The Soto Show – Cubs 5 Brewers 2

Game One Hundred Fifty-Four – Cubs 5 Brewers 2
WP – Casey Coleman (3-8) LP – Chris Narveson (10-8) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe final score from Monday night’s game should read … Geovany Soto 5, Milwaukee Brewers 2.

Geovany Soto broke out of his recent slump in a big way. Soto drove in all five of the Cubs runs on two, two-run homers and a single. Monday night was Soto’s third multi-homer game, all against the Brewers. Soto collected the Cubs first hit off Chris Narveson in the third. Following a Carlos Pena (0-for-1 with two walks and a run scored) walk, Soto crushed a 1-1 pitch onto Waveland … the first homer hit onto Waveland by a Cubs player this season. Soto added a RBI single in the fourth and his second two-run shot in the sixth.

Starlin Castro collected his 196th hit of the season, a single to left to start the seventh … Castro has reached base in 32 straight ball games. Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4), Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a walk) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) all contributed in the Cubs first ever win over Chris Narveson.

Casey Coleman picked up the second win of his career at Wrigley and his first win in four months (May 19 in Florida). Coleman arguably had his best night on a big league mound. Coleman struck out a career-high eight batters and held the high-powered Brewers’ offense to one run on two hits in six innings. Coleman hit a batter, walked three and threw 92 pitches, 61 for strikes. Coleman did a good job of keeping the ball down and pitching ahead in the count. Coleman’s only mistake came in the third when he left a 1-1 pitch up to Jerry Hariston, Jr. … and the former Cub hit it out of the park.

The Cubs’ pen did a good job in relief of Casey Coleman. Jeff Samardzija faced the minimum in the seventh and Sean Marshall worked around a leadoff infield single by Corey Hart in the eighth.

Carlos Marmol was wild in the ninth and served up a one-out solo homer to Casey McGehee. Marmol gave up three hits in his inning of work but struck out the last two batters he faced to end the game (Taylor Green and Corey Hart).

With Monday’s win, the Brewers will not be able to celebrate winning the NL Central Crown at Wrigley Field … and the Cubs improved to 68-86 on the season, 18 games below .500.

Like so many of his starts, Casey Coleman looked good at the start of the game. Coleman retired the Brewers in order on the first inning on 12 pitches.

After Starlin Castro grounded out to short to start the first, Darwin Barney worked a walk … but was erased when Aramis Ramirez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

The Brewers did nothing in the second … 1-2-3 for Coleman on nine pitches (21 pitches after two, 15 for strikes).

Chris Narveson made quick order of the Cubs in the second. Both Soriano and Byrd hit the first pitch to third.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the third with a line drive homer into the left field bleachers. The Brewers first hit put Milwaukee up 1-0. Coleman predictably lost his command and issued a walk to Jonathan Lucroy. Narveson bunted Lucroy to second. Corey Hart grounded out to third (0-1 pitch) for the second out.

Coleman plunked Nyjer Morgan (0-1 pitch) to put runners on first and second with two down for Ryan Braun … Coleman struck out Braun swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Pena led off the bottom of the third with an excellent. Pena walked … and trotted around the bases when Geovany Soto crushed a 1-1 pitch from Chris Narveson. The ball ended up on Waveland, the first home run hit by a Cub that landed on Waveland this season. Soto’s 16th homer of the season, and the first hit of the game off Narveson, gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Casey Coleman struck out and Castro lined out to center. Darwin Barney singled to center with two outs and advanced to second on a single to left by Aramis Ramirez (3-1 pitch). Jeff Baker flied out to deep right to end the inning.

Casey McGehee worked a two out walk in the fourth … but that was it. Coleman retired Fielder (groundout to second), Weeks (struck out swinging) and Hairston, Jr. (struck out swinging).

Marlon Byrd hit a dribbler up the first base line with one down in the bottom of the fourth. Narveson tried to barehand the ball, bobbled it and Byrd reached on the error. Carlos Pena walked for the second time in as many at bats.

Geovany Soto knocked in his third run of the game with a single to right center. Soto went with the 1-2 pitch and drove the ball to the opposite field. Byrd scored, 3-1 Cubs. Pena advanced to third with one out.

