Cubs Pen Blows Opening Day – Cubs 1, Nationals 2

Game One – Cubs 1, Nationals 2
WP – Tyler Clippard (1-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (0-1) Save – Brad Lidge (1)

The Chicago Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning after seven shutout innings from Ryan Dempster and a two-out RBI single by Marlon Byrd in the fourth. The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent against Stephen Strasburg and took advantage of the only scoring opportunity they had Thursday afternoon.

Ryan Dempster started the eighth by retiring his 15th batter in a row but the Cubs defense struck again. Jeff Baker, subbing at first for the injured Bryan LaHair, let a weak grounder off the bat of Ian Desmond roll past him. The ball ended up in right for only the second hit allowed by Dempster all afternoon. Dempster stayed in and struck out Danny Espinosa to end his afternoon. After 108 pitches over 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball, Dale Sveum went to the pen and brought in Kerry Wood with the Cubs up 1-0.

Kerry Wood issued three straight walks and the third one forced in Ian Desmond with the tying run. Wood got out of the inning but the questionable, at best, bullpen blew its first lead of the season.

The Nationals took their first lead of the day in the ninth after Chad Tracy reached on a two-out double off Carlos Marmol. Ian Desmond singled in pinch-runner Brett Carroll with the would-be game winner.

The Cubs had a chance in the ninth to tie the game after Ian Stewart lifted a 1-0 pitch from Brad Lidge to deep right. The ball just missed landing in the basket. Stewart ended up at third with a triple. Joe Mather pinch ran for Stewart but was thrown out at the plate. Mather broke on contact as Jeff Baker hit a routine grounder to third.

Ryan Dempster worked out of two early jams and pitched to the park. Dempster gave up a hit on his first pitch of the game and not another one until the eighth, at one point Dempster retired 15 in a row. Ryan Dempster was credited with one run on two hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings … the only run scored after he turned the game over to the pen.

The Cubs offense could not put much together against Stephen Strasburg. The Cubs managed six hits all afternoon, one for extra bases. The wind also kept Dale Sveum’s offense from hitting a couple of home runs.

Starlin Castro picked up a gift single in the first and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Castro has reached safely in the last 41 regular season games he has played.

Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs lone run. David DeJesus (1-for-4), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4, CS) and Jeff Baker (1-for-3 with a walk) also collected hits.

The last time the Cubs won on Opening Day at Wrigley Field was 1996.

Game one of the season is in the books …

With the wind howling in and a game time temperature of 41 degrees, Ryan Dempster took the hill on Opening Day for the fourth time in his career.

Ian Desmond blooped Dempster’s first pitch into right. Dempster’s pitch was down and Desmond hit the ball off the end of the bat. Dempster started struggling with his command and issued a five-pitch walk to Danny Espinosa.

Dempster pitched to the old ballpark and grooved a 0-2 pitch to Ryan Zimmerman that on any other day would have left the yard. Marlon Byrd caught the ball in deep left center. Desmond and Espinosa advanced easily to second and third.

After a visit from Geovany Soto, Dempster appeared to settle down. Adam LaRoche swung and missed a 2-2 offering and Jayson Werth flied out to right (1-1 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs walked to the plate swinging in the bottom of the first. Stephen Strasburg retired David DeJesus (fly out to left center) and Darwin Barney (ground out to first) on three pitches.

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 12 games when he popped up a 1-0 pitch. Strasburg pointed up to the ball and bailed from the mound. The ball fell in between LaRoche and Zimmerman for a hit. The wind evened the score when Alfonso Soriano hit a ball to center that would have left Wrigley on a normal day … instead it was a routine fly for the third out.

The Nationals did nothing against Dempster in the second … and after a rough start, Dempster had retired six in a row at that point.

The Cubs stayed aggressive and went down in order in the second. At the end of two, Strasburg had thrown only 14 pitches, 10 for strikes (seven in each inning).

Dempster dodged another bullet in the third after Strasburg grounded out weakly to short to start the inning. Ian Desmond hit a routine grounder to Ian Stewart on a 3-2 pitch. Stewart fielded the ball but dropped it for the Cubs’ first charged error of the season. Dempster then walked Desmond and Zimmerman to load the bases with one out.

Adam LaRoche struck out swinging on three pitches and Jayson Werth flied out to the track in right (1-1 pitch) to end the inning.

After three, Dempster’s pitch count stood at 54, 31 for strikes.

The Cubs stayed aggressive against Strasburg in the bottom of the third … with the exception of Ryan Dempster. Geovany Soto popped up the first pitch to short. Dempster at least saw five pitches before breaking his bat and tapping back to Strasburg.

