Samardzija Bad, Offense Worse … Cubs Swept – Cubs 3, Marlins 5

Game Thirteen – Cubs 3, Marlins 5
WP – Ricky Nolasco (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (2-1) Save – Heath Bell (2)

After a rough weekend in St. Louis, the Cubs thought their first trip to the Marlins’ new park would be a good one with Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija starting the three games against the Fish. Three days later the Cubs were swept out of Miami after bad outings from Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija and an offense that managed two hits (2-for-18) with runners in scoring position during the three-game series.

Jeff Samardzija had little to no command Thursday. After walking one batter over his first two starts, he issued five free passes, one intentional, in 3 2/3 innings on Thursday. Samardzija gave up all five runs on eight hits with five walks and three strikeouts. It took Samardzija 88 pitches, 50 for strikes, to get through his short outing.

Over his last 4 2/3 innings, Jeff Samardzija has pitched the way he did earlier in his career when he was given the opportunity to start games.

For as bad as Samardzija was Thursday, the Cubs still had a chance to salvage the final game of the series. The bullpen was stellar and tossed 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball. James Russell, Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol allowed only two runners (a hit and a walk) and gave the offense a chance … but once again, Sveum’s team could not come through with a clutch hit with runners in scoring position.

The Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP and left eight on base in a two-run loss. The lone hit, a Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) bases loaded triple with two outs in the second that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead that Samardzija could not hold.

The Cubs recorded only one less hit than the Marlins (9-8) and walked three times (12 baserunners). Ian Stewart (2-for-4) and Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a run scored) each had a multi-hit game but not with runners in scoring position (left a combined four batters on base).

The Cubs lost their fifth in a row and have been outscored 34-10 since beating the Cardinals last Friday.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 3-10 on the season …

For a game that lasted only three hours and eight minutes, Thursday’s finale against the Fish seem to go on and on and on. Especially the first three innings that took an hour and 22 minutes to play. Neither starting pitcher was sharp. The Marlins offense simply took advantage of all the extra opportunities Jeff Samardzija gave them.

The Cubs wasted a chance to take a lead in the top of the first. After David DeJesus (flied out to left center) and Darwin Barney (struck out looking), Starlin Castro singled to left and Alfonso Soriano punched a single into right. But Ian Stewart swung at the first pitch and hit a comebacker to Nolasco to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija put his team into a hole right away after a long 32-pitch (18 for strikes) first inning.

Samardzija struck out Jose Reyes to start the game but walked Emilio Bonifacio on the seventh pitch of his at bat (3-2 pitch). Bonifacio swiped second with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. Ramirez ripped a 2-1 pitch over Castro’s head into left center. Bonifacio had to hold and could only advance to third. Logan Morrison hit Samardzija’s first pitch into center … and just like that the Cubs were down 1-0.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a slow roller past the mound to short. Castro had only one play, to first. Ramirez scored from third, 2-0 Marlins. Samardzija walked Greg Dobbs but struck out Donnie Murphy swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs showed a lot of patience in the second and put a crooked number on the board.

Bryan LaHair led off the second with a walk. Geovany Soto singled to left. LaHair ended up at third with no outs. Marlon Byrd struck out swinging on three pitches. Samardzija bunted Soto to second and David DeJesus walked to load the bases.

Darwin Barney hit a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. LaHair and Soto scored easily and so did DeJesus all the way from first. Barney ended up at third and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-2 pitch to third that Ramirez picked up on a short hop and threw Castro out at first to end the inning.

Samardzija continued to struggle in the bottom of the second but did not allow any runs.

Brett Hayes led off with a single to left. Nolasco bunted him to second. Samardzija then issued his third walk. After Reyes reached on the free pass, Emilio Bonifacio grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

At the end of two, the Cubs had a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs had a chance to tack on in the third but came away empty. After Soriano tapped out to Hayes, Ian Stewart dropped a bunt up the third base line for a hit. Bryan LaHair doubled to right center. With runners on second and third with one out, Geovany Soto struck out swinging. The Marlins did the Cubs a favor and intentionally walked Marlon Byrd to load the bases for Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija hit a deep fly to right that Stanton caught up to at the track to end the inning.

