Garza Pitched It … Castro Hit It … Cubs Win Fourth in a Row – Cubs 1 Pirates 0

Game One Hundred Eleven – Cubs 1 Pirates 0
WP – Matt Garza (5-8) LP – Chris Resop (3-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (22)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs won their fourth straight game for the first time this season behind another strong performance from Matt Garza … and one swing of the bat from Starlin Castro.

Matt Garza put together another excellent outing. The Pirates never really threatened against Garza and put two runners on base in the same inning only once. Garza gave up four hits over his seven-plus shutout innings and struck out seven Pirates on Wednesday night. Garza issued two free passes, one in third and the other to start the eighth. Matt Garza threw 103 pitches, 69 for strikes, and picked up his first victory since June 27.

Starlin Castro recorded his third three-hit game of the series, 18th of the season, and the longest homer of his big league career was the difference in the game. Castro finished the game 3-for-4 with his fourth longball of the season … the Cubs’ shortstop is 9-for-14 in the series.

Sean Marshall took over with the tying run on in the eighth and retired all three batters he faced. Carlos Marmol picked up his 22nd save after hitting Derrek Lee to start the ninth. Marmol struck out two and did not walk a batter.

Bob Davidson ejected Tyler Colvin and Mike Quade after Colvin was caught looking at strike three to end the top of the fifth. Both Colvin and Quade appeared to be walking away from Balkin’ Bob Davidson before the veteran umpire threw them out of the game.

The Cubs offense managed only seven hits and finished the game 0-for-9 with RISP, seven left on base. Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a double) and Carlos Pena (2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks) had good nights at the plate … and in the field.

Q’s squad won their first road series since sweeping the two-game series in Miami in the middle of May (May 18 – May 19) and won their first road series of three games or more since taking two of three from the Dodgers in Los Angeles in the first week of May (May 2 – May 4).

With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 46-65 on the season … 19 games below .500.

After the Cubs went down in order on 13 pitches (eight for strikes) against Charlie Morton in the first, Andrew McCutchen led off the home half with a single off Aramis Ramirez. McCutchen ripped a 1-2 pitch towards third that Ramirez could not keep in front of him. The ball ended up in left center and McCutchen reached.

Garza struck out Garrett Jones swinging but McCutchen took off for second on the 1-2 pitch and Soto’s throw sailed high. Neil Walker grounded out to Barney in the hole, McCutchen advanced to third but was stranded when Derrek Lee lined out to short to end the inning.

Matt Garza did not fool the Pirates in the first but did not allow any runs and threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes.

Carlos Pena led off the second with a double to left. Q’s offense then got extremely aggressive and made three outs on seven pitches … Byrd grounded out to short, Soto grounded out to third and Soriano grounded out to third.

The Pirates did nothing against Garza in the second.

After Tyler Colvin and Matt Garza struck out to start the third, Starlin Castro reached on a bloop single to right center. Castro took off for second on a 0-1 pitch to Barney and was thrown out to end the inning.

As the rain really started falling, Garza walked Michael McKenry to start the third. Charlie Morton dropped down a bunt to Pena who looked at second. Pena did not have a good grip on the ball and threw to Barney for the sure out. McCutchen lined out to left and Jones swung over the top of an excellent slider from Garza to end the inning.

It took Garza 42 pitches (27 for strikes) to record the first nine outs of the game.

Carlos Pena recorded his second opposite field double of the game with two outs in the fourth. Pena hit the ball of the end of the bat, it landed fair and one-hopped sideways into the stands. Byrd broke his bat and lined back to Morton to end the inning.

Derrek Lee ripped a one-out single into left center past a diving Starlin Castro in the fourth. Garza struck out Ludwick. Alvarez shattered his bat on Garza’s first pitch but muscled the ball into left center. With runners on first and second with two out, Cedeno flied out to right center (2-1 pitch).