David DeJesus recorded his first hit as a Cub. DeJesus lined Strasburg’s first pitch into center. Darwin Barney grounded out to third (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.

The Nationals did nothing against Dempster in the fourth. Dempster put together his best inning of the game to that point. Dempster struck out two of the three batters he faced and retired Mark DeRosa on one pitch.

After Castro grounded out to short to start the fourth, Alfonso Soriano ripped a single into center on the first pitch. Strasburg jammed Stewart on a 1-0 pitch. Stewart got just enough of the ball to put it in play. Wilson Ramos picked up the swinging bunt and tried to throw out Soriano at second. Ramos’ throw was off the mark and to the first base side of second. Soriano was safe and the Cubs took advantage of the extra out the Nationals gave them.

On a 2-1 pitch to Jeff Baker, Alfonso Soriano took off for third. Ramos’ throw was on time but it took an excellent pick by Ryan Zimmerman to catch Soriano at third. Stewart held at first. Jeff Baker worked a two-out walk.

With runners on first and second with two down, Marlon Byrd blooped a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. Stewart scored, 1-0 Cubs. Baker held at second on the single and was stranded when Soto lined out to third (2-1 pitch) for the third out.

Ryan Dempster sat down the Nationals in order in the fifth … and after five, Dempster had thrown 71 pitches, 46 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Strasburg in the home half of the fifth.

Dempster struck out two of the three batters he faced in the sixth … Dempster’s pitch count stood at 80, 53 for strikes after six.

Strasburg also struck out two of the three batters he faced in the sixth.

Ryan Dempster stayed in and started the seventh. Dempster retired Washington in order. At that point, Dempster had retired 14 in a row and had thrown 92 pitches, 62 for strikes.

Jeff Baker was given a hit on what should have been an error to start the bottom of the seventh. Baker pulled a 1-1 pitch weakly to the hole at short. Desmond fielded the ball but threw wide to first (right field side). Baker was quickly erased when Byrd grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Soto squared up a 1-2 pitch that ended up as a routine fly to left for the third out.

With the Cubs up 1-0, Dempster started the eighth and struck out Chad Tracy swinging (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Ian Desmond hit the first pitch toward the hole at second. Jeff Baker let the ball roll past him. Barney could not get to the ball and the Nationals had their second hit of the game … and broke a string of 15 in a row sat down by Dempster.

Dempster re-focused and struck out Danny Espinosa swinging (2-2 pitch) on a nasty slider in the dirt. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Kerry Wood to face Ryan Zimmerman.

Wood jumped ahead of Zimmerman 1-2. Ian Desmond broke for second on the 1-2 offering and swiped second. Wood issued two more out of the zone and walked Zimmerman. The first pitch to LaRoche was high and tight and got away from Soto. Both runners advanced with two outs. LaRoche worked the count to 3-2 and took a very close pitch for ball four to load the bases.

Jayson Werth stepped in 0-for-7 in his career against Kerry Wood. Wood jumped out 0-2 but did not get the call on the next pitch. Wood ended up walking Werth and forcing in Desmond with the tying run.

Mark DeRosa grounded out to Darwin Barney (1-2 pitch) to end the inning … but the Nationals tied the run on a bad defensive play and three straight walks.

Chad Tracy stuck it to the Cubs once again. Carlos Marmol retired Roger Bernadina and Wilson Ramos to start the ninth. Tracy stepped in and hit a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right … the first extra basehit of the game. Brett Carroll ran for Tracy and scored on a single to right off the bat of Ian Desmond. Just the fourth hit of the game by the Nationals. Espinosa flied out to left to end the inning.

The Cubs had to face an old nemesis in the ninth … and Brad Lidge did what he has always done against the Cubs, he closed out the game.

Ian Stewart lifted a 1-0 pitch to right that just missed landing in the basket in right. Stewart ended up at third with a one-out triple. Sveum sent Joe Mather into run for Stewart. Jeff Baker put the first pitch into play. But the routine grounder ended up in Ryan Zimmerman’s glove. Mather broke on contact and was an easy out at the plate. Marlon Byrd looked at a 3-2 pitch for strike three to end the game.