Hanley Ramirez returned the favor to Stewart to start the third. Ramirez bunted up the third baseline for a hit to start the inning. On the first pitch to Morrison, Ramirez stole second. Samardzija ended up walking Logan Morrison to put runners on first and second with no outs.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a 0-1 pitch to the third base side of the mound (swinging bunt). Samardzija picked up the ball and threw him out at first as both Ramirez and Morrison advanced ninety feet.

Greg Dobbs hit a bullet into the left field corner (0-1 pitch) and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. At that point, two of the four walks Samardzija surrendered came around to score. Donnie Murphy grounded out to third. Dobbs held at second with two outs. Samardzija walked Hayes intentionally to face Nolasco down by a run.

Ricky Nolasco broke his bat on a 1-1 pitch and blooped a single into right. Dobbs scored the Marlins’ fifth run of the game. Jose Reyes lined out to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

After three, the Cubs trailed 5-3.

The Cubs did nothing against Nolasco in the fourth.

The Marlins came out swinging in the fourth. Samardzija gave up a single to Bonifacio to start the inning. Bonifacio stole second with Ramirez at the dish. Ramirez ended up grounding out to Castro. Bonifacio advanced to third.

With the infield in, Logan Morrison smoked a 2-0 pitch back up the box. The ball hit off the palm of Samardzija’s right hand. Castro picked the ball up and threw to first as Bonifacio held at third. After a visit from the trainer, Samardzija struck out Stanton swinging on his 88th pitch of the game.

Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Greg Dobbs with a runner on third, two down and the Cubs down by two. Dobbs flied out to deep right center to end the inning.

Ian Stewart reached on a one-out single in the fifth. After LaHair popped out to third, Geovany Soto stepped in but Stewart was thrown out trying to steal second to end the fifth.

James Russell retired the Marlins in order in the fifth … first time in the game a Cubs’ pitcher sat down Miami in order.

Geovany Soto led off the sixth with a single to center, the Cubs’ eighth hit of the game. After Byrd failed to bunt for a hit, he flied out to center for the first out. Blake DeWitt reached on an error by Jose Reyes and ended Nolasco’s day.

With runners on first and second with one down, David DeJesus hit a 1-0 pitch from lefty Mike Dunn to the track in left center. Ozzie Guillen went back to his pen and brought in Ryan Webb to face Darwin Barney.

With runners on first and third, Barney grounded out to short to end the inning.

Shawn Camp retired the Marlins in order in the sixth.

Ozzie Guillen used Ryan Webb and Randy Choate in the seventh and the Cubs did nothing against the two Marlins’ relievers.

Other than a one-out single by Giancarlo Stanton in the seventh, the Marlins did nothing against Shawn Camp.

Randy Choate and Edward Mujica sat the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Carlos Marmol threw the ball well Thursday afternoon. The Marlins managed only one baserunner, a two-out walk to Jose Reyes, against Marmol in the eighth. Marmol struck out one and threw 22 pitches, 13 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against Heath Bell … game and series over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds on Friday afternoon at Wrigley … Chris Volstad against Homer Bailey in the opener.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Marwin Gonzalez is doing his job for Houston. The guy hits the ball. 

    Gorzelanny racked in relief tonight. Looked like Rodrigo Lopez out there…or Kerry Wood…1 IP….5 ER.

    Granderson with 3 taters in the first 4 innings vs Twins tonight. Maybe he can do it!

    • Zonk

      In the end I think Marwin (and Flaherty) will be no great loss.  Marwin has an OK Batting Average, but OPS is middling, and he is considered an average SS. 

      • Ripsnorter1

        Sure. But are we looking for a reserve SS at this time? Hmmmm?  