Charlie Morton struck out the side in the fifth. Following the strike three call to Tyler Colvin, Bob Davidson ejected Colvin from the game. Colvin voiced his displeasure as he walked away and appeared to be frustrated with himself and the call. Balkin’ Bob did not like what he heard and tossed him.

Mike Quade came out to defend Colvin and as Quade was walking away, Davidson tossed Quade as well.

The Pirates did nothing against Garza in the fifth.

After Morton struck out Garza (fourth straight) to start the sixth, Starlin Castro blooped a single into left. Darwin Barney ripped a single to left on a 2-1 pitch … the first ball the Cubs squared up on the night. Aramis Ramirez flied out to right on the first pitch.

Carlos Pena worked a walk to load the bases … but Marlon Byrd swung at the first pitch and grounded out to second to end the inning.

Garza sat down the Pirates in order in the sixth, with a little help from Darwin Barney on a Derrek Lee pop up into shallow center. Garza threw 86 pitches, 58 for strikes, in the first six innings.

Geovany Soto walked on four pitches to start the seventh. Alfonso Soriano smashed the first pitch down the third baseline. Alvarez was playing on the line and snagged the ball for the first out. Reed Johnson hit for the first time and chopped out to first. Soto advanced to second but Garza struck out swinging to end the inning.

Ryan Ludwick led off the seventh and struck out swinging. Pedro Alvarez lined a 0-1 pitch into left. Ronny Cedeno popped Garza’s first pitch into right. With two down, Michael McKenry popped out to Barney in shallow right to end the inning.

After seven, Garza had thrown 97 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Chris Resop took over for Charlie Morton in the eighth.

Starlin Castro led off the eighth and took a very close pitch on a 2-2 offering from Resop. The Pirates barked but Bob Davidson called it ball three. Castro launched Resop’s next pitch into the stands in left center … possibly the longest homer of Castro’s big league career. Starlin’s fourth longball of the year gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Darwin Barney followed with a double to right. After Aramis Ramirez stuck out swinging, Carlos Pena was intentionally walked. With runners on first and second with one out, Marlon Byrd hit a 2-2 pitch to Walker at second … 4-6-3 double play. Inning over.

Matt Garza started the bottom of the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Matt Diaz. Diaz tried to check his swing on a 3-2 pitch and barely held up. Clint Hurdle sent Xavier Paul into run for Diaz and Pat Listach went to his pen for Sean Marshall.

Andrew McCutchen flied out to deep right center on a 2-2 pitch. Steve Pearce hit for Garrett Jones and popped out to right. Neil Walker stepped in and on a 1-1 pitch, Paul stole second. Marshall fell behind 3-1 to the newest Cubs’ killer. Walker reached out and smoked Marshall’s next pitch towards third. Ramirez snagged the low liner to end the inning … Walker’s 20-game hitting streak against the Cubs’ came to an end.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Veras in the top of the ninth.

Carlos Marmol took the hill in the ninth and made it interesting.

Marmol threw strike three to Derrek Lee on a 2-2 pitch but Bob Davidson did not ring up Lee on a pitch right down the middle. Marmol hit Lee on the next pitch to put the tying run on first. Ryan Ludwick bunted on a 0-1 pitch toward first. Pena threw to Barney for the second out. Lee advanced to second with the tying run.

Carlos Marmol struck out Pedro Alvarez swinging (3-2 pitch) and pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the game.

Four in a row …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Rodrigo Lopez will face James McDonald in the series finale Thursday night at PNC.

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Qua has the Cubs playing the Spoiler roll. 4 wins in a row! A new high for your 2011 Chicago Cubs!!

    I’ve been watching the PATHETIC WHITE SOX. You want to see a lousy CF? Just watch Alex Rios play. He got an error in the first, and later misplayed a would be line out for a triple. Should have been called an error, but a generous scorer gave the batter a triple. He’s awful!