Dale Sveum’s team played a better game than the end result. The ‘little things‘ still have a long way to go with this group of players.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Friday is an off day for the Chicago Cubs … the season resumes Saturday with Matt Garza taking on Gio Gonzalez.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • cubs1967

    ladeis and gents; here’s the 2012 season in a nutshell after game one:
    hope the pitchers are ready for:

    bad defense; it was not improved at all and already we miss pena

    the bullpen is bad; wood was not pitched enough in ST and looks like bosio is NO rothschild with marmol; if these 2 suck all year; worst pen in baseball; but the pen was ignored all off-season and lots of talent got traded plus lost of smardz.(casher-carpenter-marshall)

    NO offense…….we all knew that……(even though ricketts said today dejesus is a “great player”.

    sveum wants to run……with a team that cannot…….so if mather ; a slow footed dude is your best PR and sending soriano early in the game to be thrown out at 3rd………well then……..running might NOT be the thing to do.

    62-100…….2012……baseball is better so says the marketing campaign…….

    it’s gonna be a Looooooooong season.

    • Jonno_18

      All I’ve read on here from you has been totally negative. Stop hating on the team after ONE GAME! I agree the bullpen could be a lot better but you can’t judge the defense after one game, especially since the ‘error’ that allowed the tying run on base was commited by Baker who’s not gonna be playing first for the most part this season. I’m not saying the defense is gonna be outstanding but give them a chance. Oh and it’s more than likely Soriano tried to take third on his own so stop blaming Sveum for everything

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, but today is today.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I agree, tired of all the negativity.  Cubs blew a 1-0 lead in the eighth. Could have easily won…

    • Jason Penrod

      And they did not take advantage of “the only scoring opportunity they had all afternoon”
      They had 2 others off the top of my head
      -Soriano getting thrown out at 3rd with 1 out
      -Mather getting thrown out at home with 1 out!

      Seriously, I love aggressive baseball, but you have to be smart about it, the ball was hit sharply with the infield in. You have to stop on that hit and try and force a throw to first, if the ball gets thru then you score anyway- there are lots of ways that could have gone better, but only one way were it could have been worse (double play).

      That was stupid, and if Mather ran on his own, I’d cut the career minor leaguer. We had a chance to win on opening day. A triple in the ninth inning with one out would be a run for any other team. But no, we are forced to watch this crap and know that something like this will always happen.

      I’m sick of it

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Jason, I think you misread what I wrote. The scoring op they had was only one against Strasburg, Soriano was thrown out in the same scoring oppoortunity/inning.

        Mather did not run on his own, Sveum put on the contact play.

      • Jason Penrod

        That was supposed to be written as a reply to the original article, not to the post above, sorry

  • cubtex

    Sveum has so few options in the bullpen that it is unfair to manage this club. A 6 man bullpen is ridiculous when you have Lendy Castillo(who I am happy they kept) and Rafael Dolis to go along with 2 pitchers on the downside of their careers in Wood and Camp with 1 lone lefty in James Russell. I understand they tried to swing a deal for a lefty and were dangling Byrd….but they cannot go very long with this pen. It will demoralize this team if they cannot hold a team in a close games. The starters will feel they need to go 9 innings every start. Can anyone think of a worse bullpen in baseball?

    • SuzyS

       cubtex…the bullpen obviously needs repair…but then I have expected this for a long time…everyone should chill out…we are not going to be a GOOD baseball team for a while…We ALL know this. So enjoy the game, such as it is…someday, we WILL be good again.

      • cubtex

        Yes Suzy…but there is nothing worse than a bad bullpen to demoralize a team. Just ask anybody who has ever played the game.

        • Kvchrisman

           I do believe Chicago needs to stop filling up the park, so the front office puts a team on the field, over 100 years and the front office has not figured it out.

      • Tony_Hall

        Plus, it was Woody who couldn’t throw a strike, not Dolis or Castillo, etc.  

        This bullpen is only for the beginning of the season, as most bullpens have a completely different look from the beginning of the year to mid-season, to the end of the year.

        • cubtex

          It would have been unfair to put Dolis or Castillo in that situation today. Sveum made the right call with Wood.

          • Zonk

            He did make the right call.  And Tony is also right, you can bet we’ll see alot of faces in the bullpen this year.

            Our objective should be to find a couple young arms that can emerge and be long-term assets. 

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I disagree, he should have left Dempster in

          • cubtex

            Second guessing after the fact is the easiest thing in the world to do. Do you remember how many times Dempster was left in 1 batter too long last year? It was the first game of the year and he threw….I believe 110 pitches. Man of 1st with 2 outs and the wind was blowing in a ton.

          • Tony_Hall

            We agree :)

            Totally the right call, if anything should have started the 8th with Wood.  

            Wood just didn’t throw strikes on a day, you pretty much just had to throw it over the plate and dare them to hit it.