  • cubtex

    Rizzo with 2 bombs tonight! Bring him up so we have something entertaining to watch!

    • Neil

      The first one was over the wall in center and traveled an estimated 500 feet.

      • Trevor Petersma

        500 feet?  That’s insane!

      • cubtex

        He is crushing AAA pitching!

    • Zonk

      PS:  Cashner has walked 7 batters so far in 6.2 innings
      It’s early, but I liked this trade when it was made, and continue to so far

      • cubtex

        PS…. I like Rizzo and think he will be very good……BUT one player is in the mlb and the other is in AAA

        • Ripsnorter1



    • paulcatanese

      That would be a plus this year.You know I have watched the Cubs for many a year and this one is without a doubt one of the worst I have seen. Too many intangibles. They look so unsure about what they are doing, can’t put my finger on it but they just look like strangers out there not a team yet.

      • Theboardrider

        Very true…

  • guy

    Do the people that continue to post about calling up Rizzo and Jackson not understand service time at all? Are Rizzo and Jackson MLB ready? Probably… 

    But should the Cubs loose valuable time in both players primes during a loosing season because fans are bored and don’t understand or just don’t care about the economics of baseball?

    Delaying service time and keeping your valuable possessions longer is a better way of ensuring the players are still around when the Cubs have a chance at being good. (minimum 2 season, if they are so lucky, more realistically the 2015 or 2016 seasons)

    • cubtex

      I think everyone understands. It’s just hard to watch this crap they are putting on the field :)

      • paulcatanese

        Agree,and most could care less about the Cubs loss of valuable time, and keeping valuable possesions longer? Why? When do they have a chance to win, years from now? Wow that perks me up. Whats to say these “valuable possessions” will still be around?
        The way this is going they will probably be traded for more valuable possession that can stale in the minors.
        I don’t buy it Guy. ( reply was meant for Guy )

    • paulcatanese

      See my reply to Cubtex.

      • cubtex

        Yep. Sometimes you need to make decisions what is best for the player and fans!

        • paulcatanese

          Agree, and besides who pays the freight? the fans. Sooner rather than later the fans will stop paying or watching.

          • OttawaBob

            That may have been true in 1966, But now a losing Cub team would still draw 2 million. And thats probably a low ball guess.

          • paulcatanese

            True, probably due to the population explosion.

        • OttawaBob

          Like they did with Kerry Wood? 

  • cubtex

    The great Hak Ju Lee has been crushing the ball as of late. He is now hitting .196 in AA. He hit .190 last year in 100 AB’s at AA.So he now is getting close to 200 AB’s and he can’t get over the Mendoza line. And…….
    Chris Archer is still having command issues.
    1-2 with a 9.95 ERA with 13BB in 12.2 IP

    Yes it is early but as you can see….these 2 players are not sure things. They are not Bryce Harper or Steven Strassburg!

    Prospects are suspects. I have seen a ton of players do well in the low minors but it is a huge jump to the show. My opinion is anytime and I emphasize anytime you can aquire young top of the rotation starting pitcing that you have under control for several years you do it. Even if they end up dealing Garza….hopefully you can make a much better deal than Tampa did for Garza.

    • Zonk

      Is that praise for Jim Hendry? :)

      That is true on prospects/suspects.  Let’s recount some former hot top Cubs prospects (list is by NO mean complete):

      Bobby Hill
      Hee Seop Choi
      Brooks Kieschnick
      Juan Cruz
      Felix Pie
      Ryan Harvey
      Donald Veal

      ….could go on and on and on

      • OttawaBob

        You forgot Corey.

      • Theboardrider

        I think it’s pretty clear at this point the Cubs got the better end of the Garza deal with the Rays.  If they parlay him into some prime pitching prospects, it will be all the moreso. 

        I want the next Matt Cain.  That guy is a ridiculous stud.  I know he hasn’t won a Cy Young yet but to me if I’m building a team, I’ll start my pitching staff with Matt Cain. 