    • Demitri

      I saw. I actually expected big things from him. But hey we got an outfielder similar, except our guy is in left, who I also expected big things when we signed him.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of McGaHee….
    3 HR tonight. BA up to .240. 5 RBI. Not too bad. Oh, yeah: Brewers beat the Cards tonight.

    I want to see McGaHee drive in 100 runs. So far he has a mere 48.

    • Brentcarmona

      its funny when you look at his stats. 24 plate appearances only when with the cubs before we traded him. now look at marquez smith’s stats in the minors…im not saying they are identical to caseys but some what similar…good enough to get a crack at the major leagues no doubt however. i hear smith’s defense is actually above avg too. no real way to bring a 3b up though bc of aram.

      cubs. its a way of life.

      • Ripsnorter1

        They outright released McGaHee. We didn’t get so much as a cup of coffee for this guy. 

        Now that was smart! I mean, that smarts!

        • Brentcarmona

          thanks for correcting me.

          he sticks it to the cubs every time he plays us. i laugh every time.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Chirinos hit his 1st ML HR tonight. 2-2, 4 RBI, 2 BB. All while batting 9th for TB.

    Hey, he’s contributing! 

  • Mike1040

    I think we were lucky to eke out a win, Thanks Garzie! Thanks Cassie!
    I also think I noticed both Ramie and Sorry just sort of casually jogging down to 1st base, no hustle whatsoever. (sigh)

    • Ripsnorter1

      Wait a minute! Soriano’s been on this team five years, and he hasn’t gotten you house broken yet? Why, he hasn’t hustled since day two. You ought to have learned that by now . . . .

      And Aram? He’s been a Cub since 2003. Why, that’s 9 seasons! Hey, you wouldn’t be a slow learner, would you? You should have learned by now that these two high paid players are PRIMA DONNAS.

      AND yes, I think it stinks!

      Soriano fried me the other day when we had runners on 2nd and 3rd, two outs, and he hit a pop up. He didn’t hustle. The pop up was dropped, both runners scored, and Soriano got only to 1st base because he didn’t hustle. It was an easy 2 base error. But running is such a burden, and he didn’t want to be bothered, not even for $138 million dollars.

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, Soriono is just tired. He’s running track(100meters) under an assumed name during the off season and has nothing left.

  • studio179

    The heart always wants the Cubs to win. But the head says if they sweep the Buccos, management will be all puffy chest and say silly things. Plus, it leads ownership thinking they are going in the right direction, just like last year at this time. This organization or it’s fanbase does not need that kind of false hope.

    • Brp921

      I hold out hope that Rickets will revamp this off season. I’m probably drinking to much koolaid though.

  • Neil

    Brett Jackson was 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, 2 walks and an outfield assist  in Iowa’s 9-4 win on Wednesday night

    • Demitri

      Neil, I do expect to see Jackson play a little next year. Do you know what the plan for him is next year?

    • Ripsnorter1

      He’s adjusting to that offensive league very nicely. It looks like Mario Mendoza could hit .320 there.

      • Theboardrider

        I say bring up Vitters and Jackson and let them play out the year.  Go young!!!

  • Jdarby

    Uh oh … here we go again … can anyone besides me see a 30-20 finish, once again convincing management that this team has turned the corner before they bring EVERYBODY back for another lousy season?  Ugh!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yes, that is what I am saying when I say “Spoiler.” 

      The only problem is this: I need the Cubs to play three games under .500 from here on out in order for them to win 70 games. There are 41 games left. They need to win 24 games, and lose 27. 

      But even if they go 24-27, they will say, “We’ve turned it around. We finally learned to play together. And that Mike Quade really learned how to manage in the second half. Why, next year we’ll win the division just because of his brilliant leadership . .. . “

  • Diaz

    So can Aaron finally eat his words now about “Garz”!!  He’s been the ace of the staff and pitched like one on any major league team.  I remember reading a lot of posts saying he wasn’t better than a #2 or 3 starter.  I think we can take a shotgun to that argument!