        • Josh Man

          To be fair, Woody got strike three on LaRoche and Werth, but the ump didn’t call them.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, but my point, was more about Woody being a fan favorite, and not a part of the future. He is here for most likely this year only.  There is a reason it took so long to sign him, they really didn’t want the 2nd year guaranteed, which it isn’t.  

            With that said, I expect Woody to be a decent 7th/8th inning set-up guy and hope that Dolis is going to take over the 8th inning as the year goes on.

          • John_CC

            And remember all the painful agony over how classless and ignorant Hoyer and Epstein were before they re-signed Wood?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Jed/Theo didn’t want him. They didn’t want to spend the money because they know he isn’t part of the future, and because they know he isn’t worth the money. But the fans got Kerry rehired at Clark and Addison.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Very true.  Inning should have been over

        • Ripsnorter1

          YUP. Randy Wells would not have blown this game, but Kerry Wood did. And if Wood pitches like he did last year, there will be plenty more. Last year he had Marshall to bail him out. But that luxury is now gone.

      • http://gladiatorblog.blogspot.com/ SirGladiator

        There’s really no reason to just accept a bad bullpen.  I don’t blame Woody for what happened today, he struck out two batters that the umps gave walks to, but there’s no doubt our bullpen needs some shoring up, and saying ‘we suck anyway, who cares how bad the pen is’ isn’t the answer.  We don’t suck, we should’ve beaten one of the best starters in all of baseball today, and would have with better umps.  If we strengthen the pen, there’s nothing stopping us from winning this weak Division.  Hopefully they’ll make a trade soon and get the pen the help it needs.

  • cubtex

    Here is where I really think the roster issue is…and I am sure the higher ups know this as well and hopefully we will see some moves shortly.

    R Johnson and Mather(4th and 5th OF)
    DeWitt and Valbuena( one of these players need to go) The reason they are both on the team is because of our outfield. What do these players all have in common?
    Mather
    RJohnson
    Byrd
    Soriano

    They are all RH hitters. Only DeJesus bat LH. The reason DeWitt and Valbuena are both on the team at this point is for LH flexibility on the bench. They need to make a trade to get another LH outfielder on this roster and with that move they can add some much needed bullpen help. Hopefully something gets done quickly!

    • Zonk

      I hear you, but why bother?  Are we a LH outfielder or bullpen pitcher away from contending?  I think we’re alot more away from that.

      Theo and Co. can’t say it out loud, but I think they feel the same way.  Why spend money or trade prospects to add 10 wins to the team, and finish in 3rd place? 

      We are better off in the long term, I’m afraid, in suffering through a bad year with our bullpen (and our offense), then trying to fix it.  Trying to patch it up is how we got in the mess.

      The painful part is that we are going to have to live with replacement-level roster fodder in the meantime, while hopefully converting young players and retreads into valuable long term assets

      It’s going to be a long year, no other way to slice it…..

    • Ripsnorter1

      Make that “a LH hitter with POP.”  Dave Sappelt won’t do.

  • SuzyS

    Took the afternoon off from work to watch the game…Great effort by Demp. …There were several calls I thought Woody should of gotten which might have changed the complexion of the game.
    I was disappointed that LaHair was unable to perform…I hope his back injury is minor…but they rarely are.
    I really thought the Cubs might get blown away in this game…but thanks to a gutty and great performance by Demp…it was much better than I anticipated against Strasberg.
    We need Marmol to do better so we can trade him. Kerry Wood is…what Kerry Wood is…I still love the guy even though he is no stopper at this point in his career.
    The good news is we are only one game out of first. The bad news is it might take a few years before we can make up the difference.
    All in all…a good first game from a team I have NO expectations from.

    • John_CC

       Good for you getting to take the game in Suzy.  I was so bored at work today I would have been much better served watching the game too!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Suzy, 

      I love your statement. “The good news is we are only one game out of first. The bad news is it might take a few YEARS before we can make up the difference.”

      WHAT A GREAT QUOTE! 

  • BrutalTruth

    for all those bitching about Sveum starting Dempster over Garza, I think Dempster gave you a big middle finger today with his performance.

    • Zonk

      I defended the decision, but that is a little harsh…..

      If you look closely at the numbers, Dempster really was decent last year.  His ERA was inflated by a .331 BABIP and overall crappy defense behind him.  And I’m sure the bullpen did him no favors, just like everyone else.

