Cubs Won by LaHair – Cubs 2 Astros 1

Game One Hundred Fifty-Two – Cubs 2 Astros 1
WP – Rodrigo Lopez (6-6) LP – Henry Sosa (2-5) Save – Sean Marshall (5)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs beat the Astros for the second day in a row and in the process joined the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox as the only three teams in the history of the game to post at least 4,000 victories in their home park.

The Cubs and Astros played another ugly game … but Saturday’s victory guaranteed the Cubs a winning record in the season series against Houston (8-6). Two of the three runs scored on errors and the two teams were charged with three errors in the first two innings. Both pitching staffs had trouble throwing strikes (10 walks) and the two teams were a combined 0-for-22 with RISP and left 22 runners on base.

After an Aramis Ramirez throwing error allowed the Astros to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the first without a hit. Tony Campana (1-for-3 with a run scored, a walk and a stolen base) worked a one out walk, advanced to second on an Aramis Ramirez groundout, stole third and scored on a throwing error by the Astros’ catcher, Carlos Corporan.

The only earned run of the game scored on the Cubs first hit of the afternoon.

Bryan LaHair (1-for-2 with a home run and two walks) crushed Henry Sosa’s first pitch of the fourth inning. The ball hit the batter’s eye beyond the centerfield wall and LaHair’s second longball of the season broke a 1-1 tie. LaHair’s mammoth shot was the 40th of his season38 with Iowa and two with the big league team. LaHair has a .433/.541/.833 line since his call-up and has hit safely in 10 of the 11 games he’s had a plate appearance.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double) doubled to start the fifth and is just six hits shy of 200 for the season. Castro has reached base safely in 30 straight games. Darwin Barney finished the game 2-for-4 hitting out of the seventh spot of the lineup.

Rodrigo Lopez completed six innings of work for the first time in nine starts and struck out a season-high seven batters on Saturday afternoon. Lopez gave up one unearned run on four hits with two walks in six innings.

Mike Quade used Ramon Ortiz, James Russell and Kerry Wood to get through the seventh and Wood pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts.

Sean Marshall made it interesting in the ninth. Marshall loaded the bases with one out but was able to get out of the jam and earn his fifth save of the year. Marshall struck out Jose Altuve, hitting in Carlos Lee’s spot, and retired pinch-hitter Humberto Quintero on a grounder to second to end the game.

Q’s offense recorded just five hits but walked six times and were a miserable 0-for-8 with RISP, the Cubs left nine runners on base.

The Cubs handed Houston their 100th loss of the year … the first time the Astros have lost 100 games in a season.

With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 67-85 on the year, 18 games below .500 …

Jordan Schafer ripped the third pitch of the game into left center. The former Brave ended up at second with a double. Rodrigo Lopez struck out Clint Barmes swinging (2-2 pitch) as Barmes tried to hit to the right side throughout the at bat. J.D. Martinez also struck out swinging and Carlos Lee stepped in with two outs and a runner on second.

Lee hit a grounder to the hole at short (1-1 pitch). Ramirez made a fine diving stop, got to his feet quickly … and threw the ball way. Pena could not scoop Ramirez’s low throw and Schafer scored on the Cubs’ first charged error of the game.

Carlos Lee took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to Brian Bogusevic. The Astros’ right fielder ripped Lopez’s pitch into center. Lee lumbered around second and advanced to third. With runners on first and third with two down, Matt Downs struck out swinging to end the inning.

Lopez struck out the side in the first on 25 pitches, 16 for strikes, but the Astros led the game 1-0.

Starlin Castro was thrown out at first after he checked his swing and tapped the ball in front of the plate. Tony Campana walked on five pitches and advanced to second when Ramirez grounded out to third. Campana then broke for third with Pena at the plate. Carlos Corporan’s throw ended up in left and Campana scored the tying run without a hit. Pena ended up walking to keep the inning going for Bryan LaHair.

LaHair put together a good at bat that ended with a walk on the ninth pitch from Henry Sosa. Alfonso Soriano walked to load the bases with two outs … the Cubs four free pass of the inning.