    • carmelo

      Aaron’s too busy trying to locate Hendry to punch him in the face—-not available to eat his words at this time.

      • Bryan

        Do you ever bring a constructive comment to this site…or just your usual sarcasm directed at others.

        • paulcatanese

          Very appropriate Bryan.

      • Tony_Hall

        The Cubs are 8-13 in the games Garza has started.  I know he has many games, that the bullpen blew, but so have others on this team, and others in this league.  Just like other teams have had injuries, yet JH wants to blame them, instead of himself, for the makeup of this team.

        Overall this team has a 414 win pct
        In games Garza has started this team has a 381 Win pct
        In games Garza hasn’t started 422 win pct

        Find me an ACE that has a lower win pct, then the rest of his team, for the team, in all of his starts?  

        He is a very good pitcher, who is on a bad team.  But the only teams he would be considered an ACE, are other bad teams.  This team will be competitive, when he is the #2 or #3, and not just because contracts put him 3rd, but because that is who he is.

        • Brp921

          Agreed. He is very good but he is not an ace. Unfortunately there are not to many aces around and none are available. If the Cubs could pick up another good pitcher in the off season (without giving up the farm) then we would have four decent pitchers and whatever Cashner can develope into. Since it doesn’t look like upper management is willing to blow up the team and start over maybe this will be the route they’ll go.

          • John_CC

            I agree, except with the four decent pitchers comment.  We all agree that Garza is a solid starter – #1, the new guy you speak of would be #2, I will give Dempster the benefit of doubt and call him “decent”, that’s #3 (and he is no better than a #3 starter). But that is far as I can go. Zambrano is not a good pitcher anymore. He still has flashes, but he is far to inconsistent to rely on. Wellsie flat out suck.

            With the acquisition of a true stud, a #1, it would obviously help a lot but putting Garza and Demp in their appropriate roles as #2 and 3.  The Cubs desperately need a CC Sabathia type of pure haus. 

          • Theboardrider

            Garza is a great #2 starter.  Flashes of brilliance but not consitent enough to be an ace.  That being said he’d win 15 games on a better team without blinking…

          • Brp921

            Zambrano is a head case but I still will keep him in the decent catagory. How many 4th starters are around that are hands down better than him?

    • Tony_Hall

      Diaz – Yes Garza has had a nice stretch, but ACES, pitch all year.  He does not have ACE stats, and is not considered that in MLB.

      3.99 ERA 1.323 WHIP – Not exactly ACE #’s, but right in line with his career numbers.

      Player raters for SP have him in the 30-65 range for SP, one I just looked at had him at 65.  That one is a little low, (fantasy baseball), as that one takes into account wins.    The one fantasy league I am in that only uses the pitchers stats (no wins) has him 30th for the year.  There are not 30 aces in MLB.  That is why he is considered a #2/#3 starter.  Where would he slot on playoff teams?  The better ones, as a #3 or even #4.  

      I would love to see him take the next step, but unless they are going to give him a contract now, to pay him as a #2, then we won’t have him around, by the time this team is actually playing competitive baseball, he will be a Yankee or a Red Sox.

      • J Daniel

        You are correct.  Hopefully it is by trade he is gone and not just let him go.

      • Brp921

        I think Garza is going to be better than he has been this year. I chalk this year up to getting used to his new surroundings. Lets face it he got traded to a team that has no leadership and if anything bad can happen it will. If the Rickets wise up and put some real baseball people in charge then maybe we’ll see his best, if not then he will end up being a better pitcher for another team.

      • cubtex

        Actually a great comparison would be Ubaldo Jiminez this year compared to Garza. They are same age and were both traded within the last year. Look at who the Indians gave up for him!!!! Alex White and Drew Pomeranz…their top 2 pitching prospects plus another pitcher in Joe Gardner and a power hitting corner infielder/outfielder Matt McBride. There is talk that both White and Pomeranz will be in the Rockies rotation next year. Many are criticizing the deal saying the Indians gave up way ftoo much. What is their reasoning??? He is locked up for 2 more years after this. Hmmmm sounds like another 27 year old on the north side. Again….my point! Teams do not give pitchers like Garza and Jiminez away. You need to pay the piper. The Indians gave up more(imo) for a pitcher with many more question marks.