      • cubs1967

        yet garza managed an ERA 1.50 runs below dempster with that same crappy D and the bullpen.

        garza is the better pitcher……..so dempster was chosen just like quade-uncle lou-dusty would do; he’s the more tenured cub.

        the more things change; the more they stay the same.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I could write your comments for you.  I know what you’re going to say…

  • BosephHeyden

    If there’s a positive outside of Dempster’s excellent start, I suppose it’s that I’m just glad that the bullpen seemed to set a tempo for the season that means I don’t have to change my schedule around to watch this team.  As mentioned:  this isn’t really designed to be a good team.  This seems to be a season where they’ll be seeing what they have so they can build for the future.

    Of course, it really doesn’t take a genius to see that Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker really don’t need multiple starts at first to establish they’re not good first basemen.  And I’m REALLY hoping that it doesn’t take multiple blown saves by Wood and Marmol to realize that they’re both liabilities in the positions they currently fill.

    And, for all that’s holy, if LaHair is going to miss another few games, put him on the DL, bring up Rizzo, and get LaHair used to filling in wherever he’s needed when he comes back.  As much as I think LaHair deserves a chance to prove he can start, we all know Epstein’s heavily invested in the Rizzo project, and if LaHair is going to miss more than a few games, it just means bad luck for LaHair and time for Project Rizzo to get started.

    The less they try to pretend this team is something it’s not, the quicker the Cubs can get back to winning seasons.

    • Tony_Hall

      There is a big positive from Dempster’s start though, if he continues to pitch well, it will increase the return on him at the trade deadline.

      • Zonk

        Exactly.  A few more starts like that, and he’s worth a decent prospect in return (or more, if the Cubs pick up some of the $)

        I think Dempster has 5 and 10 rights, but I bet he would waive to go to a contender later in the year

  • paulcatanese

    On todays game, “Whats new pussycat, whoooa ,whooa,

     whooh”
    .
    Deja vue

  • Anthony

    Theo the henchman is OK discarding players, but this sentimental signing probably has him on wine bottle #2 tonight, or whine bottle, whatever.

  • GaryLeeT

    I can’t help to think how different the game might have turned out, if Marshall had pitched the 8th and Cashner closed. I know 2012 is a lost season, but demoralizing late inning losses do a lot of damage to a team’s psyche. It’s a bad recipe for trying to create a winning attitude with the young players, and attracting free agents in the future.

  • Anthony

    Sign more Cubans
    Release more athletes

    Cut everyone we didn’t pay a signing bonus to regardless of wheter these players are freak athletes with nice tools, big and strong, and dedicated good kids.

    Sign more retreads

    Disregard anyone who wasn’t a current or former 1st round draft pick, all the rest are garbage fillers, then one must think what is lower than a garbage filler who gets cut because he made the bonus babies look like mistakes.

    MLB baseball is full of itself. Used to be that if you can play, you played.

    Nowadays, it pays to be foreign born first, a speedy craphitter, then, be foreign born once again.

    0-1

    0-for the season

    J Place

    Theo picks good ones…………..lol

  • http://gladiatorblog.blogspot.com/ SirGladiator

    Its always frustrating to watch the Cubs give away a game they have in the bag, but today, thanks to WGN having the K-zone technology, we know for a fact that Wood struck out BOTH of the last two batters that the umpires gave walks to.  Certainly Woody walked the first guy, and that sucks, but how can you seriously criticize Kerry for ‘walking’ the second and third guys when you know for a fact that he painted the corner on both those full count pitches?  Is he just supposed to throw it right down the middle, so the ump cant call ball 4?  Its understandable that the ump called Soriano out on his SB attempt even though his hand beat the tag, because the (bad) throw beat him by a mile.  But there’s no excuse for the umpires calling ball 4 on pitches that were clearly strike 3, especially the one when the bases were loaded and they had already taken one strikeout away from him on a bad call.

    Of course Marmol has no excuse for his poor outing, the only good news is that he didn’t walk the world, he just served up hits, if he keeps on not walking people eventually some of them will get themselves out and he will get some saves.  But this should’ve been a Cubs win, and would’ve been were it not for the screwjob from the umpires, and thanks to K-zone technology we don’t have to suspect they screwed us, we know for 100% fact they did.  Hopefully the league will apply some pressure on future Wrigley umps to call the game fairly.

  • Aaron

    I am glad I waited to post, otherwise it could’ve gotten pretty ugly….