Darwin Barney showed no patience and tapped back to the mound on Sosa’s 37th pitch of the inning (18 for strikes). Sosa threw home to force Pena to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez gave up a leadoff single to Jimmy Paredes to start the second inning. LaHair misplayed the routine outfield grounder in to an error. Paredes ended up at second on the Cubs’ second charged error in as many innings.

Carlos Corporan flied out to deep right. Paredes tagged and advanced to third but was stranded when Sosa struck out swinging … and Schafer bunted back to the mound to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Sosa in the second … and the young right-hander still had a no hitter after two.

Rodrigo Lopez sat down Houston in order in the third (47 pitches for Lopez, 25 for strikes).

Henry Sosa made quick work of Campana, Ramirez and Pena in third … and still no hits for the Cubs offense. After throwing 37 pitches in the first inning, Sosa’s pitch count stood at 57 after three, 33 for strikes.

Lopez struck out Bogusevic swinging to start the fourth. Matt Downs flied out to deep center but Paredes lined a 0-2 pitch into center. With Carlos Corporan at the plate, Paredes stole second but was stranded when Corporan looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Bryan LaHair hit Henry Sosa’s first pitch in the fourth to deep center. The ball hit the base of the batter’s eye and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead on their first hit of the game. Soriano grounded out to third (1-1 pitch). Darwin Barney singled to center but was stranded when Soto struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Lopez grounded out to second.

The Astros did nothing against Lopez in the fifth (76 pitches, 55 for strikes).

Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to left … hit #194 and the 30th straight game Castro has reached base safely. But the Cubs wasted the leadoff double. Campana struck out swinging, Ramirez fouled out to Matt Downs (short right field) and Pena struck out swinging.

Lopez made it through the sixth without allowing any runs after issuing two free passes. J.D. Martinez walked to start the inning. Lee popped out to second … Lopez jammed him on a 1-0 pitch. Brian Bogusevic walked on five pitches to put two on with one out. Matt Downs popped out to shallow left and retired Paredes on a flyout to right

Bryan LaHair walked to start the bottom of the sixth, his second free pass of the game. After Soriano popped out to shallow left, Barney singled to center. Geovany Soto worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a liner to Paredes at third. The Astros’ third baseman knocked the ball down and beat LaHair to the bag. Blake DeWitt hit for Lopez and struck out swinging to end the inning.

Ramon Ortiz started the seventh and struck out pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck swinging to start the inning. Quade went back to his pen as soon as Brett Wallace was announced as the pinch-hitter for Henry Sosa. James Russell was called in and Brad Mills went back to his bench for Chris Johnson. Johnson singled to center. Russell struck out Jordan Schafer for the second out … and Quade made the slow walk and brought in Kerry Wood to face Clint Barmes.

Barmes reached down and blooped a 0-2 pitch into left. Johnson held at second with two outs. J.D. Martinez grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the top of the seventh.

Starlin Castro flied out to left on a 2-2 pitch from Enerio Del Rosario to start the seventh. Tony Campana hit a chopper back up the middle over the mound. Campana beat Downs’ throw to first. Aramis Ramirez walked. With two on and one out, Brad Mills went to his pen and brought in Wesley Wright to face Pena.

Carlos Pena struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and LaHair tapped back to the mound to end the inning (1-2 pitch).

Kerry Wood stayed in the game and issued a leadoff walk to Carlos Lee to start the eighth. Jose Altuve ran for Lee and watched Bogusevic fly out to left center and Downs look at strike three (2-2 pitch). Jimmy Paredes ripped a single into right on a 1-2 pitch. Altuve motored to third. Wood struck out J.B. Shuck looking (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Mark Melancon retired the Cubs in order on eight pitches, all strikes, in the bottom of the eighth.

With Carlos Marmol pitching two innings on Friday, Quade used Sean Marshall in the ninth on Saturday afternoon.

Angel Sanchez hit for J.R. Towles and went with a 1-2 pitch. Sanchez drove the ball into right field for a leadoff single. Jason Bourgeois popped out to second (1-2 pitch) after failing to drop a bunt down on Marshall’s first pitch. Clint Barmes ripped a 2-2 pitch off the third base bag. The ball ended up down the field line and Sanchez held at third with only one out.

After a meeting on the mound, Marshall intentionally walked J.D. Martinez to load the bases with one out.