      • Aaron

         3 trades in which Hendry “sold high” on top prospects:

        Hill for ARAM
        Choi for Lee
        Lee/Archer/Guyer/Chirinos for Garza

        *normally I’d say Donaldson, Gallagher, etc. for Harden, but that was actually seen as a buy low situation with Harden due to injuries, which is why Gaudin had to be included in the deal.

        I’m not going to re-hash the past, but all I will say is that guys like Patterson, Pie, Hill, etc. should’ve een dealt while they still had value.

        I guess you have to give Theo and Hoyer credit for having the balls to deal Cashner, Colvin, and LeMahieu, even if it meant bad PR, because fact is, Hendry never would’ve done it. ARAM and Lee were his first full year and second full year as GM, otherwise it wasn’t until his last ditch effort to save his job with the Lee/Archer, etc. trade that he sold high again.

        I also lament the loss of guys like Sisco and Veal in the Rule 5, even though they haven’t amounted to much with their new teams, because the fact was, they had a lot of value while prospects in the Cubs system, and could have fetched a good return if he’d dealt them vs lost them in the Rule 5 for nothing.

        • cubtex

          Theo definately has the balls to trade young kids for Vets. Hanley Ramirez for Beckett is the big one that sticks out.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Don’t forget Felix Pie, CF Savior-Elect from 2007-2008.

    • Dorasaga

       Reminds me I once asked an analyst what factors into prospect or suspect? The team philosophy/environment of nurturing him? Or the innate talent/mental abilities of the prospect to adjust? He thinks the later constitutes almost all the factors. I was thinking 50/50.

      • Anthony

        This topic has been discussed all winter, especially in my posts. Carmen, or any other Saber computer program cannot measure “innate/mental abilities of the prospect to adjust”, but unfortunately many MLB decision-makers grew up in the video game age and it almost appears they function as fantasy league GM’s.

        Old time scouting, “eyes”, are still the best measure of whether a prospect can get better, and then a large amount of sample size——–RESULTS can be used as a measuring stick.

        Using OF’s in the minors:

        Brett Jackson will always K too much. Yes, he is a good player, but always had a high K rate in college and Pro, and don’t expect a decrease because that would lead to the following……”he has no power”

        Nelson Perez has a huge hole in his bat, always had, always will, an all or nothing type hitter.

        I can rattle more off, but whats the point.

        Go back and read some of my older posts about hitting. There will always be sluggers, there will always be banjo hitters, there will always be role players with one solid tool, but there are hitters who build a swing from the ground up, constantly are making adjustments at the expense of both ridicule from the public and unneeded concern from the Carmen-reliant Saber chumps(TE).

        The real KEY to being a consistent hitter, like George Brett back in the day, is to have the ability to know what your body is doing without looking at it in a mirror, on videotape as well as the vision to recognize pitch spin and velocity, the twitch muscles, hands and wrists that are fast and strong, and the NATURAL know-how to employ and trust the changes.

        Start with a Slugger who may K a little too much. Put that hitter in an environment that forces change, maybe an increase in velocity that the adjustment has to be long to short. When that adjustment is made successfully, the contact rate goes up and the power goes down.

        The next adjustment is the load and plane. The goal here is to take that contact, realize your hot zones, add power in those moment, defer to line drives elsewhere in the zone.

        The next drills are plate coverage and hitting to all fields. This takes many, many reps starting with the tee, side-toss, L-screen BP, then live BP, then game situations.

        So far, the goal of the hitter is to become polished to the point of consistent hard contact, using the entire field, and picking ones spots to impart backspin and launch bombs.

        There will be trial and error, swing plane changes, load adjustments, and hand adjustments. While all this is happening, you will see eventual improvement and a confident hitter.

        Instead of anybody freakin out because Johnny ain’t launching bombs, or his BA stinks, better to watch the progression as the sample size increases.