    Here is what I’ll say:
    1) Welcome to 2011, Barney, Castro, Soriano, Baker, Johnson, Byrd, and DeWitt still do NOT know how to take pitches. They’ve never seen a pitch they didn’t want to hack at. True story. Don’t believe me? Look at tape from last year, then review today’s tape…I actually did

    2) …having said that, I’m watching the minor league games online right now, and at least the Cubs have guys like Cerda, Bour, Burgess, Rizzo, Jackson, and Cardenas that actually know how to take pitches. I just watched a 10-pitch Cerda AB that ended in a K, but was still very impressive…and right after, watched Burgess draw a walk on 5 pitches….hopefully the Cubs can figure out THAT THIS IS IN FACT A DAMN REBUILDING YEAR SO FRIGGIN’ ACT LIKE IT AND DEAL THE SH$TTY VETERANS ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3) I’ve seen/heard a lot of bitching about the strike calls in the game not going the Cubs’ way…specifically Wood in the 8th. There was only one legitimate strike that he threw that wasn’t called…ONE…NOT three as some have suggested elsewhere. Soto set-up outside, and Wood absolutely painted it…problem is, you’re not getting a call when your catcher is already set-up 6 inches off the dish, even if you “paint it”…maybe Maddux and Glavine would’ve received the call back in the day, but this ain’t “back in the day” anymore…it ain’t happening. The other hanging slider he threw was down the middle but high, and to Werth…yes, he hit the outside corner easy, and it should’ve been called a strike, but so what?!?!? If you can’t hit the broad side of the barn with any of your other pitches, what the hell makes you think you’ll all of a sudden get the close ones called? Again…ain’t gonna happen

    4)…some have referenced on other sites that the pitch to Byrd was just like the close ones for Wood…I have news for you…NO IT EFFIN’ WASN’T….Byrd looked at a 3-2 fastball…..THREE-TWO fastball, folks!!! which is what EVERYONE looks for in that spot…unless, of course, they’re facing Marmol….(which I’ll get to in a moment). Byrd looked at the ball right down the damn middle of the plate, and then had the audacity to shake his head and argue at the umpire. It was absolutely laughable.

    5) Some might focus on the the Wood and Marmol outings as the reason the Cubs lost, but I can tell you this much….the Cubs are damn lucky the wind was blowing in today, because, by my count, Zimmerman should’ve had a 3-run blast, and a solo shot, and Werth should’ve had an opposite field grand slam. The Cubs on the other hand would’ve had Soriano’s 2-run shot, and Stewart’s solo shot…Big effin’ deal….so why do I bring this up? It’s to put everything into perspective. THe talk was that Dempster pitched a hell of a game, and what I’m hear to say is that he was simply lucky….NOT good. Also, don’t know if everyone realize this, but Dempster threw about 5 pitches all day above 90 mph. If you can’t keep the ball on the ground, that is NOT a recipe for success in this league, especially at that velocity.

    6) Byrd still grounds into double plays…what’s new? Just like last year, he’ll ground into an assload of them, and it will kill the team. GIDP’s happen, right…so what’s the big deal? The point I made last year, is that he hit into them at the most inopportune times…same for Lee a  few years ago. Yes, Byrd got the Cubs’ lone RBI, but his GIDP killed potential for more, just as happened frequently with him last year…..but that’s not all

    7) Baker swinging at the first pitch with a runner on 3rd base, 1 out, down by 1 run in the 9th was an absolute disgrace, and if there is a kangaroo court in that clubhouse, he should be fined for that

    8) ….still waiting for the Cubs to actually take a damn pitch. 

    9) I think Wood just threw another ball….

    10) ….still waiting for them to take a damn pitch.

    11) Oh, look at that, the other team knows how to do that…that’s how you put stress on the other team’s pitching staff…

    12) Didn’t I say the Cubs’ staff was lucky today that more damage wasn’t done? Damn lucky is what I say!!! At one point when I was following along on my phone, I saw that Dempster had just about twice as many pitches as Strasburg. At that point, I believe it was 60 vs 30. If they don’t take as many pitches as they did, they lose the game, plain and simple, because Dempster would’ve been at about 110 pitches to close out a shutout if they had been like the Cubs’ hitters all day. 

    Anyway….Dempster will give up a lot of home runs…just like last year. Byrd will ground into a HUGE amount of double plays …just like last year. Wood and Marmol will walk a lot of guys, and give us all indigestion in the 8th and 9th innings….just like last year….Barney, Castro, Soriano, Byrd, Johnson, Baker, and DeWitt will refuse to take walks, leading to quick at bats and VERY quick innings. 

    In other words, 2012=2011.

    Fukudome, who took pitches, is replaced by DeJesus, who also works counts

    Pena, who took pitches, is replaced by LaHair, who also works counts

    If “every opportunity to win should be sacred”, then what the hell are Baker, Johnson, DeWitt, Byrd, and Soriano even doing on the roster?!?