        • Tony_Hall

          You know the difference.  Just like with Grienke, Ubaldo has shown the potential, all come together in a season, and Garza has not.  And this means by being considered elite for a whole season.  Garza has stretches, but hasn’t had the standout, CY Young, type season.  And I will add YET, as I think he will at some point in the next few years.  I just hope the Cubs still have him, and it leads to World Series.

          I would have been very cautious, trading for Jiminez, as he has had a big drop-off from last year.  Cleveland overpaying, doesn’t help justify, what the Cubs traded.

          All that matters is that, Garza needs to be around for more than 3 years, or this was a bad deal.

          • cubtex

            agreed. I think Jiminez is a shell of himself compared to last year. I would much rather have Garza for the next 2 years than Jiminez. My point was…the price you need to pay for young locked up starting pitching is NOT cheap. You cannot expect to get pitchers of this quality by not giving up your top prospects in this market. As I have said…teams can go from last to first in the NL Central. The Cubs can compete next year(I am not drinking Cub Kool Aid here) Of course, they need to make a lot of moves and hit on them and have their players who have had down years bounce back…examples Dempster,Marmol and you will have a solid pitcher in Garza.

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is a little breakdown of Garza’s #’s

    With 0-2 of Runs Support – 4.14 ERA – 1.362 WHIP – 0-6 Record (9 games)
    With 3-5 of Runs Support – 2.68 ERA – 1.234 WHIP – 1-2 Record (7 games)
    With 6+ of Runs Support – 6.64 ERA – 1.426 WHIP – 3-0 Record (4 games)

    You don’t expect to win many games when your team scores 2 or less runs, and he hasn’t won any, until last night (stats not updated yet, but I figured 3.67 ERA, 1.32 WHIP – 1-6 record in 10 games)

    With 3-5 Runs of Support, you expect to win around half the games, he has pitched his best in these games.

    With 6+ runs of support, you expect to win them all.  He has not lost, but his stats are the worst, in the games you expect any pitcher to win.

    In Garzas 8 no decisions – his stats are 2.68 ERA 1.447 WHIP 
    In Garzas 8 losses – his stats are 5.21 ERA 1.345 WHIP
    In Garzas now 5 wins – his stats are 3.26 ERA 1.057 WHIP

    He has pitched great in his Wins, good ERA, but has a bad WHIP in no decisions, and has not pitched well in his losses.

    In comparison to Roy Halladay – a true ACE

    Wins – 13-0 – 1.75 ERA 0.896 WHIP
    Losses – 0-4 – 4.39 ERA 1.3888 WHIP
    ND – 0-0 – 3.00 ERA 1.061 WHIP
    0-2 Runs – 1-4 – 3.53 ERA 1.212 WHIP
    3-5 Runs – 7-0 – 2.63 ERA 1.004 WHIP
    6+ Runs – 5-0 – 1.10 ERA 0.805 WHIP

    These are more like ACE #’s

    • Diaz

      Tony – love the breakdown. The numbers totally kill my argument. IMO he’ll get better next year n take the next step (familiarity w/league and batters). No doubt he cubs need another top starter to even think about competing. I just have to say though, you love his stuff if you watch his starts. Also, I wonder how much those stats were skewed by his poor start.

      • Tony_Hall

        WHIP – ERA
        April -1.371 – 3.86
        May – 1.353 – 3.18
        June – 1.271 – 4.76
        July – 1.301 – 3.83

        Not sure he did have slow start.