Coleman bunted Soto to second but Castro popped out to Rickie Weeks in shallow right center to end the inning (Weeks made a sliding, over the shoulder catch to take away a hit from Castro).

At the end of four, the Cubs led 3-1.

Casey Coleman retired the Brewers in order in the fifth … and tied a career mark when he struck out Corey Hart looking to end the inning. Coleman struck out seven batters in the first five innings.

Marco Estrada took over for Narveson in the bottom of the fifth and sat down the Cubs in order.

Coleman retired Nyjer Morgan (flyout to center, 1-2 pitch) and Ryan Braun (tapper in front of the plate on a 0-2 pitch) to start the sixth. Prince Fielder ripped a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left. Soriano made a good play on the ball and held Fielder to a double. Rickie Weeks walked. With runners on first and second with two outs and the Cubs up 3-1, Casey McGehee looked at strike three to end the inning … McGehee never took the bat off his shoulder.

Alfonso Soriano walked to start the sixth against Marco Estrada. Marlon Byrd lined out to center and Pena struck out swinging.

Geovany Soto deposited Estrada’s first pitch into the bleachers in left. Soto’s second longball of the night and his 17th of the season gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead. Luis Montanez hit for Coleman and struck out swinging to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija issued a four-pitch walk with one out to Jonathan Lucroy in the seventh … but Samardzija ended up facing the minimum after pinch-hitter George Kottaras (Estrada) hit into a 1-4-6-3 inning ending double play.

Starlin Castro collected hit no. 196 with a single to left off Tim Dillard to start the bottom of the seventh. Lucroy threw out Castro trying to swipe second with Barney at the plate … one of the young middle infielders appeared to miss a sign. Barney grounded out to second and Ramirez grounded out to first to end the inning.

Corey Hart reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline to start the eighth … but that was it. Sean Marshall retired Nyjer Morgan (lineout to left), Ryan Braun (flyout to right) and Prince Fielder (struck out swinging) to end the inning.

Alfonso Soriano singled to right with one out in the eighth. Tony Campana ran for Soriano and was thrown out at second. Campana was caught stealing for only the second time this season … replays showed Campana got his hand in despite the fact the ball beat him to the bag. Tim Dillard struck out Byrd swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Rickie Weeks on a grounder to short to start the ninth. Casey McGehee took it to his former organization again and lined a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center (5-2 Cubs). Mark Kotsay hit for Hairston, Jr and ripped a single past Carlos Pena. Jonathan Lucroy singled to right but Marmol struck out pinch hitter Taylor Green (looking) and Corey Hart (swinging) to end the game.

The Cubs played their best game of the month on Monday night.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells is slated to face Shaun Marcum in game two on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • paulcatanese

    Did I read where the Pirates and the Cubs have identical records? If so for sure no one will see any rookies at all till the end of the year. Qua has the chance to soar and rise with the Cubs to finish ahead of the Pirates(which means absolutly nothing).

  • paulcatanese

    Nice post Neil, did get back in time to see Campana in the game. Marmol squeaked another one thru.

    • Neil

      Thanks Paul, and yes the Cubs are tied for fourth place with the Pirates.

      • paulcatanese

        Good morning, well Neil that says it all for me regarding starting any rookies for the rest of the year, Qua will not allow it. In the scheme of things, passing the Pirates means nothing with the exception of the marketing system of the Cubs. Rest assure they will take the opportunity to show that the Cubs are on the rise and are one or two moves from going all the way, sell tickets after all is the main goal. I would not be surprised if Qua returns having risen the Cubs from the depths of disaster if they do pass the Pirates and finish in fourth(actually Qua has visions of 3rd) woe to Cub fans if they do.

  • jw

    The Bucs season like Cleveland’s faded after promising starts. This used to happen to the Reds who would come out fast and then fade as their staff wore down…I wonder why that sometimes happens in MLB and why other teams seem to grow stronger down the stretch…I guess there is no one explanation for it…I think mostly pitching or injuries…the Cards got a whole lot better when they got Carpenter back. The Phillies were pretty good in the recent past but seemed to know as a team to turn it on in the last two months…could have to do with the  long season as well.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Pirates slipped because:

      1. Their pitching grew tired. Their early success was due entirely to their good starting pitching. That has cooled off, and so has their record.

