No Sveep for Sveum’s Cubs – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5

Game Nineteen – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5
WP – Lance Lynn (4-0) LP – Chris Volstad (0-3) Save – None

After posting back-to-back walk off victories against the Cardinals and in the process winning their first series of the year, the Cubs had a chance to complete the three-game sweep of St. Louis … but the offense could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position against Lance Lynn.

The Cubs had opportunities early against Lance Lynn before he and Kyle McClellan just shut them down. The Cubs managed six hits Wednesday and finished 0-for-5 with RISP and left five on base. But that was all in the first five innings. Lance Lynn retired the last 11 batters he faced and McClellan sat down the Cubs in order in the ninth. Cardinals’ pitching retired the last 14 batters they faced to end the game.

Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run) provided the Cubs’ lone highlight. LaHair’s second longball in as many days tied the game at one in the fourth. Three of LaHair’s four home runs have come off Cardinals pitching … and three of his four dingers have either tied the game or given the Cubs the lead.

Chris Volstad (four runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings, 97 pitches, 66 strikes) put together his best five innings in a Cubs’ uniform, unfortunately Volstad completed six innings of work Wednesday afternoon. Volstad was rolling right along. He allowed one run over five innings and was going pitch for pitch with Lance Lynn. After the offense failed to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth (first and third with one out), Volstad started elevating his sinker in the sixth … and the Cardinals’ offense took advantage.

Carlos Beltran broke the 1-1 tie with a two-out double in the sixth that plated Rafael Furcal with the go ahead run. David Freese then took Volstad downtown. Freese’s two-run shot off Volstad put the game out of reach. Freese added a RBI double off Shawn Camp (one run on one hit with a walk and a strikeout in one inning) in the eighth that accounted for the Cardinals’ fifth and final run.

Scott Maine (no runs, one hit, two strikeouts and no walks in one inning) pitched a scoreless seventh and Carlos Marmol (no runs, one hit, no walks and no strikeouts) pitched the ninth.

Dale Sveum’s team finished the six-game homestand with a 3-3 record (1-2 vs. Reds; 2-1 vs. Cardinals) and have split the first six games of the year with St. Louis.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 6-13 on the season …

After rain delayed the first pitch for 20 minutes, Chris Volstad came out pounding the zone. Volstad retired the Cardinals in order in the first on only nine pitches, six for strikes.

David DeJesus just missed his first homer as a Cub to start the bottom of the first. DeJesus his a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left … but Matt Holliday hauled it in for the first out. Following Campana’s first strikeout of the afternoon, Starlin Castro ripped a single into center. Castro has reached base safely in 57 of the last 59 games he’s played in. Bryan LaHair struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the final out.

Chris Volstad retired the Cardinals in order in the second.

Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a single to right. Ian Stewart’s rough homestand continued. Ian Stewart grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

The ‘Doubles Machine‘ struck again. Steve Clevenger hit his fifth double of the season to left (1-2 pitch). A wild pitch allowed Clevenger to move up ninety feet but Darwin Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cardinals got on the board in the top of the third. Daniel Descalso singled to right on Volstad’s first pitch of the inning. Shane Robinson followed with a single to right … and the Cardinals had runners on first and second with no outs. Lance Lynn could not get the bunt down and eventually struck out. Volstad retired Furcal on a fly out to left for the second out … but Matt Carpenter drove a 1-2 pitch into right. Descalso scored … 1-0 Redbirds. Matt Holliday tapped back to Volstad on his 49th pitch (35 for strikes) of the game to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to tie it up in the bottom of the third. David DeJesus followed Volstad’s strikeout with a single to center. Sveum called for a hit and run on a 2-0 pitch to Campana. Tony Campana tapped back to the mound but DeJesus made it safely to second. Starlin Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

Chris Volstad retired St. Louis in order in the fourth (65 pitches, 46 for strikes).

Bryan LaHair went oppo again to start the fourth. LaHair tied the game with one swing of the bat on Lynn’s first pitch of the inning. Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short for the first out. Ian Stewart walked but Clevenger hit a tapper back to Lynn … 1-6-3 double play, inning over.

Chris Volstad sat down the Cardinals in order in the fifth (79 pitches, 54 for strikes).

Darwin Barney led off the fifth with a double off the top of the wall in left … Barney just missed his second homer of the season. After Volstad failed to get the bunt down on the first two pitches of the at bat, Volstad grounded out to second … and Barney advanced to third on Volstad’s productive out.