Jose Altuve, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Carlos Lee in the eighth, struck out swinging for the second out. Humberto Quintero hit for Brian Bogusevic and grounded out to second to end the inning … and the game.

At least the Cubs won on the next to last Saturday of the 2011 season …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Astros square off for the last time in 2011 on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Dempster is slated to face Brett Myers in the series and season finale against Houston.

Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • paulcatanese

    Nice start Neil, Cubs win by “laHair”? Good one.

    • jw

      I have another reason to come to CCO…the headlines!!!!

      • Neil

        Thanks guys

        • Dorasaga

          And it’s a hair better than the Cubs after 1945. Oh wait, that’s hardly a compliment. :-p

    • Agustinrexach

      Agreed, great Title Neil!

  • paulcatanese

    Not bad today, the only hit by a vet was Castro’s. But all the vets should be back in tommorow. Little note on Campana, when he was on first and Aram up, his speed to second took away the double play and then the steal and score. He hits a sharp ground ball and is thrown out and then a slow bouncer and beats it, evens out I guess. LaHair hit a blast and looks good continualy since he was brought up, hope he still gets time in the lineup, a full season with the Cubs may surprise a lot of people. Too bad we can’t see all of the rookies out there. Not probable with Qua’s love for the vets.

    • JedMosley

      His love for the vets is so ridiculous. It’s great watching the Rays play tonight. They’re right in the thick of things, and they have Jennings, Guyer, and Matt Moore has pitched a few innings. The Cubs have been out of the race for most of the year, and we have to watch the same old boring players everyday deliver the same results. I can’t stand it anymore. Granted, some of our young guys probably don’t have as bright of a future as Jennings or Moore, but It would be nice to see what they could do on a regular basis

  • paulcatanese

    I would like to know what the point Qua is trying to make with using so many out of the bullpen in games. Today, why would he have needed four relievers to close out this game. The Astros are among the poorest hittting teams in the Majors yet Qua treats them like the Yankees. Qua has done this numerous times over the season and espcially the last few weeks. Not neccessary Qua.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The ONLY reason Kerry “Mr. Clutchless” Wood didn’t blow that game yesterday was that he was facing class A hitters. They have Carlos Lee, and almost nothing else. Horrible team.

  • Neil

    Smokies down 2-1 in the third. The BayBears scored two unearned runs in the first. Nate Samson just doubled in Rebel Ridling.

  • Kingdomusa

    He wants to show the fans that he can coach & manage. He is paying back the vets who gave him his job last year. Quade is about self not team. Every manager is playing Rookies right now. Q can only win baseball games every September because he plays vets against opponents Rookies. He is clueless & was named Manager by the good ole boy system that are a bunch of yes men.
    Everyone in Cubs nation wants quade gone. Remember, he said “BRING IT ON” to the fans & media & that was exactly what happened. It started with the Pukols debacle on the Walkoff homeruns. Quade believes if he is released that many teams will be calling for his services. Adios Amigo!!!!!!

    • jw

      I do not think Quade sees the 2012 season…While the team he has is just bad and his managing needs to be put in that perspective I haven’t seen much this season that would make me feel bad about making a change, especially his insistence on playing the vets

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, if Qua is released I dont see them lining up at the door to talk to him. Not even in their minor league system. No one knows what is in his head and I dont think he does either.

  • paulcatanese

    Watching the Phillies and Cards, funny to see Sandberg in the dugout wearing a Phillie uniform. They are pretty high on him and said he will probably be picked up next year by some team. Are you listening Ricketts?

  • Neil

    Nelson Perez hit a pinch-hit game tying solo homer in the bottom of the 8th in Game 3 of the Southern League Championship Series. Game tied at two in the bottom of the eighth. Smokies still hitting …

  • Neil

    Rebel Ridling singled in James Adduci with the go ahead run in the bottom of
    the 8th. Smokies up 3-2 in Game 3.

  • gocubs

    Starting to like Campana more and more. That guy would be very valuable to us if he could muster up anything close to a .350 OBP.  Id be happy with .340.

    Jackson CF
    Castro SS
    Ramirez 3B
    Fielder or Pena 1B
    Lahair LF
    Soto C
    LeMahieu 2B
    Campana/Colvin RF

    That would be a fun lineup to watch next year if we can add some pitching. 