      2. They never had any hitting at all to help their pitching out. For crying out loud, they are 27th in runs scored. Their top average hitter is Neil Walker, at .271 12 HR 80 RBI (BTW, that’s better than our 2nd baseman Barney at .276 2 HR and 46 RBI. He also has double the double plays that Barney has turned…..). McCutchin is hitting .263 23HR 88 RBI. 

      NO OTHER PLAYER HAS ENOUGH ABs TO QUALIFY FOR THE BATTING TITLE. In other words, except for Walker and McCutchin, the entire team is a team of platoon players that cannot hit.


      • jw

        Thanks Rip…the whole league is anemic as to hitting…I was suprised to see SF only has scored 541 runs (Bucs 572 Cubs 630)…Where would they be if they had the Cubs offense (LOL)

        Philly leads the leads in runs against 491…so if they stay healthy I think they go to the series (SF 533 which is keeping them in it) Don’t want to know what the Cubs is…(731… only Houston worse at 732) In the AL, Andy McPhail has done it again 813 runs against!!! Shows how incompetent the Cubs have been in selecting leadership… and kind of lines up with the Tribune going bankrupt.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I can hear Tony right now….


    • studio179

      He is not alone. They should have traded him. I was beating the trade Soto (and Marmol) drum last offseason.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Okay, trade him. But my question: who is your starting catcher? I know you’ll not want Koyie Hill as your starter. You’ll probably say, “Wellington Castillo.” But how will he perform in the bigs?

        Aaron says, and with justification, that a player hits less in the bigs than he does in the minors. Castillo is a career .265 minor league hitter. This year, his best in the minors, he hit .286 with .524 slugging (excellent). But he only caught 54 games in AAA, and 3 games in AA. He was a part-time player for us…..

        And generally the knock on him has been his defense. 

        I want to give this guy a chance (something QQuade and Jim Qlueless never did), but we have no guarantee he is any better than Soto, from what I can see.

        If you say, “Steve Clevinger,” then you should note that he only nailed 3 attempted base stealers all year (25 successful) at AAA Iowa. He did better in AA Tennessee with 27% CS rate. This guy doesn’t have the HR power of Soto or Castillo, but he did hit .308 in AA and AAA combined, and he has a decent bat for BA He does make contact. He’s 25 and the time is now.

        Perhaps you want to platoon Castillo (RH) and Clevinger (LH)?

        Or maybe you want to trade for a catcher?

        • studio179

          My thought in trading Soto going into last offseason was not looking within the organization for his replacement in 2011. No one was ready to be the everyday catcher. I felt the Cubs owed it to look around and at least make an honest attempt in trading Soto and getting a couple quality players back for the system. Strike while the iron is hot and the team is rebuilding…though they won’t say the ‘R’ word. By the time the Cub are even division relevant, Soto will likely be on the downside. I would rather see them trade him a year too early than a year too late. When catchers fall, they fall fast.

          I felt trading Soto last offseason would fill a couple holes in the Cub  system. This, plus find a stop gap, everyday catcher would do the job, without high expectations. Hill was going to be the back up this year regardless of what any of us thought. He was not my choice, but the Cubs were going to do it anyway.

        • Coachdon

          Yes, I want to split time between Castillo and Clevenger next year. Not platoon like Quade, split time. Then you would have a very good idea if they are quality Major Leaguers, or not, for the future. Marmol need to be gone, as do the usual suspects(Soriano, Byrd, Pena, Hill, Grabow, Ramirez, Dewitt, Johnson, Lopez, Ortiz). Run with young guys to start the season. If you are within striking distance at the trading deadline you replace a couple of the weak links with a deadline deal. Then the fiollowing year you know what you have to get in free agency and through trades to be successful.

          • Calicub

            I think Castillo has too long an injury history to be relevent at the major league level…


        • John_CC

          Soto is hitting .220…The new Mr. 220, maybe you should call him.  I don’t care if catchers are not offensive powerhouses, there are very few McCanns and VMarts in the world, but they have to be solid defensively and at game calling.  It has to be one or other.  Soto is neither. Easily replaced.