David DeJesus walked. Tony Campana failed to get a bunt down and struck out swinging for the second out. With runners on first and third with two outs, Starlin Castro grounded out to short … inning and opportunity over.

The Cubs would not manage another hit or walk after the fifth … Barney and DeJesus were the last two Cubs to reach base Wednesday afternoon.

Rafael Furcal led off the sixth with a single to left. Mike Matheny called for a hit and run. Matt Carpenter grounded out to second but Furcal ended up at second with the go head run. Volstad retired Holliday on a lineout to right for the second out.

Carlos Beltran ripped the first pitch from Volstad off the wall in left. Beltran’s double plated Furcal and gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Volstad jumped ahead of David Freese 1-2 before missing out of the zone. Freese launched a 2-2 pitch from Volstad over the wall in left … and just like that the Cardinals took a 4-1 lead.

Chris Volstad ended his afternoon by retiring Yadier Molina on a grounder to second.

While the offense was busy swinging and missing, early and often, the Cubs’ pen tried to keep the game close. Scott Maine did his job and other than a one-out single by Shane Robinson, the Cardinals did nothing against Maine in the seventh.

Shawn Camp retired Matt Carpenter (struck out swinging) and Matt Holliday quickly to start the eighth. Camp then issued a five-pitch walk to Carlos Beltran. Beltran swiped second, his second stolen base of the game.

David Freese pulled a 1-1 pitch into left center. The ball one-hopped the wall as Beltran scored easily from second … 5-1 Cardinals.

Shane Robinson reached on an infield single to the hole at short in the ninth. Robinson beat Castro’s throw from the hole. With Erik Komatsu at the plate, Robinson stole second and advanced to third when Komatsu grounded out to second. Steve Clevenger picked up a swinging but by Furcal and threw him out at first to end the top of the ninth.

The game went into the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs trailing 5-1. Kyle McClellan shut down the Cubs in order … game over, series over, homestand over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is an off day for the Cubs. Dale Sveum’s team will spend Thursday travelling to Philadelphia. The Cubs open a four-game wrap around series against the Phillies on Friday night. Paul Maholm will face Roy Halladay in game one.

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  • cubtex

    Does anyone know how many sacrifice bunts Cubs pitchers have this year?

    • Neil

      Three … Samardzija has two, Garza has one.

      • cubtex

        Thanks Neil. Dempster is usually pretty good but I have noticed that the pitchers have really struggled laying a bunt down thus far.

        • Neil

          You’re more than welcome … me too. Dempster usually is the best bunter on the staff.

      • paulcatanese

        And therin is the surprise, Garza, and he has a basehit also(well you knew that) thats after last year when his plate appearances were almost nil when he came to the Cubs.
        Part of the problem(I think) is the bunting contest in ST, I would imagine they were all fastballs and designed to have the bunts successful.
        When now it counts, and curve balls and sliders are being thrown.

  • brent carmona

    Chris Volstad (four runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings, 97 pitches, 66 strikes) put together his best five innings in a Cubs’ uniform, ——–>>>>>unfortunately Volstad completed six innings of work Wednesday afternoon<<<<<<————

    Well played Neil, I got a good crack out of that one.

  • cubtex

    On another note……What is going on with Soler? Will he not be available till next year?

    • Neil

      I’m hearing a lot of rumors, mostly the red tape rumor about MLB trying to make sure he is who he says he is.

      • paulcatanese

        Would that be because of the tax structure that will take place next year?

        • Neil

          No. The whole Fausto Carmona/Roberto Heredia Hernandez fiasco has raised a lot of concern. No one is saying that Jorge Soler is not Jorge Soler but that is main reason I am hearing and reading for the delay in him establishing residency and becoming a free agent. MLB is going to be very strict moving forward … this just happens to be one of the first cases.

          Let me repeat, I have not heard or read that Jorge Soler is not who he says he is … both his name and his age.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks Neil

      • Zonk

        That’s a good reason to tap the breaks.  That Nats prospect was very embarassing (can’t remember either of his names)

  • cubtex

    Marlon Byrd has more hits with the Red Sox than he had all year with the Cubs. He is 4 for 11.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yup. He wanted out. Bad. It was a great trade for the BoSox. 