  • Tony_Hall

    I know it’s Phil Rogers, but nice article on another successful season by Ryne Sandberg (hopefully the next manager of the Chicago Cubs!!)–20110918,0,5634745.column

    • paulcatanese

      Right Tony, and the game between the Phillies and Cards they were saying that Sandberg would be a good choice for the Phils but the present manager says he will be there two more years and that Sandberg would not be loose that long.

      • Calicub

        The Cubs planned it out the whole time…Send Sandberg to the phils to pick up some secrets and brush up before comin back to the show

        • paulcatanese

          Us California guys have to stick together,I assume you dont care for the Giants either. Anyway after watching the Phillies and Cards tonight I figure the Cubs are going to need Sandberg and then some to get out of where they are.The Phillies look awsome, between them and the Brewers I feel.If and when the Cubs can make the changes they need and Sandberg is here with them he alone will make a big difference and they should see some strides next year, but only if Ricketts gets his act together and gets things done as soon as possible.

          • Calicub

            Iagree Paul. No I’m not a huge fan of the Giants or their bandwagoning fans its awful. In truth I’m terrified of the day when the Cubs win the series for the exact reason the Giants winning last year was so awful. Everyone and their mothers becomes a fan when a team wins but anywho…

            I would agree. I think Sandberg would do amazing things with this team next year. He wouldn’t have been able to do much this year in terms of wins and losses but I feel this organization has taken so many strides backwards this season with to few gains to be confident about the future. In a perfect world Ricketts would hire Friedman and hire Sandberg and so on and so forth. The problem is that nothing about this ownership screams winning culture like the ownership of the Yankees, the Phils, the Cards. Though personally I woild prefer an organization like the phils and Cards (I hate to say) than the Yanks or the BoSox…

            Its been said about last season but I really think this offseason will determine the fate of this organization and the true colors of ownership.

          • Brp921

            Considering some of the strategic decisions Quade has made that have directly led to the negative outcome of at least ten to twelve games, let alone some of the lineups he has chosen at times, it is safe to say that Sandberg would have won more games with the Cubs this year.

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks for the info. I’ll read it more thoroughly when I wake up from this bad dream that involves the Cubs wins 10 games the end of a season but then loses the next hundred-season :-)

  • Neil

    Smokies score their fourth run on an error by the BayBears third baseman. Smokies up 4-2 going into the ninth. Rafael Dolis on the hill for Brian Harper.

  • jw

    Smokies are tough!

    Go Smokies!

  • Neil

    Rafael Dolis closes out Game 3 … the Smokies won 4-2 in come from behind fashion. Trey McNutt will start Game 4 on Sunday afternoon

  • gocubs

    Why on earth is DJ LeMahieu not starting at 2B every day?  Barney is clearly not a starter for any ML team.  The guy never walks, has zero power, barely hits for enough average to have any kind of OBP worthy of a reserve, and plays adequate at defense.  He is clearly a backup quality player at SS and 2B.  Quade is insane.  I truly believe the guy is literally insane.  Not just a bad manager, but actually insane.  

    • Demitri

      LeMahieu is the same thing

      • gocubs

        You may be right Demitri.  Now seems like a good time to find out though.   Barney does not walk.  Ever.  I can live with no power, if you can at least provide solid OBP, but Barney can do neither and isnt good enough defensively to warrant being the starter.  

    • cc002600

      don’t disagree with you completely…..but one thing I will disagree on his defense. I think Barney is very good defensively……definitely above average…..but yes, I agree that he is not a difference maker at the plate, but you could do worse. He’s a nice player.

  • Calicub

    the cubs are totally ruining their push for a high draft pick..

  • matthew8510

    do you guys realize campana has 22 sb in 130 ab and castro has 21 sb in 635 ab if campana had 635 ab he could have over 100 sb that rediculious

    • Calicub

      its unreal. 

      People have questioned me when I’ve posited that Campana should be given RF next year…that is if the Cubs don’t acquire an Eithier or such…

      but that is the exact insane thing I have been playing in my mind over and over in anticipation of the future, that and the triple steal a la Campana BJAX and Castro.  He may not have a strong arm, nor hit for power or even out of the infield, but if he can take more walks, work on his bunting, maybe get to Camp Colvin, or Camp Jamarillo and earn a spot in the OF the possibilities are limitless.  Imagine the sheer amounts of runs his speed and base running would create.