    • cubtex

      How many Roy Halladay’s are there? Tony, you keep talking about aces and true #1’s. You continue to downplay Garza like he us an average run if the mill pitcher. What stats don’t tell you is that the Cubs have the WORST defense in baseball and alot of those hits and missed double plays affect your WHIP. He is a #3 pitcher? OK……Name 65 pitchers who you would take over Garza? Don’t compare Garza to Halladay since you call him a low 2 or 3 starter. Compare him to a #3 and see how he stacks up.

      • paulcatanese

        I like Garza, didnt at first but do now, as at least he gives a gutty performance on the mound. Like his competiveness out there. He may be a three starter on a winning ballclub, but that would mean the number one and two are outstanding. I thought Garza would have temperment issues, and he does, but only within himself , and is a decidedly team player and roots everyone on, even when not pitching. Win or lose he is for his teamates, and I find no fault with that. I wish the others on the staff had his (except Demp and Wells) attitude.

        • cubtex

          People on here were bashing Garza in the offseason and spring training and talking about him like he sucks. There are only a couple of teams he would be a number 3 on. The Phillies, Giants and this year the Red Sox since Beckett is having a bounce back year. He should realistically have 12 wins right now. He is not a perfect pitcher…….but how many are there? He is someone any team would want in their rotation.

          • Tony_Hall

            He actually would be #4 on the Phillies, 

            You miss the point, on the # in the rotation, is not based on the slot, but who deserves the slot.  If he was on the Phillies, he would still be a solid #2, borderline #3 starter, even though he would be 4th.

      • Tony_Hall

        I picked Halladay, just for you.  You want to be an ACE, you need to compare yourself to the best, and it’s not even close.

        WHIP – The Rays had a much better defense, yet his WHIP is in the same ballpark for his years in Tampa.

        I don’t believe I do say Garza is an “average run of the mill pitcher”  I call him a #2 or #3.  That is high praise for a pitcher.

        There are only about 15 ACES, not 30.

        There are not even 30 #2 pitchers.

        This is no different than does every team have a legitamate leadoff batter, just because every team has someone lead-off.

        Does every team have a legiatmate 3 hole hitter, just because someone bats 3rd.

        Does every team have a closer, just because someone has to close the game?

        The answer to all of these, is of course not.  

        There are not 65 pitchers better than Garza, but their are 30-45, depending on who you are, and how you would rank them.

        On the Giants he would be #3
        On the Phillies he would be #4

        When I say #2/#3 – it means he is a solid #2, and on a better “playoff/World Series” contender he would be #3.  

        I like Garza, and want him on our staff for longer than 2013.  But, if he is not, then this trade will have been a waste of prospects.

        • cubtex

          yes but they will still have the player to trade if they choose to…..and….the return on Garza could be better than the prospects on who they traded to Tampa

      • Tony_Hall

        I just quickly made a list.

        ACES (some, of course could be debated, I did this quickly)
        Verlander, CC, Weaver, Feliz H, Beckett, CJ Wilson, Price, Lester
        Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Lincecum, Hanson, Cain

        That is 14, close to the 15 number I threw out.

        Close – Hamels, Haren, Gallardo, Grienke
        Close but not close enough – Shields, Romero, Marcum ,Hudson, Jimenez.

        I could break this down more, but for a quick list, this is close.  I am not even sure about the 9 on the “close” list, which way I would go, if  I gave it some more thought.

  • Roland

    Can’t get the Tim McGraw song out of my head now

  • paulcatanese

    One thing about the Cubs over the years, they are consistant. Every year its almost a carbon copy of the prior. Every year (mor-so lately) they get off to an unintersted start by the players and drop down in won and lost records. Like they are just showing up and giving no effort at all, not caring one way or another. After the all star break the put it together for a while and come close to .500 ball again. Playing for next year’s contract and padding the stats. They have done that for a long time and I dont see any improvement in the future…UNLESS they are blown up and start completly over, team, management and owner. They might even consider a complete makeover in uniforms, name etc., nothing to connect with the present.