort today by Lopez, but have to give him credit for a job well done.
    I just hope that this does not mean that their is not a problem with this team and
    with management thinking they do not need to make moves. Two games does not make a season.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    As Tom mentioned, Casey Coleman (see above recap) will start Monday against the Nats. Chris Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

  • Tony_Hall

    It was mentioned by someone as a possibility the other day, bringing back ARam at a cheaper price on a new contract.  I believe it is highly unlikely, that someone else won’t offer more years and more dollars than the Cubs.  It is entirely possible, that by 2013, the Cubs will have 1 or 2 internal options, to fill 3B (or 2B, if some position changes happen).  It is even a smaller chance that could happen for 2012. 

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0704-cubs-side-chicago–20110704,0,2647669.story

    • Rbmercer

      Sorrybto all the Aram haters, but I still love Aram. He has been nothing, but productive fornthe Cubs ever since he has gotten in town. There is a perceived lack of effort over the years, BUT the end result is he HAS produced and been the CLUTCH guy for years and I believe still is. He has always been an underrated third baseman as well IMO. The Cubs WILL not be able to replace him. There is still arguably only 2-3 better third baseman in the game. I hope he’s back, bcuz I remember the 30 plus years and hundreds of third basemaen it took for the Cubs to finally have quality third basemen.

      • Tony_Hall

        During his current streak, you are correct, but to say that as an overall is simply not true.  He has not been productive in April and May for awhile, and it is one of the biggest reasons this team has been buried each year.

        He produces once the pressure is off, and the team is out of it.  Yes he is clutch now.  Underrated 3B, defensively?  Yes he was, but his pure laziness has taken over more and more, and he is not that great defensively, except for about 20% of the time, when he feels like playing.  

        Top 2-3 3B in ALL of baseball??  3B is pretty bad, but he’s not close to that elite level.  He is in the 2nd wave of guys, when he wants to play.

        In no peticular order than I would take over ARam (finances not included)
        ARod, Beltre, Longoria, Youkilis, Wright

        These are ones that are in the same “Tier”
        Reynolds, Young, Pheralta, Jones, Polanco,

        These are guys, that could be argued about, but are having a bad year (like ARam until it got warm), or are having a better than expected year….
        Roberts, Headley, Rolen, Mcgehee, Tejada.

        Just because the Cubs struggled for 30 years to replace Ronnie, doesn’t mean it will take 30 more to replace ARam.  He has only a few year left of this type of production (you know after the team is out of it, start hitting so people will look at your stat line and think you are one of the best 2-3 3B in the game)

        • Larry Schwimmer

          I agree with your comments about ARam.  You are a very astute Baseball Fan!   I enjoy reading your comments and hearing your perspective.

          ARam offers HENDRY (or, whoever becomes the new GM) a great opportunity because ARam really wants to live in Chicago with his family.  And, he wants to be a CUB.  So, the CUBS can take advantage of a “home town discount” that he will surely give them to stay in Chicago.  

          So, I really believe that if the CUBS offered him a lower contract for 2 years…he take it over a (e.g.) 3 year contract for a bit more money — where he has to move.The question is:  “How much would the CUBS have to offer him for a 2 year deal?”  I think it would probably have to be approx. $20 mil.  What do you think it would take? Of course, he may not be even worth that?  But if the CUBS cannot get him to get him to take a 2 year deal for less money — they should let him walk.He is not that valuable.  It’s about time that the CUBS gave some of their young rookies a chance to show them what they can do — instead, of always signing “aging veterans.”

        • paulcatanese

          Tony,very accurate assesment of Aram. Have to say, you are being kind in the evaluation. It is true he has played 1/2 of a season the last few years. I did see an uptake coming about now because of contract coming to an end.It’s so bad that a person can turn in on and off when he wants to and thats exactly what he does.

    • J Daniel

      Tony,
      From reading your posts over the last couple of years I know that you are knowledgeable in regards to players.  Until I start to see more prospects produce when given the chance it is hard to put faith in them.  I do know the Cubs have mismanaged many of them but look at their track record with their own position players – not good.

      The next great Cub Bobby Hill for Ramirez may have been Hendry’s best trade although Choi for Lee was pretty good as well.

      • Tony_Hall

        Absolutely about prospects, but that doesn’t mean you resign a player like ARam for his option year at $16M, nor does it mean that you sign him for 2,3, or even 4 years at still north of $10M, just because someone else will. He is on the last stretch of his career, and the Cubs will not be competitive next year, so why waste money on Aram.  

    • Zelnio

      Plenty of internal options for 3B: LaMahieu, Marquez Smith, especially Ryan Flaherty, no one talks about him and he is raking it for the Smokies!

  • J Daniel

    We all know where the sink started to sink, the DeRosa trade for prospects that were going to help out big time in the future, ya right!  Should have kept DeRosa knowing that Ramirez and Soriano would be hurt during the year and use him how they did.  Should have brought back Edmonds and used him about 100 games and looked for a cheap veteran option left handed hitter to spot start.

    But know, we need Milton Bradley.  They all should have been fired when that did not work as they turned a 97 team win into a complete mess.  Management panicked which most people running the Cubs will do.  The pressure is to great.

    Ricketts should pay Theo anything he wants as he has done it in basically the same situation.

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to the Tennessee Smokies on their 50th win of the season.

  • Anonymous47701

    Andrew Friedman for Cubs GM in 2012!