    • SuzyS

      Soriano is still on the roster for 54 million reasons with no takers…the other guys …you have a valid point.
      I disagree that there was only one strike missed by the umps on Woody…but it’s a moot point…One run is not going to win you a game very often.

      The Cubs may actually be crummy by design this season in order to get better draft positioning for next year…It’s a pretty high risk proposition… but I’m thinking it’s really possible…given Rickett’s earlier signals. 

    • paulcatanese

      Right, and the fudementals, and strategy that was preached all spring training was thrown out the window in the very first game. Sveum must feel like a fool with these guys, it’s as though they just laughed at him and did(once again) whatever they wanted to do.
      So much for painting the inside of the base’s blue.
      They should have been made to run laps after this one.

    • cubtex

      Any other day…..Dempster was down 3-0 with still nobody out in the first.

    • brent carmona

      Thank you Aaron for venting.

      Tomorrow is another day to play ball, just put whatever happened today out the window.

      Oh wait isn’t that what we heard all last year?

      • Aaron

        It’s nice to be able to vent, and you’re right, it’s a new day tomorrow (though they don’t play), but when you lose a game you’re winning 1-0 in the 8th inning with 2 outs, watch as your set-up man walks the bases loaded, and a run in…it was entirely too predictable to see Marmol come in, and lose the game entirely the next inning…it was also too predictable to watch the Cubs lay down in the bottom of the 8th, just as Sveum had said he saw them do last year….just too funny is what I say…well, sad…but funny, because you already know what’s going to happen.

        Am I right?

        I do, however, believe that all of the comments made by Hoyer, Epstein, and Sveum this offseason about “every team wins 60 and loses 60…it’s what you do with the other 42 that make all the difference, blah blah blah”…well…I think they’re in for a rude awakening, because this club ain’t even gonna win 60 games…..mark it down! 

        As always, I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it….not after they have to play the Cardinals and Reds within their own division, and the staff of the Brewers as well is formidable too….that’s a lot of games in their division that they will lose. 

        The only thing that could possibly turn their path of winning less than 60 games, is if they completely overhaul their hitting and pen….but neither is likely to happen. They need patient hitters and solid pen arms. I’m sorry, but Marmol certainly does NOT qualify. I have more faith in Wood than him. Castillo is a Rule 5 with no MLB experience. Camp has been released more than any other player on the team…and for VERY good reason. Russell is a LOOGY at best. Dolis is about the only guy in the pen where you get excited, and he even has control issues. 

        And my goodness, look at all of the damn hackers on the team:
        Barney
        Castro
        Soriano
        Baker
        Byrd
        Johnson
        DeWitt
        Valbuena
         
        ….and I’m talking first pitch swinging just about every time they go up there…low walk totals, and in some cases, high K totals.

        It’s actually embarrassing to watch them at the plate. For the life of me, I don’t know how Hoyer and Epstein have been able to watch it. They say they understand the importance of taking pitches, working counts, high OBP, etc., yet if you look at the guys I just listed above, they are absolutely horrendous in all of those categories, with Castro being the one exception because he gets a lot of hits.

        So if they recognize that’s the way to win, and “every win is sacred”, then why in the hell would they construct a team that is doomed to fail with those type of hitters? In fact, if you consider the fact they already had a better, younger version of Valbuena that knows how to take a damn walk already on the 40-man roster in Cardenas….it almost seems like they are sabotaging this team on purpose…either for draft picks, or just to finally have the excuse to blow it all up at the trade deadline.

        Having guys like Brett Jackson, Cardenas, and Rizzo would’ve helped this year right now…because here is what could have happened:
        C-Soto, Clevenger
        1B-Rizzo
        2B-Cardenas, Barney
        SS-Castro
        3B-Stewart, E Gonzalez (might as well use him, as he makes good contact historically)
        LF-LaHair
        CF-Jackson, Campana
        RF-DeJesus, Wright (I like that guy…makes good contact)

        So, you go from nearly all of your hitters being hackers, to only a handful of them with that team (Castro, Barney, and Campana would still be considered hackers)

        I think the Cardenas move, more than anything was a dead giveaway to them possibly tanking the season….going with the bench they have, and keeping Byrd as well goes so far against their beliefs that you can’t help but think there’s something else going on here….but that’s just my opinion

        • brent carmona

          I see where you are coming from, all these holdovers from last year might be a move to please the fanbase (if fan favs like byrd are dumped the fans won’t wanna pay to see a game this year) but gives them an excuse to tank the season, therefore satisfying their idea of winning years down the road w the higher draft pick.