      • Calicub

        and i think he would have 107 or 108 SB.  Rickey Henderson had 137 in ’82

      • J Daniel

        You can give him lf or cf but not right.  Ideally, he would be cf and leadoff.

      • Dorasaga

        Beware of Ethier. He had a recent surgery on his knee or somewhere that bothered his swing and took away his power. That reminds me of Fukudome (fractured hand), who also lost his power right before coming to the Cubs, hmm.

  • paulcatanese

    The unearned run by the Cubs in the first inning makes a good point about speed and what it does to the defense. The Phillies also opened up their game tonight much in the same way when Utley forced the shortstop to make a late throw to first and both were safe, as Utley hustled to second. Speed mixed with power will get you everything. Of course pitching plays a big part also.

  • Baron_S

    we got our 1B for 2012 right here…. LaHair — CHEAP!!!

    If the donkeys in the front office realize this it will be good — better to spend the money resigning A-Ram to a 3 year deal…. then pay $$$ for 2-3 starting pitchers…. this rotation is god-awful…

    2 starters, 1 legitimate outfielder!! and we should be set for +10-12 wins in 2012… maybe not enough for a playoff spot — but baby steps are good… and we save $200 million on a 1B contract…

    • Schwimmer

      I agree.  LaHair could be a great prospect to play 1B next year.   He should be playing 1B right now to see if he is a viable option for next year.

      Unfortunately, QUADE is too short-sighted and only concerned with his “wins” record — that he’d rather play PENA (and, other veterans).What I don’t understand is that it would be so easy for RICKETTS to “tell QUADE” that he must give LaHair some games at 1st base.  How smart do you have to be to see that LaHair might be a great answer to 1B next year.The fans of this BLOG…cannot be the only people to see this.  Does anyone understand “why” QUADE is allowed to sacrifice this important opportunity to see how “rookies” perform?And, COMPANA’S ability to “steal bases” adds about 75 points to his batting average.  If he can bat .250 to .265 — he should play regularly.

    • John_CC

      Fully with you on LaHair. His MLB “sample size” isn’t even a sample, but his minor league stats are. Who doesn’t think that he could produce as much as Pena? And save $12MM.

      I cannot follow you on Aramis.  If he wants to renegotiate into a 2 year contract for no more than $20M — maybe.  But three years – are you crazy?  No thanks.

  • Michael

    What possible pieces are out there for us to add? Besides obvious ones in Fielder and Pujols, but I don’t think they change anything for us. We get them we are restricted payroll wise even more. We need to give ARam an ext and sign Pena at the cheap if possible, but most importantly get STARTING PITCHING!!! Our rotation is god awful. CJ Wilson may be available but he wants megabucks so….but besides him who else is there? Edwin Jackson? He’ll want the moon and isn’t good enough to deserve it. It’s going to be a while before we are competitive again….

    • Calicub

      Its more of pieces for the the Cubs to subtract… I don’t think any starting pitching in the world could take the cubs to the world series, especially whats available this offseason, with pena byrd soriano and soto in the same line up.

      The only chance the cubs have is cut the fat build a team from the ground up with its own people.  Imagine if LaHair, campana bjax smadj cashner and others flourish….

      wooo weee things could happen

    • J Daniel

      Can’t resign Pena at the cheap, ask his agent.  I do agree with you about the starting pitching.  Let LaHair play first next year.  Resign Aram to 3 years – basically a 2 year extension, trade Byrd, and use the money for pitching.

    • Tony_Hall

      We signed Pena on the cheap this year.  Just ask his agent.

  • jw

    Interesting to compare the Cubs stats to the Brewers this year…big differences in OPS and pitching including closer…It is apparent the Cubs have less patience and power when the second highest OPS is Zambrano. In pitching the Brewers did a great job in recognizing talent on the open market and have four starters under 4.0 ERA and a homegrown closer with 40 saves and only 2 blown…in short the Brewers management with a smaller budget has built a very good team…a clear contrast to the incompetence of the Cubs organization