        I have to currently call the new Cubs regime ignorant in all aspects of player evaluation. The main for that claim is that in their first ST, they ignored everything you have just read as well as ignoring the ST evaluations by the people they employ.

        Any Player who has been on this aforementioned track since high school who has the abilities you just read, i.e made great strides in putting it all together doesn’t matter to this regime, but instead, what matters is fielding a bunch of hitters who have been doing the exact same thing for years and ending up with the same shoddy results because they……………

        DO NOT POSSESS THE ABILITY physically and/or mentally to make the correct adjustments. They are what is known in the business community as dead wood, and in baseball, expensive dead wood.


    • Ripsnorter1



      Honestly, though, Brett Jackson is a suspect, too. Too many K’s to make it as a ML regular. 

  • cubtex

    Great tweet by Dave Sappelt about Anthony Rizzo… Rizzo is a monster this league is childs play for him :)

    • OttawaBob

      The info you get here on the CCO is second to none.  Neil is the best.

  • Theboardrider

    Is Darwin Barney clutch?  

    When I think of Cubs hitters, that’s the last thing I’ve thought of in years.  Remember when Sammy would hit all of those late inning, blowout game home runs?  Not to knock him because he participated in some fun years to watch but to me, his hitting is a microcosm of the Cubs over the last 10-15 years.  When was the last time we had a clutch hitter?  Sandberg?  Grace?  Has it been that long?  

    I’m sure that Rip or Aaron or someone that has a better grasp on statistics than myself could probably prove me wrong.  It just seems that Barney, to the eye test, seems to be clutch and be the type of guy that wants to be at bat with men on base.  As opposed to say, Soriano.  When I grew up playing sports we called guys like that a “gamer.” Is Barney a gamer?

    And to that point do we have any other gamers?  I can’t really think of any, and that makes me like Barney.  Maybe Lahair?  Way too early to tell. 

    Best case scenario is he similar to world series champion David Eckstein?   Honestly, when I think of the two I see Barney as a guy that can hit for more power and possibly more average.  Eckstein was a pretty good shortstop for a few seasons.  (Dang, was he a shortstop?  I honestly just can’t picture him as more than a 2nd baseman but was he?  If so makes him even more respectable.)  

    I guess my point is that Barney seems like a guy who “gets it.”  What does everyone else think?  And does he measure up to say Eckstein?  If we have a guy like Eckstein at 2nd, that may not work out too bad. When I think of him at short, I can’t believe Eck started in the show.  But when I think of him at 2nd, he seems a lot more serviceable.  And do you guys think Barney could be better than Eckstein?  I do…

    Just a few thoughts.  If anyone would care to respond or critique I would love to hear what you have to say.  Just curious and trying to have some dialogue.  

    • Dorasaga

      You are too polite; I’m sure nobody mind a little hardboiled dialogue on CCO :-)

      Now, according to numbers, Lahair is the most clutch so far this season. That’s if we look at both fangraphs WPA (win-probability-added) and “clutch” situations:

      Clevenger is a far-second. But that’s 2012. If we include 2011, then the slide goes to Barney.

      Surprise, surprise! Despite his on-and-off the later half last season, Darwin was even more “clutch* ” than the once-favorite ARam. I think your eye-test is going accurate so far, matching to hard numbers.

      *”Clutch,” as you can tell from the formula on this link, is not an accumulative stat, but an average from WPA and game situations (“leverage”). Though, wpa is accumulative, which explains why ARam got all the chances in the world, as a cleanup, to outperform his peer in the same lineup.

      That also makes Lahair more impressive, being out of the bench most of last season. He ranks third on this stat category, behind ARam and Pena.

      More on wpa as a “storytelling stat”:

  • Aaron

    This was one of the worst single days in Chicago sports that I can think of in a very long time.

    Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, Sox, I-Cubs, Smokies, Daytona Cubs, and Chiefs all lost…WOW

    • OttawaBob

      Actually,  the silver lining was the Sox Loss lol.