          Marmol I was betting on a rebound season, but wow his stuff looks the same as last year, especially that 83mph slider that allowed the winning run in.

          I know you wanted to keep guys like flaherty, gonzales, but we have Castro and barney starting so without regular at bats there really is no need for us keeping them on the major league roster.wanted to see them get a shot but such is life.

          There are very telling moves like you said, I say the Kerry wood signing is ‘icing on the cake’, bc we know theo and crew did not want to sign him, but they did, hence, another vet holdover from last year to appeal to the fanbase. Maybe he was part of the plan to seduce the fans into ‘trying’ to win this year, but tank the season at the same time.

    • Nathan

      Though I agree with most of what you said Aaron, its hard to say Dempster got lucky. Its common that pitchers will pitch to their surroundings. Yes, zimmerman would have probably had a homer or two on another day, but we all know when the wind is blowing in its okay to be more of a fly ball pitcher and dare the hitters to hit it in the air. Everyone just needs to relax and realize that the Cubs are not suppose to and most likely will not be good this year. Thanks for everything you do Neil! Just thought id throw that in there

      • Dorasaga

        Indeed, give the veteran the credit he deserves. Dempster learned his trade of “pitching,” not “throwing,” and this core knowledge, the fundamental difference between a prospect and a veteran ML-er, shall keep him effective most of this season. But I need to call him out. Yesterday was probably the best we’ll ever see out of ol’ Demp. He needs to retire and give the rebuilding Cubs one more spot as a chance of developing young pitching.

  • Tom U

    Iowa Cubs defeat the Round Rock Express 5-3

    Tony Campana. Brett Jackson, and Anthony Rizzo 2-for-4, RBI by Campana, Jackson (2), Rizzo, and Cardenas. Stolen bases by Campana, Jackson, and Rizzo. Randy Wells 3 ER (2 HR) 6 innings, Manny Corpas 2 shut out innings, Scott Maine 2 K’s, save

    Tennessee defeats Chattanooga 4-1. Nick Struck 6 innings, 1 ER, 10 K’s. Kevin Rhoderick a hold, Frank Batista save #1. Logan Watkins and Justin Bour each 3-for-5, Bour solo HR.

    Daytona loses 11-4 to Brevard Co. Rubi Silva 3-for-4, Matt Loosen and Brett Wallach struggle.

    Peoria wins 5-2 over Beloit. Pin-Chieh Chen 2-for-3, triple, RBI, outfield assist. Wes Darvill 2-for-4 . Michael Jensen 5 innings, no ER, 2 K’s. Kyler Burke the hold, Jeffrey Lorick a save.

    • paulcatanese

      Thank you Tom, I needed that, go Iowa!

    • brent carmona

      Thanks tom for recap. I hope you give updates on minors game like this so we all on cco can keep our minds off bad games from the mlb club.

  • Tom U

    I know Mrs. Soto is a reader, so congratulations to Elliot on his first Double-A hit and stolen base. Hope his ankle is okay (twisted on the steal, but stayed in the game). 

  • Mozob

    My bottom line to the game is that Sveum should not have pulled Dempster.  He was cruising along and he owned LaRoche today.  Nothing against Woody, cause he has only thrown 5 innings this spring.  Marmol is Marmol and I do not believe he is a first tier closer.  This one was on Sveum.

    • Ryanports

      I actually don’t really care about the outcome. I realize that’s the minority outlook, but really who cares? They are going to bring in wood and marmol for the forseeable future, so does it really matter that they didnt get the job done today? They will more times than not, and yes it sucks they blew it today, but that’s baseball. I don’t think wood will be all that good this year, but I personally gave theo and company 1 year to figure out the roster, so I guess Im not that worried. I would like to win these games as much as the next guy, but the reality is the cubs aren’t going to be very good this year. So when they lose games they should win, I’m not that worried about it this year. I guess my message is, get used to it. But i feel its for the greater good. Yes, the bullpen is not good. But I think the goal is to have a much better team down the road. That’s part of rebuilding. If at the end of the year we are still running out these same guys, then yes, I will agree that we can complain that the FO isn’t giving guys a chance. But i feel like who cares now? Dempster threw a great game today, that is a great positive. I’ll take that every time from him. The shuttle system between des moines and chicago is just about to begin.

      • cc002600

        well said.

        people need to chill out.

        at the end of the day, does it really matter if they win 75 or 77 or 78 games ???

        we all know they are going nowhere this year.

        My God.