      Just think how happy Cubs fans would be if we were able to deal Lopez or Manny Corpas for a starting 3B or LF. Fans would be ecstatic. I watched Angels & TB tonight. Pujols is in the longest hitless streak of his career. 0-19. Stinking up the joint. He will not have a easy ride if he cannot turn it up, and soon. BTW the Angels need bullpen help. 4 blown saves already. Too bad we don’t have some bullpen help to deal to them. 

      Scott Maine has stuff, if he can control it long enough to throw a strike. I bet there are some teams interested in him.

    • SuzyS

       Good for Marlon!  I think he pressed with us…because he knew he was trade material…Most on this site wanted him gone…Good or bad with the Cubs…he wouldn’t make a difference with this team…he wasn’t the future.

    • Zonk

      I posted a couple times, he had a BABIP below .100.  He was very unlucky; he wasn’t great, but he was also hitting balls at fielders. 

      If you looked at his stats longer term, you would conclude he is aging, and probably a .700 to .750 OPS kind of guy.  Not great, but enough to play anyway.

  • cubtex

    Gerardo Concepcion got lit up in his pro debut. He gave up 5 runs in the 1st inning in low class A. Hopefully just 1st game jitters.

    • paulcatanese

      Yeah, Bull Durham, maybe he needs Kevin Costner down there:)

    • Chadaudio


    • Tony_Hall

      Yes and then pitched 4 more innings and gave up no runs.

      He struck out 2, and gave up only 3 more hits in the last 4 innings, against the same hitters who lit him up in the 1st.  He also only walked 1 batter in the 5 innings.

      Bad 1st inning (seems to be the trend for the Cubs system this year), but settled in nicely and pitched through the 5th. 

      • cubtex

        Ha. Yea and his uniform fit well. His hat looked good on him. Spikes were fine. Didn’t get hit by a line drive back at him. Let’s see….what else is a positive? Pp

        • Tony_Hall

          Your post led me to believe he got shelled in the 1st and that was it.  I was quite surprised to find out that he settled down, threw 4 more innings, very well.  

          No one knows for sure how this kid will turn out.  But I am positive, anything bad he does you will make sure to let us know.

          • cubtex

            Don’t be so sensitive. I want him to do well. I just repeated what the Baseball Propectus article said. The heading said…….Concepcion lit up in pro debut. Take it up with them if you think they are in the wrong

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure what was so sensitive in any way, shape or form.

            I just thought the other CCO readers would like the rest of the story. 

          • cubtex

            see below. as I said….don’t shoot the messenger. thought cco readers should know I didn’t overstate anything. just repeated what was written.

          • Tony_Hall

            Thanks for posting that.  It wasn’t what you said (it was all true) it’s what you didn’t say.  I don’t see how their report of pitching around trouble the rest of they way, as there weren’t many baserunners in  innings 2-5.  

            I wish you could watch those games on the internet like the higher levels.

  • cubtex

    Don’t shoot the messenger……

    Gerardo Concepcion Lit Up In Pro Debut For CubsPosted Apr. 25, 2012 8:10 pm by Ben BadlerFiled under: Daily DishGerardo Concepcion’s pro debut got ugly fast.Concepcion, a 20-year-old Cuban lefthander who signed this year with the Cubs, gave up five runs in the first inning against low Class A Lake County (Indians), though he stayed in the game and pitched around trouble the rest of the way, finishing with five runs allowed in five innings, with eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts.Concepcion received a reported five-year, $6 million major league deal, a surprising amount to many scouts given Concepcion’s stuff, and reports from extended spring training in Arizona were consistent with those pre-signing reports.
    Gerardo Concepcion’s pro debut got ugly fast.
    Concepcion, a 20-year-old Cuban lefthander who signed this year with the Cubs, gave up five runs in the first inning against low Class A Lake County (Indians), though he stayed in the game and pitched around trouble the rest of the way, finishing with five runs allowed in five innings, with eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
    Concepcion received a reported five-year, $6 million major league deal, a surprising amount to many scouts given Concepcion’s stuff, and reports from extended spring training in Arizona were consistent with those pre-signing reports.

  • CubsTalk

    Rumor #1 – Rays after Soto
    Rumor #2 – Tigers after Gaza
    Rumor #3 – Yankees after Dempster
    Rumor #4 – Cubs Hitting Coach might be gone soon.
    Rumor #5 – Giants after Marmol

    • paulcatanese

      With the exception of Garza, would be nice if rumors came true. And halfway with Soto.