  • cmschube

    Neil –

    Did you ever find anything out about Z’s “disappearance” from the roster? I googled like a mad man for a few hours last night.. turned up zilch.

    • Neil

      I have not. I’m thinking it is just a mistake on their end. I am still checking. Sorry to make you waste your time.

  • paulcatanese

    As I mentioned last night there was the possibility with Z that he was paid and released or he was traded,both would have taken him off the roster. Neil responded to me that it was unlikely because it would have leaked out before now. I agree with Neil, it would have leaked.

    Except, if Z was too embarassed to admit he was released  or  if he was traded, the team he was traded to would keep it a secret for as long as they could to avoid the laughter that would ring out over the trade. ( the second paragraph was meant as a joke) as Neil would know for sure what happened.

  • cubtex

    OK. A little rant on the most overrated GM in baseball…”boy Wonder” Theo. The Red Sox are crashing bad because of the ineptness of “boy wonder” Look at this guy’s free agent signings for his career! He has been brutal! John Lackey,JD Drew, Dice K, Marco Scutaro, Renteria, Bobby Jenks. All brutal signings. With the Red Sox needing pitching this year….his big pickup was……..Eric Bedard. Another brutal pickup. This guy has wasted millions of dollars each and every year. He has missed more than he has hit and if he was in a smaller market town….they would run him out of town faster than you can say Jim Hendry. Please say no to Theo. We don’t need this guy in Chicago!

    • Calicub

      I agree.

      I’d take Epstien over Beane though and Cherrington over Epstien and Friedman over all the rest.  I think Friedman will bring a championship to the Cubs within three years max.

    • John_CC

      He also has 2 championships in the past decade, afte nearly as long a dry spell as the Cubs.  The Yankees have also made bad free agent signings. It happens.  What matters is what happens in between the bad signings. Who fills the gaps. The Red Sox have also made some spectacular signings and produced great players through their system

      Bottom line, Wonder Boy brought the Red Sox out of the wilderness and gave the city of Boston TWO championships. And that’s a helluva lot more than most franchises can boast in the past decade. 

      • cubtex

         Look at their payroll since 2001 compared to ALL major league teams. They had one season out of 11 seasons that they were out of the top 5 payrolls(and they were 6th) I argue that mostly EVERY GM given those resources would have won at least 2 championships in his tenure..if not more.
        2001- #2 payroll
        2002- #2
        2003-#6 (only time out of top 5)

        Don’t tell me what a good job he did! He has wasted millions in the John Lackey’s,Matt Clement’s, Dice K, JD Drew, Carl Crawford this year(he overpaid for him) and the list goes on and on.

        • cubtex

          Let’s compare some of those early 2000 years to the Cubs and tell me there is not a difference!

          Cubs Payroll

          2001- #13 Payroll
          2002- #11

          Huge difference compared to “Boy Wonder”

  • paulcatanese

    Another reason for Soto to be traded besides his defense, he is probably one of the slowest runners in baseball, cannot beat out a ground ball or force at second,he may be the first of the Cubs to be thrown out from right field on a line drive hit there. But then the Cubs have a number of players that I cannot figure out if they are loafing or just slow. Anytime a ground ball takes more thatn 22 hops and the guy still gets thown out I have my suspicions that they are loafing.

  • paulcatanese

    Whoever the Cubs bring in as GM should have complete power and reign supreme with his decisions based on the way Ricketts is handleing the Qua situation, as he apparantly pays no attention to Qua and what he does on the field, I will say that he is handicapping the new GM as he will have to wait far into next year for any kind of evaluation of the younger players and may be forced to keep more than he wants to of the vets to put a team on the field. I dont see him going with youngsters that are untried and dont look for anything positive to happen until June or July of next year. And the way its going dont be surprised at the input that Qua will have with the new GM on the younger players where else can he turn as they have not played here in the fall, He knowingly already has made that impact with refusing to play the rookies any length of time. Unless the new GM is already secretly hired and is sitting in the stands every day, he will come in here blind.